If you are considering a career in psychology, one of the most pressing questions in your mind would be the time frame before you can begin practicing. The answer to how long does it take to become a psychologist in Chicago or in any other city, for that matter, is not a simple and straightforward one. It involves a multitude of factors, including the education and licensing policies. In most cases, however, it can take you around eight to twelve years to be eligible to practice.
Let’s take a look at the breakdown for this timeline to better understand the changes that may occur.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Psychologist in Chicago
In order to become a practicing psychologist in Chicago, you will have to be licensed. To be eligible for licensure, you will have to meet the following requirements:

Bachelor’s Degree – 4 Years

This is the first step of education in becoming a psychologist. Even though there is no major preference at this stage, you are recommended to take up courses in the sciences.

Master’s Degree in Psychology – 2 Years

This is not a mandatory step in the process to become a psychologist. You can move directly to a doctoral degree, or can also go for an integrated doctoral and master’s program. If you did not have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, you will have to complete certain prerequisites before you can get into a master’s program in psychology.

Doctoral Degree – 4 to 7 Years

The next part of becoming a licensed psychologist in Chicago, involves getting a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) or a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) from a program accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA). To be licensed in the state of Illinois, you have to complete nearly three years of full-time study along with one year of residence.

Licensing – 1 to 2 Years

The licensing process for psychologists in Illinois is long and requires a lot of effort. The end result, however, is worth the wait. After you have completed your doctoral degree, you will have to complete one year of supervised experience (SPE), under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist. You will have to complete 1,750 hours of experience.
After this, candidates will have to submit an official application for examination with the Illinois Department of Professional Regulations Psychologist Licensing and Disciplinary Board. This application should include official transcripts, the CAA or, the ED form, the VE-PSY form, the CT form if needed and the licensing fee. After the board has reviewed the information provided by you, they will assign you an examination date, along with further instructions.
You will have to sit for the exam at a date specified by the board. It will be a computerized exam with 225 multiple-choice questions. You will need to get a passing score of 70% on this exam. Taking this exam costs nearly $450, along with a testing center fee.
Once you have your passing score, you can submit your final application to the board and receive your license to practice.