Regulation of psychology
Statutory regulation for psychologists was introduced on 1 July 2009 and the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) register of practitioner psychologists opened.
The Society's role in terms of regulation since then has been to work with the HCPC to ensure that it is a success. Alongside this we continue to develop as a learned and professional body.
Annual meetings are held between the Society and the HCPC. Click here to access the meeting notes (please note you will have to sign in to the website).
FAQs on Statutory Regulation
What is statutory regulation?
Statutory regulation exists to protect the public against the risk of poor practice. It works by setting agreed standards of practice and competence by registering those who are competent to practise and restricting the use of specified protected titles to those who are registered.
Sanctions may be applied to registered psychologists, such as removing them from the register if their fitness to practice is impaired.
Which titles are protected under the 2009 legislation?
The legislation protects seven titles: Clinical Psychologist, Health Psychologist, Counselling Psychologist, Educational Psychologist, Occupational Psychologist, Sport and Exercise Psychologist, and Forensic Psychologist.
In addition there are two generic titles – Practitioner Psychologist and Registered Psychologist – but these will only be available to registrants who already hold one of the seven ‘specialist’ titles. It may be an offence to use them without being on the HCPC register.
What titles can I use?
The basic guidance is not to combine titles that ‘belong’ to two different organisations. The Society’s title is Chartered Psychologist, and the HCPC owns the seven domain titles, and two generic titles, listed above. If you are both a Chartered Psychologist and registered with the HCPC you are encouraged to use the titles that indicate your recognition by both organisations.
Examples of acceptable ways to use titles:
If you are a Chartered Psychologist and registered with the HCPC as a clinical psychologist :
- Jane Doe C Psychol,Clinical Psychologist,
- Jane Doe,Chartered Psychologist and Clinical Psychologist
- Jane Doe,Chartered Psychologist and Registered (or Practitioner) Clinical Psychologist.
It is no longer acceptable to use Jane Doe Chartered Clinical Psychologist
If you are a Chartered member who is qualified in more than one domain you may use more than one of the HCPC titles in combination:
- A N Other C Psychol, Occupational Psychologist and Health Psychologist
You may wish to add a formal job title that contains a protected title. This is perfectly acceptable so long as you are registered with the HCPC:
- Senior Educational Psychologist
- Consultant Forensic Psychologist
Trainee psychologists on HCPC approved training routes may use ‘Trainee’, or ‘In-Training’ in combination with any of the domain titles. For example:
- Trainee Counselling Psychologist
- Sport and Exercise Psychologist In-Training
For more information of the use of the Society's designations and titles, take a look at our guidance page.
Which routes to registration does the HCPC approve?
The HCPC approves the following routes to statutory regulation:
Clinical - Professional Doctorate
Counselling - Professional Doctorate or equivalent
Educational - Professional Doctorate or equivalent
Forensic - Masters degree (with the award of the Society qualification in forensic psychology or equivalent)
Health - Masters degree (with the award of the Society qualification in health psychology or equivalent)
Occupational - Masters degree (with the award of the Society qualification in occupational psychology, or equivalent)
Sport and exercise - Masters degree (with the award of the Society qualification in sport and exercise psychology, or equivalent)
You can find out more about the approval process on the HCPC website.
The HCPC does not approve other qualifications in psychology, such as undergraduate degrees or Masters programmes, because these do not lead directly to eligibility for registration with the HCPC. The Society continues to accredit these programmes.