Resolution on Accreditation for Programs that Prepare Psychologists to Provide Health Services

Whereas a defining feature of a profession is its professing to the public its shared standards and values (Friedson, 2001; IOM, 2013);

Whereas the profession of psychology is responsible for developing and defining standards for the preparation of professional psychologists;

Whereas a hallmark of a mature, autonomous profession is its self-regulation (Shah, Anderson & Humphrey, 2008);

Whereas “Accreditation is the process used in U.S. education to ensure that schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education providers meet, and maintain, minimum standards of quality and integrity regarding academics, administration, and related services.” (U.S. Department of Education, 2013a);

Whereas “Both the federal and state governments recognize accreditation as the mechanism by which institutional and programmatic legitimacy are ensured.” (U.S. Department of Education 2013a);

Whereas accreditation of professional psychology education and training programs is a peer review process that provides evidence to the public and potential students of psychology’s commitment to quality assurance and accountability;

Whereas the American Psychological Association (APA) Commission on Accreditation is the only accrediting body recognized by the United States Secretary of Education to accredit professional psychology doctoral, internship and postdoctoral programs (U.S. Department of Education, 2013);

Whereas APA accreditation protects and empowers students by ensuring adequate education, supervision, access to due process procedures and a commitment to training over service through the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology (APA, 2009a);

Whereas APA accreditation facilitates access to federal funding for education and training and has been required for grant programs administered by the Health Resources and Services Graduate Psychology Education Program since its inception (HRSA, 2013);

Whereas the APA has recognized the equivalence of the systems of accreditation of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) through the First Street Accord (APA, 2012);

Whereas many students enter doctoral programs to prepare for careers as professional psychologists engaged in the delivery of health care services (APA, 2013);

Whereas psychology has long been recognized as a broad health profession that is inclusive of but not confined to mental health services (Schofield, 1969; Belar, 1980; Stone, Weiss, Matarazzo, Miller, Rodin, Belar, Follick & Singer, 1987);

Whereas “Psychologists are recognized as Health Service Providers if they are duly trained and experienced in the delivery of preventive, assessment, diagnostic and therapeutic 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” (APA,1996; APA, 2011);

Whereas the competencies to be expected in the preparation of health service psychologists through education and training have been articulated by the interorganizational Health Service Psychology Education Collaborative (HSPEC, in press);

Whereas psychology is the only major health profession that does not require preparation in programs accredited by the profession for entry to practice;

Whereas one of the three goals in the APA strategic plan is the advancement of psychology in health (APA, 2009b);

Therefore

APA affirms that health service psychologists must be trained in APA/CPA accredited doctoral and APA/CPA accredited internship programs or programs accredited by an accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education for the accreditation of professional psychology education and training in preparation for entry to practice.

APA also affirms that graduation from an APA/CPA accredited doctoral and APA/CPA internship training program, or programs accredited by an accrediting body that is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education for the accreditation of professional psychology education and training in preparation for entry to practice, be a prerequisite for licensure for independent practice as health service psychologists.

Unaccredited programs that train health service psychologists are expected to obtain APA/CPA accreditation in a timely fashion following APA Council of Representatives approval of this policy, no later than five years for doctoral programs and no later than seven years for internship programs.

Approved by the APA Council of Representatives, August 2013

References

American Psychological Association. (1996). Recognition of health service providers. Approved Council Resolution. C.(17). Retrieved June 15, 2013 from http://www.apa.org/about/policy/chapter-10.aspx#recognition-service.

American Psychological Association. (2009a) Guidelines and Principles for the Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

American Psychological Association (2009b). American Psychological Association Strategic Plan. Retrieved June 15, 2013 from: http://www.apa.org/about/apa/strategic-plan/default.aspx.

American Psychological Association. (2011). Model act for state licensure of psychologists. American Psychologist, 66, 214-226. doi:10.1037/a0022655.

American Psychological Association. (2012). First Street Accord. Retrieved June 15, 2013 from http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/first-street-accord.aspx.

American Psychological Association. (2013). Graduate Study in Psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Belar, C. D. (1980). Training the clinical psychology student in behavioral medicine. Professional Psychology: Theory, Research,and Practice, 11, 620-627.

Friedson, E. (2001). Professionalism: The third logic. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Health Service Psychology Education Collaborative (in press). Professional Psychology in Health Care Services: A Blueprint for Education and Training. American Psychologist. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Health Resources and Services Administration (2013). Graduate Psychology Education Program. Retrieved June 15, 2013 from http://bhpr.hrsa.gov/grants/mentalbehavioral/gpe.html.

Institute of Medicine. (2013). Establishing transdisciplinary professionalism for health. May 14-15, 2013. Washington, DC: National Academy of Sciences.

Schofield, W. (1969). The role of psychology with delivery of health services. American Psychologist, 24, 565–584.

Shah, N., Anderson, J., & Humphrey, H.J. (2008). Teaching professionalism: A tale of three schools. Perspectives in Biology and Medicine, 51, 535-546.

Stone, G. C., Weiss, S. M., Matarazzo, J. D., Miller, N. E., Rodin, J., Belar, C. D., Follick, M. & Singer, J. E. (Eds.). (1987). Health psychology: A discipline and a profession. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

U. S. Department of Education. (2013a). Accreditation and quality Assurance. Retrieved June 15, 2013 from http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ous/international/usnei/us/edlite-accreditation.html.

U. S. Department of Education. (2013b). Recognized Specialized Accreditors. Retrieved June 15, 2013 from: http://www2.ed.gov/admins/finaid/accred/accreditation_pg7.html#health.