Board Certification in Clinical Geropsychology via the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), known as ABGERO
These ABGERO 2022 slides describe the process for becoming certified.
Please contact the ABGERO board with any questions at https://abgero.org/contact/
Read more about application specifics on the ABPP website.
ABGERO Examination schedule:
In the past, oral exams were generally held at APA (August) and GSA (November). We also considered organizing sites for regional exams as we were training more oral examiners. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning in summer 2020 oral examinations have been held via teleconference. The safety of candidates and examiners will be the primary consideration as future examinations are planned. Please contact Michelle Mlinac, PsyD, ABPP (examination coordinator) for upcoming dates at https://abgero.org/contact/
FAQ’s regarding ABPP IN GEROPSYCHOLOGY (ABGERO)
Provided by Victor Molinari, PhD, ABPP; updated by the ABGERO Outreach Committee in Summer 2022.
Can experienced geropsychologists be grandfathered?
No – but there is a senior option whereby those geropsychologists with 15 or more years of serving older adults (in clinical services, teaching, administrative, and/or research capacities) are exempt from the education and supervision minimal requirements.
For the minimal screening requirements, what counts as an ‘age-related’ course?
Obviously, any title of a course on the applicant’s transcript that has ‘aging’ or ‘older adult’ will most likely be viewed favorably as meeting this definition. Otherwise, the applicant needs to justify the inclusion of a particular course as meeting these criteria. For example, if someone took a neuropsychology course, it’s up to the candidate to ‘make a case’ that the course included a significant amount of age-related material.
How many pages should the Professional Self-Study Statement be?
~ 1 page per section i.e., total between 10-15 pages.
How do the work examples differ between the traditional and senior options?
With the traditional option, the work examples should include videotapes, audiotapes, progress notes, or testing reports for which the candidate has done the major work. With the senior option, individuals submit materials showing how they have made significant contributions to geropsychology either via their own research, teaching, administration, or provision of clinical services.
I work for a hospital that on admission garners informed consent that covers all staff working with patients. Can I submit a work example where the person has not given me an individual consent?
Yes – just note this in the contextual statement that you include with the work examples.
Is there a time limit when the work examples had to have been conducted?
With the traditional option, the work example should have been conducted not longer than two years prior to submission. There is no time limit for the senior option work examples.
Can a work example be edited?
Yes, the candidate can edit the work example, but all editing should be clearly highlighted.
What will the reviewers be looking for when examining work examples?
Candidates will need to show that they are competent in the functional competencies of assessment, intervention, and consultation. To assist the reviewer with this task, candidates should include a contextual statement showing how their work examples reflect their competence in these areas.
Can a candidate submit two work examples in the same functional competency domain?
No, candidates should submit work examples that reflect different functional competencies. For example, if the first work example reflects assessment competence, the next work example should reflect intervention or consultation competence. Perhaps best would be that candidates make a case in their contextual statements (for at least one of the two work examples) that they reflect competence in more than one area. For example, those who consult in a nursing home on a difficult assessment case could make the case that they are competent in both consultation and assessment domains.
Do the Work Examples or the answers to the Professional Self-Study sections have to show high levels of expertise in all areas?
No – the operative metric at ABPP is for an individual to show an ‘adequate’ level of competence. Indeed, for Work Examples, it is perfectly legitimate to ‘critique’ your performance and show how you might do things differently (i.e., adequately) with the benefit of hindsight.
Do I need to study for the oral exam?
The candidate should know their submitted materials very well vis a vis the foundational and functional competencies they will be tested on. The one portion of the test that candidates should spend time ‘studying’ would be the ethics portion i.e., knowing the APA ethical principles and standards and how they might relate to the ethical vignette(s) that they will be presented regarding older adults.
Do I have to be present in person for the oral exam, or may I join virtually?
As of 2020, we began offering oral exams via teleconference (Zoom).
I am unsure whether or not I can make a case that I am competent in geropsychology. Are there any materials to assist me in making this determination?
Yes, in addition to reading over the materials on the ABGERO website re minimal qualifications, applicants are encouraged to complete the Tool for the Assessment of Competencies in Geropsychology. (Karel, M. J., Holley, C., Whitbourne, S. K., Segal, D. L., Tazeau, Y., Emery, E., Molinari, V., Yang, J., & Zweig, R. (2012). Preliminary validation of a tool to assess knowledge and skills for professional geropsychology practice. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 43(2), 110-117.) The Tool is available here on GeroCentral.
Is the development of the ABPP in geropsychology signaling a new era of exclusion for those who want to work with older adults?
As every geropsychologist knows, there is a dearth of mental health professionals who want to provide services to older adults. The purpose of the ABPP is to certify individuals who are competent in working with older adults. For those who are unable to reflect competence either due to education, prior supervision, work experiences etc., our aim is to provide resources (in progress) so that applicants will understand why they were deemed incompetent and then given ways to remedy the situation for the future. We want to encourage competent geropsychologists to gain the ABPP in geropsychology as a formal way of showing their competence in this area, as well as helping others to recognize what they need to do in order to become competent in geropsychology vis a vis the functional domains of assessment, innervation, and consultation.
Is there a mentoring program for those who want to gain the ABPP in geropsychology?
A general mentoring program is in place, and also one specific for VA geropsychologists interested in board certification. Please contact Michelle Mlinac, PsyD, ABPP (mentorship) at if you would like a mentor assigned. Mentorship is encouraged.