Before a psychologist can identify themselves as a “Registered Psychologist”, they must first register as a “Provisional Psychologist”. Provisional Psychologist is a legally restricted term in Alberta, meaning only individuals who have been approved by the College of Alberta Psychologists (CAP) may use this title.
For one to register as a provisional psychologist, they must have completed at least a Master’s Degree in psychology (or related field). As part of their Master’s Degree program, they will have completed at minimum one practicum in the field. Practicums often require between 200 to 400 hours of supervised direct client contact.
In order to become approved to use the title provisional psychologist, the CAP reviews each applicants’ transcripts. CAP considers whether the applicant has sufficient knowledge of mental health practices (intervention, client care, ethics); has obtained a clear police record check (with clearance to work with vulnerable persons) and has proof of liability insurance. The applicant must also have been declared fit to engage in practice.
A provisional psychologist must have a supervisor and a supervision plan as all work must be supervised by a registered psychologist with considerable experience in the provisional psychologists chosen area of practice. This supervision may be live (supervisor is present for sessions with the client); via observation (either through a one-way mirror or video feed); through video or audio recordings; or, by case file review. The provisional psychologist must then meet a minimum of 1600 supervised hours as part of their training. This process generally takes 1-2 years.
Provisional psychologists must write their major Examination for the Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) which is roughly equivalent to a lawyer’s board exam. They can do this at any time during their 1600-hour training period. The EPPP tests the provisional psychologist’s knowledge and problem-solving skills in a variety of psychological areas such as, psychotherapeutic intervention, neurocognition, ethics, health psychology, human development, communication, research, and much more.
Psychologists sign up for life long learning. The field of psychology is a continuously growing field. Scientists and researchers are learning more about the human brain than ever before.