History: These policies represent long-standing Board consensus, and were adopted in written form on November 1, 1984; and updated on April 29, 1994, February 6, 2002, and October 2, 2003.
North Carolina, in common with most other states, has adopted generic standards for the statutory licensing of psychologists. This position recognizes a common core of scientific knowledge from which professional practice is derived. However, professional psychology specialties have emerged from the generic practice of psychology. The Board does not license in any specialty area, but does issue health services provider certification to licensees who provide health services. This certification is mandatory for a licensed psychologist who holds a permanent license and who provides or offers to provide health services; the certification is optional for a licensed psychologist holding a provisional license or for a licensed psychological associate. When a psychologist re-specializes or practices techniques not supported by the psychologist's original training, the psychologist is responsible to adhere to G.S. 90-270.15(a)(13) which requires that a psychologist practice in keeping with "the boundaries of demonstrated competence or the limitations of education, training, or supervised experience." Similarly, the 2002 APA Ethics Code, Standard 2.01(c), holds that "Psychologists planning to provide services, teach, or conduct research involving populations, areas, techniques, or technologies new to them undertake relevant education, training, supervised experience, consultation, or study." Practicing in violation of these standards is grounds for disciplinary action, including revocation of licensure. In reviewing applications for licensure and health services provider certification, and in approving supervision contracts, the Board expects congruence between training and practice, and between the training and experience of a supervisor and the practice of a supervisee. When there are indications of specialization beyond original training, re-specialization, or the utilization of techniques not supported by original training, the Board may seek evidence of any of the following: professional workshops and inservice training; specialized supervision; additional practice and internship experience; and, formal, graduate level re-training. When a major shift is proposed (e.g., from experimental to clinical), the Board recommends that psychologists who wish to practice in another specialty meet the same requirements with respect to subject matter and professional skills that apply to graduate education and training in the particular specialty. Generally, the acquisition of internship, practicum, or employment experience alone is not considered to be adequate preparation in any specialty area if the original education is not in that area.