Subspecialty Certification in Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

NOTE: Application for the Subspecialty credential is currently an option those who have already obtained ABCN Specialty Board Certification in Clinical Neuropsychology.

No. ABCN board certification in Clinical Neuropsychology remains exactly what it has always been, a multi-step credentialing process for those practicing across the lifespan. The Pediatric Subspecialty Credential is a voluntary added credential for those that wish to demonstrate their focused interest in pediatric populations. In no way does the new credential change the intent or meaning of the parent credential.
No. You must first obtain ABCN board certification in Clinical Neuropsychology. Once you have achieved this, then you may apply for Subspecialty Certification in Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology.

Once ABCN Board Certification in Clinical Neuropsychology is obtained, there are 3 steps that lead to ABCN Subspecialty Certification in Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology:

  1. Completion of the Subspecialty Credential Application
  2. Passing a 30-item Written Examination offered in June at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN)
  3. Submission of 1 clinical case (with a 3-page Written Defense) for Practice Sample review
  • There is no fee for Application /Credential Review.
  • The Written Examination fee is $125.
  • The Practice Sample submission fee is $250.

Applications are hosted on the ABPP website. Current ABCN specialists may login and click on the link to submit a New Specialty Application.

For the Credentials Committee to determine eligibility, you should provide evidence in your application and CV of your pediatric clinical practice over time, highlighting those times when your pediatric practice was more substantial. Alternatively, you can provide evidence of current pediatric-specific research, scholarly writing, or clinical supervision/training. Applications that do not clearly meet subspecialty practice criteria will require more careful review and may be deferred to determine if any additional documentation is required.

No. New letters must be provided for application for Subspecialty Certification in Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology, although a letter of recommendation may come from the same person who provided a previous letter. The letters of recommendation for Subspecialty Certification in Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology should specifically address your qualifications for practice as a pediatric neuropsychologist. Additionally, letters of recommendation for the Subspecialty should be written in close proximity in time to your initial application for the Subspecialty.

Yes. Submission of an application and credential review are the first steps in the Subspecialty Examination process. ABPP Central Office will process applications as quickly as possible, but credential reviews can only proceed once the full application file (application form and letters of recommendation) are received. ABPP will provide periodic status updates, but you should contact Central Office staff ( for an update if you have not heard back in a reasonable amount of time.

The subspecialty Written Examination is held at the annual AACN meeting in June. Further details will be provided when candidates register for the examination.

The Written Examination consists of 30 multiple-choice questions covering the science and practice of pediatric neuropsychology. Topics may include: neurodevelopment, functional neuroanatomy, pediatric clinical syndromes, childhood psychopathology, specialized neuropsychological assessment techniques, research methodology in pediatric populations, developmental psychology, family systems, genetics, cultural diversity, ethical and legal issues in pediatric neuropsychological practice, consultation, and intervention strategies.

In effect, a successful candidate will have taken a 130-item examination: 100 items on the parent Written Examination that covered broad areas of knowledge and skill competency for practice across the lifespan (including foundational issues related to general pediatric practice) and this additional 30-item Written Examination with content focused on more in-depth issues related to subspecialty pediatric practice.

The subspecialty Written Examination cut score was derived from psychometric analyses of an initial calibration examination administered in June 2014 to 127 pediatric neuropsychologists who passed the Pediatric Subspecialty credential review process.

Yes. Candidates will receive exam score notification and instructions on how to proceed in the subspecialization process.

The subspecialty Written Examination may be taken no more than three times within a single candidacy window. Candidates who do not pass the Written Examination after three attempts, or prior to the end of their candidacy window, must re-apply and restart the process from the beginning with associated fees.

Practice Sample submission requires:

  1. One case report of a patient age 16 years or younger,
  2. Raw data for the case, and
  3. A Written Defense (3-page maximum).

The Practice Sample case must be an example of the candidate’s own work product, without editing or advising by another individual or parts completed by a student or trainee. It may be the same case that you submitted for the ABCN parent examination if you are satisfied it is an excellent example of your current experience. However, note that review methods and criteria differ between the parent and subspecialty examinations such that a Practice Sample case that was considered sufficient as one of two cases submitted for the parent examination may not meet full criteria as a single Practice Sample for the subspecialty examination. In selecting a subspecialty Practice Sample case, candidates are strongly encouraged to choose a case from the preceding two years in order to highlight their current practice and skills. If, for some reason, this is not possible (e.g., supervised trainees on all cases over the past two years), please provide explanation in the Supplemental Statement. Please review the Pediatric Subspecialty Practice Sample Guidelines for more information.

Not necessarily. We all know that tests are revised and new ones are developed, while old tests become less used. You have an opportunity to provide an explanation for your test choice in the required (3-page maximum) Written Defense that you must submit with the case report and raw data. You may justify your decision to select an older case in this Written Defense along with other relevant information you wish the Practice Sample reviewers to know.

The required 3-page Written Defense is critical because you are only submitting one Practice Sample case, and there is no subsequent oral examination to allow you to explain your assessment choices, differential diagnosis, rationale for recommendations, etc. Therefore, the selected case should demonstrate a breadth of clinical knowledge and assessment skill and clearly demonstrate that you are practicing pediatric clinical neuropsychology independently at the subspecialist level of competence. The Written Defense is your only opportunity to ensure that the reviewers have all the information they need to fairly review the Practice Sample because there is no opportunity for clarification at an oral exam. The required Written Defense should be a maximum of three (3) pages double spaced, 12 pt type, with at least 1” margins. It is your opportunity to summarize case-specific information not addressed in the report in order to allow the reviewers to evaluate the candidates’ neuropsychological conceptualization. The required Written Defense is not meant to be an academic review of the literature, and references are not expected. The Written Defense should not include information about your practice setting or other education, training, or employment details already approved in your Credential Review. Check the Practice Sample criteria carefully to determine which information absent from your report might need to be elaborated upon in the Written Defense (e.g. your assessment choices, diagnostic differential, additional source data, radiology and laboratory findings, ethical and cultural diversity considerations, consultation with the referral source, efficacy of recommendations).

Two board-certified Pediatric Neuropsychology Subspecialists who are members of the Practice Sample Review Cadre will review your de-identified Practice Sample according to criteria listed in the Pediatric Subspecialty Practice Sample Guidelines. If the subspecialty Practice Sample is rated as “not acceptable” by one of the two reviewers, it is forwarded to the Practice Sample Committee for a third review. A third reviewer will review both the Practice Sample and the reviewers’ comments. The judgment of the third reviewer to uphold or overturn the “not acceptable” decision will determine the final decision.

Yes. Each reviewer is instructed to provide clear information about which criteria were not met adequately. The feedback should be useful to you if you decide to resubmit a new Practice Sample.

In the parent Practice Sample process, the decision to accept or not accept a Practice Sample is based on the sum of the candidate’s work across two cases whereas for the Subspecialty process only one case is reviewed. If the candidate chooses a case from the parent Practice Sample that was relatively weaker, it may not pass when it is the sole submission. Additionally, the threshold for review decisions differs between the parent Practice Sample process and the subspecialty. As noted in the Pediatric Subspecialty Candidate Manual, “Whereas the parent PS review is intended to determine whether the candidate’s practice of clinical neuropsychology would be defensible at oral examination, the subspecialty review process is intended to determine if the PS itself demonstrates competent practice in the subspecialty. As such, candidates are encouraged to carefully attend to the information provided in the Pediatric Subspecialty Practice Sample Guidelines.”

Just as for parent Board Certification, should you have concerns about a procedural error, there is an Appeals Committee chair and committee members for the Subspecialty. Specific information about the Appeals process, including appealable versus non-appealable decisions, can be found in the Pediatric Subspecialty Candidate Manual.

An unsuccessful outcome will not reflect negatively on your already impressive accomplishment of achieving ABCN Board Certification in Clinical Neuropsychology. Confidentiality rules are stringent at every stage of ABCN board certification process, Specialty and Subspecialty.

You do not need to take any further action. You will now be credentialed in ABCN’s Subspecialty of Pediatric Neuropsychology. You will subsequently receive a formal certificate documenting this accomplishment from ABPP.

Yes. Subspecialists will be awarded an additional 10 CE credits from ABPP for successful completion of the Subspecialty certification process.

The full Pediatric Subspecialty credential process must be completed within a three (3) year candidacy window. The date on the subspecialty credential review decision letter defines the start of this three-year period. Candidates who do not successfully obtain subspecialty certification within their allotted candidacy period must re-apply and restart the process from the beginning with appropriate fees.

Yes. Upon successful completion of the Subspecialty Certification in Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology, you will receive information regarding joining this listserv.

Consistent with ABCN Specialty Board procedures, there is no grandparenting or senior option for subspecialization.

Complete information about the ABCN Pediatric Subspecialty certification process is posted on the ABCN website and in the Pediatric Subspecialty Candidate Manual. Questions not directly addressed in the manual or in the above FAQs can be directed to the office staff at ABPP ( or to the ABCN Office (