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Why should you get certified?

The practice of professional psychology has become increasingly complex and competitive. There has been a decided trend toward practice focused in delimited areas with a number of such areas emerging as specialties. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) establishes and continually incorporates the current developments in the definition and requirements of specialties in professional psychology. Over the past two decades new specialties have joined the traditional specialties which have been in the field for the past 50 years. The specialties have emerged to address recognized public and professional needs, and reflect defined areas in the practice of psychology that indicate special competencies acquired through organized sequences of formal education, training, and experience.


The clearest and most responsible way for a psychologist to represent herself/himself to the public, third-parties, and the profession as a specialist is to be certified through an organized peer process as meeting the standards and demonstrating the competencies required in the specialty. The only non-profit professional unitary organization with multiple specialty board quality controls recognized by the profession as certifying specialty practitioners in psychology is the ABPP.

Benefits of specialty board certification include:

  • The attainment of an independent, rigorous verification that the standards and competencies required in a specialty area of psychology have been met.

  • Holding an increasingly valuable credential, in the context of increasing specialty practice, which is recognized by universities, hospitals, health service systems, agencies, and the public.

  • ABPP is an APA-approved CE sponsor and candidates receive 40 CEs upon completing the board certification process.

  • Promotion and tenure reviews, especially in medical settings, often require board certification in one's specialty area. 

  • Listing as a Board Certified Specialist in the ABPP Directory of Diplomates and in a number of ABPP Academy Directories available as a guide to the public, third parties, and colleagues.  Listing specialty board certification as additional recognition in the APA Membership directory and the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology.

  • Receipt of and opportunity to publish in The Specialist, the official newsletter of the ABPP.

  • Invitation to attend and participate in the ABPP’s National Convocation held in connection with the APA National Convention.

  • Recognition by over 40 licensing jurisdictions of the Diploma as an endorsement for reciprocity of licensure.

  • Increasing recognition by employers including the US Public Health Service, the US Department of Defense, and several universities and hospitals for salary bonus benefits.

  • An opportunity to support and participate in the advancement of the specialty practice of psychology at the local, state, and national levels through the governance of the ABPP and the Academies.

  • Potential for additional referrals based on listing in the directory of certified specialists.

  • Most fundamentally, to meet the standard of a responsible profession such that when offering specialty services to the public, the professional psychologists offering services should be certified in that specialty by the profession.

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