Forensic Psychology is recognized by the American Psychological Association (APA) as a distinct specialty within psychology. APA, and therefore ABFP, defines the specialty in this way:

Professional practice by psychologists within the areas of clinical psychology, counseling psychology, school psychology, or another specialty recognized by the APA, is when they are engaged as experts and represent themselves as such in an activity primarily intended to provide professional psychological expertise to the judicial system (http://cospp.org).

Forensic experience includes a practice that meets this definition. Additional examples and explanations can be found on the ABFP website (http://abfp.com).

As noted in the ABPP welcome letter, admission to candidacy through the credential review process does not constitute any form of credential. Candidates are not to use phrases such as “board eligible” or “candidate for ABFP board certification” in any written or oral public statement.

No. Only experience obtained after the doctoral degree has been awarded counts toward the 1,000 hours.

Probably not. Post-doctoral training programs must meet certain requirements in order to lead to a waiver of the five-year requirement. We maintain a list of post-docs, which can be found in the Document Library, that have been determined to meet those requirements. If your program is not listed, ask your training director to submit the required material and we will review it.

Continuing education activities do not have APA-approved, and no official documentation is required. The only criterion is that they must be based on forensic topics (e.g., MMPI-3 in Immigration Evaluations would count; Advances in MMPI-3 would not). Each hour of workshops presented by the American Academy of Forensic Psychology (AAFP) count for two hours toward this requirement.

Please contact the ABFP Credential Reviewer (click here to find the Credential Reviewer’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).

Once you are ready to schedule your exam, please email the Corresponding Secretary to schedule your exam (click here to find the Corresponding Secretary’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).

Extensions for both the written examination and the practice sample process can be granted for good cause. Please email the Corresponding Secretary for additional information (click here to find the Corresponding Secretary’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).

We have prepared a suggested reading list to assist candidates in preparing for the oral and written examinations. We also suggest you review the Written Examination Guidelines and the Written Exam Sample Questions. These documents may be found in the Document Library.

The recommended reading list is a guide, and people use it differently based on their own knowledge base, their professional experiences, and their specific professional interests.  As the introduction to the reading list says,

For any specific area, ABFP could develop a 20+ page bibliography, but that would be neither helpful nor practical.  Instead, the list offers a sampling of some of the seminal works in each area.  It is not exhaustive, and reasonable people could argue that some readings on the list are superfluous, or that other key readings are missing.  It is up to each individual to determine what readings are key for a particular focus of practice.”

Similarly, the recommended reading list notes that there are no guarantees that everything on the written exam is covered on the reading list, or that everything on the reading list is covered on the written exam. The list is meant to provide general guidelines for candidates preparing for the examination process in general.


At this time, we do not have a set of practice tests that can be taken to prepare for the written examination. Please click here for a link to a set of sample questions for the written examination.

The written examination can be taken in-person or remotely. In-person examinations are completed in the office of an ABFP specialist located near you. For remote test administration, you will need access to a quiet, private area of your own choosing and a second device that can be used to proctor your exam. Please contact the Corresponding Secretary for more information (click here to find the Corresponding Secretary’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).

Mentors are available for candidates who have passed the written examination phase. If you have passed the written examination and are interested in a mentor, please click here to learn about the AAFP mentorship program. You can request a mentor by emailing the AAFP President Elect (click here to find the email address of the AAFP President Elect: https://aafpforensic.org/who-we-are/).

If you fail the written examination on your first or second attempt, you must wait six months before you can take the written examination again. After the six-month waiting period, you will have one year to retake the examination. When you reschedule the exam, you will have to pay the written examination fee once more. The ABFP Corresponding Secretary can help you schedule your written examination.  If you fail the written examination three times, your candidacy will expire, and you must wait one year before reapplying to take the exam and continuing with the board certification process.

Your written examination score is valid for five years. Once you are ready to begin the process once more, please reapply for candidacy through the ABPP webpage (https://www.abpp.org/temp.aspx). If you reapply for candidacy within five years of passing the written examination, your exam score is still valid, and the ABFP Corresponding Secretary will let you know what your deadline is for practice sample submission.

The pass rate for the written examination fluctuates between 70% and 80%, depending on what time period is used to calculate the data.

Please contact the ABFP Corresponding Secretary (click here to find the Corresponding Secretary’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).

You have one year from the date you were notified that you passed the written exam.

An evaluation must be prepared for some legal body to answer some legal/forensic question. Typically, this is for a court or attorney, but may be another similar decision-making body, as in worker’s compensation evaluations, fitness for duty evaluations, etc.

Although not every forensic evaluation requires psychological testing, it is strongly recommended that the candidate submit practice samples that include psychological testing in at least one of the two samples. While test data is not a requirement, reviewers find it easier to assess a Candidate’s ability to apply psychological constructs—one of the core competencies in forensic psychology—when results from testing are included in at least one sample

No, while it may be beneficial for a colleague or mentor to review a sample of your work in order to identify your relative strengths and weaknesses, under no circumstances may you submit any work product to ABFP as a practice sample if it has been reviewed by another person. The choice of practice samples, and the accuracy and completeness thereof, are the sole responsibility of the candidate.

Reports submitted for practice sample review should be completed independently. If your facility has a process wherein reports are reviewed for quality assurance purposes, please select a report for which only minor editorial comments, not substantive ones, were made. Please explain that and the process for review in the introduction.

It is expected that your practice sample will conform to the specifications described in the Practice Sample Guidelines. These include a length of no more than 80 pages. If your sample exceeds 80 pages, do not attempt to decrease the number of pages by reducing the font size, decreasing the margins, reducing the line-spacing, or redacting parts of the report itself—these are unacceptable. Try to reduce the amount of supplementary material. If you are still unable to meet the page limit restriction, contact the ABFP Corresponding Secretary to discuss your options (click here to find the Corresponding Secretary’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).

No, as long as the practice sample includes all the required components as described in the Practice Sample Guidelines, there is no minimum length.

Review section B.2 of the Practice Sample Guidelines. If you are still unsure, contact the ABFP Corresponding Secretary (click here to find the Corresponding Secretary’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).

No. You must personally perform the preponderance of the testing in order for the practice sample to be acceptable.  If you have questions, contact the ABFP Corresponding Secretary (click here to find the Corresponding Secretary’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).

No.  Practice samples (based on a legal case) should only be submitted if the underlying case is closed or if the candidate does not reasonably anticipate further involvement in the case.

The Practice Sample Guidelines (available here) indicate that candidates should “redact or assign fictitious identities to the case number; name of the parties, judge, attorneys, witnesses, and other professionals; and any other possible identifying information (e.g., workplace, schools, treatment settings).

With regards to redaction, it is helpful to leave enough information so that the reviewers can make sense of your sample. Age is very helpful because there could be developmental or cognitive issues that are related to someone’s age which may influence how the information is interpreted. Essentially, you want to redact information that would make it easy to identify who the person is (e.g., specific location, court order numbers, police report numbers, etc.). It is easier if the reviewer has a reference for dates (e.g., instead of removing all dates, you can keep in month and year for records). However, if you decide to redact the dates, please describe the process in the introduction.

The introduction and report must be double spaced with 1-inch margins. Outside of these elements, the material in your practice sample should be double spaced with 1-inch margins whenever possible but do not have to be. For example, police reports and mental health records do not need to be re-typed to be double-spaced with 1-inch margins. Your CV, which will be posted separately, can be formatted however you choose to ensure readability.

The introduction is an opportunity to orient the reviewer to how you’ve laid out important/relevant information in your packet. It is helpful to be succinct in your introduction to your practice sample. You should not repeat information contained in the report itself (for instance, re: the nature of the referral) that is meant to orient the reader of the report. Rather, this is a space for additional information that may not be obvious or intuitive, or that may be unique to your jurisdiction (for instance, if your jurisdiction orders you to provide an ultimate opinion, or if it is customary/preferred to include/exclude information that is not typical of practice in other jurisdictions, etc.). If you take additional space to explain jurisdictional procedure and referral information in the introduction to your practice sample, please try to be concise.

This information can be presented in various ways, depending on what you would like to highlight. You can either compose a list of cases with briefs or include the actual cases, it’s up to you and what you think is most relevant/helpful for the reviewers and how much space you have available to you.

Please include whatever you think is necessary for the reviewer to be able to review your work. If there are some notable records that you think the reviewer should have access to, you can include the portions of the records that you think are most relevant. It would be helpful to use the introduction to describe your thought process here and orient the reader to the layout of your practice sample.

No. This is unacceptable. Other than redacting all identifying information, the report that forms the basis of the practice sample must be unaltered from the report that was actually submitted in the legal case.

We are unable to guarantee a seat for a specific oral examination. On average, oral examinations typically are scheduled three to nine months after a practice sample is submitted. It is possible that it may take longer than nine months to schedule your oral examination.

The pass rate for practice samples has fluctuated between 60% and 65% over the past decade.

Please contact the ABFP Corresponding Secretary (click here to find the Corresponding Secretary’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).


We have prepared a suggested reading list to assist candidates in preparing for the oral and written examinations. We also suggest you review the Oral Examination Guidelines and the ABFP Core Competencies located in the Document Library

Exams are held twice yearly, in April and October. Exams may be held in person or remotely. Please click here to be redirected to the calendar with information about the exact dates and format of oral exams.

Please contact the ABFP National Chair of Exams (click here to find the NCE’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).

The pass rate for oral examinations has fluctuated between 57% and 62% in recent years.

Please contact the ABFP National Chair of Exams (click here to find the NCE’s email: https://abfp.com/who-we-are/).