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What is the California Board of Psychology?

The California Board of Psychology dates back to 1958 when the first psychologists were certified in the state. The Board of Psychology is one of 30 regulatory entities which fall under the organizational structure of the Department of Consumer Affairs. Historically, the Board has been closely affiliated with the Medical Board of California.

The Board consists of nine members (five licensed psychologists and four public members) who are appointed to the Board for four-year terms. Each member may serve a maximum of two terms. The five licensed members and two public members are appointed by the Governor. One public member is appointed by the Senate Rules Committee, and one public member is appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly. Public members cannot be licensed by the Board of Psychology or by any other Department of Consumer Affairs healing arts board.

The Board's executive officer is appointed by the Board to ensure that the Board functions efficiently and serves solely in the interests of the consumers of psychological services in the State of California.

The Board of Psychology is funded totally through license, application, and examination fees. The Board receives absolutely no tax money from the general Revenue Fund of the State of California.

The Board of Psychology exists solely to serve the public by:

  • Protecting the health, safety, and welfare of consumers of psychological services with integrity honesty, and efficiency;
  • Advocating the highest principles of professional psychological practice;
  • Empowering the consumer through education on licensee/registrant disciplinary actions and through providing the best available information on current trends in psychological service options.

Who Does the Board Regulate?

  • Licensed psychologists may practice independently in any private or public setting.
  • Psychological assistants must possess a qualifying master's degree and are registered to a licensed psychologist or to a board-certified psychiatrist as employees who may provide limited psychological services to the public under the direct supervision of the psychologist or psychiatrist to whom they are registered.
  • Registered psychologists must possess a doctoral degree which meets licensure requirements and possess at least 1,500 hours of qualifying supervised professional experience.
  • Registered psychologists are registered to engage in psychological activities at nonprofit community agencies that receive a minimum of 25% of their funding from some governmental source. Registered psychologists may not engage in psychological activities outside the approved nonprofit community agency where they are registered.

In the event that an unlicensed or unregistered individual engages in the practice of psychology, the Board may investigate the matter and provide its findings to the local District Attorney for consideration of criminal prosecution.

How Does the Board Protect Consumers of Psychological Services?

The Board accomplishes its mission by working to ensure that psychologists provide consumers appropriate and ethical psychological services and do not exploit consumers by abusing the power advantage inherent in any psychotherapeutic relationship. The Board also works to ensure that:

  • Those entering the profession of psychology possess minimal competency to practice psychology independently and safely. This is achieved by requiring candidates for a license to possess an appropriate doctorate degree from an approved or accredited university and by requiring the completion of a minimum of 3,000 hours of supervised professional experience. Each license applicant must also pass a national written examination and a California examination. In addition, in order to renew a license, a psychologist must complete 36 hours of approved continuing education every two years.
  • The Board's enforcement efforts are focused on protecting a vulnerable consumer population from exploitative, unscrupulous, and/or otherwise incompetent licensed psychologists.

How Does the Board Handle Complaints?

The Board advocates and enforces laws that protect the health and safety of patients and encourages the public to submit complaints for resolution by the Board.

To learn more about filing a complaint, please read click here:

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Updated 6/26/17