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Avatar Author 13 Oct 2022

How to become an RCI Registered Psychologist in India?

Practicing clinical psychology is a desired pursuit of many who aspire to work in the field of mental health. Clinical psychologists mainly work as highly trained professionals in the assessment, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of mental disorders. Although they do not prescribe medicine, clinical psychologists use psychological techniques to inspire change in their clients. There are numerous ways to become a clinical psychologist, but a common factor among all methods is a license issued by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) that regulates and monitors services given to people with mental health problems.

Earlier they typically worked in hospital settings wherein a clinical overview is required. The situation now though has changed, they are also being functionally used in schools, colleges, NGOs, universities, and private clients.

Every psychology student has at least once considered this stream of specialisation as it is the most popular and desirable one for those wishing to have their own practice, etc. In order to obtain an RCI license, certain eligibility criteria have to be met, and only then can you practice as a clinical psychologist. Even without having a psychology background, you can acquire certain degrees/ diplomas to be eligible for RCI approval.

Let us take a look at the need for an RCI license and the process for obtaining it.

Why is an RCI license important?

The RCI is the central regulatory body that monitors mental health services provided in the country. The body is responsible for research development, training, recognition, standardisation of curriculum, recognition of institutions, and registration of professionals. RCI maintains the Central Rehabilitation Register of all qualified professionals who work in the field of rehabilitation and special education.

Thus, in order to run your own clinic or practice as a clinical psychologist, an RCI license is mandatory. Licensed professionals have the authority to issue certificates for mental illness and are also authorised to speak on the subject of declaring a person mentally fit for trial in a court of law.

There are serious consequences for people practicing clinical psychology without an RCI license. The regulatory body can prescribe punitive actions against such people.

Eligibility for RCI Application

At the onset, you may be from any background as far as your bachelor's is concerned, but a master’s degree in psychology is one of the main prerequisites for RCI approval. A bachelor’s degree in psychology is desirable but even if you are not a psychology grad, you can pursue a master’s from universities and colleges that do provide such flexibility.

A checklist for RCI approval is as follows:

1. Master’s in Psychology: As discussed above, this criterion is a necessity, and a regular mode of education is usually preferred. Although, as long as you do your post-grad degree from an RCI-recognised university, you’re good to go.

2. Professional Diploma/M.Phil. In Clinical Psychology: The aim of doing a post-grad diploma is to acquaint you with theoretical inputs and practical clinical experience. Students who complete this stage are also eligible for specialised posts in various health care settings including schools, community centres, rehabilitation units, nursing homes, and so on. On the other hand, an M.Phil. will train you in diagnostic, therapeutic, rehabilitative, and administrative services in the clinical setup. Diplomas are usually concluded within a year and an M. Phil may be for a year or two depending on the institute. In both cases, the institution must be recognised by RCI and must have been undertaken in a regular mode of education. As far as education is concerned, with this criterion, you are eligible to apply for RCI.

3. Documents and Guidelines: The procedure for RCI license is given in detail on the website of the regulatory body as well. Going through it before starting the process will be a great first step. These guidelines contain a list of documents that are to be filed along with the form. Ensure the documents are ready digitally (scanned copies) to be uploaded/ submitted online. Be very careful while following the rules on documents and submissions.

Step – by step process of obtaining an RCI license

Once you go to the RCI Registration website, here are the steps in brief:

1. An application under the RCI Act, 1992 will have to be filled with a form fee of Rs. 1000/. Make sure to fill in the details cautiously and as per the info in your M. Phil. completion certificate.

2. Submit the documents asked by the portal (the website takes out lists and guidelines regarding the applications). Make sure they are scanned.

3. Take out the form given by RCI and get it filled out from your M.Phil. (or PG Diploma) institute that is of course recognised by RCI. This will serve as the Certificate of Authentication.

4. Once submitted, you shall get a Provisional Registration Certificate that shall be valid for a year.

5. Make sure to send all the documents offline as well to the postal address of RCI within 10 days of submitting the forms.

6. Once your license is ready, the official website portal will update the status of your application. You can keep a check on the site and once you get it, you are now an RCI registered psychologist.

Your career in psychology is on the rise!

All things aside, it is important to gain enough expertise in psychology to practice as a clinical psychologist which is why the RCI demands specific requirements. Recently, the RCI also released a list of RCI-approved Diploma courses in Special Education. The changes and efforts are afoot and if this is your calling, falling these steps will ensure a place for you in the clinical practice. The opportunities are also on the rise once you have RCI registration, making this a crucial step in your professional career. However, if you don’t wish to practice as a clinical psychologist, you don’t have to get an RCI registration. Thus, make sure to find your path of focus and work toward that.

The objective of CounselIndia is to provide you with Practical and Simplified Psychology Courses with Psychological Support Platform. We are establishing the biggest network of professional Counsellors and Psychologists around the globe. For more interesting reads, follow CounselIndia or drop us an email at

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