Getting registered as a psychologist

In the Netherlands the title ‘psychologist’ is not statutorily protected. Anyone may use this title regardless of one’s training or work experience. When you graduate from a science based university you can use the title Master of Science in Psychology. However to be able to work in certain disciplines within psychology you often need additional registrations.

In this section we give you an overview of the different registrations used in the Netherlands. These registrations can only be obtained by psychologists with a Master of Science in Psychology. In the Netherlands graduates with a Master in Psychology are often referred to as ‘master psychologists’ (master psychologen) or ‘basic psychologists’ (basispsychologen). They have undertaken a four year psychology course and will then continue training through formal education and work experience to qualify for working in the Dutch Healthcare sector.


Qualification Psychologist NIP

Because the title ‘psychologist’ is not a protected title in the Netherlands, the NIP has introduced the professional trademark PSYCHOLOOG NIP. The trademark protects both the client and the profession against frauds and self-declared caretakers. To apply for the trademark, you should meet the following requirements:

  • NIP-membership
  • 1440 hours of work experience (postgraduate)
  • References from two experienced psychologists stating that this working experience was carried out in good order

Go to the application form to apply as PSYCHOLOGIST NIP (Dutch only).
Alongside the title of our association that helps you to be recognized as a qualified psychologist there are two registrations often used: the BIG-registration and the NIP-registrations.



BIG means ‘Professions in the Healthcare of the Individual’ (Beroepen in de Individuele Gezondheidszorg.) The BIG-register is a governmental body that lists officially acknowledged providers of healthcare. Only BIG-registered professionals are legally authorised to use this protected title that stands for identifiable expertise and capability.

In order to get included in the BIG-register healthcare professionals need to have completed a course or training that is approved by the Dutch government. Apart from dentists, doctors and nurses, four disciplines in psychology are protected by the BIG-register:


Healthcare psychologist (Gezondheidszorgpsycholoog/ gz-psycholoog)

A Healthcare psychologist works with clients to examine mental health issues and disorders that affect the life of the client. Healthcare psychologists also explore the underlying mental aspects that come with physical illnesses, disabilities and handicaps. Main tasks are diagnosing and treatment.



In the Netherlands Psychotherapists working in mental healthcare work as self-employed professionals. They give intensive psychological care based on psychotherpeutical methods.

The profession Healthcare psychologist has two specializations:


Clinical psychologist

Clinical psychologists are specialised in psycho-diagnostics and psychological intervention methods in cases of severe and complex psychopathological problems that hamper one’s. Psychotherapy is the most common treatment employed by clinical psychologists. The clinical psychologist has the knowledge and skills to execute and coordinate scientific research. They are also trained in management and education.


Clinical Neuropsychologist

The Clinical Neuropsychologist is specialised in the relationship between the brain and behavior. They apply this knowledge in their day to day practice by setting diagnosis and dealing with mental and physical problems. The Clinical Neuropsychologist treats patients with acquired brain disorders or specific groups of psychiatric patients. For instance children with development disorders and learning difficulties. Clinical Neuropsychologists are highly skilled and trained in coordinating and executing scientific research. They also have a thorough command of management and educational skills.

All psychologists registered with the BIG register have a unique BIG-number which can be checked  by the public.

  • To see if you can register in the BIG-register directly with your foreign diploma, see the website.
  • The BIG-register in general:



The NIP administers various registration arrangements for psychologists. These registrations set standards to protect patients against incompetent and unqualified professionals. Also, the registrations secure and advance the quality of psychological care. The NIP administers the following seven registrations:

General Psychologist in First Level Healthcare

The General Psychologist in First Level Healthcare works in close cooperation with General Practitioners who refer patients with the most common psychological problems. The General Psychologist in First Level Healthcare makes diagnoses and offers treatment. The treatment concentrates on the elimination and control of the psychological issues and problems. Clients with more complex complaints are referred to second level healthcare or a specialised institution. The registration General Psychologist in First Level Healthcare follows after obtaining the registration with the BIG-register


General Child- and Youth Psychologist

A General Child- and Youth Psychologist assesses and treats psychological problems in children up to the age of eighteen. Working with children and young people demands meticulous and specific expertise.
A child- and youth psychologist is a person with a doctorate in psychology, and is specialised in working with children.


Specialist Child- and Youth Psychologist

This registration constitutes a trademark for specific knowledge of working with children at a specialist level. At this moment it is no longer possible to register as a Specialist Child- and Youth Psychologist. NIP is working on the rules and regulations for this registration.


Body-oriented psychologist

The connection between body and psyche is acknowledged in all disciplines of psychology but for body-oriented psychologists it is the centre of attention. This method focuses on psychological problems and the underlying somatic experiences that may cause them.


Occupational and Health psychologist

Occupational psychologists have studied the psychology of labour and organizations or are trained as clinical psychologists. They work on the crossing of psychology and organizational management to get the best from the workforce and improve well-being in work settings.


Occupational and Organisational psychologist

Occupational psychologists have studied the psychology of labour and organizations. They are the professionals with expertise in the domain of human, work and organisation.


Mediator psychologist

The mediatior psychologist is specialised in the process of conflict control, intervention strategies and non-verbal communication. With these skills these psychologists are able to mediate between conflicting parties. The aim is to resolve a conflict without having to turn legal officials.

  • For more information mail to Please, mention the name of the registration in the subject.