Neuropsychologists and Clinical Neuropsychologists
Most psychology professionals hold either a Ph.D. or Psy.D (Doctor of Psychology). The Ph.D. requires completion of a dissertation, while candidates for the Psy.D. can substitute clinical experience for a doctoral thesis. All in all, a Doctor's degree for psychologists generally requires between 5 and 7 years of graduate study. Some specialties, such as industrial-organizational psychology (the study of behavior in the workplace) require only a Master's degree, but most academic and clinical positions require a doctorate. A typical educational path for a psychologist might be:
· Bachelor's Degree in Psychology
· Master's Degree in Psychology (for professions requiring only a Master's degree)
· Ph.D. or Psy.D.
· Postgraduate Internship (for clinical and counseling psychologists)
The American Board of Clinical Neuropsychology (ABCN) is the affiliated specialty board of the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) which is responsible for the examination for the diploma in Clinical Neuropsychology. Attainment of the diploma in Clinical Neuropsychology designates individuals as Clinical Neuropsychologists who have had their credentials thoroughly reviewed, have been subjected to a rigorous examination of their knowledge and practice by their peers, and have been found competent to practice.
Procedure for Obtaining a ABPP Diploma
1. Download the application.
2. Gain approval of application:
Application materials (including transcripts, letters of recommendation, etc.) should be forwarded to the ABPP central office along with the initial application fee. Application materials are reviewed by ABPP central office in regard to meeting general ABPP eligibility guidelines as follows:
a) An earned doctorate in psychology from a regionally accredited institution.
b) The equivalent of three years of experience in the specialty area, met by:
· three years of experience, only one of which can be predoctoral, or
· one year of pre- or postdoctoral experience and successful completion of an accredited postdoctoral program in the specialty.
c) Two years of supervision in the practice of the specialty, met by:
· two years of postdoctoral supervision, or
· one year of predoctoral and one year of postdoctoral supervision, or
d) successful completion of an accredited postdoctoral program in the specialty.
e) Licensed for independent practice in the individual's state or province, which practice must be ethical and professionally responsible within applicable laws.
Once approved by ABPP, the applicant's materials are then forwarded to the ABCN eligibility committee which determines eligibility specific to Clinical Neuropsychology. Applicants who have completed a re-specialization program in clinical neuropsychology will be held to the criteria or standards in place at the date of completion of their re-specialization program, not the date of their original Ph.D. The criteria used are as follows:
a) Training conforms to guidelines of The Houston Conference.
b) Houston Guidelines require that the residency be the equivalent of 2 years and completed on at-least a half-time basis. ABCN will accept minor deviations from these requirements that may arise based on medical, personal or professional factors. Under these circumstance the candidate must provide written documentation from the residency director that the candidate:
· left the residency in good standing,
· met all requirements of the residency,
· obtained the requisite skills and knowledge base described by the Houston Guidelines.
c) ABCN will not require that the faculty of the 2-year residency include a board certified neuropsychologist (as stipulated in the Houston Guidelines). However, under these circumstances the candidate may be asked to provide a curriculum vitae for their primary neuropsychology supervisors.
3. Written Examination
Once an individual's credentials are approved, the candidates are notified of their eligibility to take the written examination.
The examination consists of 100 multiple choice items in the areas of Neuropsychological Assessment, Clinical Neuropsychology, Basic and Clinical Neurosciences, Behavioral (Clinical) Neurology, and General Clinical Psychology.
The examination is administered at each of the three major North American neuropsychology conferences each year:
a) The International Neuropsychological Society meeting (February)
b) The American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (June)
c) The Division of Clinical Neuropsychology/American Psychological Association meeting (August - 2005 only), and
d) The National Academy of Neuropsychology meeting (October)
A candidate registers for this examination by filling out the appropriate form and forwarding it with the examination fee to ABPP central office.
4. Review of Practice Samples
Once the written examination is passed, the candidate is then instructed to forward the oral examination fee to the ABPP central office and to prepare two practice samples for review.
Each practice sample includes a candidate's original clinical report (with appropriate confidential and identifying information obscured), a summary sheet of test scores, and copies of the raw data. (Note: Supplemental/contextual information are no longer required, but we ask that you submit a summary sheet of test scores that contains normative information, i.e., either cutoff scores, percentiles, means and standard deviations or t-scores for their tests.) The practice samples are forwarded to three individuals already holding the diploma who judge whether or not they should be accepted for entry to the oral examination.
A vote of two of the three reviewers renders the decision.
5. Oral Examination
After the practice samples are accepted, the candidate is placed on a waiting list until the next oral examination is scheduled in Chicago. Typically, oral examinations are held twice per year, usually late spring and late fall.
The oral examination consists of three parts:
a) The candidate is examined on his/her practice samples, including their appropriateness, the rationale for the assessment approach employed, and the clarity of the candidate's report and conclusions.
b) The candidate is examined on ethics and professional issues; this includes the candidate's ethical analysis of a presented vignette, and an explanation of the nature of the involvement in professional activities and activities to foster continuing education.
c) The candidate is given a brief clinical vignette and is then required to extract all relevant clinical information (i.e. test scores, results of medical procedures, relevant patient history, etc.) from the examiner, as if the candidate were conducting a genuine clinical neuropsychological evaluation. The candidate is then asked to formulate findings, render a diagnosis, and provide a rationale for conceptualization of the patient.
Afterward, the examiners for each of the three areas meet and discuss their examination from the standpoint of the candidate's evaluative skills, intervention knowledge and skills, scientific and professional knowledge, ethics and social responsibility, and professional commitment. After discussion, the examiners vote to either pass or fail the candidate, with the decision of two out of three determining the outcome.
6. Final Decision
The decision of the examiners is summarized and forwarded to ABPP central office which, after final ABPP board approval, sends a letter of decision to the candidate. If the candidate has passed, the diploma attesting to competence in the specialty area is awarded at the annual ABPP Convocation held in conjunction with the meeting of the American Psychological Association.
The ABCN examination, under the auspices of ABPP, is designed to assess full competence in the practice of clinical neuropsychology. It is intended not just as a measure of fund of knowledge, but as a tool to determine the effectiveness of application of neuropsychological principles in the clinic setting and the promotion of the welfare of the patient.
The examination is designed to provide a standard by which competence to practice clinical neuropsychology is judged and thus assesses the ability to integrate appropriate neuropsychological and clinical knowledge in the care of patients. As such, the diploma in Clinical Neuropsychology awarded by ABPP is the recognized credential that provides external evidence of an individual's competency for this area of specialized practice.
All qualified individuals are invited to apply for the examination for the diploma in Clinical Neuropsychology and to participate in the maintenance of quality standards for the practice of the profession.
The data sources for the information displayed here include: Virginia Career VIEW Research.