Specialty Specific Requirements




To attain board certification in any ABPP Specialty, an applicant must meet both generic and specialty-specific eligibility requirements.


A.  Generic Requirements. Review of generic credentials is performed by the ABPP Central Office. Requirements for the generic review include:

  1. 1.  A doctoral degree from a program in professional psychology which, at the time the degree was granted, was accredited by the APA or CPA, or was listed in the publication Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designation Criteria.  Applicants credentialed in the most recent directory of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, the Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, or the Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB CPQ) qualify as meeting the doctoral degree requirements.
  3. 2.  Internship. Completion of an APA/CPA accredited internship program, or equivalent year of supervised experience.
  5. 3.  Licensure or Certification. All ABPP candidates in the U.S., its territories or Canada must be licensed as a psychologist for independent practice at the doctoral level in a jurisdiction in the U.S., its territories or Canada.
  7. 4.  Exceptions. ABPP grants limited exceptions for doctoral preparation prior to 1983, degrees granted outside the U.S or Canada, formal retraining, substantial equivalents to accreditation requirements, and licensure in jurisdiction of practice for some Federal employees. 

In most cases, ABCN will accept ABPP’s decision regarding doctoral or internship program accreditation at the generic level. Questions regarding the adequacy of an applicant’s generic credentials should be directed to the ABPP Central Office.


B.  Specialty Specific Requirements. Once the generic credentials are approved by ABPP, the ABCN credentials committee determines eligibility specific to Clinical Neuropsychology. The specialty review examines both the content and the process by which the applicant has acquired their knowledge and skill in neuropsychology. As such, candidates must carefully document their didactic and experiential training.


  1. 1.  Didactics. All applicants must document didactic experiences across 8 core knowledge areas. These experiences may be obtained any time during training. Most didactic requirements will be fulfilled during graduate coursework; however, some may be obtained through less formal/structured educational activities, such as seminars, brain cutting conferences, specialty rounds, case conferences, etc. The core knowledge domains include:

  Basic neurosciences

•  Functional neuroanatomy

•  Neuropathology

  Clinical neurology

  Psychological assessment

  Clinical neuropsychological assessment


  Psychological intervention


  1. 2.  Postdoctoral Training. Postdoctoral residency education and training are required to develop an advanced level of competence in the specialty of clinical neuropsychology. ABCN understands, however, that training standards have changed significantly over the relatively short period during which clinical neuropsychology has been a specialty. To promote uniformity in training standards, ABCN has endorsed the Houston Conference Guidelines for specialty training in Clinical Neuropsychology for individuals who completed their neuropsychological training on or after January 1, 2005. For individuals trained prior to that date, eligibility criteria for postdoctoral training are defined in relation to the criteria in place at the time the candidate completed training in neuropsychology.
  3. For candidates whose neuropsychology education and training (e.g., coursework, practica, internship) occurred primarily during their graduate education, eligibility criteria are tied to the completion date of graduate training.
  5. Applicants initially trained in another specialty who later go on to complete a formal re-specialization program in clinical neuropsychology are expected to meet criteria for eligibility in place at the time they complete their re-specialization program, not the date of their original graduate education.
  7. All applicants must demonstrate a formal foundation for the acquisition of the neuropsychological skill set. Experiential or informal training models will be considered only for those applicants trained prior to 1981; detailed documentation of those experiences will be helpful during the credential review.
  9. ABCN encourages applications from neuropsychologists trained during all eras, including those pre-dating the Houston Conference. Specific postdoctoral training criteria are detailed below.
  11.  a.  Doctoral training or respecialization completed on or after 01/01/2005:
  • •  Training conforms to Houston Conference Guidelines
  • The length of the residency must be the equivalent of 2 full years of education and training in clinical neuropsychology and neuropsychology-related disciplines, completed on at-least a half-time basis. Training in neuropsychology-related activities must comprise a minimum of 50% of the resident’s time and may include supervised clinical activities done as part of research. ABCN will accept minor deviations from these requirements that may arise based on medical, personal or professional factors. Such situations are reviewed by the Credentials Committee on a case-by-case basis and require written documentation from the residency director that the candidate:

1) left the residency in good standing,

2) met all requirements of the residency,

3) obtained the requisite skills and knowledge base described by the Houston Conference Guidelines.

  • •   ABCN requires that the postdoctoral program reflect a structured and sequenced set of clinical and didactic experiences, provide on-site supervision of all clinical cases, and put the learning needs of the candidate ahead of the operational needs of the program.
  • •  Recognizing that some aspects of the Houston Conference model remain aspirational, ABCN will allow the following exceptions:
    • ♦  ABCN will not require that the program faculty include an ABCN certified neuropsychologist. Training must be conducted by supervisors who are themselves neuropsychologists and the candidate may be asked to provide additional materials regarding details of the residency program and/or the credentials of their supervisors.
    • ♦  ABCN does not currently require applicants to train in accredited postdoctoral programs; however, candidates who complete an APA-accredited specialty program in clinical neuropsychology or a full member program of the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN) may skip items on the specialty application form and complete the credential review process more quickly. Please refer to the online application for more information.
    • ♦  ABCN does not require neuropsychological training during internship. In addition, although ABCN prefers that applicants have completed an APA or CPA accredited internship program, the review decision regarding internship training is made by ABPP Central Office during the generic review. If ABPP passes the candidate’s non-APA/CPA internship credentials during generic review, ABCN will typically defer to that decision.
  1. •  Additional guidelines regarding training include:
  • ♦  If the postdoctoral fellowship was not designated as a fellowship in Clinical Neuropsychology (e.g., fellowship was in Geropsychology, Cognitive Rehabilitation Psychology, School Psychology), the applicant must document training in clinical neuropsychology consistent with Houston Conference guidelines.
  • ♦  At least 50% of postdoctoral training must be in the provision of clinical neuropsychological services.
    • •  At least 50% of the clinical neuropsychological services must involve integrative neuropsychological evaluation under the supervision of a clinical neuropsychologist, with services provided to clinical populations. Integrative neuropsychological services include a component of clinical service delivery (i.e., the integration of results in a written report to patients, research participants or physicians).
    • •  Fellowship training should involve the provision of clinical neuropsychological services to individuals with a diversity of clinical diagnostic issues.  


  1. b.  Doctoral training or respecialization completed from 01/01/1990 to 12/31/2004:
  • •  Successful completion of systematic didactic and experiential training in neuropsychology at a regionally accredited university;
  • •  Two years of appropriate supervised training applying neuropsychological services in a clinical setting. One of these years may be pre-doctoral. For both years of training:

1) Supervision must be provided on-site and for all clinical cases;

2) The training program should include a combination of didactic and experiential training;

  • •  A letter of endorsement from a supervisor who can document the extent, nature and completion of the above training is highly desirable.


  1. c.  Doctoral training or respecialization completed from 01/01/1981 and 12/31/89:
  • •  1600 hours of clinical neuropsychological experience supervised by a clinical neuropsychologist at the predoctoral or postdoctoral level.


  1. d.  Doctoral training or respecialization completed prior to 1981:
  • •  4800 hours of postdoctoral experience in a neuropsychological setting, involving a minimum of 2400 hours of direct clinical service.



C.  Canadian GuidelinesA number of ABCN Specialists have trained and practiced in Canada; however, access to post-doctoral training opportunities meeting Houston Conference guidelines is limited in Canadian settings. Because of this potential barrier to board certification, ABCN has developed a set of interim criteria for Canadian applicants. These Canadian Guidelines can be found on the ABCN website.



Follow ABPP on Facebook