CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Only West Virginia allows people to practice as psychologists without the most advanced graduate degree. A new report sees no reason to change that.More than half the state's 460 or so practicing psychologists instead have a less-advanced master's degree. The state's Psychological Association wants the title psychologist limited to those with doctoral degrees.But an audit presented to lawmakers Monday says that doesn't mean that masters-level psychologists are providing services harmful to the public. The review found no evidence to justify a stricter licensing standard.The association is asking legislators to reject the audit as flawed.
The debate comes amid criticisms of state behavioral health services. One advocacy group has flunked West Virginia for scarce or non-existent acute and long-term care, overcrowded state-run hospitals and waiting lists for services.