Two Titles, One Profession

Ontario health law requires that those who offer psychological services to the public be properly educated, trained, and licensed to do so. The College of Psychologists of Ontario is responsible for granting and regulating two titles, Psychologist and Psychological Associate. Both titles indicate that the member is licensed and competent to practice in the full scope of professional psychology and can fulfill the same responsibilities at work.

Psychological Associates’ and Master’s-prepared Psychologists’ training for practice places greater emphasis on learning through practical experience in the profession, during a lengthy period of apprenticeship. They acquire a solid background of academic studies by completing undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology at the master’s level. Their graduate degree includes one year of internship and research in addition to coursework. After the master’s degree, five years (or 7500 hours) of experience are required in a professional workplace, supervised by a licensed member of the College of Psychologists. At that point the candidate completes the requirements that include several professional examinations and becomes licensed to practice autonomously with the title Psychological Associate. Master’s-prepared Psychologists in Ontario are licensed based on the same criteria as Psychological Associates. With a few exceptions, these practitioners have been licensed in another province where their title was Psychologist.

Doctoral level Psychologists become licensed after completing a doctoral degree in psychology. Their training places emphasis on more years within an academic environment of coordinated study, training, and research. Upon completion of their Ph.D. or Psy.D., they apply for licensing, and after one year (1500 hours) of supervised practice in a work environment they complete the requirements including professional examinations and are licensed to practice autonomously with the title Psychologist.