In Your State: Alaska

How to Become a Psychologist in Alaska

Educational Requirements

Alaska’s Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development sets the statues for training as a psychological associate or psychologist in Alaska. Psychological associates must hold a master’s degree from an academic institution that meets the criteria established by the state’s Board of Psychologist and Psychological Associate Examiners, which regulatesclinical psychology, counseling, and other fields of specialization deemed equivalent by the Board. Psychological associates must also have two years of experience in the specialty area that is the same or similar to the one they studied. A psychologist must have a doctoral degree with a primary emphasis on psychology and one year of post-doctoral experience in the field of psychology that is the same or similar to the one they studied.

Regardless of whether it’s a master’s or doctorate in psychology, the degree program must be publicly identified as a program in psychology or an equivalent approved by the Board. The institution must also be accredited by one of the regional accrediting bodies recognized by the Council of Postsecondary Accreditation. Once practicing in the field, psychologists and psychological associates must continue their education to uphold their state license. This can include courses at a college or university, publishing or presenting a paper, or training through a professional organization.

Continuing Education Requirements

A licensed psychologist in Alaska must renew his or her license every two years. It is illegal to practice with an expired license. Completing continuing education is part of the renewal process. Requiring psychologists to advance their professional skills and knowledge provides proof of continued competency in the field and ensures consumers receive optimal-quality psychological healthcare.

Psychologists and psychological associates seeking license renewal must obtain an average of 20 credit hours of continuing education for each year of the licensing period. To accomplish this, candidates may pursue non-academic continuing education provided by sponsoring organizations approved by the American Psychological Association or another professional organization representing the mental or behavioral health professions. They may also seek academic credit earned from a college or university. In this case, one quarter hour of academic credit equals 10 hours of continuing education, and one semester hour of academic credit equals 15 hours of continuing education. Additionally, continuing education may be satisfied through ethics training, individual study, serving as an instructor or discussion leader, or publishing or presenting written papers.

Psychology Licensure in Alaska

Psychologists must have a license to practice in Alaska. The Board of Psychologist and Psychological Associate Examiners offers four different types of licensure for those looking to practice as a psychologists in Alaska.

  • Psychological Associate
    • Education: Master’s degree
    • Exam: Computerized National Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, written State Law and Ethics Examination
    • Work Experience: Two years of post-master’s supervised experience approved by the Board
    • Other Prerequisites: Application must submit a Supervised Practice Plan
  • Psychologist License by Credentials
    • Education: Doctoral degree with a primary emphasis in psychology
    • Exam: Computerized National Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, written State Law and Ethics Examination
    • Work Experience: One year of post-doctoral supervised experience approved by the Board
    • Other Prerequisites: Applicant must be a diplomat in good standing of the American Board of Professional Psychology
  • Psychologist License by Examination
    • Education: Doctorate in psychology
    • Exam: Computerized National Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, written State Law and Ethics Examination
    • Work Experience: One-year residency
    • Other Prerequisites: Application must submit a Supervised Practice Plan
  • Psychologist Courtesy License
    • Exam: A passing score of either 500 or higher on the computerized version or 70 percent or higher on the non-computerized version of the National Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology
    • Other Prerequisites: Applicant must not be a resident of Alaska and must have a current license to practice psychology in another state

Salaries for Psychologists in Alaska

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, clinical, counseling, and school psychologists earned a mean annual salary of $72,130 in Alaska as of May 2011. Those are the most recent figures available, though are not by any means a guarantee of salary in this state. In addition to location, other factors that can impact how much you earn as a psychologist include experience, employer, and economic climate.