How to Become a Psychologist in Tennessee
The state of Tennessee offers up more than a rich musical background and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is especially true for men and women who plan to learn and practice psychology within the state. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of employed psychologists in Tennessee will grow 11 percent from 2012 to 2022. This is low in comparison with the national average, but those who are dedicated enough to meet the educational, experience and examination requirements should be able to find a good position offering competitive pay.
A psychologist works with each patient to help them achieve the best possible mental health and well-being. The process is different with each person, and it’s a lot of responsibility. Because of this, the state of Tennessee takes the required qualifications very seriously. They want to ensure that those who hold licenses are highly qualified and ready to take on this kind of responsibility.
Education Requirements for Psychologist Licensing in Tennessee
One of the first steps you will take on the path to psychologist licensure is graduating from a doctoral program in psychology. The program, according to Tennessee law, must be approved by the APA or a National Register designated school. The only time a future psychologist isn’t required to obtain a doctoral degree is if they are pursuing a career in school psychology. If this applies to you, you will need to complete an approved graduate program (Master’s preferably) in school psychology.
The University of Memphis offers up a doctoral program, but it’s not the only one in the state of Tennessee. Read more about the various TN degree options here.
A doctoral degree will take an additional 2-4 years to gain after you've obtained a Master's Degree. The length of time is dependent upon the program you choose. Many programs include supervised residencies or internships, which will often count toward your supervised experience requirement.
Supervised Professional Experience Requirements for a Psychologist
While you’re earning your doctoral degree, you can take part in an internship that lasts at least one year (1900 hours) and add this experience to your supervised experience requirement. However, you must also complete an additional year of post-degree supervised professional experience. This must be under the guidance of a licensed psychologist who is qualified by experience and training to practice the overall supervised activity or activities.
Examinations for the Psychologist License in Tennessee
As with most other careers, there are tests that future psychologists must take in order to be issued a license. The first test required in the state of Tennessee is the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP). This test is administered at various testing sites all over the country and covers the topics you learned while earning your doctoral degree. It consists of 225 multiple-choice questions. You must also take the Jurisprudence Examination which is administered by the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology, and covers Tennessee-specific psychology topics like laws and ethics. You must answer correctly 90% of the questions in order to receive a passing score.
Note: You may find additional information about how to earn a psychology license in the state of Tennessee by visiting the Tennessee Board of Examiners in Psychology.
Psychology Career Outlook in Tennessee
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are approximately 1,150 clinical, counseling and school psychologists in the state of Tennessee. In May of 2011, it was reported that these psychologists earned an annual median wage of $64,200. The BLS defines the median wage as the center line; half the psychologists in Tennessee earned more than $64,200 while half earned less. The lowest ten percent of psychologists on a national level earned lower than $39,060 and the top ten percent earned an annual median wage exceeding $110,410.