Tips Regarding Contact with Psychology Boards/Colleges
Applying for licensure/registration can be a confusing and somewhat stressful process. Hopefully, the following information will be of assistance in navigating your way through the licensure process.
In dealing with the Board/College, it is essential to keep in mind that the organization deals with multiple inquiries, demands and applicants on any given day, so a response to your inquiry may not be as timely as you would like. This is not to say that your issue is not important, but that there are many issues brought to the Board/College that are equally important and some of which demand the Board/College's immediate attention.
Start the process by reading carefully the laws and rules for licensure/registration in your state, province or territory. Doing so will help you know whether you have met all of the requirements for licensure/registration. It is your responsibility to make sure all requirements have been met and that the Board/College has documentation of your completion of those requirements.
It might be of benefit to you to contact the Board/College in the jurisdiction in which you hope to be licensed or registered long before you are ready to apply, in order to make sure you are on the right path. It is better to know sooner rather than later if you are not meeting all of the legal requirements for licensure/registration in that jurisdiction or to clarify any questions you might have.
If you are calling or emailing with regard to an application for licensure/registration, it is important to ensure that you have submitted all the necessary documentation and fees for the application prior to asking questions about your particular application status. The vast majority of the time, when the process seems to be taking an inordinate amount of time, it is because the Board/College does not have all the information from you that is legally required for it to make a decision. Most Boards/Colleges will also provide you with information about the status of the process of your application with regard to any documentation that may remain outstanding before a final review can occur.
The applicant needs to be aware of any deadlines and needs to check with the Board/College to deal with any delays in obtaining documents.
Ensure that the Board/College has your current contact information on record at all times. Boards/Colleges typically require formal written notification of a change of address. A piece of correspondence with a different mailing address does not constitute official notification of an address change.
Remember that the Board /College must act in accordance with governing legislation and regulations/bylaws, as well as policy. If you receive a response that is unfavorable regarding your application, ask if there is a process of formal appeal that you may access if it is not already provided in the communication that you receive from the Board/College. It is important at these times to recognize that the Board/College is required to apply its statutes and regulations/rules equally and fairly.
Note that the licensure process for foreign-trained applicants may differ from those trained in the U.S. and/or Canada.
Be aware that the primary responsibility of a regulatory body is to protect the interests of the public and not to advocate for the individual psychologist or the profession. The Board/College works to ensure that the services provided by licensed/registered Psychologists are ethical, competent and consistent with acceptable standards. To that extent, Boards/Colleges will assist you as much as possible in going through the application process and in understanding applicable provisions of statutes and regulations/rules related to the practice of psychology in the jurisdiction.
When possible submit your questions in writing via email or standard mail. This allows the Board/College to provide you with a considered written response and minimizes misunderstanding which sometimes can occur in telephone conversations. Note that some Boards/Colleges require communication in writing.
Recognize that various members of the Board/College staff are able to respond to your questions. It is normally better not to insist on speaking directly to the Administrator/Registrar because it may be some time before that person is available to respond to you. Staff are well-versed in the issues/questions relating to licensure and will consult with the appropriate resource(s) in the event this is required.
Do not leave a message with or send emails to multiple staff, since staff will not know when another staff member has responded to your issue.
When leaving a message by voicemail or sending an email, provide as much information as possible. If a staff member is unable to reach you when returning your call, a detailed answer may be possible via voicemail if all of your information is provided in your original communication to the Board/College. Recognize that, in this age of instant communication, responses to issues related to an application for licensure/registration are usually responded to in a timely, but not necessarily immediate, manner.