FAQ: Licensure

Q. Do I have to graduate from an APA-accredited school in order to be licensed in Michigan?

A. The Board of Psychology has amended the statute and administrative rules as follows: Persons seeking full licensure whose applications are received in the Board office after July 31, 2011 must graduate from a program approved by either the American Psychological Association or the National Register/ASPPB. A list of APA accredited programs is available at www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/. A list of National Register/ASPPB approved programs is available at nationalregister.org. The Michigan legislature recently passed a law allowing any program in the process of applying for APA or ASPPB approval before August 1, 2011 to have until August 31, 2020 to obtain that approval. Master's-level programs in psychology do not have a professional accreditation standard.

Q. What is required of me in terms of receiving supervision?

A. The administrative rules for Psychology identify very specific requirements for supervision for practicum, internship, post-master's experience, limited license psychologists and post-doctoral experience. To access the administrative rules, enter "Michigan Board of Psychology" into your search engine. Then click on "administrative rules".

Q. I am a research psychologist working for a corporation on product liability. Do I need to be licensed?

A. The Michigan Psychology license, which is part of the Public Health Code, is generally for being a "Health Services Provider". This applies to individuals who are presenting themselves as doing clinical services of assessment, diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional and behavioral disorders. If a person is working as a psychologist with some other specialty such as research, industrial, developmental, physiological, etc., and is not providing "health services" such as diagnosis and treatment, a license is not required.

Q. How do I obtain an application for the Psychology License?

A. To obtain an application packet for a license from the Michigan Board of Psychology, call (517) 335-0918. An automated message will ask you for mailing information and you will receive the packet in a few weeks. You can also request a packet via e-mail to bhserinfo@michigan.gov – you should receive an application packet that includes copies of the laws.

Q. I consult at a clinic and supervise some of the staff. One of them is applying for a limited license in psychology. What should I be doing as this person's supervisor?

A. In most instances, you will have a contract with the clinic or agency. It will specify what your relationship is to the staff and agency with regard to responsibilities and liability. Most often these activities are consultation services, not true supervision. If you are being asked to supervise, meaning assume responsibility for the work of the supervisee by verifying it, directing it and/or authorizing it, we recommend you document your work. The relationship of supervising for license purposes will also involve completing reports to the Licensing Board to confirm the supervision work. I also recommend you have a good working relationship with the supervisee and be clear ahead of time about expectations for work, supervision schedules, fees, if any, and your authority to instruct and redirect the work if necessary.

Q. I sign insurance billings for the work of master clinicians. Is this legal under the license law?

A. The requirements set by an insurance company for claims processing and the license law requirements are not the same thing. An insurance company, for example, may require a counter signature of some professional such as a physican or licensed psychologists for reimbursement on a claim. This is legitimate, and the only issue for you as the signor may be to assure that all information is true and clear. A common practice for third-party payers is to require the diagnosis and "medical/clinical necessity" for services to be verified by an appropriate professional such as a licensed psychologist.

Q. What is the definition of "supervision"?

A. In the Public Health Code under the section Health Occupations – General Provisions, on Page 56, it states: "Supervision means: the overview, monitoring and directing of the activities of another where all of the following are present: a) Immediate availability by person or phone, b) Regular and periodic review of records, work and activities and c) Established protocols."

For our purposes, this means the supervisor, in most instances, takes full legal responsibility. This means the supervisor: a) is accountable to the authorizing body for the activity (i.e., license board, facility, director, third-party payer, etc.), b) holds civil liability, c) has responsibility to the supervisee – providing necessary resources, including training and additional information, and, at times, the setting to do the work, and d) is accountable to the clients served in the context of the supervisory relationship. The supervisor must be easily available for emergencies, meet face to face on a regular basis and have access to records and work materials. Additionally, there should be established procedures (protocols) for usual, unforeseen or high-risk situations including planned absences such as vacation coverage. For license purposes, supervision is not consultation.

Q. Can I supervise other mental health professionals such as social workers and counselors?

A. Yes, but make sure that their professional requirements are met. A professional counselor requires supervision by a licensed counselor to upgrade the license. Some activities for social workers will require verification by a senior social worker to qualify for new credentials.

Q. How should payment be handled when I supervise?

A. It is legitimate to charge for your services of supervision. The way this is handled depends on the kind of relationship you have with the supervisee. If you are the employer of the supervisee, the cost of supervision may be part of the compensation package you have agreed to. If the supervisee is in a subcontracting arrangement with you, a portion of earnings/reimbursements or a flat fee can be arranged. Whatever the arrangement, we recommend it be explicit and understood by all concerned, preferably written.

Q. What kind of documentation do you recommend when supervising someone?

A. Begin by  having basic information such as name, address, social security number, telephone and work site information. We recommend having a current summary of credentials, i.e., education, previous work experience and current place of work. On an ongoing basis, we recommend recording dates and times of supervision, including when you may be doing record reviews, along with financial records such as fees paid. Keep baisc information about the clients discussed or reviewed. As in any circumstance, when risks increase, keep more information, especially directions you may have given to the supervisee.

Q. How do I change my name or address with the Board?

A. You must provide written notification to this office for name and address changes. New licenses are not automatically issued for name and address changes. To receive a license with your new name or address, you must submit $10.00 per license with your request. Fax it to (517) 373-2179 (no payment) or mail the form along with your payment to:

Bureau of Health Services
PO Box 30670
Lansing MI 48909