Applying for licensure as a psychologist in the Commonwealth of Kentucky requires organization, close attention to detail, patience, and a healthy respect for Murphy’s Law.
The Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology website is a helpful source of information and can be intimidating to digest for those new to the licensure process.
Having recently navigated the licensure process myself in 2015-2018, I thought it would be a good idea to “pay it forward” and summarize advice and resources regarding obtaining psychologist licensure in KY. I last updated this page in fall of 2018. (And here’s some information about licensure as a master’s-level Licensed Psychological Associate.)
Please understand that KY laws/regulations/statutes, licensure procedures, and the Board’s website are always changing and, thus, the information on this page may become obsolete at any time. Thus, here is my obligatory fine print statement: Joseph H. Hammer makes no guarantees of any kind and cannot be held liable for any outdated or incorrect information. He assumes no responsibility or liability for any consequence resulting directly or indirectly for any action or inaction you take based on or made in reliance on the information or material on this webpage.
Initial Application to the Board
Now then, let me summarize what materials I submitted as a part of my initial application for licensure. Please bear in mind that you may need to submit different materials, depending on your situation (e.g., never licensed vs. previously licensed in another state, seeking the Health Service Provider [HSP] designation vs. not). Check out the Board’s “Applications and Forms” webpage for downloadable copies of many of these forms mentioned below.
- Cover Letter, which summarizes all materials you included in the application. Helps orient the reader to what you included and reduces chances of missing paperwork issues.
- Application for Licensure, which contains sections for Applicant Information, Education, Employment History, Status Questionnaire, Applicant’s Affidavit, Curriculum Guidelines (fill out sections 1, 2, 3, 4, and then the 5 section that matches your specialty), Report of Internship, Report of Advanced Practicum (one per advanced practicum site, which excludes your first therapy practicum and first assessment practicum), and Report of Post-Doctoral Experience (if seeking Health Service Psychologist designation; see section further down this page)
- Check in the amount of $200 made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer for the appropriate application fees (amount subject to change)
- Three Reference Forms from persons qualified to evaluate your professional ability, including two persons who have received a doctorate in psychology (PhD, PsyD, or EdD).
- Historically, they required a letter from predoctoral internship agency documenting the dates, number of work hours, type of experiences, and supervisors… but I see no evidence of this requirement still being in place as of late 2018.
- Official transcripts (with the official seal and/or signature of the Registrar) from all post-high school institutions attended (e.g., Bachelor’s, Master’s, Doctoral)
- Letter requesting temporary psychologist license (redacted, downloadable .pdf file) to practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist, co-signed by applicant’s intended supervisor
- Supervisory Plans and Goals Form, co-signed by applicant’s intended supervisor.
- Applicant’s W-4 to prove applicant is employed where applicant claims to be employed (this may or may not be required as of 2018, it was for me back in 2015)
- Intended supervisor’s W-2 to prove that supervisor is employed where supervisor claims they are employed (this may or may not be required as of 2018, it was for me back in 2015)
Again, let me stress that you need to do your homework and triple check with the Board to ensure that you are submitting all and only the materials you need to.
Once you have assembled all the required materials, I recommend numbering them all sequentially by page (e.g., Page 1 of 23), and perhaps referencing these page numbers in your cover letter list of materials, to help make the lives of the staff at the Office of Occupations and Professions easier. Next, scan to PDF those documents that you don’t have full electronic copies of, such as documents received from your intended supervisor and letter writers. Double check to make sure all necessary signatures have been ink-signed and dated in the proper locations. Then, lay out all of your materials and take pictures of EVERYTHING with your smartphone camera, including the check and envelope. Once everything is fully organized, collated, and documented, mail your application to:
Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology
911 Leawood Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601
It will take the staff a while to process your materials, and for the Board members to convene and review your materials. If you don’t hear anything from the Board by 45 days after submission, you may want to call or email the staff person using the information listed at the bottom of their homepage. You may need to reach out a few times to obtain a response, given that the staff are very busy folks. Dialogue with the staff as needed to help the process move along. You may need to revise and/or resend certain materials per their direction.
Once they Board has reviewed and approved your application for temporary licensure as a Licensed Psychologist, you will receive a letter from them stating this fact. You will also receive a yellow certificate card that serves as your proof of temporary licensure, which will contain your license number. Once approved, you are granted two years of temporary licensure (e.g., my temporary licensure period was 10/12/2015 to 10/12/2017) under the supervision of your requested supervisor. The Board will tell you that you must pass the EPPP within one year of the date of notice of approval by the Board for temporary licensure. They will also tell you that you must complete and submit, every 6 months from the issue date of your temporary license, a fresh (1) Supervisory Report form and (2) Supervisory Plans and Goals form. Mark your calendars so that you don’t forget collaborate with your supervisor to submit these forms on time. Also, make plans to study for and pass the EPPP.
At this point, I recommend creating an “eServices User Account” on the Kentucky Department of Professional Licensing’s website, which will allow you to track your licensure status, request changes to the personal and contact information the Board has on file for you, print receipts, and obtain PDF copies of any license certificates and license identification cards you may have been granted by the Board.
Preparing for the EPPP
It costs many hundreds of dollars to take the EPPP, so I recommend doing enough studying so that you only have to take the EPPP once. I recommend obtaining PSYCHPREP’s EPPP Study Materials hard-copy volume and access to their five 200-item practice tests via the Online Testing Subscription. As of 10/10/2016, you can purchase both for a total cost of $725.00. People have told me that it is possible to find used copies of these materials for a cheaper price through other channels, but I see advantages in making arrangements with your employer to cover the cost of the study materials so that you can get access to the most up to date material.
Compared to other EPPP study material providers, PSYCHPREP’s Study Materials are briefer. They only cover the most essential information that comes up most frequently on the EPPP, which lets you study the most important material in the smallest amount of time (efficiency!). Even if you end up using different study materials, I highly recommend first listening to PSYCPREP’s Study Strategies Workshop audio and reading the accompanying handout, which you can download for free from their website. It will help orient you to the EPPP and how to study for it.
It’s my anecdotal opinion that around 120 hours of studying will be optimal for most people who have reasonably good study habits and test taking abilities; this GradPsych article suggests that studying more than 100 to 199 hours does not result in higher pass rates.
PSYCHPREP’s system has you take the five tests periodically over the course of your studying so that you can track how well you are scoring. When I last checked, to achieve a passing score sufficient for licensure in KY, you will need to answer at least 70% of the scored EPPP test items correctly. I recommend studying until you are able to score around 75% on your first run through the fifth and final PSYCHPREP Test (“Practice Test E”), so that you have a little buffer. It is not necessary to study more once you are consistently scoring around 75% on practice tests; this is a pass-fail thing, not a letter grade thing. I’m sure you have other things you need to be working on (e.g., tenure, work-life balance, inner peace).
After the EPPP: KY Structured Examination for Licensure as a Licensed Psychologist
You must pass the KY Structured Examination within 2 years of the date of notice of approval by the Board for temporary licensure. Thus, if you are granted temporary licensure on 1/1/2017 then you will need to pass the EPPP by 1/1/2018 and the KY Structured Examination by 1/1/2019.
Soon after passing the EPPP, the Board sent me a letter acknowledging that I had achieved a passing score on the EPPP and stated that “Upon receipt and review of documentation indicating completion of your required supervision experience, you will be scheduled for the next available structured examination. To document advanced practicum hours, please submit the ‘Individual Practicum Site’ form. To document post-doc hours, please submit the ‘Report of Post-Doctoral Experience’ form.”
Once the Board had the necessary documentation, I was sent a letter dated 4/6/2017 stating that I was eligible to sit for the structured examination. The next structured exam just so happened to be 5/12/2017, so that’s when I was scheduled to take it. This gave me about a month to study for the exam. Therefore, when you are preparing to announce your readiness to the Board for the next structured exam, be sure to keep in mind that you may be scheduled for an exam that is fast approaching, so make sure you can plan your study time accordingly.
The 4/6/2017 letter I received from the Board provided me with more information about the structured exam, which has both an oral and written portion. The letter provided me with general tips on what to study. The letter was accompanied by study materials, which consisted of a paper copy of the “Laws and Regulations Relating to Licensure as a Psychologist,” which can be viewed and downloaded as a PDF from the “Resources” menu of the Board’s website. Please note that you will need to use the internet to look up the text of the chapters listed in the “Selected Mental Health Law Relating to KRS 319” section toward the end of the PDF, as paper copies of the text of these chapters are not provided in the paper study materials.
The structured exams in other states, so my colleagues tell me, are often easy to pass without much studying. This is not the case in KY. You must study if you want to pass the KY structured exam. The Board’s May 2017 meeting minutes posted online indicate that folks tend to pass the oral portion but some folks don’t pass the written portion. Personally, it took me about 10 hours to prepare concise study materials and another 15 hours to sufficiently memorize the material to the point that I felt ready to take the structured exam. As with the EPPP, you may need more or less time than I did to prepare for the structured exam.
I strongly recommend preparing concise study materials summarizing the key elements of the Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS 319), Kentucky Administrative Regulations (201 KAR 26), and the Selected Mental Health Law Relating to KRS 319. I also strongly recommend speaking with psychologists who are licensed in KY to get their advice on how to prepare for the structured examination; their advice is invaluable and will save you time and stress. If you’re lucky, they may even provide you with a copy of the concise study materials they developed–this can save you a lot of time.
Regarding the content and process of the structured exam, here’s what 201 KAR 26:185 states:
Section 3. In addition to demonstrating an acceptable level of knowledge of Kentucky mental health law, an applicant for licensure as a psychologist shall submit to a structured oral examination on ethical principles and professional practice administered by two (2) licensed psychologists. (1) Each examiner shall independently rate the applicant’s performance. (2) The applicant shall demonstrate an acceptable level of knowledge in each of the areas in order to pass the examination. (3) An applicant who receives a pass rating from the two (2) examiners shall have successfully passed the oral examination and shall be eligible to be granted a license as a licensed.
The written portion tests your knowledge of KY laws/regulations/statutes using multiple choice and short answer questions. You do this first. Then, you have some time to review a fake client vignette; you’ll be asked questions about this vignette during the oral portion. During a KPA workshop, a former Board member described the oral portion of the exam in this way: you will need to be ready to articulate initial clinical impressions, a theoretical conceptualization of the client, a theoretically consistent treatment plan for how you would go about treating the client, and a description of what psychological assessments/tests you might use to help understand this client’s presenting concerns. Regarding the assessment piece, you need to be ready to explain how you would interpret the test and what you would be anticipating or looking for in the results (e.g., what specific subscale scores of that test would you expect to be elevated/suppressed and what are the specific numerical cutoffs on those subscales that would indicate the presence of subclinical/clinical levels of that pathology). If you don’t use assessments a lot, you will need to study carefully so that you can give sensible responses regarding what you would do assessment-wise with this imaginary client.
The 4/6/2017 letter I received from the board asked me to fill out and return a “Vignette Selection” form, which allows you to tell the Board if you would prefer your oral exam to be focused on an adult client, an adolescent client, or a child client. Don’t forget to submit this in a timely manner! The letter also indicated that I would be sent a second letter in a few weeks with specific scheduling information, including testing time, location, and parking instructions.
On 4/27/17, this second letter arrived. This second letter has important instructions regarding parking, testing procedures, bringing picture ID, and the necessity of bringing an updated supervisory report form. Specifically, it stated “If you are being supervised, you must have your supervisor complete the enclosed supervisory report form and submit this form prior to the oral examination or bring it with you to the exam. If you have submitted a supervisory report thirty days prior to the examination date or are not being supervised, please disregard this request.” Thus, I had to work with my supervisor to get this form completed so that I could bring it with me to the structured exam.
On 5/12/2017, I took the exam. Immediately after completing the exam, I was told the timeline (2 weeks) for learning about whether or not I had passed the oral and/or written portions of the structured exam.
On 5/17/2017, I received a letter indicating that I passed the structured exam and will be granted a license to practice psychology in KY once I submitted a check or money order in the amount of $250 made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer, which covers me for the first three years of licensure. I mailed this check on 5/31/2017.
On 6/6/2017, I received my official certificate with my new 6-digit full licensure number (this is different than your temporary licensure number, if applicable) along with a letter stating that I should create an eServices account, which allows me to login via the Board’s website and print a card and/or certificate and update my contact information. The letter once again indicated that the license is issued for an initial period of three years and must be renewed each successive three-year term thereafter, and that I would receive a reminder letter approximately 90 days in advance of my renewal date.
At this point, I recommend logging on to your “eServices User Account” on the Kentucky Department of Professional Licensing’s website to download a PDF copy of your new full licensure certificate and identification card for your records.
After Passing the KY Structured Exam: Now That You’re Licensed
Now that you’re a licensed psychologist in KY, you must make plans to accrue the necessary Continuing Education (CE) credits, including credits for the mandatory topics established by the board. You must renew your license every 3 years, so you will be expected to provide proof of continuing education credits at renewal time. Thus, we talk about the “3 year licensure renewal period.”
As of 8/22/2017, 39 CE’s are required per 3-year licensure renewal period. If you wanted to spread out these CE’s, this means earning 13 CE’s per year in order to reach 39 by the renewal deadline. Of these 39 CE’s, some portion of them must cover specific topics:
- 3 CE’s of either ethical practice or risk management per renewal period
- 3 CE’s of domestic violence and elder abuse/neglect/exploitation (new requirement for 2017 and beyond)
- 3 CE’s of supervision theory or techniques per renewal period (only required if you have the HSP designation; see below). Please note that you need to complete 3 CE’s of “basic supervision” during your first 12 months of HSP status and then in subsequent renewal periods you need 3 CE’s of “advanced supervision” (which can be met by most supervision focused CE offerings that don’t explicitly market themselves as being about the basics). It is safest to complete the 3 CE’s of basic supervision by attending the basic supervision training offered each year during the fall Kentucky Psychological Association’s Annual Convention. This training is guaranteed to meet the licensing requirement, whereas other trainings may or may not be interpreted by the Board as meeting the basic supervision requirement.
- 6 hours of suicide prevention training during the first year of licensure, then 6 hours of suicide prevention training every six years thereafter. In other words, your first year of licensure you need to earn 6 suicide CE’s, which will thus cover you for your first 3 years of licensure. Then, you’ll want to earn 3 suicide CE’s during each subsequent 3-year renewal period, which will ensure that every 6-year period contains at least 6 suicide CE’s. This requirement is framed in terms of 6-year increments rather than the typical 3-year increments for reasons unknown to me.
The Kentucky Psychological Association (KPA) annual convention each fall is a 3-day event that is primarily composed of presentation sessions that are CE-eligible. Sessions that meet key CE requirements for different topics are clearly indicated on the KPA Convention schedule webpages. Here are examples from the 2017 convention of sessions that count toward those specific topical requirements I listed above:
S01. Balancing the Scales: Telehealth and Ethics, 3 CE
Presented by Michael J. McClellan, Ph.D. and Dan Florell, Ph.D.
Ethical decision-making has grown increasingly challenging for psychologists as we balance using technology with concerns regarding client welfare. Telehealth is the culmination of using technology to provide services yet it has opened up a whole range of ethical and legal concerns. Presenters will examine the use of telehealth in clinical practice and raise awareness on possible ethical issues that can arise. This workshop fulfills the 3 CE requirement for ethics/risk management.
T08. Domestic Violence and Stalking: Legal Responsibilities and Risk Assessment, 3 CE
Presented by Carol E. Jordan, M.S. and TK Logan, Ph.D.
The session will review the dynamics and legal issues associated with intimate partner violence and stalking. It will explain changes to the mandatory reporting law (effective June 29, 2017) and results from the survey with psychologists that informed that change. The second part of the session will focus on stalking as a risk factor for both lethal and non-lethal violence, as well as increased risk of sexual assault, threats, economic harm, and victim terror. It will examine the harm and risk from stalking beyond physical assault and introduce a multidimensional framework for understanding and assessing stalking. This presentation will also introduce the Stalking and Harassment Assessment and Risk Profile (SHARP). SHARP was developed, based on the multidimensional framework, to facilitate communication, understanding, assessment, and safety planning with victims of stalking. This workshop will meet the requirements of KRS 194A.540 requiring training on domestic violence and elder abuse.
S05. What’s New in Psychotherapy Supervision? An Update and Considerations for Supervision, 3 CE
Presented by Jeff Reese, Ph.D.
The purpose of this workshop is to share the latest writing and research on psychotherapy supervision. This will be coupled with reflecting on one’s own supervisory approach and considering how the supervision might (or might not) impact one’s ideas about providing excellent supervision. Also discussed will be a client-directed outcome informed strategy to be considered for use in clinical supervision. This workshop meets the 3 hour CE requirement for advanced supervision.
F02. Understanding Suicide: From Assessment to Intervention and Management, 3 CE
Presented by Melinda Moore, Ph.D.
This three hour workshop will present approaches to understanding what factors may contribute to suicide risk. Assessment strategies and the latest research on empirically-supported approaches to treating suicidal individuals will be covered. This workshop fulfills 3 of 6 hours towards the KRS 210.366 requirement for Suicide Prevention Training.
You’ll notice that the suicide session above only fulfills half of the required 6 hours. Thus, you’d want to get the other 3 years through a combination of other CE’s focused on suicide prevention.
I enjoy going to the American Psychological Association (APA) Annual Convention (costs about $275 for APA Members). By paying an additional one-time fee of $85, I was able to accrue unlimited CE credits over the course of the four day convention. For example, at the 2017 Convention, I accrued 15 CE’s by attending a variety of symposia and talks that were CE-eligible. If attending the Convention fits your professional goals and you need CE’s, I recommend earning CE’s at the Convention. If I go to the Convention each year and acquire at least 13 credits each time (also making sure to get credits in the required topics listed above), then I will always meet the 39-credit requirement for each renewal period. Nifty.
APA also allows people who review for APA journals to earn a maximum of 6 CE’s per 12-month period by doing reviews. You can earn 1 CE per qualifying review you complete. Like many psychology faculty members, I provide manuscript peer reviews for APA journals each year, so this is a wonderful way of killing two birds with one stone.
There are other stipulations and rules associated with earning CE’s that I won’t go into here, including what organizations can grant eligible CE’s, how you can earn CE’s by teaching academic courses or your own CE workshops, etc. Be sure to carefully read the Laws and Regulations, Revised Statutes, and Administrative Regulations pertinent to CE requirements.
Make sure to keep careful records of all the CE’s you accrue, including holding on to copies of your CE certificates. You’ll need to submit your CE’s via the Board’s online renewal system, which takes some doing.
Health Service Provider (HSP) Designation for Licensed Psychologists
If you wish to provide clinical supervision to any mental health professionals, trainees, or students in Kentucky as a Licensed Psychologist, you must earn the Health Service Provider (HSP) designation first.
The HSP designation requires you to earn 1800 post-doctoral clinical hours on top of the 1800 predoctoral psychology internship hours and the 1800 predoctoral/postdoctoral hours needed to be eligible for licensure as a psychologist in KY. The Board’s “Report of Post-Doctoral Experience” form (contained within the “Application for Licensure as a Psychologist” PDF) indicates that that “this experience must total 1800 hours with at least one (1) hour of individual face to face supervision on a weekly basis.” You will need to complete “Supervisory Plans and Goals” and “Supervisory Report” forms throughout that period in order to properly document the accrual of these post-doctoral hours. Your clinical supervisor will also have to complete “Supervisory Report” forms throughout this period, which you will submit to the Board along with the other materials.
If you wish to provide clinical supervision prior to achieving the HSP designation, you must receive concurrent Board-approved supervision, even if you are a fully licensed psychologist in KY. Once you have the HSP designation, you also must complete supervision-focused continuing education credits during each licensure renewal period, in addition to some other stipulations.
So, think carefully about whether you want to be able to provide clinical supervision, and plan accordingly.
To obtain the HSP designation, after I completed the additional 1800 supervised post-doctoral clinical hours, I had to send a cover letter to the Board along with my final Report of Post Doctoral Experience and final Supervisory Report. A few weeks later I received a new official licensure certificate that had a gold “Health Service Provider” medallion affixed to the front of the certificate.
List of External Licensure Resources
Here is a list of electronic resources that may help you learn about the licensure process. Please be aware that some of these resources may not be fully up to date; proceed with caution.
- Kentucky Board of Examiners of Psychology website – Start here. Be sure to review the “Home”, “Resources”, and “About Us” topside menu tabs, at minimum.
- The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards website – Another comprehensive resource that has both generic and KY-specific information.
- KPA Annual Convention 2011 Presentation “Licensure: Knowing and understanding Kentucky’s psychology licensing law”
- ASPPB Path to Licensure: What Every Student Should Know
- ASPPB’s Guide for Students and Faculty: Entry Requirements for the Professional Practice of Psychology
- Educating Students about Professional Licensure in Health Service Psychology – thorough research designed to familiarize students about what licensure is, how it works, and resources to learn more about it.
If you’ve just finished reading this page and are feeling anxious, please know that is an understandable and healthy reaction to the process of licensure. It is stressful. And, I know you can see it through!
As a final reminder, this page is meant to offer some helpful hints, and is not the definitive source for KY licensure information, so please be sure to thoroughly read the Board’s website and relevant KY regulations from cover to cover.
If you found this page helpful and will soon become a licensed psychologist who lives within one hour of Lexington, KY, please know that I and the other University of Kentucky Counseling Psychology faculty are always looking for new practicum sites where our PhD students can accrue clinical hours under the individual weekly supervision of a licensed psychologist. If you work at a practice or agency and would be interested in having one of our doctoral students provide high-quality talk therapy or assessment services to your clientele in exchange for a little of your time each week (no monetary compensation necessary), please contact me. Our doctoral students receive group supervision and didactic training from core program faculty who are health service provider-designated licensed psychologists.