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I'm Board Certified! What Does that Mean?


A board certified child psychologist

I'm so pleased to announce that last month I became board certified in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology through the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)! This is a goal I am happy to achieve early in my career and it exemplifies my commitment to providing quality care to youth and families.


What does it mean to be board certified?

Board certification means that a board of peers has determined that your professional work meets a high standard within a certain specialty. Psychologists are certified through the American Board of Professional Psychology. For my certification, I had to provide information about my practice and samples of my work. My work was reviewed by colleagues and I was interviewed to determine that I can provide quality care and meet professional standards in my field. Being a child and adolescent psychologist means that I am part of a specialty community of providers that has expertise in working with youth and families. (In my clinical practice, I work with children as young as 2 and I also consider young adults to be a part of this specialty area.)


Only 4% of psychologists (~4,000 out of ~100,000) are board certified (Page et al., 2024). Only 7% of board-certified psychologists are specialists in Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. The most common specialties are clinical psychology and clinical neuropsychology. Interestingly, Georgia is one of the states with the highest number of board-certified psychologists (>150). California and New York (which also have the highest number of psychologists in general) top the list.


Does being board certified in a certain specialty mean that's the only thing you do?

Not necessarily. Board certification simply means you are highly skilled in this specialty area. For example, although my certification is in child psychology, I also work with adults up to age 40.


Does being board certified mean you're a better therapist than someone else?

Again, not necessarily. Board certification is an intensive process that not everyone has the desire or time to complete. It should show that you meet a high standard, but does not mean you are more skilled as a therapist than someone who is not certified.


What about a master's-level therapist?

Board certification through ABPP only applies to psychologists (Ph.D. or Psy.D. degree). A master's-level clinician could be a fantastic therapist but they would not be eligible for board certification through ABPP.






References


Page, C., Stamm, K., Assefa, M. & Khaddouma, A. (2024). The most and least common specialty areas for licensed psychologists. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2024/03/top-psychology-specialties


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