Many psychologists think that they must have completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology or possess many years of experience to qualify to sit for the exam.  However, it is only necessary to have had supervised experience and perhaps taken workshops to qualify. Furthermore, many psychologists may qualify because of their professional activities, work experience, and reading and scholarly activities over the years, so they may have acquired the necessary knowledge and skill by “on the job training.”  

The specific eligibility requirements are as follows:

  1. Applicant should have documented coursework in behavioral and cognitive psychology during their graduate or post-doctoral training, which can be supplemented by postdoctoral Continuing Education activities.

  2. The applicant is required to have completed an acceptable internship program (e.g., an APA accredited or APPIC member internship) and a one-year formal post-doctoral training experience predominantly in behavioral and cognitive psychology OR two years of professional experience primarily in behavioral and cognitive psychology.

  3. Documentation of relevant behavioral and cognitive psychology experience is represented by having been supervised in behavioral and cognitive psychology. In some cases supervision that is not part of a formal doctoral program can be substituted.

  4. Because the practice of behavioral and cognitive psychology is multifaceted, applicants may apply (and be examined) in one or more of four areas of emphasis. These areas include: Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Therapy, Behavioral-Cognitive Therapy, Cognitive Therapy. Although your self-identification may be in one of these specific areas, it is expected that applicants are conversant in broad-based behavioral and cognitive psychology.

  5. The board recognizes that not all of your experience is exclusively in behavioral and cognitive psychology. However, it is expected that you will belong to, and self-identify with, one or more of the major professional organizations in behavioral and cognitive psychology.

We frequently receive feedback that engaging in the process of applying to become board certified is thought provoking and useful, as it requires the candidate to critically analyze his/her clinical framework overall, drawing upon some case examples. The oral examination is a collegial, stimulating discussion that allows the candidate to demonstrate his/her fluency in applying up-to-date behavioral and cognitive science, theory, research, and practice into professional activities.

The applicant first applies to the American Board of Professional Psychology for a credentials review.

  1. Once the applicant has passed the generic and specialty eligibility requirements, (s)he is accepted and is invited to prepare and submit a practice sample.  This is based on the applicant’s typical practice. Please refer to the Document Library for more detailed information. Mentoring is also available see Specialty Board Officers page.
  2. Once the practice sample has been accepted by the Practice Sample Coordinator, the Examination Coordinator then schedules the oral exam. The examination committee consists of three board certified psychologists.  This exam can take place at the annual convention of the Association for Cognitive and Behavioral Therapies or anywhere in the country mutually convenient to the candidate and examiners.
Please click HERE to be redirected to the Certification Fees page.
  1. Stand out from the crowd!  Obtain peer and public recognition of competence in the specialty of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology.

  2. Increased compensation in certain employment settings.  For example the Veterans Administration and the Department of Defense grant pay increases to holders of an ABPP board certification.

  3. Greater mobility.  About two-third of the states waive the written psychology exam based on the possession of ABPP board certification.

  4. Possession of a clear identity for referral sources.

  5. Board certification entitles the recipient to a 20% reduction in liability insurance through the American Professional Agency.

The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), of which the American Board of Behavioral and Cognitive Psychology (ABBCP) is a member board, has more than 60 years of certifying practitioners via a competency-based assessment.  Many other boards are not competency-based and none has ABPP’s long history of fostering excellence. Some other boards are multi-disciplinary in nature and not necessarily psychology-based.