Credential Review Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. ABCN training requirements vary with the era in which candidates’ doctoral degrees were conferred. For example, for those who completed their doctoral studies after 1/01/05, ABCN requires post-doctoral training that conforms to the Houston Conference Guidelines, including completion of a residency that is the equivalent of two full years of education and training in clinical neuropsychology. ABCN requirements for preceding training eras are available at the ABPP website.

The credential review process consists of two stages. The first stage, which is completed by ABPP Central Office, consists of a generic review of candidates’ training backgrounds, predoctoral internship training, and licensure status. Following the successful completion of the generic credential review stage, ABCN applications are forwarded to the ABCN credential review committee for specialty specific review and to confirm the successful completion of neuropsychology training requirements (i.e., those that correspond with the candidate’s era of training).

The average turnaround time for credential reviews after ABCN has received applications from ABPP is one to two weeks. However, in a minority of cases, credential reviews may take longer (up to 4-6 weeks), as when the Credential Review Committee requires additional information from applicants and/or their training sites.

Yes. For those who completed their doctoral training on or after 1/01/05, ABCN requires training that conforms to Houston Conference Guidelines, including the completion of a residency that is the equivalent of 2 full years of education and training in clinical neuropsychology. While the residency does not need to be accredited by the American Psychological Association (APA) or be a member program of the Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology (APPCN), ABCN does require that the postdoctoral program reflect a structured and sequenced set of clinical and didactic experiences, provide on-site supervision of all clinical cases, and put the learning needs of the candidate ahead of the operational needs of the program. If the candidate’s postdoctoral residency was completed at an APA-accredited and/or an APPCN member program, applicants are encouraged to have their letter writers confirm that this was the case during their time in training. 

For those who completed their doctoral training on or after 1/01/05, ABCN requires that at least 50% of postdoctoral training be in the provision of clinical neuropsychological services that are supervised by a clinical neuropsychologist. These services are to be provided for a substantial amount of time during the entirety of the postdoctoral training experience. Fellowship training should involve the provision of clinical neuropsychological services to individuals with a diversity of clinical diagnostic issues.

Didactic experiences are documented across eight core knowledge areas: Basic neurosciences, Functional neuroanatomy, Neuropathology, Clinical neurology, Psychological assessment, Clinical neuropsychological assessment, Psychopathology, and Psychological intervention. While didactics may be listed from different eras of one’s training, some form of didactic training must be integrated into the post-doctoral program, and it would be expected that postdoctoral training would be represented in most topic areas. Didactic experiences across the eight knowledge areas may include a mix of formal didactics (e.g., neuroanatomy coursework) as well as other less formal educational activities (e.g., brain cutting conferences, grand rounds, case conferences). Applicants may also apply the same didactic across different domains (e.g., Behavioral Neurology Rounds may cover both Clinical Neurology and Neuropathology; courses in Neuropsychology may cover both assessment and neuroanatomy, etc).

 Yes. For those who completed their doctoral studies on or after 1/01/05, supervision must be provided on-site for all clinical cases, requiring face to face discussion of some aspect of every clinical case, and the supervisor must be a neuropsychologist (though does not necessarily need to be ABCN certified). The supervisor must be employed by or contracted by the institution and able to take over responsibilities for each clinical case if needed. At least some face-to-face supervision should be in-person, but virtual supervision is acceptable provided that the supervisor meets the criteria mentioned previously.

For those who completed graduate studies on or after 1/01/05, training in neuropsychology-related activities must comprise a minimum of 50% of the resident’s time and may include supervised clinical activities done as part of research. However, at least 50% of the clinical neuropsychological services must involve integrative neuropsychological evaluation (i.e., services that include a component of clinical service delivery, including integration of results in a written report to patients, research participants, or physicians) under the supervision of a clinical neuropsychologist.

If the post-doctoral fellowship takes place in more than one setting, applicants must demonstrate that the fellowship training across the respective sites was structured, sequenced and well-integrated, and that the trainee’s role in both settings was as a post-doctoral resident/trainee(rather than other role, such as staff psychologist or research coordinator). This would typically involve: (a) Documentation, usually a letter from a supervisor stating the applicant was in good standing when leaving the first fellowship; (b) Communication of ongoing training needs to the second fellowship by the original fellowship supervisor/s, and; (c) Documentation that those ongoing training needs/goals were met at the time the applicant graduated the second fellowship. In other words, it would be important to ensure that the overseeing supervisors were able to confirm that the collective training experiences across both years of post-doctoral residency satisfied ABCN requirements.

Yes. ABCN requires that the length of the residency be the equivalent of 2 full years of education and training in clinical neuropsychology and neuropsychology-related disciplines, completed on at-least a half-time basis. For example, post-doctoral training completed on a half-time basis for four years could be cited as equivalent of two full years, so long as the other necessary components of the training were in keeping with ABCN requirements (e.g., didactics, clinical service delivery, etc.).

ABCN endorses the Houston Conference guidelines for specialty training and education in clinical neuropsychology, and therefore requires completion of two-years of formal postdoctoral training for applicants who earned their doctoral degree after 1/01/05. Any application from an individual of this era who leaves postdoctoral training prior to completion of a formal 2-year program shall be reviewed on a case by case basis.

In addition to the ABPP website, applicants may access the ABCN Candidate Manual at the ABCN website’s resources page. Additional information related to training requirements can be found at the ABCN website. Prospective applicants may also contact us to discuss any questions they may have regarding ABCN training requirements.

In some cases, the credential reviewer will need additional information in order to determine if an applicant meets ABCN specialty specific requirements. In these cases, the decision regarding candidacy is “pending” until the additional information is received. The applicant should read the request carefully and respond to the request with as much clarifying detail as possible. This might require documentation from previous supervisors. Applicants have four months to respond to a request for additional information.

Admission to candidacy through the credential review process and progression through the examination process does not constitute any form of credential. Candidates are not to use phrases such as ‘board eligible’ or ‘candidate for ABPP board certification’ in any written or oral public statement, as this has the potential to mislead the public about their certification status.

You will need 2 letters. At least 1 letter should be from a neuropsychologist who if not board certified has sufficient training and experience at the level of a board-certified neuropsychologist. Additionally, if you are within 6 years of training, at least 1 letter should come from a training supervisor who can document the nature and extent of your training. If a supervisor is not board certified, it is very helpful if they can briefly describe their background and credentials in their letter of reference.