WTF is happening with doctoral programs? I have interviewed two postdoctoral candidates in the past two weeks that completed a doctorate in psychology WITHOUT a predoctoral internship.

Here’s the deal.

These new grads have no idea they probably needed to look at state regulations prior to graduating! When in grad school, I think we believe our school has information and cares about the students. One would guess the programs were setting graduates up for success. These are not research PhD programs. They were clinical psych programs. Training people to become clinical psychologists.

This is not the golden rule, however in most states you cannot become fully licensed unless you complete a predoctoral internship. That is a 1 year internship that needs to occur PRIOR to graduating. Here in Texas, there are little workarounds on this (believe me I checked because these two applicants are wonderful!). One route is to “re-certify” in order to obtain the internship hours (how does one even do this???). That is costly and totally unnecessary as these folks had JUST graduated! So here we have new grads that cannot get licensed in many states. This is devastating news! Grad school was HARD enough before this bullshit enters the picture.

If this is you, I am soooooo sorry. Here is what I coached these sweet people to do. It’s not a solution, but it is likely your best bet.

  1. Get licensed as a psychologist in a state that does not require the predoctoral internship. (Look at states that are typically more flexible – maybe like New Mexico, Alabama, etc.).
    1. This will still entail getting your postdoc hours, you will want to get those in this state if possible, and passing the EPPP.
  2. Once licensed, apply to be a PSYPACT provider. This will grant you access to states that are participating in the legislature. This is still limiting though, as you will only be able to work in person in the state you are licensed, but you can provide telemental health services in PSYPACT states, which grants you some additional flexibility.

There may be other options, but this is all I could find in this moment with the regulations in place. If you are still in a program, DEMAND an internship be a part of your degree plan OR change programs STAT. This is a deal breaker if you want to work in person (face to face) with patients in a state that requires an internship. Like I could live without that, but if you are a child psych wanting to do play therapy, or work in a prison system, or work in a psych hospital, you will not be able to do that outside of your primary license state. I find this terribly limiting.

If it works for you…perfect.

But for many, this would not be a fit. I’m totally cool if this is fine for you, however I want you to KNOW what you are getting into, since the schools are not educating you. You are busy with your nose to the books learning the content and gaining some clinical skills…but I encourage you to really look at what your professional vision is and shift your education to meet these needs. Also, a good bad ass therapist is not born out of a few short practicums. You will be way underprepared to be THE psychologist in the room. It has a lot of responsibility.

I wish you the best luck in your future. I hope you find your dream job. If working with me is your dream job, then come on with it once you are licensed. I have no problem hiring someone for just telehealth. We can use all the help providing care to our perinatal folx.

HMU with questions. Because I want to support you. This is terrible for our industry and YOUR future!