Professional psychologists interested in becoming certified in Group may wonder what is involved. Although the investment of time is not inordinate when undertaking board certification, it does require demonstrable expertise and effort.  Therefore, this section will provide you with Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS) and a list of academy members who have offered to talk with you about questions you might have during the certification process.

Many professional psychologists interested in the Group Certification believe they must have completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Group Psychology or have many years of experience to qualify.  This is not necessarily the case. It is only necessary to have had supervised experience and perhaps taken workshops in group treatment in order to qualify.  Please refer to the ABGP Manual found in the Document Library for more detailed information. Briefly, candidates need to have 2-3 years of some kind of supervised group experience, and may include one year at a the pre-doctoral level.  If the candidate has engaged in a Group Psychology Post-doctoral program, only one additional year is required.  If however, the candidate has not, he or she may supply documentation of two years post-doctoral experiences where a portion of them are group-related, including adequate face-to-face supervision.

The applicant first applies to the American Board of Professional Psychology for a credentials review. The generic eligibility requirements are as follows:
  • A doctoral degree from a program in professional psychology which at the time the degree was granted was accredited by the APA, CPA, or was listed in the publication Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designation Criteria. 
  • Applicants credentialed in the most recent directory of the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, the Canadian Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology or who hold the Certificate of Professional Qualification in Psychology (CPQ) from the ASPPB qualify as meeting the doctoral degree requirements.
  • Licensure or Certification: All ABPP candidates in the U.S., its territories, or Canada must be licensed as a psychologist for independent practice in a jurisdiction in the U.S., its territories, or Canada.
Note: Limited exceptions exist prior to 1983 doctoral preparation, degrees granted outside the U.S. or Canada, formal retraining, and substantial equivalents to accreditation requirements.  Exception criteria and procedures are available from Central Office.

Once the applicant has passed the generic eligibility requirements, she or he is accepted as a Candidate and is invited to prepare and submit a practice sample and a professional statement.  These are based upon the Candidate’s typical practice.  Please refer to the  Document Library for more detailed information.
Once the practice sample has been accepted by the Examination Coordinator,  an oral exam is scheduled.  The examination committee consists of three board certified psychologists, two of whom specialize in group practice. This exam can take place at the Annual meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Group Psychotherapy Association (AGPA) or any other time and place convenient to the Candidate and Exam Committee.
Please click HERE to be redirected to the Certification Fees page.
  1. Become a group member of the group specialists! Obtain peer and public recognition of competence in the specialty of Group Psychology.
  2. Increase compensation in many employment settings.  For example, the Veterans Administration, the Department of Defense, and many University settings grant pay increases to base salary rates.
  3. Experience greater mobility.  About two-thirds of the states waive the written psychology exam based upon board certification.
  4. Board certification entitles the recipient to a 20% reduction in liability insurance through the American Professional Agency.

Please refer to the Specialty Board Officers page for more detailed information.