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Is getting ABPP worth it if you aren't a neuropsychologist?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by calvicorse, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. calvicorse

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    Hello all,

    Question: I know board certification certainly makes sense for people doing neuropsych. But, for those of us who are not planning on pursuing neuropsych, is there additive value in getting ABPP (i.e., in Clinical Psychology) for people who plan to primarily be clinicians? If so, how much? I know this has been discussed on the forum once before a few years ago, but I was curious if anyone who has pursued ABPP since has any updated feelings on the topic.

    Let's say for the sake of the question that I was considering working in a VA or hospital setting, but at some point later might work in private practice. The upfront cost is nearly $1000, plus yearly fees to keep the license alive, so it's definitely not a cheap endeavor. From someone inside the field, I do tend to respect people with ABPP behind their name more (e.g. assuming they are well trained or at least well versed in EBPs), but I am not sure whether anyone outside our field a) knows what it is; or b) cares. So I suppose my question is actually twofold: does ABPP add additive value from those inside and/or outside our field? And if so, in what contexts might it be beneficial?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Fan_of_Meehl

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    I vote 'no.' Once you've got your license and ability to practice, you have a decision to make. Are you going to devote yourself to 'kissing ass upwards' (the formula for promotion in corrupt hierarchies) or are you going to devote yourself to trying to be the most effective clinician you can be for your clients? Your choice. ABPP not required.
     
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  3. Rivi

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    Well said. For me, it's not worth it, nor does it have any real value other than a nice set of letters to put after your name. Unless I went into forensic work (or was a neuropsychologist), I don't see the point.

    We've jumped through enough hurdles to get through grad school and licensing. Take that $1000 and invest it, take a trip, or buy some art. Consider it an exercise in seeing the big picture.
     
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  4. Fan_of_Meehl

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    Or take the $1000 and invest it in any one of the Oxford Handbooks for blahblahblah or their clinician and client workbooks. And take that **** into the clinic and try to improve the lives of the people you serve. That's where it's at. Booyah!
     
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  5. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist
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    My take:

    1) There are areas where board certs are likely to continue in the near to middle term future, either from need or tradition (e.g., psychoanalysis, neuro, forensic, etc).

    2) Technological advances, which will continue to advance according to moore's law, will have substantial impacts on many of the diagnostic fields. Many are stupidly unconcerned about technological advancement. It sounds like futuristic stuff, but it is fast approaching. For example, law firms are now using AI legal research services which has already affected paralegals. For neuro, machine learning is a huge problem, especially since the sign based approach was rejected. It's only a matter of time before imaging creates better diagnostic approaches that are cheaper and easier. And Pearson is clearly moving towards on screen, group administration of tests by para-professionals. For treating stuff, this is less important which is why I have started to encourage people to look into rehab psych.

    3) ABPP shows a history of increasing the number of boards, and number boarded. This fractures the field, which is a significant problem.

    A. For example, police psychology is now accepted as a separate specialty. In a lawsuit which involves a police shooting: is a forensic psychologist more appropriate or is a police psychologist more appropriate? What are the chances that a police psychologist would be financially motivated to go towards this work? Will a juror understand the difference?
    B. Absent a few boards, board cert does not significantly increase earnings as far as I know.
    C. If the number of boards continue, the potential number of patients will become extremely limited. This is not the case for other mental health professionals. IMO, it is only a matter of time before there is a Women's Psychology board. Does that mean you cannot treat half the population unless you are boarded? What if your female patient has a brain injury? Would you need a rehab board and a woman psych board? What if there is a lawsuit? Do you need three boards? Where does that end?

    4) At some point, the potential number of patients/referrals do not support a specialization either due to patient prevalence or funding.

    5) Increased training requirements starts to say something about the rigor of doctoral training. I see no point in someone graduating from an APA clinical program getting ABPP'ed in clinical psych. It's circular argument. All of your professors said you were competent, your internship said you're competent, your post doc said you're competent, your state said you competent.... that's a lot of peers. So now you need another set of peers saying you're competent?

    6) If psychology continues to demand increasing levels of sub-specialization, AND other mental health fields do not AND insurance will not pay for increased training..... we'll write ourselves out of a job. How easy is it for insurance to say, "we only pay for psychologist boarded in X?" while not having those requirements for social work? Even if the ethical standards and law do not support this degree of sub-specialization. Keep in mind that the people who are creating these increased standards are the ones who will not be around deal with the outcomes of this.

    7) Finally, this only works if psychologist buy into this.
     
    #5 PSYDR, Jan 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  6. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
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    Short answer: Unless you're required to do so (not common), or benefit financially from it (unlikely), nope.
     
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  7. Sanman

    Sanman O.G.
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    Mostly agree with the others. There are two reasons that I may consider it in the future.

    1. The major reason is that I am seeing more state boards accept this rather than require you to submit paperwork (related to internship, post doc, etc) when moving states. If this makes crossing state lines easier, I am for it. I have been considering a move down the line to more enjoyable locations.

    2. Related to point one and @PSYDR speaking of technology, videochat sessions are the future. Being able to treat patients from across the country from my cozy home office in a nice waterfront location sounds good to me. My wife already works from home full-time and not being location dependent seems like a huge boon to me. Board certification may ease some of the licensing across state line issues easier.
     
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    #7 Sanman, Jan 12, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  8. AbnormalPsych

    AbnormalPsych Clinical Psychologist
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    Just want to chime in and say thanks to all. This is all super helpful as an early career psych wresting with this decision for awhile now.
     
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  9. corticalatrophy

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    Health Policy Corner: Is Board Certification a Necessary Professional Credential?

    Check out this article. Might give you some things to think about. Strongly consider ABPP and good luck to you!
     
  10. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National
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    "I am optimistic that achieving board certification will be seen as an attractive goal for most psychologists."

    Yeah? Then employers better start dangling some carrots. By 2-4 years post licensure, I think most of us are done proving our competence to practice...again.
     
    #10 erg923, Jan 13, 2019 at 11:47 AM
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2019 at 3:13 PM
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  11. Sanman

    Sanman O.G.
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    Skimming the article, I don't buy it. We are only a few years past an internship crisis and far from standardizing the post-doc experience. Before board certification becomes the norm or standard, the APA and psychology in general will need to do a much better job of standardizing training as the physicians have done. You can't offer people a hodgepodge of training opportunities and then expect them to have conformed to board certification requirements after the fact.
     
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  12. Rivi

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    +1

    Especially with the EPPP part II in the works.

    That article is silly to me:
    -"I am disappointed that comparatively few psychologists have embraced board certification, especially in this era of increased emphasis on competencies, accountability, and specialty expertise."

    The author fails to understand that most of us don't want to further divide ourselves and add yet another hurdle for the younger generation to go through. Why not stand behind 5-7 years of graduate school, 1-2 years of post-doc, and our licensing exam? If our field's leadership can't advocate our training and value to meet the "increased emphasis on competencies, accountability and specialty expertise," then the problem is poor leadership.
     
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  13. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist
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    This is a ******* article. Let me sum it up:

    “I started in this profession 35 years ago, when things were a lot easier. I got board certified when there were limited requirements. Now I think we should increase standards. For everyone else. Not me. My credentials are fine.

    Why should everyone do this? Basically it’s beause medicine is really into boards. But I’ll draw that argument out for another few paragraphs. Oh, and the extra letters look super cool, so people think it means board certification is smarter. No one look for outcome data. Or data about how this increases income.”
     
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  14. OP
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    calvicorse

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    Thanks all! This has been a very interesting and helpful discussion. I agree that our field requires way, way too many hoops to jump through as it is and it seems like the years of prior research experience, 5-6 years of grad school, internship, EPPP, and post-doc should be enough to prove our competence. And yes, perhaps it's a bad idea to make board certification the new standard (more time, money, frustration) for little benefit. I would be curious if anyone on the forum beyond neuropsychologists have gotten board certified, and whether it helped them in any ways financially or otherwise. The point that was made earlier by @Sanman was well taken, as I may move states in the future and it would be nice to not have to fuss with that. But not sure if it's worth that much of a pain if it truly doesn't confer any additional financial benefit. Does anyone know if there is any data examining whether board cert is associated with higher pay? I suppose it might be difficult to covary out the fact that over-achievers tend to go for it, and therefore might go above and beyond in marketing, etc, as well....
     
  15. AbnormalPsych

    AbnormalPsych Clinical Psychologist
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    Supposedly you get a one-time step increase on the VA payscale. Although I have heard this happening to varying degrees of success. At my last 2 VAs multiple generalists and neuropsychs achieved ABPP and were on years 2 and 3 of waiting for VA to recognize this achievement and provide the pay increase. They gave up bugging HR about it eventually.

    Depends on what you mean by this. But if it is what I think you mean, then I would say that has not been my experience. I would say that I've mostly seen this within the VA/AMC affiliated circles - psychs talking this up amongst each other within their insulated bubbles. Since I've left VA I have not heard ABPP mentioned once.
     
  16. Justanothergrad

    Justanothergrad Counseling Psychologist
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    That varies by VISN as well, so some dont even pretend to care.
     
  17. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National
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  18. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Regarding the pay issue, I would say that it definitely matters, on average, for neuropsych. When I was looking last time, the jobs that compensated better, either required you to have bard cert, or have it within so many years of hire. There are only a couple systems here that do not require it, and their compensation models are at least 15k less pay than my current position, with poorer retirement benefits, than my current position. Also, some opportunities are not open to you without it. For example, the NFL testing as part of the settlement lawsuit. If you're private practice, probably not a big issue if you network well, or can just hustle. But, for breadth of opportunities, board cert is the way to go for neuro.
     
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  19. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Assistant professor
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    Rehab psych is very deeply invested in ABPP.
     
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  20. Sanman

    Sanman O.G.
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    Define deeply invested though as far as the field goes. While academic rehab psych is definitely pushing for it and you are not likely to get a job at Kessler, Spaulding, or most AMCs without it, all you need to get a job in sub-acute rehab is a pulse and a license. This is where the divide in the field really comes from. There are maybe two dozen jobs in the U.S. for which ABPP in rehab psych is necessary. The rest will not require it or it will be a nice to have. Many who hold those jobs will have ABPP in neuropsych anyway. I spent five years working primarily in sub-acute rehab without ABPP and we hired many people without experience let alone ABPP. Many smaller hospitals are happy to take someone with experience and likely an ABPP in neuropsych. In geropsych, it is hard to find people with experience let alone ABPP. At my VA, I was the only one hired with any prior experience. All the other HBPC and CLC people were gerneralists with the exception one person that was trained in health psych.
     
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    #20 Sanman, Jan 14, 2019 at 8:17 AM
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019 at 11:19 AM
  21. Psycycle

    Psycycle Psychologist, ABPP
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    I am board certified in a field other than Neuro. Because the field in general is small, and the specialties can be tiny, I'm not going to say which one for fear of outing my identity on this board. There's a few reasons I chose to go this route. I quoted your post because I'd like to respond to your points specifically.

    1. Agreed
    2. Semi-agreed. I don't think diagnosis of a lot of conditions can be broken down into corresponding neuroimaging, because it's not a clear relationship, e.g. problems in this area equal this condition. I do think the para-professional thing is a huge issue, particularly as other professions just write assessment into their licensing description (looking at you, LPCs) and nothing seems to be in the way of that.
    3. I think it depends on how far this goes. I would like to know whether there was an evidence-based reason for police psychology to be fragmented from forensic. Looking at the list of specialty boards now, those two appear to be the only ones that seem to possibly be conflated.
    4. In my area, I think the number of patients is huge, so that is not concerning personally.
    5. The issue in this regard, for me, is the number of substandard training programs.
    6. Agreed; this is a source of concern and frustration. I have heard social workers voice that they practice my specialization.
    7. Agreed, but a lot of things, including money, fall under this.

    My VA gave me a step increase. I have found that the certification has offered some intangible benefit within the medical center and university associated with my position. I have also registered a lot of confusion from people in other professions who don't seem to know what it means. I do think psychology needs to be on par with medicine, and board certification in medicine is often an expectation - and they also are getting their fields watered down by para-professionals or midlevel replacements.

    The process was personally satisfying to me. Of course, I had funding for it so I may have felt differently if I was coughing up. But it made my identity more concrete within my specialty, in my own conceptualization of it.

    As I move toward opening my own business and consultation service in my area of specialty, I can see the benefit in terms of how I market my skill set to my target population and referral base. I also see the huge benefit in telehealth as well as state-line issues, although license mobility with ABPP is not in place for all 50 states.
     

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