Chapter IX. Educational Affairs
Steps should be taken under APA auspices to accomplish the following goals for improving the teaching of psychology at the precollege levels:
a) development and continuing revision of psychological curricula for elementary and secondary school levels in cooperation with other behavioral, biological, and social science disciplines, as appropriate;
b) collaboration with other behavioral, biological, and social science disciplines to assess the value and determine the feasibility of an interdisciplinary approach to teaching about the behavior and nature of man;
c) development and continuing revision of guidelines for the training of teachers to use the products of curricular development efforts.
Further, APA should support the establishment of a clearinghouse of information on precollege psychology and the development of means to disseminate such information.
Steps should be taken under APA auspices to accomplish the following goals for improving the educational process:
a) encouragement of closer cooperation among psychologists in research related to the educational process in the translation of present knowledge into education related action;
b) improvement of procedures for dissemination of these results to educational administrators, teachers, future teachers, and others who may find them useful, this improvement to be manifested in part by changes in our undergraduate programs.
Further, APA should take official steps to reaffirm its belief that the role of the teacher is a crucial and significant one in society, such steps to include systematic efforts to support and improve teacher education in general.
Policy on encouraging doctoral programs that will build on the masters degree
Council voted approval of the recommendation that because the doctoral degree is the entry level, persons with master's degrees may aspire to full professional training; therefore, departments awarding doctoral degrees should be encouraged to include programs for persons whose formal education has been interrupted at the master's level or persons who must pursue part time education.
Policy on encouraging respecialization training programs
Inasmuch as it is to the advantage of psychology and society to provide for a change of specialty or the development of dual specialties as to encourage unique contributions that might be made by psychologists with broadly diversified backgrounds, Council adopts the following as official policy of the APA:
We strongly urge psychology departments currently engaged in doctoral training to offer training for individuals, already holding the doctoral degree in psychology, who wish to change their specialty. Such programs should be individualized, since background and career objectives vary greatly. It is desirable that financial assistance be made available to students in such programs.
Programs engaging in such training should declare so publicly and include a statement to that effect as a formal part of their program description and/or their application for accreditation.
Psychologists seeking to change their specialty should take training in a program of the highest and, where appropriate, exemplified by the doctoral training programs and internships accredited by the APA.
With respect to subject matter and professional skills, psychologists taking such training must meet all requirements of doctoral training in the new psychological specialty, being given due credit for relevant course work or requirements they have previously satisfied.
It must be stressed, however, that merely taking an internship or acquiring experience in a practicurn setting is not considered adequate preparation for becoming, for example, a clinical, counseling, or school psychologist when prior training has not been in the relevant area.
Upon fulfillment of all formal requirements of such a training program, the students should be awarded a certificate indicating the successful completion of preparation in the particular specialty, thus according them due recognition for their additional education and experience.
This policy statement shall be incorporated in the guidelines of the Committee on Accreditation so that appropriate sanctions can be brought to bear on university or internships training programs that violate paragraphs 4 and/or 5 of the above.
Policy on the use of the term “Professional Psychologist”
The title "Professional Psychologist" has been used so widely and persons with such a wide variety of training and experience, that it does not provide the information the public deserves.
As a consequence, the APA takes the position and makes it a part of its policy that the use of the title "Professional Psychologist," and its variations such as "Clinical Psychologist," "Counseling Psychologist," "School Psychologist," and "Industrial Psychologist" are reserved for those who have completed a Doctoral Training Program in Psychology in a university, college, or professional school of psychology that is APA or regionally accredited. In order to meet this standard, a transition period will be acknowledged for the use of the title "School Psychologist," so that ways may be sought to increase opportunities for doctoral training and to improve the level of the educational codes pertaining to the title.
The APA further takes the position and makes part of its policy that only those who have completed a Doctoral Training Program in Professional Psychology in a university, college, or professional school of psychology that is APA or regionally accredited are qualified independently to provide unsupervised direct delivery of professional services including preventive, assessment, and therapeutic services, The exclusions mentioned above pertaining to school psychologists do not apply to the independent, unsupervised, direct delivery of professional services discussed in this paragraph.
The chairpersons of the Education and Training Board, the Board of Professional Affairs, and the Board of Scientific Affairs, and one additional member of each of these boards, are requested to serve as an Ad hoc Task Force on Master's Level Issues. Specifically, the task force is charged with reviewing the range of issues encompassed in master's level education with respect to: (1) the quality of such education; (2) the numbers of people being trained; (3) posteducational opportunities and employment patterns of persons with master's degrees; and (4) the desirability and feasibility of APA's formally accrediting such programs.
Current MA members of the APA, and MA licensed psychologists, having met earlier standards of the profession, are to be regarded as comparably qualified through education, experience, examination, and the test of time, as are present and future doctoral psychologists, and shall be entitled under APA guidelines to hold the title of "Psychologist." It is not the intent of this policy statement to take away nay of their accomplishments or status.
Policy on respecialization education and training
The American Psychological Association holds that respecialization education and training for psychologists possessing the doctoral degree should be conducted by those academic units in regionally accredited universities and professional schools currently offering doctoral training in the relevant specialty, and in conjunction with regularly organized internship agencies where appropriate. Respecialization for purposes of offering services in clinical, counseling, or school psychology should be linked to relevant APA approved programs.
Policy on needed education and training to teach psychology at the postsecondary level
The bachelor's degree is not sufficient preparation for teaching psychology at the postsecondary level. The doctoral degree is the preferred requirement, and the master's degree in psychology the minimum requirement, with the exception of students enrolled in doctoral programs in psychology.
Principles of good practice in continuing education
Principles of Good Practice in Continuing Education (PDF, 1.4MB)
Statement of principles on academic freedom and tenure of the American Association of University of Professors (from 1960)
Council voted to reaffirm its 1960 endorsement of the Statement of Principles on Academic Freedom and Tenure of the American Association of University of Professors. Council also voted to reaffirm its 1986 endorsement of the Guidelines for Conditions of Employment of Psychologists developed by CAFCOE and to encourage periodic review and updating of that document as warranted by changes in the field.
Suggested guidelines for the evaluation and training of clinical, counseling, and school psychologists who graduated prior to 1979
Resolution on representation of graduate students within programs and departments responsible for educating and training students of psychology
WHEREAS the American Psychological Association (APA) has not yet articulated a policy on an appropriate role for psychology graduate students in the governance of programs and departments responsible for educating and training students of psychology;
WHEREAS two surveys (APAGS, 1989; 1991) suggest that the 20,000+ constituents of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) place increased programmatic and departmental representation (e.g., input into curricula; representation on training committees) at the top of their agenda;
WHEREAS survey data (APAGS, 1991) suggest great variation in the scope and nature of graduate student representation within departmental and program governance, with some psychology programs and departments mandating voting representation by graduate students, while other programs and departments allow little or no input by their graduate students;
WHEREAS the Accreditation Handbook (1986) acknowledges that students within departments and programs of psychology "can play important roles in program planning, development, execution and evaluation...their involvement in leadership and administrative functions, as appropriate to their status as students, can be an excellent source of training and development for their professional careers" (p. 10);
WHEREAS the unique perspectives of graduate students can help departmental and program administrators and faculty evaluate and refine their education and training programs;
WHEREAS graduate students are not separate from, but an integral part of an education and training "team" whose performance is affected by their well-being;
THEREFORE be it resolved that the Council of Representatives of the American Psychological Association endorses the principle of meaningful participation by graduate students in the programmatic and administrative decisions that affect them. Programs and departments responsible for educating and training students in psychology are thus encouraged to develop guidelines that explicate the means through which students have appropriate input.
The Council of Representatives requests an update on the issue of graduate student representation within departments and programs responsible for educating and training students of psychology in three years.
WHEREAS the quality of teaching is a major factor in current higher education reform initiatives;
WHEREAS changing student demographics, increased demand for accountability in higher education, and rapidly changing technological advances in instruction and equipment techniques demand greater teacher competence in these areas;
WHEREAS the increased use of part-time faculty members for the purposes of alleviating the shortages incurred during periods of heavy student enrollments constitutes a faculty with few teaching resources, who teach the largest numbers of students, and who also have a high potential for student impact;
WHEREAS there is an increasing need to be aware of ethical behaviors in teaching;
WHEREAS over the last 25 years there have been a plethora of articles about the inadequacies in the preparation of college teachers and the assessment of instructional needs;
WHEREAS effective programs for preparing psychologists/graduate students for teaching already exist;
WHEREAS over 70% of psychologists engage in teaching activities in the classroom, in workshops, or in supervision activities during their careers;
WHEREAS the vast majority of psychology faculty have had little or no formal training for their role as teachers; and
WHEREAS having access to effective teaching skills early in the psychology career has beneficial effects on the growth of those teaching skills, the teachers' attitudes towards teaching, and the subsequent combined beneficial impact upon students;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the American Psychological Association encourages all graduate programs in psychology to offer a teaching enhancement program to graduate students. Such programs could include, but would not be limited to: coursework in the psychology of teaching and learning; mentoring with an exemplary teacher; supervised experience in teaching; and participation in teaching discussion groups.
Policy on half-time internships
In accordance with existing Committee of Accreditation policy that all interns should receive appropriate stipends and that all internships can be full or half time, Council reaffirms the existing APA policy on half time internships by acknowledging, supporting and facilitating compliance with and implementation of this policy.
In addition, in the geographic areas where there is a shortage of half time internships, Council encourages the development of half time opportunities to meet such needs.
Resolution on attracting ethnic minority students to the study of psychology
WHEREAS the general population of the United States is projected to change within the next generation and become a pluralistic society;
WHEREAS there is a current and projected under representation of ethnic minority students, faculty, practitioners, and researchers in the field of psychology;
WHEREAS the educational pipeline requires recruitment and retention efforts across the spectrum of education from pre college to entry into the field of psychology;
WHEREAS psychologists in education will need to become increasingly conversant on issues relevant to an increasingly diverse student population and pluralistic society; and
WHEREAS the lack of ethnic minority representation and focus impacts the relevance of psychology to prepare students to function in a diversified society and to provide appropriate services;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that APA places a high priority on issues related to the education of ethnic minorities. These issues include planning appropriately diverse curricula, promoting psychology as a course of study and career option as well as recruitment, retention, advising, and mentoring of minority students at all levels of education.
Taxonomy for post doctoral and continuing education and training in psychology
Resolution on the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) reciprocity agreement
WHEREAS the evolution of the discipline of psychology is best served if the profession can recognize and adopt clear and reasonable standards for practice, and
WHEREAS it is in the public interest that patterns of education, training, licensure and credentialing be coherent and orderly, and
WHEREAS it is also in the public interest that the practicing psychologists be able to move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction without undue impediments to the pursuit of their careers, and
WHEREAS each state and provincial board must nonetheless continue to be vested with the autonomous authority to act in the best interest of its citizenry,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of Representatives endorses the principle of reciprocity for licensed psychologists and supports efforts to accomplish this.
Use of the term "clinical” in specialty and proficiency titles
That the Commission for the Recognition of Specialties and Proficiencies in Professional Psychology (CRSPPP) may consider any new specialty or proficiency that incorporates the modifier "clinical" in its title if the petition for recognition of that specialty or proficiency was received by CRSPPP on or before January 1, 1998; and Council may act upon the recommendations forwarded by CRSPPP pertaining to such petitions.
That subsequent to January 1, 1998, new specialty or proficiency petitions for recognition using in their titles modifiers that duplicate existing general practice specialty designations (i.e., clinical, counseling, school, industrial/organizational) will not be accepted for review by CRSPPP with the use of such title.
That, consistent with recommendation #1, the proficiency Geropsychology, approved by Council at the February 1998 meeting, be allowed to retain the modifier “clinical” in its title, such that the name of the proficiency shall be “Clinical Geropsychology.”
That the term "Health Service Psychologist” or "Health Service Provider in Psychology" be the preferred term in language used to describe practicing psychologists or professional psychology students in relation to statutes, rules or regulations, and commercial policies that pertain to eligibility for health services reimbursement and health professions education and training. In using that term, or for instances in which other language is already used (e.g., use of the term "clinical” as a modifier for "psychologist” or "psychology”) and change in that language is unlikely, it is further recommended that language used in the interpretive rules or implementing regulations be consistent with the definition of psychologists as health service providers approved by the Council of Representatives in February 1996, as follows:
Psychologists who are duly trained and experienced in the delivery of preventive, assessment, diagnostic, and intervention services relative to the psychological and physical health of consumers based on: 1) having completed scientific and professional training resulting in a doctoral degree in psychology; 2) having completed an internship and supervised experience in health care settings; and 3) having been licensed as psychologists at the independent practice level.
Or, as recently accepted by the Health Care Financing Administration, in defining the term "clinical psychologist” that was in that agency’s regulatory language, to the following effect:
A clinical psychologist is an individual who holds a doctoral degree in psychology; and (2) is licensed or certified, on the basis of the doctoral degree in psychology, by the state in which he or she practices, at the independent practice level of psychology to furnish diagnostic, assessment, preventive, and therapeutic services directly to individuals.
That the APA be consistent in its use of the term "specialty” or "specialties” in publishing information about APA member interests, educational background, or teaching, research, and practice focus, reserving use of those terms for reference to formally recognized professional practice specialties in psychology.
Specialty in professional psychology: Forensic psychology
Proficiency in professional psychology: Psychological treatment of alcohol and other psychoactive substance disorders
Industrial and organizational psychology as a specialty in professional psychology
Developing and evaluating standards and guidelines related to education and training in psychology: Context, procedures and criteria
Guidelines for education and training at the doctoral and postdoctoral level in consulting psychology/organizational consulting psychology
Clinical child psychology as a specialty in professional psychology
Clinical psychology as specialty in professional psychology
Psychoanalysis in psychology as a specialty in professional psychology
Need for diversity in accreditation
That the Council of Representatives recognizes the spirit of compromise implicit in the Accreditation Summit agreement and specifically commends the group for its recognition of the importance of ensuring inclusion of individual and cultural diversity as noted in the overarching principle from the Summit report:
The Commission on Accreditation (CoA) is committed, to the fullest extent possible, to support diversity in all aspects of the accreditation enterprise. The CoA offers strong encouragement for, and a continuing expectation that, all organizations and groups will nominate individuals representing cultural and individual differences and diversity. The CoA will continuously monitor the nomination and appointment process to insure its ability to maintain diversity on the Commission and will report annually on the diversity of the CoA and its panels to its various publics (Accreditation Summit Report, p.3)
The Council also strongly encourages solicitation of nominations for the Public Interest Individual and Cultural Diversity seat from the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest, the ethnic minority associations, and other relevant organizations.
APA policies for accreditation governance
APA Policies for Accreditation Governance (PDF, 37KB)
Guidelines and principles for accreditation of programs in professional psychology
Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology (PDF, 151KB)
The Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation in Professional Psychology (G&P) will be replaced by the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology (SoA) on January 1, 2017. The SoA were approved by the APA Council of Representatives in February 2015 and will serve as a guiding document for health service psychology training programs seeking initial or continued accreditation. All programs who submit a self-study on or after September 1, 2016 for a 2017 site visit, will submit a self-study demonstrating adherence to the SoA and not the G&P.
Policy regarding concurrent accreditation with Canada
That the Council of Representatives approves the following changes in Domain A: Eligibility of the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology (bracketed text to be deleted):
A. Doctoral Graduate Programs
Domain A: Eligibility
As a prerequisite for accreditation, the program’s purpose must be within the scope of the accrediting body and must be pursued in an institutional setting appropriate for the doctoral education and training of professional psychologists.
The program offers doctoral education and training in psychology, one goal of which is to prepare students for the practice of professional psychology.
The program is sponsored by an institution of higher education accredited by a nationally recognized regional accrediting body in the United States [or, in the case of Canadian programs, the institution is publicly recognized by the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada as a member in good standing].
Further, Council requests that staff work with the Canadian Psychological Association in revising the Memorandum of Understanding to allow for the discontinuation of concurrent accreditation.
Resolution in support of education for sustainable development
We, the undersigned United States disciplinary associations, declare our commitment to education for sustainable development. In response to the planetary challenges of the 21st century, we believe that the engagement of the academic disciplines is critical to advancing the broad goals of sustainable development.
The concept of sustainable development emerged in the 1980s in response to a growing awareness of the need to link economic and social progress with environment responsibility. Sustainable development offers a framework for understanding and addressing the most urgent problems of our time. It recognizes that challenges such as global warming, wasteful consumption, environmental degradation, poverty, and violent conflict are interdependent and that interdisciplinary solutions – involving economic, social, environmental, and political dimensions – are required.
The United Nations has declared a Decade of Education for Sustainable Development, 2005-2014. As stated by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the lead agency for the Decade: “The international community now strongly believes that we need to foster - through education - the values, behaviour and lifestyles required for a sustainable future. Education for sustainable development has come to be seen as a process of learning how to make decisions that consider the long-term future of the economy, ecology and equity of all communities. Building the capacity for such futures-oriented thinking is a key task of education.”1
We herein commit to the following actions in support of education for sustainable development:
We will improve our understanding of education for sustainable development through collaboration with other organizations and promotion of programs/projects within our associations.
We will share resources and support innovations in education for sustainable development with our members.
We will work with other organizations to help the public become both literate about our sustainability challenges and more engaged in addressing solutions.
We will encourage our members to identify and pursue linkages between their disciplinary expertise and related issues in sustainable development and to collaborate with other disciplines and specialties for cross-fertilization of ideas and problem-solving around sustainability.
We will practice institutional social responsibility and take action to minimize the negative environmental, social, and economic impacts of our organizational activities.
1UNESCO 2003, United Nations Decade of Education for Sustainable Development (January 2005 - December 2014), Framework for a Draft International Implementation Scheme, p.4.
Procedures for recognition of specialties and proficiencies in professional psychology
Designation Criteria for Education and Training Programs in Preparation for Prescriptive Authority
Proficiency in professional psychology: Assessment and treatment of serious mental illness
Resolution on quality assurance in international education and training: APA as a learning partner
Whereas psychology as a discipline in the United States has a formal system of quality assurance in professional psychology in its accreditation and licensure standards,
Whereas international colleagues in countries that may not have formal systems of quality assurance for psychology education and training have expressed an interest and desire to develop such systems,
Whereas APA desires to learn from others,
Whereas APA desires to serve as a useful source of information about its own systems,
Whereas international discussions of quality assurance may inform future directions in mobility across national boundaries,
Therefore APA will not engage in quality assurance reviews of psychology education and training programs at the international level,
In international education and training arenas APA will strive to be:
A source of information and expertise to work and learn with and from others in the international arena
A collaborator in convening with others around shared goals for policy in quality assurance for psychology
An agent of capacity building about quality assurance in education and training internationally among its own members and with other psychologists around the world
A collaborating organization in developing policies to promote international mechanisms for review of professional credentials.
And APA will strive to:
Use the knowledge gained from collaborations with others to evaluate, enhance, and refine its own efforts in this area.
Recommended Postdoctoral Education and Training Program in Psychopharmacology for Prescriptive Authority
Model Legislation for Prescriptive Authority
Model Legislation for Prescriptive Authority (PDF, 28KB)
Specialty in professional psychology: Family psychology
Advertising of educational programs in APA publications and on the APA Web site will be restricted to those schools or other institutions fully accredited by regional or other institutional accrediting associations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. In addition, for those areas of professional psychology where APA or Canadian Psychological Association accreditation is currently provided (e.g., clinical, counseling, school, combined), APA will restrict advertising to only APA or Canadian Psychological Association accredited programs. Those programs accredited by the American Psychological Association must state that they are APA-accredited and include contact information for the APA Accreditation Office.
Proficiency in professional psychology: Personality Assessment
Proficiency in professional psychology: Psychopharmacology
Specialty in professional psychology: Geropsychology
Clinical Health psychology as a specialty in professional psychology
National standards: The teaching of high school psychology
Principles for quality undergraduate education in psychology
Principles for the Recognition of Specialties in Professional Psychology
Proficiency in professional psychology: Sport psychology
American Psychological Association approval of sponsors of continuing education for psychologists policies and procedures manual
Course-Based and Standards-Based Approaches (PDF, 37KB)
Guidelines for the undergraduate psychology major
Quality professional development and continuing education resolution
Resolution on accreditation for programs that prepare psychologists to provide health services
Specialty in professional psychology: counseling psychology
Specialty in professional psychology: police and public safety psychology
Specialty in professional psychology: school psychology
Specialty in professional psychology: sleep psychology
Guidelines for clinical supervision in health service psychology
Health service psychology
Competencies for psychology practice in primary care
Competencies for psychology practice in primary care (PDF, 586KB)
Guidelines on trauma competencies for education and training
Standards and criteria for approval of sponsors of continuing education for psychologists
Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology (SoA) (PDF, 1.18MB)
The Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology were approved by the APA Council of Representatives in February 2015 and will not go in effect until January 1, 2017. At that time, the SoA will replace the current Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation in Professional Psychology (G&P), and serve as a guiding document for health service psychology training programs seeking initial or continued accreditation. All programs who submit a self-study on or after September 1, 2016, for a 2017 site visit, will submit a self-study demonstrating adherence to the SoA and not the G&P.