The ABPP serves the public need by providing oversight certifying psychologists competent to deliver high quality services in various specialty areas of psychology. Board certification (awarding a certificate in a specialty) assures the public that specialists designated by the ABPP have successfully completed the educational, training, and experience requirements of the specialty, including an examination designed to assess the competencies required to provide quality services in that specialty.
The American Board of Professional Psychology was incorporated in 1947 with the support of the American Psychological Association. The ABPP is a unitary governing body of separately incorporated specialty examining boards which assures the establishment, implementation, and maintenance of specialty standards and examinations by its member boards. Through its Central Office, a wide range of administrative support services are provided to ABPP Boards, Board Certified Specialists, and the public.
A Specialty is a defined area in the practice of psychology that connotes special competency acquired through an organized sequence of formal education, training, and experience. In order to qualify as a specialty affiliated with the ABPP, a specialty must be represented by an examining board which is stable, national in scope, and reflects the current development of the specialty. A specialty board is accepted for affiliation following an intensive self-study and a favorable review by the ABPP affirming that the standards for affiliation have been met. These standards include a thorough description of the area of practice and the pattern of competencies required therein as well as requirements for education, training, experience, research bases of the specialty, practice guidelines, and a demonstrated capacity to examine candidates for the specialty on a national level.