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Job Description for a Limited Licensed Psychologist

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A limited licensed psychologist is required by state law to be under the supervision of a full licensed psychologist (Ph.D.). This may be a license that is held until completion of a Ph.D. in psychology, or it may be a license that is held indefinitely, as long the person remains in good standing with the state certification board. The main difference between a limited and a full license psychologist is education. A limited license is granted to those holding a master's in psychology, while a full license is given to those holding a doctorate. The areas of practice remain the same, the exception being that a limited license holder will always remain under the supervision of a full license holder.

Professional Responsibilities

The specific responsibilities will vary depending on the area of specialization, though there are basic criteria that all limited license psychologists must practice. A limited license psychologist would be asked to evaluate, diagnose and treat mental disorders, addiction problems, anxiety and emotional disorders. In order to evaluate a patient, the psychologist will need to administer psychological tests. It is with proper evaluation of the results from which he would arrange a treatment plan. The work will likely take place in a variety of settings: clinical, private office, community health centers, corrections systems and in-patient facilities. He may even need to work with attorneys and other members of the legal system.

Administrative Responsibilities

A limited license psychologist will be responsible for maintaining meticulous patient records on every therapy session and interaction. She would need to have proficient computer skills, as much of the work will need to be inputted and transmitted electronically. Within certain practices, she may need to assist in insurance billing.

Required Skills and Qualifications

Professionalism and excellent interpersonal skills are a requirement. The psychologist must have a firm understanding of discretion as client confidentiality is of the utmost importance, particularly as it is upheld by state law.

An unrestricted limited license is a requirement to practice and the psychologist must be in good standing with the state board of certification. In order to obtain a limited license, a psychologist must file an application with the department of health in his state. In this application, the psychologist will be asked to disclose and provide proof of education, additional training, previous work history, information on supervising psychologist (Ph.D.), malpractice history, previous license holdings and disciplinary history. The psychologist must also carry liability insurance; the amount required will be determined by the state.

Education and Work Experience

A limited license psychologist requires a master's degree in psychology and in some states, additional training in a specific field may be required. For example, in Michigan, one must complete one year of clinical psychology training, in addition to obtaining a master's degree. Requirements for additional training will vary and can be verified with the state's department of health. It may even be possible that the state does not offer a limited license, as this license was instated by some states to increase the supply of psychologists, as many have been previously deterred by the Ph.D. requirement of a fully licensed psychologist.

In addition to the academic requirements, limited license psychologist are required to complete one year of supervision under a fully licensed psychologist. Past the first year and for the duration of the career, a monthly supervision of one to two hours per month by a fully licensed psychologist is required unless a Ph.D. is attained.


According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the growth rate for this occupation was projected to be about as fast as average for all occupations; meaning a growth rate of 7 percent to 13 percent from 2008 to 2018. The greatest growth rate was expected to be for psychologists holding specialized Ph.D. degrees from leading universities. Competition among limited license psychologists, holding only master's degrees, was expected to be high. The demand for school, clinical and counseling psychologists was projected to have the greatest rise in demand.

Median earnings for all others not specified as full licensed psychologists was $51,050 as of 2008.


Kate Barber has been working as a freelance writer for over five years and currently lives in Santa Barbara, California. She worked as a writer for "Humanus," a journal on human rights, and is a graduate of New York University with a Master of Arts degree in economics.

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