Examination History & Statistics
(Caveat: The total number of members in the AAPN is relatively small. We would caution the reader against making improper generalizations or extrapolations from such small numbers.)
The American Academy Of Pediatric Neuropsychology has been in existence since 1995. It was originally intended to be a multidisciplinary board, examining psychologists and physicians. Between 1995 and 2002, the 5-part written examination which covered pediatric neuroscience, neuropsychology, ethics, research/statistics and testing theory, was administered as the means by which members were certified. Candidates could fail all or part of the exam and be required to retake only those sections they had failed.
At NAN, 2006, of the 9 that took the practice sample review, written exam, and oral exam, 7 passed (78%). Three of the new candidates were selected to take the written examination for validation purposes only, although their scores for the validated sections were reviewed and all 3 would have passed that section.
During 1995 and 2002, forty-five people took the written exam. Fifteen more took the exam for validation purposes only. Three candidates failed multiple sections and never took the exam again. Of those that persevered, several failed sections and chose to retake them. Thirty-five candidates ultimately passed all 5 sections and became boarded members (35/45 = 78% pass rate). The number that passed the test on the first trial is unknown. The most commonly retaken task domain was Pediatric Neuroscience.
In 2002, the AAPN temporarily ceased giving examinations because of concern that its application and written examination-only model was insufficient to assess the range of competencies required in the practice of pediatric neuropsychology. The decision was to reformulate the examination so that it more accurately assessed those skills.
Between 2002 and 2004, a study committee that included a paid, well known, non-AAPN boarded pediatric neuropsychologist consultant, worked to enhance the application (18 pages) to guide self-selection on the part of the applicants, modify the objective examination, added the requirement of a practice sample, and developed an oral examination that was based upon the model employed by the ASPPB for the Certificate for Professional Qualification. The board also voted to structure the organization and exams such that they would meet ABPP guidelines.
In early 2004, the AAPN reincorporated as a not-for-profit corporation in Indiana, with the sole purpose of certifying competence in pediatric neuropsychology. New bylaws were written, the trademark purchased from the original corporation and the members from the previous board that could meet the new corporation’s certification requirements were migrated. Of the original set of certified members, several (six) could not meet the current requirement guidelines because they were either not licensed health service providers in psychology, they chose not to take the remaining sequence of the exam, had inadequate backgrounds to allow for certification by the current board because they were too ill or were deceased. The remaining 29 members were required to complete the two new phases of examination (which included an oral and practice sample review). Since the written examination has been augmented now by nearly 100 questions (now totaling 200), all current candidates take all questions, with only a pre-defined set of 100 being used for pass/fail status.
When the board re-incorporated in 2004, the new bylaws and policies gave the remaining members a defined period of time by which they could complete the examination sequence. This policy allowed them two opportunities to complete the sequence before they would be required to forfeit their board certification with the new corporation (although they would certainly be welcome to start the process again).
Of the 3 members who were previously boarded under the conditions of the old corporation, 2 passed (66%).
As of November 1, 2013
- Total applications: 140
- Total accepted to sit for the exam: 118
- Of those denied, number resubmitted following additional training: 7
- Pass rate for Application submission: 84%
- Percentage passing old exam: 78%
- Total applicants attempting exam since 2004: 87
- Pass rate for applications since 2004: 77%
- Overall pass rate for Written Exam: 77%
- Percentage of previously boarded members completing exam: 66%
- Since 2004, pass rate for new applicants: 112/141, 81%
- Overall pass rate for Oral Exam: 79%
Statistics for Previously Boarded Members
- Percentage of passage for Oral/Written Sample on first attempt: 67%
Additional validation study
Finally, in mid-2006, the AAPN executive board voted to select 25 non-boarded, but recognized pediatric neuropsychologists who spend the majority of their time in the clinical practice of pediatric neuropsychology (versus teaching or research) in the U.S. to serve as a criterion sample for the written exam. This validation study is underway. The method and analysis will be published upon its completion.
General Eligibility Requirements for Specialty Certification in Pediatric Neuropsychology
Pursuant to the language in the AAPN bylaws (2003), a successful applicant for board certification in pediatric neuropsychology, must meet the following minimal eligibility criteria:
- The application process of the ABPdN involves an extensive review of the applicant’s training and educational history. Minimum standards include: completion of a doctoral degree from a regionally accredited program in applied psychology that was, at the time the degree was granted, accredited by the APA, CPA or was listed in the publication Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designation Criteria (“ASPPB National Register designation committee”, 2008). Membership in the National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, the Canadian Register of Health Service Providers, or those holding the Certificate of Professional Qualification qualify as meeting the doctoral requirements for membership provided that the degree was not granted from an online institution and that the residency requirements conform to APA CoA standards have been met (http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/about/policies/doctoral-instructions-2011.pdf).
- Licensure or certification at the independent practice level as a psychologist in the State, Province, or Territory in which the psychologist actively practices. (United States and Canada)
Specific Eligibility Requirements for the AAPN
Practicing as a pediatric neuropsychologist, licensed at the independent level, and:
1. An APPIC or APA approved internship
2. Two years of formal post-doctoral supervised experience, at least 50% of that being pediatric oriented.
1. An APPIC or APA approved internship that includes a documented rotation of concentration in neuropsychology.
2. Organized training and experience in the neurosciences, pediatrics, assessment, rehabilitation, and psychopathology of no less than 2 years. Workshops and weekend conferences cannot meet this requirement.
Embracing of the Houston Conference Guidelines
In 2004, the AAPN opted to support the Houston Conference Guidelines (HCG) as a means by which the field of neuropsychologist could most easily identify the proper training for neuropsychologists. For that reason, the AAPN executive board announced their intent to fully require the guidelines for any persons graduating after December 31, 2005. However, there has been additional dialogue by the major professional organizations such as the APA, NAN and INS with regards to the current feasibility of implementation of the HCG.
Evidence for the field’s hesitancy in regard to the HCG can be found in the statement made by the Board of Directors, National Academy of Neuropsychology (2001):
"Be it resolved that the Executive Board of the National Academy of Neuropsychology, while meeting in open session and having been a sponsor of the Houston Conference, views the requirement for employment that a Neuropsychologist 'be trained in accordance with the principles of the Houston Conference' or similar statements to be premature. The Houston Conference Training Guidelines are properly considered as aspirational and should not be subject to rigid application."
Therefore, with these facts in mind, the AAPN has determined that the HCG should be considered aspirational at this time. The AAPN will continue to consider the training and experience of those applying on a case-by-case basis. AAPN will routinely ask applicants to provide additional documentation (if necessary) to determine their qualifications and readiness for board certification. It is the applicant’s responsibility to demonstrate the adequacy of their training in those instances where their training differs substantially from the HCG.
Fees & Exam Schedule
Interested parties can obtain a copy of the application by contacting us or the application can be downloaded here in PDF format.
There is no fee for the application. Upon submitting the application, the following fees apply:
- Application Fee - $350.00 (submitted with the application)
- Examination Fee - $450.00
- Induction Fee - $150.00
- Yearly Dues - $250.00
The written and oral examinations are scheduled at least twice a year and are usually administered at the fall meeting of the National Academy of Neuropsychology (NAN) and at the Children’s Hospital, New Orleans each spring.
Mail completed applications in triplicate to:
121 South Wilke Road, Suite 200
Arlington Heights, IL 60005