I identify as a pediatric psychologist and work in a medical setting. Is board certification in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology right for me?
The American Board of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology is highly representative of professionals who identify as Pediatric Psychologists and Child Health Psychologists, and who are active in APA Divisions 54 and 38. Each exam committee is selected to be able to accurately assess the work that the candidate performs in her/his usual setting, including work done as a Pediatric Psychologist. This approach has resulted in approximately half of those certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology having a primary identity as a pediatric/child health psychologist.
Increasingly, board certification is being expected at institutions for initial appointment and for promotion and/or tenure. Like for our medical colleagues, board certification recognizes minimal competence in an area. Recent specialists in pediatric psychology are engaged in clinical work and research at a variety of children’s hospitals including Seattle Children’s Hospital, Nemours Children’s Hospitals and Clinics, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
What if I’m not sure if I meet ABCCAP specific training requirements? Should I apply anyway?
If you are unsure, you can get in touch with the ABCCAP Credentials Reviewer to discuss your situation before you apply. This would allow you to get a read on whether your current credentials meet the training requirements. And, if your current credentials don’t meet the training requirements, you could discuss possible ideas about additional training that could get you to the point of meeting the ABCCAP requirements. Please visit the ABCCAP Officer page for contact information for the current Credentials Reviewer.
Where can I take my oral exam?
Exams are routinely held at meetings sponsored by APA Division 53 (e.g., The National Conference on Clinical Child & Adolescent Psychology; The Miami/Niagara Conference), APA Division 54 (The National Conference in Pediatric Psychology), and other national meetings (e.g., ABCT, APA). Additionally, groups of examiners are geographically distributed throughout the country to minimize travel for candidates for examinations occurring at times other than those noted above. The board is happy to work with you to schedule an exam at a convenient time and location.
What should I expect at my oral exam?
The Board aspires to conduct the oral exams in a collegial manner. You can expect that the examiners will pose questions about the specific features of the cases that you provided for your work samples. Typically, examinees are asked to put their cases in the context of supporting theoretical and scientific literature. Examinees should be prepared to present the rationale and support for their intervention, consultation, and assessment techniques. Examinees are encouraged to review the competency areas listed in the Exam Manual to get an idea of what areas are likely to be addressed.
What if my theoretical orientation differs from that of my examiners? Should I try to provide practice samples consistent with the examiners’ preferred modalities?
The examination process assesses your awareness of current professional issues in clinical child and adolescent psychology, the scientific basis of your practice, your experience and clinical judgment, and your awareness of diversity issues and sensitivity to ethical, professional, and legal standards of practice. In the written materials and in the exam, you will have the opportunity to discuss the evidence base that informs your practice. There are a number of theoretical orientations that can inform practice in clinical child and adolescent psychology. The key is that you describe in detail the theoretical orientation that guides your professional work; your practice samples should demonstrate your professional behavior and actions that are congruent with this orientation.
How much time will it take from starting my application to successfully achieving my specialty certification in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology?
Applicants have a one-year window from the time that their credentials are approved to completion of the oral exam. Most applicants can complete the entire process in 6 months. Procrastination tends to be the biggest enemy of this timeline, and many times the procrastination sets in at Stage 2 of the process (i.e., submitting practice samples and supporting materials). Requesting a mentor can help candidates avoid procrastination and stay on track. If you are interested in having a mentor assigned, please contact the ABCCAP Practice Sample Coordinator.
If I am already certified in another ABPP specialty area does my ABCCAP evaluation process change?
If you already have an ABPP in another specialty, the $125 application fee for your clinical child application will be waived. Also, your general credentials from your prior application are kept on file for four years, so if you reapply within that timeframe you will only need to resubmit your specialty credentials. Finally, you will have to submit a novel practice sample consisting of clinical material or other work samples different from those submitted in support of your prior ABPP certification.
Where does the money from the examination fees go?
Fees cover overall board administrative expenses such as mailing costs, web development, development of exam materials, and direct expenses related to the oral examination, such as transportation, lodging, and meals for exam committee members (if necessary). In order to keep our fees as low as possible, we try to minimize costs wherever we can, such as utilizing local examiners (whenever possible) and using electronic communication rather regular mail to transmit material (when confidentiality is not an issue).
How can I digitally record my practice samples?
Do you have an iPad? Devices such as the iPad, iPhone, and other digital tablets usually come with a built-in camera application. Most of these cameras can be switched between taking still photographs and video. Several Child and Adolescent ABPP Board members suggest using the iPad, which can easily be set up on its frame and positioned to capture the assessment or therapy session. You can review these recordings immediately and troubleshoot sound or picture quality with little hassle. The finished video can then be uploaded and sent in with the candidates application materials. Of course, don’t forget to get signed authorization for the taping and for sending the video in for review.
If I don’t pass my Stage 2 practice sample, what recourse do I have?
When informed that you have not passed the Stage 2 practice sample step of the ABCCAP process you will receive a report detailing the reasons that the materials submitted were determined to be inadequate or insufficient. You may submit a new or revised Practice sample to the ABCCAP Exam Coordinator within six months, and a new examination fee to the ABPP Central Office. The review process continues as outlined in the ABCCAP Exam Manual. Please note that the composition of exam committees is at the sole discretion of ABCCAP.
Please note that (similar to Stage 1 and Stage 3 decisions) non-approval of the practice sample can be appealed by the candidate. The candidate must specify the grounds on which the appeal is made. The alleged grounds of the appeal must document violations of the Specialty Board’s procedures. Appeals that fail to demonstrate the Board’s non-adherence to exam procedures are generally not upheld. The appeals process is described in detail in Form H-1 of the Exam Manual.
If I don’t pass my Stage 3 oral exam, what recourse do I have?
Applicants that do not pass the Stage 3 oral exam, will receive specific constructive feedback detailing the reasons that the exam was failed. Detailed feedback is provided in the hope that the examinee will chose to take corrective action and re-submit materials. Applicants will be advised if they need to submit new practice sample videos/materials, or if the re-examination can be based on the original video/materials. New practice samples should be sent to the ABCCAP Exam Coordinator within six months, and a new examination fee to the ABPP Central Office. Please note that the composition of exam committees is at the sole discretion of ABCCAP. For thoughts about re-examination please visit Dr. Rubin’s commentary.
Please note that (similar to Stage 1 and Stage 2 decisions) non-approval of the practice sample can be appealed by the candidate. The applicant must specify the grounds on which the appeal is made. The alleged grounds of the appeal must document violations of the Specialty Board’s procedures. Appeals that fail to demonstrate the Board’s non-adherence to exam procedures are generally not upheld. The appeals process is described in detail in Form H-1 of the Exam Manual.
Who should I turn to if I have questions during my preparation?
Please contact the ABPP Central Office for general questions regarding the application process, generic review process, notification of results, and fees.
American Board of Professional Psychology
600 Market Street, Suite 300
Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27516
Telephone: (919) 537-8031; Fax: (919) 537-8034
The following ABCCAP Board Members can assist with questions pertaining specialty certification:
ABCCAP Credentials Reviewer – The Credentials Reviewer can answer questions regarding the initial specialty credential review process.
ABCCAP Exam Coordinator – The Exam Coordinator can answer questions regarding the work sample submission and composition of the examination committee. The Candidate may contact the Exam Coordinator to request a mentor for guidance in preparing the work sample.
ABCCAP Examination Chair – The Examination Chair can answer questions regarding the work sample review and the oral examination process.
For a detailed list of board certified members and their contact information, please consult the ABCCAP Officer page.