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Psychological Practice Modernization Act


What Does the Psychological Practice Modernization Act Mean for Me?

On June 23, 2016, following approval by the General Assembly, Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 772 into law making it Act 53 of 2016, the Psychological Practice Modernization Act. SB 772 amended the Professional Psychologists Practice Act, which has not been changed in 30 years. Act 53 takes effect on August 22, 2016.

The Pennsylvania Psychological Association (PPA) thanks Senator John R. Gordner for his sponsorship of the bill and his commitment to seeing the bill become law. Let’s take a look at how Act 53 of 2016 affects licensed psychologists, school psychologists, students and the general public.

Changes for Licensed Psychologists

  • Clarifies that diagnosis is in the scope of practice for licensed psychologists.
  • Narrows exceptions to licensing that allows hospitals and state, county, or municipal governments to use the term "psychologist" when hiring unlicensed persons to do work of a psychological nature.

Changes for School Psychologists

  • Allows unlicensed school psychologists currently in the field, and those who are now enrolled in a program pursuing school psychology, to continue providing services outside of a school setting.

Changes for Students

  • Provides doctoral students the option of completing two years of clinical supervision in the pre-doctoral period, rather than one year of pre-doctoral and one year of post-doctoral clinical supervision. This provision will take effect once the PA Board of Psychology promulgates regulations changing the current law, which could take up to two years.
  • Eliminates the six-month waiting period for a person to re-take a failed licensure exam.

Public Protection Measures

  • Gives the State Board of Psychology the option to deny a temporary license to practice psychology for those who have had disciplinary actions taken against them in other states.
  • Mandates that licensed psychologists disclose other professional licenses to the Board so it can be made aware of any potential disciplinary actions which occur under another professional license.
  • Gives the State Board of Psychology the authority to prevent psychologists who lose their licenses from practicing under the "qualified members of other recognized profession" provision.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Justin Fleming, PPA’s Director of Government Affairs at or 717-510-6349.

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