Jenny Baker / Tuesday, June 20, 2023 / Categories: 611 The Uncertain Future of I-O Licensing and Certification: The SIOP Certification Task Force Requests Your Attention Elizabeth L. Shoenfelt, Western Kentucky University; Elliot D. Lasson, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Joel Lefkowitz, Baruch College and the Graduate Center, CUNY; Robert E. Lewis, APTMetrics; Rodney L. Lowman, Alliant International University and Lowman & Richardson/Consulting Psychologists, PC; Daniel A. Schroeder, Cochair, Organization Development Consultants, Inc.; & Judith C. Walters, Kenfield Walters, Intl LLC/Management and Leadership Strategies The purpose of the SIOP Licensing, Certification, and Credentialing (LCC) Committee is to document and communicate trends and issues related to credentialing. In this article, we summarize some critical aspects of the broader legal/licensure context and its emotionally charged climate, and discuss the impact of licensure on the work and professional status of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology practitioners. This article calls attention to current developments that profoundly challenge both the ability of I-O psychology to survive as an independent discipline and the right of I-O practitioners to work in the field in which they are educated and trained. The SIOP Executive Board recently approved a SIOP Certification Task Force and charged it with determining the interest of SIOP members in a certification model and process for I-O psychology. Within SIOP, conversations about potential I-O certification have been infrequent and more informal than have been discussions of licensure issues. The SIOP Certification Task Force specifically will explore certification for I-O psychologists on a formal basis and will be conducting needs analyses as an opportunity for stakeholders to share insights and concerns about certification. In this article, we discuss recent challenges and barriers to licensure, interjurisdictional credentials, and board certification for I-O psychologists. We consider certification as an alternative credentialing model to licensure. We initiate this discussion as an open-ended process in which certification might be favored as a possible gateway to licensure. Licensure of I-O Psychologists We recognize that licensing is a controversial issue that evokes debate among SIOP members (cf., Campbell, 2017; LCIOP, 2017; Locke, 2017; Tippins, 2006). Yet, SIOP recently revised its policy on licensure (SIOP, 2019a) to include the following: SIOP recognizes that many states require that the practice of I-O psychology be licensed. SIOP members should be allowed to be licensed in those states that require such licensure, and SIOP should provide guidance to state licensing boards on how to evaluate the education and training of an I-O psychologist. A licensed I-O psychologist should be allowed to practice in another state for a reasonable period of time without having to obtain a license in that state (e.g., 60 days of professional services per year). Despite the controversy, SIOP’s licensure policy (2019a) supports licensing of I-O psychologists and the interjurisdictional practice of I-O psychology. The latter is important given that many organizations operate in multiple locations across the United States and globally. Most state laws limit the legal use of the title “psychologist” and the practice of psychology to those who are licensed. That is, the laws control both the word “psychologist” and specific activities articulated in the laws as the practice of psychology, which often include I-O activities even when the state does not license I-O psychologists. Increasingly, licensure eligibility requirements are difficult or inappropriate, if not impossible, for I-O psychologists to meet, thus precluding current I-O practitioners from obtaining licensure. The majority of state licensing boards make exceptions to title and practice laws for psychologists employed in academia or government, and many turn a blind eye to unlicensed I-O practitioners. Thus, the work of SIOP members is not uniformly restricted by laws. However, for I-O psychologists and other general applied psychologists (GAPs)1 who work as consultants, licensing restrictions have significant negative legal consequences that limit work opportunities and, consequently, their livelihood. Unlicensed I-O psychologists who practice psychology and/or call themselves a psychologist risk legal ramifications. However, some licensed clinicians (without appropriate competency in I-O psychology) practice as organizational psychologists without risk of legal consequences and with minimal risk of ethical complaints for practicing outside the boundaries of their competence. Yet, an I-O psychologist providing mental health services would be considered criminal. The seeds of licensure-related inequity are sown in graduate training. An inherent unfairness lies in the fact that clinical graduates and I-O graduates of the same department, earning the same generic psychology degree, face very different work opportunities because of licensure requirements. Because the clinical program is accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA), clinical graduates are eligible for licensure; I-O graduates of the same department with the same generic degree cannot be licensed in most jurisdictions because APA does not accredit I-O programs. Unfortunately, SIOP members commonly react to the licensing situation by focusing on its unfairness, ignoring the licensing laws by practicing illegally, and/or adopting a hostile antilicensure, antiaccreditation, anticertification attitude. Rather than lamenting the circumstances, the objective of the SIOP Certification Task Force is to identify a practical solution to credentialing, provided sufficient interest and need by SIOP members. Below, we describe the APA and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) model licensing acts. Then we detail the exclusion of licensed I-O psychologists from the ASPPB’s Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT) credentials and barriers to board certification for I-O psychologists. Excluding Licensed I-O Psychologists From Interjurisdictional Practice Model Licensing Acts APA and ASPPB are the two major entities associated with the professional practice of psychology/licensing. ASPPB is the alliance of state, territorial, and provincial boards responsible for the licensure and certification of psychologists in the United States and Canada. Both APA and ASPPB published Model Licensing Acts outlining “best practices” in licensing, addressing two main areas of applied professional practice, health services psychologists (HSPs) and general applied psychologists (GAPs; APA, 2010; ASPPB, 2010). HSPs include clinical, school, and counseling psychologists. I-O psychologists fall under GAPs. Both model acts recommend state psychology boards recognize differences in education, training, and supervised experience between HSPs and GAPs in state statutes and rules. Thus, both model acts recognize that the professional practice of psychology (i.e., for which licensure is typically required by law) encompasses both HSP and GAP as distinct practice areas. Indeed, both acts speak of educational equivalency for HSP and GAP psychologists to ensure paths to licensing for all professional psychologists. Yet, as discussed below, recent ASPPB actions have excluded I-O psychologists from interjurisdictional practice credentials. The PSYPACT/E.Passport/IPC Issue The ASPPB Mobility Program was established to facilitate the interjurisdictional practice of licensed psychologists, with the primary objective of enhancing public access to a broad range of psychological services. In April 2019, ASPPB’s PSYPACT became operational (ASPPB, 2019a). PSYPACT is specifically designed to facilitate the professional practice of telepsychology with the E.Passport credential and the temporary face-to-face practice of psychology across state lines with the Interjurisdictional Practice Certificate (IPC) credential (ASPPB, 2019b). ASPPB recently enacted changes that exclude many I-O psychologists from participating in the PSYPACT IPC and E.Passport credentials. ASPPB “Bait and Switch” In 2019, ASPPB courted both APA Division 13/Consulting Psychology and APA Division 14/SIOP to support PSYPACT and the E.Passport/IPC credentials. Divisions 13 and 14 were instrumental in gaining APA support for PSYPACT. Without the support of these divisions, APA likely would not have endorsed the PSYPACT credentials. PSYPACT recently changed their educational requirement, restricting it to only APA or Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) accredited programs and, thus, excluded I-O psychologists—the very psychologists they had asked to lobby for it. When SIOP support was garnered by ASPPB, the educational requirement for the interjurisdictional credentials mirrored ASPPB’s Model Act (2010), APA’s Model Act (2010), earlier versions of E.Passport requirements, and PSYPACT’s Model Legislation (which is included in legislation adopted by all participating states). The original educational requirement stated that GAPs must have graduated from “a regionally accredited institution,” providing an educational equivalency route for GAPs (PSYPACT Model legislation Articles IV & V B. 1; ASPPB 2016). Thus, when APA Divisions 13 and 14 lent their support to E.Passport, they did so with the clear understanding that there would be an “educational equivalency” pathway for GAPs. Furthermore, the ASPPB rule implemented in 2020 is a substantially different requirement from that stipulated in the PSYPACT legislation. The key concern for I-O psychologists is that, despite rolling out broad guidelines in 2019 (ASPPB, 2019a) to garner support from APA Division 13 and SIOP for E.Passport, on July 1, 2020 ASPPB (2020) enacted an education requirement for E.Passport/IPC of a doctorate from an APA (or CPA) accredited program.2 APA and CPA accredit only clinical, school, and counseling psychology programs; there is no accreditation of I-O psychology and other applied psychology programs. The education requirement excludes many licensed applied psychologists who have met the licensing requirements in their home state and are practicing psychologists. Because APA does not accredit I-O and other applied psychology programs, this educational requirement presents an insurmountable barrier to E.Passport and IPC for licensed I-O psychology practitioners, preventing them from legally practicing jurisdictionally across state lines via these credentials. Accordingly, an overarching issue in credentialing I-O psychologists for interjurisdictional practice is how to best address the educational requirement for the E.Passport and IPC credentials to restore the “educational equivalency” pathway for licensed general applied psychologists. Importantly, we are referencing only licensed I-O psychologists who have been authorized by their state psychology regulatory authority to engage in the independent practice of psychology but now are fenced out from the E.Passport/IPC credentials. States joined PSYPACT with the understanding that full faith and credit was to be given to the determinations made by other states. Specifically, PSYPACT Article 4.A (ASPPB, 2020) indicates “Compact States shall recognize the right of a psychologist, licensed in a Compact State in conformance with Article III, to practice telepsychology in other Compact States (Receiving States) in which the psychologist is not licensed, under the Authority to Practice Interjurisdictional Telepsychology as provided in the Compact.” Article 5.A indicates “Compact States shall also recognize the right of a psychologist, licensed in a Compact State in conformance with Article III, to practice temporarily in other Compact States (Distant States) in which the psychologist is not licensed, as provided in the Compact.” Thus, when states joined the Compact, they agreed to recognize the licenses issued by other Compact states; that is, “mutual recognition of Compact State licenses.” Now a subset of these licensed psychologists (i.e., I-Os) licensed in their home states are being denied access to the E.Passport/IPC credentials with potential professional and financial harm. The exclusion of licensed I-O psychologists from the E.Passport and IPC credentials has resulted in the SIOP LCC Chair fielding numerous inquiries and concerns regarding licensing and E.Passport. I-O psychologists are being disenfranchised at the grassroots level with the negative impact of fencing out both I-O practitioners and the individuals and organizations who need their services. For example, a consulting psychologist with decades of professional experience, who is licensed in multiple jurisdictions and holds an American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) certification, was denied the E.Passport credential because the doctorate in I-O psychology was not from an APA accredited program. The increased emphasis on APA accreditation and “others need not apply” is misguided and discriminatory; there has been discussion of potential legal action. Obstacles to I-O Psychologists Becoming Board Certified Founded in 1947, the ABPP is the primary board-certifying body in psychology. ABPP currently offers board certification in 17 specialty areas (2019). One of them, organizational and business consulting psychology (OBCP), is germane to I-O psychology. Indeed, for many years this specialty area was specifically called “I-O psychology.” However, because of waning numbers, the I-O specialty area was discontinued but was brought back in the early 2000s under its current title of OBCP. Ironically, presently most, if not all, I-O psychologists do not qualify for the OCBP board certification because they fail to meet the required criteria of: (a) licensure as a psychologist, (b) doctoral degree from an APA or CPA accredited program, and (c) internship accredited by the APA or CPA Committee on Accreditation. Consequently, the vast majority of psychologists currently being board certified in the OBCP area are trained in clinical and counseling psychology. In summary, I-O psychologists face substantial barriers in gaining licensure, credentials to practice interjurisdictionally, and board certification. Next, we discuss certification and distinguish it from licensure; we then discuss issues surrounding certification. Finally, we address a potential I-O certification as an alternative or supplemental credential to licensure. Potential I-O Psychology Certification Program Licensure Versus Certification Licensure in psychology is determined by the enactment of state and provincial laws under the guidance of ASPPB and state licensing boards. Licensure in psychology typically governs both the practice of psychology and the use of the title psychologist (and other titles containing the words “psychology” or “psychological”). Thus, licensure is governed by a legal framework that enforces the title and practice of psychology by law. Accordingly, violating licensure regulations essentially constitutes breaking a law and is significantly more severe than violating a certification (Nagy et al., 2021). Certification is another form of credentialing and is voluntary rather than a legal requirement. Certification programs frequently are sponsored by national professional organizations, and enforcement is limited to sanctions through the organization. Well known certification credentials include those offered by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) or ABPP. Such credentials serve to certify a minimum level of competence and indicate that the practitioner has met the qualification standards set by the sponsoring professional organization (Nagy et al., 2021). Unlike licensure, which is controlled by those outside of the profession including legislators and state psychology licensing boards, certification programs typically are controlled by those in the profession. For example, SHRM awards two different certifications, a Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) and a Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP). SHRM certificants must meet educational and experiential requirements, and pass an exam developed with the help of SHRM members. Certification involves an exam developed with those in the profession serving as SMEs, and standards for granting certification are determined by the professional organization (Nagy et al., 2021). Certification Certification also serves the public by ensuring a minimal level of competence. This assurance is most effective when the certification program is developed and administered using assessment practices that comply with professional standards (e.g., AERA et al., 2014). However, there is considerable variability in the quality of voluntary certifications. Certifications typically have requirements in terms of education and supervised practice. Foundational components of certification programs are a professional job analysis and that certificants must pass a valid certification exam, the requirements that are the most resource intensive for the sponsoring organization; this is a substantial undertaking. Even something that might seem simple such as what to call the credential can generate debate and data collection, because any form of the term “psychology” cannot legally be in the credential name. A SIOP-sponsored certification program may be an avenue to removing licensure barriers while also helping I-O psychology establish a brand or identity. Certification in I-O psychology could serve to assist licensing boards in determining the eligibility of I-O/GAP psychologists for licensure. Thus, a second advantage of I-O certification is that a designation potentially could be used to assist state and provincial boards when making decisions regarding licensure eligibility, particularly for individuals who did not graduate from an APA accredited program (Nagy et al., 2021). Certification may be an attractive alternative to licensing for master’s-level I-O psychologists. Master’s programs and master’s graduates outnumber their doctoral level counterparts. Estimates based on the SIOP website suggest that there are more than three times as many master’s (1850) versus doctoral graduates (520; Shoenfelt, 2021). Because more master’s cohorts graduate over a fixed time period, many more students will graduate with master’s degrees than with doctorates within a given time period (Shoenfelt et al., 2020). The majority of master’s graduates, an estimated 70%, are employed in the industry sector (L’Heureux & Van Hein, 2021) and, as such, are the face of I-O psychology to many employers. The job market for master’s level I-O psychologists is strong, and their career outlook arguably is quite favorable for the foreseeable future (US DOL, 2019). Certification may have great utility in establishing competence for master’s-level I-Os ineligible for licensure in most states. I-O certification also could help distinguish master’s-level I-Os from others, such as MBAs, with less scientist–practitioner training (Nagy et al., 2021). SIOP has recognized the legitimate role of master’s-level I-O practitioners with the Associate category (Shoenfelt et al., 2020). In 2019, a SIOP Membership Committee task force proposed and SIOP approved a pathway for associates who have fulfilled additional requirements to become full members (SIOP, 2019b). In 2022, 27.4% of SIOP nonstudent members held master’s degrees (SIOP, 2022). Unfortunately, most master’s graduates do not maintain membership in SIOP following graduation. Nagy et al. (2021) reported that 77.9% of master's-level I-Os indicated they belonged to SIOP as a graduate student, but only 30% retained SIOP membership after graduation. Mazzola et al. (2021) reported certificates among the most common professional development opportunities pursued by I-O master’s graduates; over one-third of employers indicated their I-O master’s employees pursued certificates subsequent to earning their degree. SHRM certificates were the most frequently cited. A SIOP-sponsored certification program may increase the value of SIOP membership to master’s graduates, provide a competence indicator for these graduates, and increase visibility of I-O psychology to employers. Potential Disadvantages of Certification Certification in and of itself does not resolve the barriers I-Os currently face for licensing, including graduation from an APA accredited program, licensed-supervised experience, and continuing education requirements. A SIOP certification program would be strengthened if continuing education is required to maintain certification. Certification programs accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) typically require that certification applicants meet educational and experiential requirements, pass a certification exam, and complete continuing education to maintain certification. NCAA accredited certification programs also typically require adherence to a professional code of ethics. Developing a certification program is an arduous process that entails significant time, effort, and financial expenditure by the professional organization sponsoring the program. Conclusion One charge of the SIOP Certification Task Force is to gauge member interest and identify the pros and cons of a SIOP certification program. We hope this article has helped inform SIOP members on credentialing issues, raised questions whether a certification credential has utility for SIOP members, and, if so, what credentialing model is best suited to our needs. Credentialing of I-O psychologists, through licensure or certification, is an important concern for I-Os in independent practice and consulting, and likely for master’s-level I-O practitioners. Call to Action The SIOP Certification Task Force has been tasked by the SIOP Executive Board to explore the feasibility of an I-O certification credential. One of the first steps in fulfilling this mission will be to conduct needs analyses with various stakeholders to provide data to inform this effort. The SIOP Certification Task Force charge is to outline, propose, and implement a credentialing framework/model and process for I-O psychologists (see Appendix A for full charge). We invite and encourage you as SIOP members to participate in needs analyses to be conducted over the next several months. To jump start our data collection, please send questions and comments to Dan Schroeder at email@example.com or Alexis Fink at firstname.lastname@example.org (see Appendix B for Task Force Roster). The Task Force promises more to come and will report back to the SIOP membership in a subsequent TIP article. Author Notes Correspondence should be addressed to Betsy Shoenfelt at email@example.com; SIOP LCC Committee Chair/Task Force Cochair, Dan Schroeder, at dan.schroeder@od- consultants.com; or Task Force Cochair, Alexis Fink at firstname.lastname@example.org. Authors are listed in alphabetical order subsequent to the first author. Notes  General applied psychology refers to areas of applied psychology other than clinical/counseling/school psychology and includes social, sport, military, educational, consulting, I-O, and human factors/engineering psychology, among others. 2 The ASPPB (2020) education requirement states that the E.Passport/IPC applicant “must have a doctoral degree in psychology from an institution of higher education that was, at the time the degree was awarded,: (1) accredited by the APA or CPA or designated as a psychology program by the Joint Designation Committee of the ASPPB/National Register of Health Service Psychologists; or (2) deemed to be equivalent to (1) above by a recognized foreign credential evaluation service.” References American Board of Professional Psychology. (2019). Specialty boards. Author. https://www.abpp.org/Applicant-Information/Specialty-Boards.aspx American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education. (2014) Standards for educational and psychological testing. https://www.aera.net/Publications/Books/Standards-for-Educational-Psychological-Testing-2014-Edition American Psychological Association. (2010). Model act for state licensure of psychologists. Author. Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. (2020). ASPPB mobility policies & practices. Author. https://cdn.ymaws.com/psypact.site-ym.com/resource/resmgr/handouts/12.2020_asppb_mobility_progr.pdf Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. (2019a). PSYPACT becomes operational. Author. https://www.asppb.net/news/448039/PSYPACT-becomes-Operational.htm Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. (2019b). E.Passport quick guide. Author. https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.asppb.net/resource/resmgr/psypact_docs/e.passport_quick_guide_v.10.pdf Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. (2016). Psychology interjurisdictional compact (PSYPACT). Author. https://cdn.ymaws.com/www.asppb.net/resource/resmgr/psypact_docs/Psychology_Interjurisdiction.pdf Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. (2010). ASPPB model act for licensure and registration of psychologists. Author. Campbell, J. P. (2017). Licensing of I-O psychologists: Some potentially lethal features. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 10, 190-193. L’Heureux, T. & Van Hein, J. (2021). Career outcomes for master’s level industrial-organizational psychologists. In E. L. Shoenfelt (Ed.), Mastering the job market: Career issues for master’s level industrial-organizational psychologists. Oxford University Press. Licensure of Consulting and I-O Psychologists (LCIOP) Joint Task Force. (2017). The licensure issue in consulting and I-O psychology: A discussion paper. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 10, 144-181. Locke, E. A. (2017). Say no to licensing: It is both impractical and immoral. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Perspectives on Science and Practice, 10, 190-193. Mazzola, J. J., Chrobot-Mason, D., & Cox, C. (2021). Professional development for i-o psychology master’s graduates. In E. L. Shoenfelt (Ed.), Mastering the job market: Career issues for master’s level industrial-organizational psychologists. Oxford University Press. Nagy, M. S., Aziz, S., & Schroeder, D. N. (2021). Professional identity of industrial-organizational psychology master’s graduates. In E. L. Shoenfelt (Ed.). Mastering the job market: Career issues for master’s level industrial-organizational psychologists. Oxford University Press. Shoenfelt, E. L. (2021) An Introduction to industrial-organizational psychology master’s careers: Successful paths to divergent destinations. In E. L. Shoenfelt (Ed.), Mastering the job market: Career issues for master’s level industrial-organizational psychologists. Oxford University Press. Shoenfelt, E.L., Koppes Bryan, L., & Hays-Thomas, R. (2020). An Introduction to industrial-organizational psychology. In E. L. Shoenfelt, (Ed.) Mastering industrial-organizational psychology: Training issues for master’s level I-O psychologists. Oxford University Press. Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. (2022). SIOP membership demographics. https://www.siop.org/Membership/Demographics Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. (2019a). SIOP policy on licensure. https://www.siop.org/Membership/Licensure-Policy-by-State Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc. (2019b). Upgrade pathway to member for associates. https://www.siop.org/Membership/Associate-to-Member Tippins, N. T. (2006). Commentary from the field: An I-O psychologist's perspective on licensure. APA Psychological Science Agenda. https://www.apa.org/science/about/psa/2006/06/tippins U.S. Department of Labor. (2019). Occupational outlook for psychologists. Author. https://www.bls.gov/ooh/life-physical-and-social-science/psychologists.htm APPENDIX A SIOP Certifications Task Force Charge: To outline, propose, and implement a credentialing framework/model and process for I-O psychologists. Rationale: The changing/evolving credentialing landscape for psychologists poses an existential threat to the I-O discipline/profession. Among many, obvious threats include: (a) “fencing out” of I-O psychologists for licensure, board certification, and interjurisdictional practice; (b) fuzzy/weak brand identify for I-O practitioners in the marketplace; (c) encroachment in the I-O space by less qualified practitioners; (d) explosion of for-profit I-O graduate programs (i.e., quality control issue); and (e) expansion of APA accreditation of master’s program in psychology and licensure at the master’s level. Task Force Activities: Needs analysis Audience analysis Job/task analysis (e.g., I-O practice areas) Identify/research existing frameworks for elements that could be adapted/leveraged Define specific elements comprising the certification process and methods for evaluating applicants Propose/create a common framework for I-O core areas (e.g., revisit the LCIOP research and documentation) as a basis for linking/aligning/continuity Conduct legal and financial research (see https://www.venable.com/insights/publications/2002/05/association-certification-and-accreditation-progra) Generate several possible models for EB discussion Questions for Task Force to Answer: Should SIOP create and offer a certification credential? What are the legal implications for doing so? Who will build the program? Who will administer it? What is the expected startup cost and yearly financial return for SIOP? Develop several possible pricing models for board discussion What consequences will this have for future membership? What consequences will this have for graduate education? What kinds of CE and other resources would SIOP be obligated to offer in each possible model? What other SIOP Committees and stakeholders should be involved? Timeline: Issue report of findings by February 2024. APPENDIX B SIOP Certification Task Force Roster Primary Work Group Sarah Carroll Dennis Doverspike Amy DuVernet Alexis Fink (Cochair) Sean Gasperson Greg Gormanous Elliot Lasson Robert Lewis Joel Lefkowitz Rodney Lowman Liberty Munson Fred Oswald Gloria Pereira Natalie Reinfeld Dan Schroeder (Cochair) Betsy Shoenfelt Donald Truxillo Special Advisors Steve Laser Thomas Mason John Schmidt Vicki Vandaveer Judi Walters Print 1012 Rate this article: 4.5 Comments are only visible to subscribers.