New Jersey is one of the most important business states in the U.S. and it is also a competitive market for aspiring psychologists, many of which might just be starting college or already enrolled. However, it’s best to start thinking about the industry now, as well as reviewing the latest developments in career news.
Information about Working in New Jersey
As you probably already know, New Jersey has fairly tough licensing requirements. In order to practice, which means the rendering of professional psychological services, in a group setting or individual setting, you must meet all licensing requirements initially, and you must renew your license every two years. All licenses expire on June 30 in odd-numbered years, and all licensees wanting to renew will receive information to do so three months in advance. The good news is continuing education is not required. A Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.), Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) or Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) is required for the recognition of a doctor’s title, and the degree program must be accredited. At least 40 credit hours are required with 36 going towards subjects like personality theory, psychopathology, therapy, and human development theory. In addition, you must present official transcripts, prepare a dissertation and show two certificates verifying good moral character. Additionally, 3,500 hours or two years of experience are required under the supervision of a doctor.
Career News about the Profession
Of course, preparing for licensing is just the beginning of this challenging career, considering how often things can change. Consider one of the newest items: now psychologists in New Jersey are trying to win the legal right to write prescriptions, just as a psychiatrist can do. The only legal loophole would be that a doctor would have to have graduated with a post-doctoral degree in psychiatric pharmacology. The doctor would also have to pass a test. This would certainly be a convenience since it eliminates the need to go through unnecessary referrals when the psychologist knows precisely what medications might be needed for certain infrequent situations.
Another big news item is that insurers provide equal levels of coverage for many types of mental illnesses, as well as addictions. These conditions would be treated similarly as other physical diseases. Technically speaking, this would expand mental health insurance coverage by the numbers, and would affect the State Health Benefits Program and the School Employees’ Health Benefits Program. This is an update of an earlier law already passed, stating that health insurers must legally provide mental health-based coverage. This law was passed in 1999.
Lastly, there is also discussion for the ban of conversion therapy for children; children who might be forced to submit to sexual orientation conversion, which has no scientific evidence in its favor, and a major political/lifestyle issue in 2013.
There is a lot happening in New Jersey, such as respecting the rights of patients to receive the help they need—not merely what the state suggests they need. This is all worth keeping an eye on as you progress in your schooling and prepare for a psychology career.