Can a PsyD Prescribe Medication?

Here is all you should know. Are PsyD legally allowed to write prescriptions?

Several professions cater to mental health.

The professionals involved include psychiatric technicians, psychologists, social workers, mental health professionals, physicians, psychiatrists, and psychotherapists.

Each of these professionals has a role to play regarding mental health. However, that isn’t our focus; our goal is to answer a fundamental question: can a PsyD prescribe medication?

If you’re reading this, you probably need answers. Here, we give you all the answers you seek.

First, we’ll provide some background information on PsyD, what they do, and if their roles include prescribing medication to patients.

You’ll want to stick around for answers on PsyD prescribing medication.

What is a PsyD?

This section should clarify if you are confused about what a PsyD is. A PsyD stands for a Doctor of Psychology or a person with one.

This alternative to Ph.D. programs is meant to cater to the needs of persons solely interested in psychology’s hands-on, straightforward practice.

In other words, persons with a PsyD degree work directly with patients in clinical psychology. If so, does that include the prescription of medications?

While seeking to earn a doctorate in psychology, it’s only standard to know your options.

PsyD and Prescribing Privileges

Can a doctor of psychology write prescriptions?

For the most part, psychologists don’t prescribe medications to patients.

While that is true, there has recently been a drive-in in several states for prescription privileges to PsyD. While that is true, you’ll find psychologists being allowed to prescribe medications in a few places.

Five states give medical prescription privileges to psychologists.

These include Louisiana, New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, and Idaho. However, to be given such privileges, you must hold appropriate training, such as obtaining a PsyD degree.

It’s evident that most states in the United States don’t allow or give prescription privileges to psychologists or persons with a PsyD degree.

However, only a few, such as those mentioned, will. Even then, obtaining a postdoctoral master’s degree and passing a national exam is part of the requirements.

Further Study and Certification are Needed for a PsyD to Prescribe Medication

The medical prescription privileges mentioned earlier only apply to professionals undergoing further study.

In other words, a PsyD (Doctor of Psychology) degree isn’t enough. A postdoctoral master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology is needed, but that’s not all.

You must also pass a board-recognized national exam. In each of the states mentioned earlier, there may be variations in requirements for persons with a PsyD degree to prescribe medication.

In Louisiana, for example, you must also hold a certificate of responsibility issued by the Louisiana State Board of Examiners of Psychologists.

i. A PsyD can prescribe Medication in Iowa If…

You must complete a postdoctoral master’s degree in clinical psychopharmacology in Iowa.

In addition, you’ll need to gain relevant clinical experience in pathophysiology and assessment. Only after meeting these requirements will you be given prescription privileges.

ii. A PsyD can prescribe Medication in New Mexico when…

If you live or want to practice in New Mexico, you will only be given prescription rights after obtaining the following: You must complete about 450 hours of didactic training.

That is in addition to 400 hours of supervised practice in psychopharmacology.

iii. You can prescribe Medication in Idaho as a PsyD when…

The state of Idaho has its rules for psychologists interested in prescribing medication. You’ll need a postdoctoral master’s degree in psychopharmacology.

That’s about it, as there are no specific hourly training requirements. You’ll need to find out if there are any other particular requirements.

iv. To Prescribe Medication as a PsyD in Illinois, you’ll need…

Specialized training in psychopharmacology is necessary.

You must also complete a 14-month supervised clinical rotation covering mental health clinics, hospitals, and prison settings.

Then, you are allowed to prescribe medication.

Here, it’s clear that further training is needed for a non-physician to be granted prescribing rights. Outside of these states, a PsyD cannot prescribe medication.

Why Psychologists are Mostly Denied Prescription Privileges

It’s essential to understand the reasons for the widespread denial of prescription privileges to psychologists.

Major organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the American Medical Association, and the American Psychiatric Association oppose prescription privileges for psychologists for several reasons.

These reasons include the availability of better-trained professionals, insufficient training, and patients having pre-existing medical conditions.

More reasons include the risk of side effects and overlooking medical disorders.

i. Availability of Better Trained Professionals

One of the arguments against prescription privileges for psychologists is the availability of better-trained professionals.

Physicians and psychiatrists are better equipped to handle patients’ medical prescription needs. They can determine when and if medications are needed.

ii. Insufficient Training

Insufficient training is another reason for denying medical prescription privileges to psychologists.

Without adequate training in pharmacology and medicine, psychologists’ knowledge is limited and won’t help patients much (regarding the medical prescription).

iii. Patients Having Pre-Existing Conditions

Patients with one or multiple coexisting medical conditions complicate things for psychologists. This becomes more glaring when such patients are prescribed psychotropic medications.

iv. Risk of Side Effects

Side effects are pretty standard when it comes to medication.

With this reality, it’s evident that psychologists aren’t equipped to deal with such side effects. This is one of several reasons a PsyD is denied medication prescription privileges.

v. Risk of Overlooking Medical Disorders

A PsyD may easily overlook or misinterpret medical disorders for mental disorders. Here, a more thorough medical diagnosis is necessary; psychologists aren’t equipped to provide that.

So far, we’ve seen that a PsyD prescribing medication is largely restricted or not allowed.

However, a few states that allow such have requirements, including obtaining a postdoctoral master’s in psychopharmacology, among other certifications.