Brief History of the Arkansas Psychology Licensure LawThe First of a Three-part Series on Arkansas Psychologists
by Gary Souheaver, PhD
Arkansas was the first state in the nation to regulate the practice of Psychology. Act 129 was passed and signed into law by Governor Orval Faubus in 1955. The legislation defined the practice of psychology and established minimal standards for licensure. Two levels of licensure were created: (1) Licensed Psychologist (LP), which required a doctorate from an accredited institution of higher education; and (2) Licensed Psychological Examiner (LPE), which required a Master’s Degree in Psychology (or related field). The LPE license allowed for psycho-educational testing without supervision, but all other professional activities of the LPE required supervision by a licensed Psychologist.
Subsequently, the law was changed several times. Amendments in 1995 included defining the title of “School Psychologist” for Master’s level practitioners restricted to assessment within an educational entity. Also in 1995, an LPE was added to the Arkansas Board of Examiners in Psychology (the previous title of the governing Board).
In 1997, “Consumer” and “Senior” representatives were added to the membership of the licensing board.
The requirements for licensure as a Psychologist were changed in 1997 and required that the applicant have one year of additional supervision AFTER the doctoral degree was award, i.e. Post-Doctoral supervision was added to minimal requirements for licensure. “Provisional Licensure” status was created in 2001 so that individuals could practice under supervision while awaiting completion of all requirements at the Psychologist and LPE levels.
In 2003 the name of the licensing body was changed to: Arkansas Board of Psychology.
In 2005, Arkansas was among the first states in the nation to regulate the use of Neuropsychology Technicians. This change in the law allowed for the registration of para-professional assistants used solely for the administration and scoring of standardized objective neuropsychological measures.
The last major legislative change was in 2007 which allowed for the LPE practitioners to become independent (non-supervised). The scope of practice for the LPE-Independent licensure included psychotherapy and other professional practices, except for neuropsychology. The 2007 law also removed the LPE license, effective December 31, 2013. Thus, Arkansas will no longer sanction or allow the practice of psychology in the state, except at the Psychologist (doctoral) level. The single-level licensure for psychology became effective January 1, 2014.
For additional information regarding the law, rules, and regulations that regulate the practice of Psychology in Arkansas, go the Arkansas Psychology Board web site:
Gary Souheaver, PhD