Credential Review Frequently Asked Questions

1. Do the ABCN training requirements depend upon when I completed graduate school?

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 (http://www.abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3402).

2. How does the ABCN credential review process work?

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).

3. How long does the ABCN Credential Review process typically take?

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.

4. Does ABCN require the completion of a formal post-doctoral residency?

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 notneed 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 competed 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. 

5. What proportion of post-doctoral residency should include clinical neuropsychology activities?

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.

6. What didactic experiences are required for ABCN eligibility?

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).

7. Does post-doctoral supervision need to be conducted by a clinical neuropsychologist who is on-site?

 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 necessary need to be ABCN-certified).

8. Does neuropsychology research completed during residency count toward ABCN eligibility?

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.

9. Can I complete my post-doctoral residency in more than one training setting?

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.

10. Can I complete my post-doctoral residency on a part-time basis?

Yes. ABCN requires that the length of the residency be the equivalentof 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.).

11. If I leave my post-doctoral residency early, can I still apply for ABCN certification?

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.

12. Are there any other resources that I can consult to review ABCN training and eligibility requirements?

In addition to the ABPP website (http://www.abpp.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3402), applicants may access the ABCN Candidate Manual at the ABCN website (https://theabcn.org/resources). Additional information related to training requirements can be found at the ABCN website (https://theabcn.org). Prospective applicants may also contact the ABCN Credential Review Committee chair, Nathaniel Nelson, Ph.D., ABPP (nels0600@stthomas.edu), to discuss any questions they may have regarding ABCN training requirements.