hum1

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Hello,

I was wondering if there is anyone here who is currently going through the licensing process in Massachusetts, or will in the future, and could help me clarifying a question that I have? I would be very grateful.

When exactly do I submit the application to the Board? I just finished my internship and completed my psyd degree. I read in the board documentation that in order to apply for licensure, 3200 hours of clinical experience are needed. I thought that I would need 1600 internship pre doc hours and 1600 post doc hours. However, there is some information in the documentation regarding hours from the practicum during the psyd program. So I was wondering if I could count my practicum hours for the 3200 total hours or if I need a post doc in order to complete 1600 hours and only then apply to the Board for licensure?

Thank you.
 

niceman

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Hello,

I was wondering if there is anyone here who is currently going through the licensing process in Massachusetts, or will in the future, and could help me clarifying a question that I have? I would be very grateful.

When exactly do I submit the application to the Board? I just finished my internship and completed my psyd degree. I read in the board documentation that in order to apply for licensure, 3200 hours of clinical experience are needed. I thought that I would need 1600 internship pre doc hours and 1600 post doc hours. However, there is some information in the documentation regarding hours from the practicum during the psyd program. So I was wondering if I could count my practicum hours for the 3200 total hours or if I need a post doc in order to complete 1600 hours and only then apply to the Board for licensure?

Thank you.

A postdoc is optional in Massachusetts as long as you can prove that you obtained hours from advanced practicums that meet their requirements in the documentation you referred to. You can also call the Board for confirmation. However, unless you are sure that you will stay in MA forever, you may want to keep your option open as mobility can be a headache if you want to move to another state that requires a postdoc.
 
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hum1

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A postdoc is optional in Massachusetts as long as you can prove that you obtained hours from advanced practicums that meet their requirements in the documentation you referred to. You can also call the Board for confirmation. However, unless you are sure that you will stay in MA forever, you may want to keep your option open as mobility can be a headache if you want to move to another state that requires a postdoc.

Thank you niceman, my question has perhaps to do with the timeline of the whole licensing process. Is there a difference between practica and advanced practica? I will confirm with the Board, however from the documentation, it is stated that advanced practica is acceptable when the student has completed 2 post bachelor years of post graduated education in psychology, which in my training program would be clinical training from the 3rd and 4th year?

The process looks like this:

Psyd 1st year
Psyd 2nd year with practicum
Psyd 3rd year with advanced practica
Psyd 4th year with advanced practica
Psyd internship (1600 hours)

So if the hours from the advanced practica that are acquired during the "degree-granting doctoral program" count for the 3200 clock hours necessary for licensure, why would the Board require a post doc or any more clinical experience? I am a bit confused...
 
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niceman

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Thank you niceman, my question has perhaps to do with the timeline of the whole licensing process. Is there a difference between practica and advanced practica? I will confirm with the Board, however from the documentation, it is stated that advanced practica is acceptable when the student has completed 2 post bachelor years of post graduated education in psychology, which in my training program would be clinical training from the 3rd and 4th year?

The process looks like this:

Psyd 1st year
Psyd 2nd year with practicum
Psyd 3rd year with advanced practica
Psyd 4th year with advanced practica
Psyd internship (1600 hours)

So if the hours from the advanced practica that are acquired during the "degree-granting doctoral program" count for the 3200 clock hours necessary for licensure, why would the Board require a post doc or any more clinical experience? I am a bit confused...

Advanced practica are by definition typically done after a student has done a practicum. It is just a name the state chose to use. In your example, your advanced practica in the 3rd and 4th years can be counted towards licensure. If the two practica combined included at least 1600 hours of training and satisfied board requirements, you do not need to do a postdoc and can apply now The FAQs explain how you can use advanced practicum/postdoc hours for the 1600 hours here: Frequently Asked Questions.
 

hum1

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Advanced practica are by definition typically done after a student has done a practicum. It is just a name the state chose to use. In your example, your advanced practica in the 3rd and 4th years can be counted towards licensure. If the two practica combined included at least 1600 hours of training and satisfied board requirements, you do not need to do a postdoc and can apply now The FAQs explain how you can use advanced practicum/postdoc hours for the 1600 hours here: Frequently Asked Questions.

Niceman, your help has been invaluable. I graduated in a different state that requires postdoc experience and here in Massachusetts I am struggling to find jobs that are postdoc and do not require licesure. The most viable option appears to be a formal postdoc. I was finding this odd, because I was struggling to understand how do psychologists in the state acquired the postdoc 1600 hours... I suppose the majority of psychologists here use their advanced practica hours for licensure thus skipping the postdoc option in order to shorten the training by one year.
 

ClinicalABA

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...I was finding this odd, because I was struggling to understand how do psychologists in the state acquired the postdoc 1600 hours...
I'm a bit surprised at this question. Most will find a program that offers clinical experience and appropriate supervision- either formal or informal post docs. The whole "advanced practica" thing is relatively new, and would limit the portability of your license eligibility.
 
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niceman

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Niceman, your help has been invaluable. I graduated in a different state that requires postdoc experience and here in Massachusetts I am struggling to find jobs that are postdoc and do not require licesure. The most viable option appears to be a formal postdoc. I was finding this odd, because I was struggling to understand how do psychologists in the state acquired the postdoc 1600 hours... I suppose the majority of psychologists here use their advanced practica hours for licensure thus skipping the postdoc option in order to shorten the training by one year.

Formal postdocs typically have a timeline (accepting applications from Dec to Feb for a Jul-Sep start). Informal postdocs typically have more flexibility in deciding whether they take on someone not yet licensed and provide supervision. You can always email and ask if it can be arranged. Like ClinicalABA and I said, unless you're sure that you are staying in MA for good, applying for licensure now likely limits licensure mobility in the future, especially in states that require a postdoc.
 

hum1

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I'm a bit surprised at this question. Most will find a program that offers clinical experience and appropriate supervision- either formal or informal post docs. The whole "advanced practica" thing is relatively new, and would limit the portability of your license eligibility.

Informal postdocs typically have more flexibility in deciding whether they take on someone not yet licensed and provide supervision. You can always email and ask if it can be arranged.

Thank you so much for your input.

I did not know the advanced practica was something new in Massachusetts, but I imagine if someone plans to stay in MA, it is a good option because it might reduce the training duration. My experience has been from searching for informal postdocs in MA, through job searching websites, and being told that they only accept licensed clinicians due to insurance requirements. I put two and two together (with the little information I have), and deduced that most clinicians would choose not to do a post doc and use their advanced practica hours, therefore informal postdocs would be scarce.

In my situation, I only want to be licensed in MA, however my practicums during training do not satisfy all of the requirements from the Board (hours of individual supervision), therefore I will search for an informal post doc so that I do not have to wait until next year (if I get accepted into a formal postdoc). Is there any search keyword to search for these positions, besides "postdoc"?

Thank you :bow:
 

MAClinician

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Massachusetts Psychology Association website has a section on post docs. Google and the site will pop up.
 

hum1

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Massachusetts Psychology Association website has a section on post docs. Google and the site will pop up.

Thank you, they do not have an updated list for the year 2020 of the sites offering post docs, but I emailed them requesting access to an updated list.
 

SchoolClinical

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...unless you're sure that you are staying in MA for good, applying for licensure now likely limits licensure mobility in the future, especially in states that require a postdoc.
Is there an option to get licensed in MA right after internship, and then get a licensed position while simultaneously getting supervision hours (paying for supervision of your licensed job) so that you can be license-eligible down the road in states that require post doc hours?
 

niceman

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Is there an option to get licensed in MA right after internship, and then get a licensed position while simultaneously getting supervision hours (paying for supervision of your licensed job) so that you can be license-eligible down the road in states that require post doc hours?

You will have to check with the states you are interested in practicing in as they have different requirements for post-licensed supervision hours. It seems some states count those hours while other don't. Some states assume that those hours are done when your supervisor takes full legal and ethical responsibility for all the services you provide (i.e., before licensure). But once you have your license, even though you can be supervised by someone else, you should be working under your own license and take legal and ethical responsibility for your services. As it stands, the safest thing to do is still get your postdoc hours before you are licensed in any state.
 

hum1

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Other states offer the option of working as a psychological assistant after you finish your doctoral degree, meaning, you work under a licensed psychologist's license and do psychotherapy or assessment for him/her. This is a way of getting hours for licensure, while earning some money. Is there this possibility in MA, or do people can only follow the route of formal/informal pot docs?
 
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hum1

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In what area of psychology (and of MA) are you looking for a post doc?

Clinical psychology in the Greater Boston area. Ideally more focused on psychotherapy, adults, but I am open to any population. Not sure if I was specific enough, but I want to keep it open because my main goal is to focus on my license. I have clinical experience mainly with psychosis and borderline conditions.
 

niceman

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Other states offer the option of working as a psychological assistant after you finish your doctoral degree, meaning, you work under a licensed psychologist's license and do psychotherapy or assessment for him/her. This is a way of getting hours for licensure, while earning some money. Is there this possibility in MA, or do people can only follow the route of formal/informal pot docs?

There's no such thing in MA.
 

hum1

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There's no such thing in MA.

Just to clarify, once you finish a doctoral level degree in clinical psychology (PhD or PsyD) you are not eligible to do any clinical work because job sites will not accept unlicensed clinicians. Unless you can use your 1600h from advanced practica, you need to find a post doc from APPIC which have starting set dates of July or September. Although the Board does not require a post doc for licensure, if you cannot use your advanced practica hours, you necessarily need to do one?

The impossibility to find clinical work as a psych assistant under a clinical psychologist's license in any clinical setting or private practice, in order to accrue for clinical hours for licensure, makes this process not very flexible...
 

ClinicalABA

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Just to clarify, once you finish a doctoral level degree in clinical psychology (PhD or PsyD) you are not eligible to do any clinical work because job sites will not accept unlicensed clinicians. Unless you can use your 1600h from advanced practica, you need to find a post doc from APPIC which have starting set dates of July or September. Although the Board does not require a post doc for licensure, if you cannot use your advanced practica hours, you necessarily need to do one?

The impossibility to find clinical work as a psych assistant under a clinical psychologist's license in any clinical setting or private practice, in order to accrue for clinical hours for licensure, makes this process not very flexible...
Check the regs on that. I don't believe that it has to be an "official" APPIC match postdoc, but just has to meet the supervision requirements.
 

hum1

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Check the regs on that. I don't believe that it has to be an "official" APPIC match postdoc, but just has to meet the supervision requirements.

Yes, it could be also from the Massachusetts Psychology Association website, or any other place. However, there are no job sites that offer employment for graduated clinical psychologists that do not hold a clinical license, not even if these graduates are working under a supervisor's clinical license?
 

niceman

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Just to clarify, once you finish a doctoral level degree in clinical psychology (PhD or PsyD) you are not eligible to do any clinical work because job sites will not accept unlicensed clinicians. Unless you can use your 1600h from advanced practica, you need to find a post doc from APPIC which have starting set dates of July or September. Although the Board does not require a post doc for licensure, if you cannot use your advanced practica hours, you necessarily need to do one?

The impossibility to find clinical work as a psych assistant under a clinical psychologist's license in any clinical setting or private practice, in order to accrue for clinical hours for licensure, makes this process not very flexible...
What I meant is there is no separate license like psychological assistant in MA. As long as someone is willing to take you on as a postdoc and let you work under their license, you can be employed as a postdoc. And even though many postdocs, especially formal ones, start typically between July and September, you can do a postdoc anytime and start the credentialing process as soon as you have accumulated enough hours. As you can't use your advanced practicum hours, you do need more supervision hours to get licensed in MA.

As your timeline is off, there may not be ads on postdocs. Another thing you can try is cold email/call PPs and see if you can create that position. Remember not to call yourself a graduated clinical psychologist as you can't legally call yourself a psychologist until you are licensed.
 
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ClinicalABA

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Yes, it could be also from the Massachusetts Psychology Association website, or any other place. However, there are no job sites that offer employment for graduated clinical psychologists that do not hold a clinical license, not even if these graduates are working under a supervisor's clinical license?
Yes- you are "off cycle" for postdoc. You're also looking in a pretty common area of psychology (adult clinical), in a geographic area where there's a lot of competition. You need to be aggressive- email sites, PPs, etc. to see what`s available. Expand your search, too- driving and hour each way to Providence or Worcester expands your options. Be prepared to not have the most targeted post doc experience, as well as to have to potentially perform other billable tasks to supplement/subsidize your supervision (for example, our post docs sometimes bill for direct ABA services, as well as psych tech codes). It's not ideal, but it's where you are.
 

hum1

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Thank you for your responses :)

As long as someone is willing to take you on as a postdoc and let you work under their license, you can be employed as a postdoc.
Another thing you can try is cold email/call PPs and see if you can create that position.
Could a clinical psychologist in any setting (e.g. private practice) take me as a supervise and could I count those hours of clinical work towards my licensure?

Yes- you are "off cycle" for postdoc.
Yes, altough the starting dates are for 2021 (it is a long time away...), some application deadlines are in the beginning of December 2020, with start date of July, September, 2021

You need to be aggressive- email sites, PPs, etc. to see what`s available. Expand your search, too- driving and hour each way to Providence or Worcester expands your options.
Great ideas!

A final question, not sure if you have any information on this issue. During my academic program I worked as an adjunct teacher and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the field of psychology. According to the Board, I can count teaching hours as hours for licensure, although the board does not specify which forms should be used in order to document these hours. If I am able to continue to teach, could I count these hours as hours for licensure instead of doing clinical work? The Board also mentions that teaching should be supervised by a clinical psychologist, which is a very specific request, since adjunct teachers are usually evaluated by the academic department, who are not necessarily clinical psychologists but academic psychologists without a clinical license.
 
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ClinicalABA

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...

A final question, not sure if you have any information on this issue. During my academic program I worked as an adjunct teacher and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the field of psychology. According to the Board, I can count teaching hours as hours for licensure, although the board does not specify which forms should be used in order to document these hours. If I am able to continue to teach, could I count these hours as hours for licensure instead of doing clinical work? The Board also mentions that teaching should be supervised by a clinical psychologist, which is a very specific request, since adjunct teachers are usually evaluated by the academic department, who are not necessarily clinical psychologists but academic psychologists without a clinical license.
I don't see this option anywhere in the application. If it is an option, it would likely not qualify you for designation as a Health Services Provider (HSP). Without the HSP designation, you can't provide psychotherapy, assessment, or other clinical services. There is a form on the application titled "Is This a Health Service Setting." If the site doesn't meet the requirements, it doesn't count towards the HSP license designation. While VERY uncommon, there are non-HSP licensed psychologists.
 

ClinicalABA

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... makes this process not very flexible...
It is that way by design. The board has the main responsibility to protect the public, and they do so partly by enforcing strict minimum training and experience requirements. In fact, many would argue that the dropping of the post doc requirement and adding the advanced practica option (in 2012) have made the process TOO flexible! There are more licensed psychologists per capita in MA than in most other states, so the requirements clearly are "meetable."

For purposes of educating other students who might be reading this thread,, I'm curious as to how you find yourself in this position. Were you aware of postdoc and other supervision requirements before completing you predoc internship? Were you not counseled to seek out a postdoc months/years ago? If the answer to either of these questions is "no", you've been done a disservice by your training programs and supervisors. To finish predoc internship in November with no plan in place for postdoc or other required supervision is highly unusual. My agency does informal post docs, and we're typically being contacted in the beginning of the year by students looking for something to begin the next fall.
 
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hum1

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I don't see this option anywhere in the application. If it is an option, it would likely not qualify you for designation as a Health Services Provider (HSP).
In professional experience requirements3.04, 9, it is stated "Psychological employment, teaching, research, or professional practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist shall fulfill the supervised experience requirement for licensure if it is performed competently at a professional level and it is satisfactory in scope and quality." You make a good point, this experience must have some limitations regarding HSP.
For purposes of educating other students who might be reading this thread,, I'm curious as to how you find yourself in this position.
I hope that this thread is helpful for other too, especially those who are beginning their training. I am very thankful for your words and all the information I am receiving from everyone in this post. My context is a bit of an "accident" as I moved from California to Massachusetts due to family issues a month ago and while I was informed about the requirements for licensure in CA, I know very little about the requirements for licensure in MA besides what I read in the docs available form the Board and from talking to a couple of people. In CA after getting the doctoral degree, one can apply for a psych assistantship and work under someone's clinical licence in order to accrue for clinical hours. This makes the process a bit more flexible and not everyone pursues a postdoc. I agree that Boards of psychology should be very strict with licensure requirements as a way of protecting the public. However, from my experience from contacting the Boards in general, is that I find that they could be more available in order to provide information and clarify questions related to licensure. For example, I have called and wrote emails to the MA board several times and was never able to get a reply. I am not even sure that they are open.
 

ClinicalABA

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In professional experience requirements3.04, 9, it is stated "Psychological employment, teaching, research, or professional practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist shall fulfill the supervised experience requirement for licensure if it is performed competently at a professional level and it is satisfactory in scope and quality." You make a good point, this experience must have some limitations regarding HSP.

I hope that this thread is helpful for other too, especially those who are beginning their training. I am very thankful for your words and all the information I am receiving from everyone in this post. My context is a bit of an "accident" as I moved from California to Massachusetts due to family issues a month ago and while I was informed about the requirements for licensure in CA, I know very little about the requirements for licensure in MA besides what I read in the docs available form the Board and from talking to a couple of people. In CA after getting the doctoral degree, one can apply for a psych assistantship and work under someone's clinical licence in order to accrue for clinical hours. This makes the process a bit more flexible and not everyone pursues a postdoc. I agree that Boards of psychology should be very strict with licensure requirements as a way of protecting the public. However, from my experience from contacting the Boards in general, is that I find that they could be more available in order to provide information and clarify questions related to licensure. For example, I have called and wrote emails to the MA board several times and was never able to get a reply. I am not even sure that they are open.
Thanks for your reply. I am sorry you find yourself in such a situation. My guess is the board is a bit less organized and performing regular duties due to COVID restrictions.

Your situation is a good example of why it is important for trainees to seriously consider meeting generally acceptable minimum licensure requirements for most jurisdictions. At this point, that is generally an approved predoctoral internship with another year of postdoctoral supervision. While there are state with other options (such as MA with the advanced practica and CA with the psych assistantship option) these are not standard. As the OP has experienced, you never know when situations will dictate a move to another jurisdiction. If I were a current trainee I would plan on doing an APA approved predoctoral internship AND postdoctoral supervised hours AS A MINIMUM. I would also be taking a look at the requirement for states- like MA- that allow for advanced practicum and make sure that my 3rd-4th+ year practicum experiences are very formalized with a training plan and contract. You never know. I, for example, was asked "strongly" by my agency to get licensed in a neighboring state. Having done an APA internship and received post doctoral supervision, I was eligible and it was an easy process. Had I gotten my main licensure under the "advanced practicum" option, I would not have been eligible, my agency would not have been as pleased, and my portability, marketability, and earning potential would be much less. i think this is a crucial consideration if you are going to be in an area, such as where I am, where you can literally go to the top of the big hill on the other side of the river and gaze down upon 4 different states with 4 different licensure regulations and boards. I know it's a little bit different different in bigger states like CA and TX where you can reasonably spend years without HAVING to travel to another state, but again- you never know.
 
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ClinicalABA

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In professional experience requirements3.04, 9, it is stated "Psychological employment, teaching, research, or professional practice under the supervision of a licensed psychologist shall fulfill the supervised experience requirement for licensure if it is performed competently at a professional level and it is satisfactory in scope and quality." You make a good point, this experience must have some limitations regarding HSP.
Yeah- I've encountered only a few non-HSP psychologists- most were professors in non-clinical departments, and one was a guy who primarily did ABA consultation and administrative activities. Look at the MA application materials to see exactly what you need to submit for licensure as an HSP.
 

hum1

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If I were a current trainee I would plan on doing an APA approved predoctoral internship AND postdoctoral supervised hours AS A MINIMUM.
This is great advice, as people that I have talked to and have done this track have a much smoother licensure process and less complicated beginning of career.
 

niceman

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Could a clinical psychologist in any setting (e.g. private practice) take me as a supervise and could I count those hours of clinical work towards my licensure?
Yes as long as they are in a health service setting as discussed above. I'm sorry that you are in this situation and the Board is not responsive at the moment. I hope things work out for you.
 

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