Adler Graduate Professional School - psychology

Do I Need a PhD to Become a Psychologist?

When I am connecting with students interested in the ADLER Master of Psychology degree program, the question I am often asked is "What can I do with a masters degree, I need a PhD to work as a Psychologist, don't I?" The answer, under current legislation, is that you do not need a Doctoral level degree. Although registration varies by province, the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO) licenses two titles for practitioners. The first is the well-known title of Psychologist and the second is that of Psychological Associate. This designation is for practitioners with a suitable masters level education. In other provinces such as Saskatchewan, the title Psychologist, is used for both Masters and Doctoral level practitioners. To become registered as a Psychological Associate you will need to meet the College’s educational requirements including an undergraduate degree with sufficient coursework in psychology (usually an Honours BA in psychology and a suitable Master’s degree (you should always check with the College to ensure your eligibility). After graduation with a Master’s degree, to become a member, you must apply for registration with CPO, a process which requires 4 years of work experience and one year of supervised practice. Also, you must complete all required examinations. You may have heard that CPO is asking the Ontario government for permission to end master's-level membership in the CPO and limit registration to those with doctoral degrees. This is a very important issue and one anyone considering a career in Psychology should be aware of this possibility. Recently, the CPO requested input regarding closure of the title of Psychological Associate, the following points were offered by the VP Academic in consultation with the Ontario Association of Psychological Associates (OAPA): • Over the past five years, the College has had extensive discussions and stakeholder consultations regarding the criteria for entry to practice the profession of Psychology in Ontario” • At Council those discussions have stated routinely that the word from government is that they are not interested in closure • The discussions at Council and stakeholder consultations have never stated how closure serves the public interest • The General response to stakeholder consultations was that closure does not serve the public interest and that it will damage the profession’s ability to provide services to high needs populations. The likelihood of this change occurring seems to be uncertain and ADLER will, of course, remain alert to any changes and advise you of any new information regarding this matter. You could also visit the College of Psychologists of Ontario’s website at or the Ontario Association of Psychological Associates for more information.

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