Specialty Specific Requirements


Applicants for ABPP candidacy in any of the specialty boards must first meet generic requirements applicable to all ABPP applicants, and only then are applicants subject to additional criteria and examination procedures established by each of the specialty boards. Generic ABPP requirements are described in detail in the ABPP generic application materials, and can be found at www.abpp.org. In simplest form, they consist of:

1. A doctoral degree from a program in professional psychology from a graduate program that was accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) at the time the degree was granted, or that offered a curriculum that was the equivalent of APA or CPA requirements.
2. Completion of an appropriate APA- or CPA-accredited internship, or an internship that offered the equivalent of APA or CPA requirements.
3. A minimum of one year of postdoctoral experience, completed through formal postdoctoral training, or a minimum of two years if obtained under supervision other than in a formal training program. [Note: Specialty board requirements are in addition to this minimum requirement.]

4. Licensed at the doctoral level for the independent practice of psychology. Such licensure must be granted by a jurisdiction of the United States, its territories, or Canada. The license must be for independent practice; licensure that is dependent on supervision or is restricted for some reason is not acceptable for admission to candidacy for ABPP board certification. [Individuals who are licensed but have a history of disciplinary action by the governing jurisdiction or of ethical violations (e.g., such as may be determined by the APA) are required to provide details of that history, as well as evidence of acceptable resolution, prior to review of the application.]

The ABPP recognizes holders of the Certificate of Professional Qualifications (CPQ) available through the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) as having met the ABPP generic criteria. The ABPP does not accept applications from individuals who are foreign-trained and who practice outside the U.S., its territories or Canada.

To be eligible for board certification, the applicant must satisfy the generic requirements stipulated by the ABPP, as well as the specific requirements of the specialty board (American Board of Police & Public Safety Psychology or ABPPSP), described in the next section below. When a psychologist believes he or she meets the generic and ABPPSP eligibility requirements, he or she may apply for candidacy.


Specialty Specific Requirements


Eligibility criteria specific to the specialization in Police & Public Safety Psychology include the following requirements:

A. Specialty Education & Training:
No fewer than 100 hours of formal education and supervision in Police & Public Safety Psychology is required to be eligible for specialty board certification. This criterion can be satisfied by a combination of the following four methods if specifically pertinent to the specialty: graduate coursework or continuing education, formal supervision or peer consultation, peer-reviewed publications, and board certification in another ABPP specialty board or by the Society for Police & Criminal Psychology.

Continuing or Graduate Education


The subject matter of graduate education and/or continuing education workshops presented as evidence of full or partial fulfillment of this criterion must be identifiable as directly relevant to the practice of police and public safety psychology (PPSP). A minimum of 50 hours must derive from specialty-specific continuing education hours, with a minimum of 25 hours that were gathered in the three years preceding application for board certification. These 50 hours must be distinctive to police and public safety psychology (e.g., Hostage Negotiations, Use of the CPI in Police and Public Safety Psychology Selection, Sleep Deprivation and its Effects on First Responders, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy with Law Enforcement Personnel) and not simply general continuing education equally applicable to other specialties. An otherwise general workshop may be relevant to PPSP but must be authorized in writing from the NCE (e.g., Threat Assessment and the ADA, Work Fitness Examinations, Issues Surrounding Domestic Violence).  Applicants must submit a list of courses taken that meet this criterion. To the extent possible, applicants are required to give a description of the education that includes the title or subject matter, identification of the presenter(s) or faculty, the date and location of the training, and the number of graduate credits or CEU contact hours awarded (e.g., Technology in the Practice of Police Psychology: An Update, Bruce M. Cappo, Ph.D., International Association of Chiefs of Police, Psychological Services Section, Annual Conference. Orlando, Florida, .5 hrs. October 23, 2010).


The focus and substantial content of these curriculum-based courses must be directly relevant to police and public safety psychology. Up to 8 hours of independent study (e.g., book-based, examination-based credits, accredited online courses, DVDs) related to the specialty may be applied if APA-approved. Fifteen hours of credit will be awarded for successful completion of a 3-credit advanced graduate course directly related to police and public safety psychology, up to a maximum of 30 hours.


Direct Supervision/Formal Peer Consultation

Applicants claiming credit for direct supervision and/or formal peer consultation in Police & Public Safety Psychology must submit the name of the psychologist(s) providing formal supervision or peer consultation, the specialty-specific qualifications of the psychologist(s), the beginning and ending period of supervision or consultation (months and years), the nature of the supervision or consultation, and the services provided under supervision or reviewed in peer consultation . The supervisor or peer should be a licensed psychologist with at least five years of full-time postdoctoral experience in the practice of Police & Public Safety Psychology. A maximum of 30 hours credit can be claimed for direct supervision and/or formal peer consultation.


Ten hours of credit is awarded for each publication of scholarly research in peer-reviewed journals and/or edited texts, up to a maximum of 30 hours of publication credits. In considering these contributions, the following will be taken in to account:
a. The subject of the work must be directly relevant to the functional and/or foundational competencies of Police & Public Safety Psychology.
b. The Applicant must be the primary author or one of two primary authors. Tertiary authors (i.e., third or above) may submit an explanation of their contributions. The ABPPSP may, at its discretion, award credit for 10 or fewer hours.
c. Publications in popular, trade, self-published, and/or unedited volumes will not be considered for credit. However, publications in bona fide law enforcement periodicals whose editorial policies include content review by professional subject matter experts in police or public safety psychology may be considered for credit on a case-by-case basis.


Ten hours of credit is awarded for successful completion of a dissertation submitted in fulfillment of requirements for a doctoral degree in psychology (Ph.D., Ed.D., Psy.D.) from an institution accredited by APA or its equivalent as determined by the ABPP. The subject matter, literature review, theses, and findings must be substantively and specifically related to one or more of the Police & Public Safety Psychology domains and activities.

Board Certification

Thirty hours of credit is awarded for current ABPP Board Certified Specialists in another specialty, as well as for current Diplomates in Police Psychology with the Society for Police and Criminal Psychology (SPCP).

B. Specialty Experience:


Eligibility for specialty board certification in Police & Public Safety Psychology requires at least 3,000 hours of direct services or activities in the specialty, accrued over no less than (a) two years of full-time, postdoctoral employment as a psychologist in a police or public safety agency or (b) three years, at least two of which are postdoctoral, if the services were provided outside of full-time employment as a psychologist in a public safety agency (e.g., private practice, part-time agency employment, university employment). If employed full-time as a college or university faculty, up to 1,500 of the required hours may be earned through the teaching of courses substantively pertinent to Police & Public Safety Psychology.

Applicants must submit a description of postdoctoral employment and/or other experience to be considered in fulfillment of this requirement. Note: Full-time employment is defined as no less than 2,000 hours per year. When one or more of these years is performed prior to obtaining independent licensure (i.e., supervised postdoctoral experience), it is expected that at least 1,000 of these hours will be spent in direct service provision in Police & Public Safety Psychology and the remainder in supervision. Should additional evidence be requested, this shall consist of letters from colleagues and/or agency administrators familiar with an Applicant’s work, and documents showing contracted services.


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