The Dubai Health Authority (DHA) is a government regulating body in Dubai, which among many functions, issues licenses to health facilities and health professionals. Within the profession of psychology, the DHA issues professional licenses to the following categories: addiction psychologists, clinical psychologists, forensic psychologists, health psychologists, and neuropsychologists. In this article we describe how to become DHA-licensed.
The criteria for licensing have evolved over the last decades and the latest manual for “Licensing Healthcare Professionals” was issued in 2022. According to the DHA, you should read this manual in conjunction with the Unified Healthcare Professional Qualification Requirements (PQR).
The PQR is a document published in 2022 by the PQR Committee, represented by various UAE regulatory Health Authorities: The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOH), Department of Health -Abu Dhabi (DOH), Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Sharjah Health Authority (SHA).
Long story short, the PQR is basically a document, which regulating bodies can use as a reference, to assess the credentials of applicants.
Hoopfull has reviewed the PQR, and we believe for new to UAE psychologists the following pages may be of interest:
- Licensure General Requirements Pages 11-13
- Allied Healthcare Professionals Pages 73-76; Psychology Page 108
- Exam Equivalency Criteria Page 143
Hoopfull spoke to clinical psychologist and Hoopfull member, Mina Shafik, who obtained his DHA license in March 2022. Mina holds a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from a professional school in the United States. When he first moved to the UAE, he was missing the DHA-required 2 years work experience post-graduation. In order to be able to work in Dubai, he first became licensed as a therapist with the CDA. After obtaining work experience, he was able to re-apply with the DHA under the Clinical Psychology category.
If you need information about CDA licensing, please read this post.
Hoopfull also spoke to Letizia Mugnai a DHA-licensed psychologist, who completed a Master’s in Clinical Psychology in 2007, followed by 5 years of psychotherapy training in Italy. Letizia went through her licensing journey in 2021 while she was still living in Italy. She hired a company named Allocation Assist. Hoopfull contacted Allocation Assist to enquire about cost of services but did not receive a response.
Health professionals don’t necessarily need to go through a third party for their licensing journey and can go through the licensing process directly via the DHA website.
Below are the steps to become licensed with the DHA as a psychologist:
Once on the DHA dashboard where it says, “DHA Services for Health Professionals/Facilities” click on “Visit Sheryan Portal.” Sheryan is the digital gateway used for licensing health professionals as well as facilities in Dubai. The portal is embedded in the DHA website.
2) Complete the self-assessment tool to check whether you qualify for a DHA license as a psychologist.
For psychologists, select “allied health” and answer the prompts. You can go back and do this as many times as you want.
Mina Shafik suggested that you should not give up if at first glance the self-assessment result suggests that you don’t qualify. Sometimes a small tweak can give a different result. For example, if someone has completed a 2-year Master’s degree they should specify a timeline that reflects exactly 24 month of study period e.g., September 1, 2020 to August 31, 2022. Most 2 year Master’s degrees are actually completed within 2 academic rather than calendar years-but adjusting this date will give different results. Interesting loophole!
3) The below steps can be done in parallel:
a) Primary Source Verification (PSV) via Dataflow This is a portal where all documents submitted to the DHA will be reviewed for authenticity. You need to submit your attested degrees/diplomas, proof of work experience (reference letters), proof of license from other licensing bodies, and good standing certificates from other licensing authorities. This process can take about 2-3 weeks.
b) Computer Based Testing via Prometric center
Professionals who already hold a license from certain countries are exempt from taking the the exam. See page 143 of Professional Qualification Requirements (PQR).
You will need your DHA unique ID number. You can find it in your Sheryan DHA account by clicking on your profile picture on the top right. Results of testing will become available within a few days. You will find your result of pass or fail on your Sheryan DHA account.
Letizia Mugnai stated that the exam was composed of 150 multiple choice questions. She studied by taking various practice exams that she was able to source online. According to Mina Shafik the exam heavily emphasized biological basis of behavior and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Research methods and statistics also weighed heavily. He studied by reviewing EPPP study material.
4) Receive your eligibility letter and secure a work contract.
Once you have met all requirements and all documents go through Dataflow successfully, and you pass the exam (or there is an exemption), you will receive an eligibility letter which will allow you to secure employment from a DHA approved facility.
Then, the facility will send you an invitation on the DHA website. Once you accept the invitation, the DHA will issue your license.
In the past, the DHA required an oral assessment for psychologists. Hoopfull has not spoken to anyone who has been required to go through an oral assessment recently.
A final note: Hoopfull is not able to give you guidance about licensing. If you have any questions, speak to the DHA directly. We wish you a smooth journey in your licensing and hope the information here will be helpful! Happy licensing!