What are the requirements to be a Psychologist

Written By: Cudy

18th March 2021

A minimum of a Doctorate degree in Psychology from an accredited university. This can be a PhD, PsyD, or a DClinPsy.

In addition to the Doctorate degree, the following are also necessary:

Psychologist license

A license to practice as a Psychologist in your country (which is almost always granted upon completion of your degree) – check with your local Psychology Board.

Proof of residency and citizenship in that country.

While it is not necessarily required that you be a citizen of the country you practice in. The government wants to be sure that you are staying in their country and contributing to it.

So acquiring proof of citizenship is likely necessary. You should also have permanent legal status.

So that you do not have to worry about being deported or requested by immigration authorities for documentation every time you visit Singapore or Malaysia.

If you are an expat, this often means applying for permanent residency in the country where you work as a psychologist.

For many countries this involves attending one year of post-doctoral training immediately after getting your doctorate degree (e.g., completing two years of residency at an accredited hospital).

Prior to applying for permanent residency or citizenship (the requirements vary from one country to another).

NOTE: Having a work permit is not the same as a residency or citizenship.

Proof of professional liability insurance for practicing psychologists.

The cost of this varies from country to country. But it is somewhere in the neighborhood of US$500 per year in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, so you will need to check with local authorities for the current rates.

The below requirements are not strictly necessary. But, may be helpful in your application to the Psychology Board where you intend to practice:

Proof of adequate speaking and understanding of the local language.

This is especially important if you are applying for a license. In order to practice in Singapore or Malaysia, as English fluency is limited by local standards.

In Singapore, it is required that applicants pass an English proficiency exam (TOEFL or IELTS) prior to their application for licensure.

Malaysians must have at least an SPM (Malaysian General Certificate of Education). Along with at least a B in English before they can apply for licensure.

In Indonesia and Philippines, the requirement is that applicants must be able to speak and understand Indonesian or Filipino fluently.

To function effectively as a psychologist in these countries. You will need to be able to deal with people who do not speak English well.

If you cannot communicate well with your clients, it will not matter how effective your counseling technique is; they will simply stop coming back.

NOTE: Speaking the language of your client does not mean that you need to speak only their language when counseling them – a translator can always be present if needed.

It simply means that you should be able to conduct therapy sessions without a translator. The ideal scenario is that you can conduct therapy sessions in the client’s native language, if possible.

Proof of an additional two years of supervised clinical experience in psychology (in addition to your post-doctoral residency) –

Such as working as a psychologist in that country for at least two years after you receive your doctorate degree.

If you cannot find work as a practicing psychologist in your country, you could always work as a counselor at a school or hospital.

But this will not count towards the additional two years of supervised clinical experience required by most countries.

Check with immigration authorities for each country to verify what they consider “clinical experience” and how it is documented.

How much does it cost to practice Psychology in Singapore?

It depends on how much money you spend on your education and training! Students who pay for their own tuition and expenses out-of-pocket often end up paying 100% more than students who take out loans or scholarship.

It is difficult to make strong recommendations based on what others have paid, since every case is different.

So we recommend contacting the Psychology Board directly to inquire about their requirements and fees – which they will gladly provide once you have submitted all appropriate documents to them.

In general, you should expect to pay the following fees:

The fee to apply for licensure

This is usually a one-time fee of about US$150, but it can be as much as US$500 in some countries. The fee for practicing psychology without a license is a lot more!

An annual fee to keep your license current

This varies by country and often ranges from US$50–200 per year. Again, make sure that you ask the Psychology Board directly how much their annual renewal fees are.

An annual fee to practice psychology in each country you intend to work in – this varies by country and often ranges from US$100–300 per year.

Again, make sure that you ask the Psychology Board directly how much their annual renewal fees are.

In some cases, such as in Singapore and Malaysia, an additional registration and licensing fee will required when working with certain populations (e.g., disabled people or children).

This usually costs about US$200 per year but it may be higher depending on what the clientele is. You will need to inquire with local authorities for the current rates.

Cudy Marketplace provides the online counselling experience service. Please remember that talking to someone who listens to you is always beneficial. In Cudy, you can talk with a professional counsellor anywhere at time and in any location to help you with any issues you might have.


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