By now, you're probably aware that there are simply not enough quality internships available to meet the training needs of those psychology graduate students who need to complete a yearlong internship to earn a doctorate. Every year, the crisis deepens, with more students failing to find an internship through the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers match.
As someone who recently completed the match process, I know just how huge a problem this is. It costs students money and time, not to mention many sleepless nights. This is why APAGS representatives and staff are persistently working to keep the crisis at the forefront of every training organization's agenda and educating the next generation of graduate students about the problem.
In December, APAGS co-organized a meeting called Courageous Conversations II that brought together representatives from six doctoral training councils, including APPIC. One representative from each group committed to a new action to resolve the crisis, while also making specific requests of other participants. Our representative, former APAGS Chair Ali Mattu, PhD, made a commitment to educate potential graduate students about the internship crisis so they can make informed decisions before they apply to graduate school.
We also asked the training councils to encourage their member programs to provide financial support for students who are unsuccessful in matching to an internship site. This could come in the form of continued funding, tuition remission and allowing unmatched students to retain their enrollment status. All of the training councils agreed to this proposal, and we look forward to seeing schools implement these measures.
In January, we premiered this program at the National Multicultural Summit and Conference in Houston — a regular meeting of scientists, practitioners, scholars and students to inform and inspire multicultural theory, research and practice in psychology and related fields. In a round-table discussion, we educated students about the importance of accreditation and suggested questions to ask, including:
Is the program APA accredited?
How long does it take to graduate?
How much does it cost to attend?
How many students are funded?
What is the match rate to APA-accredited internship sites?
What is the licensure rate of graduates of the program?
We used screenshots of program websites to show how to find the answers to these questions. In the future, we'll provide this information in a variety of formats, including handouts, webinars that will reach students across the country and potentially even videos. Look for more information on the APAGS website.
Meanwhile, we are working toward increasing the number of APA-accredited internship positions. Last year, APA's Council of Representatives agreed to provide up to $3 million over three years for an internship stimulus program, intended to help nonaccredited internships overcome the barriers to achieving accreditation. APA has just awarded the first round of grants, with more than $600,000 awarded to 32 internship programs. Over the next few years, the funding will help as many as 150 programs gain APA accreditation and will create up to 520 newly accredited internship positions.
I know this is merely the first battle in what's likely to be a long siege, but I want you to know that we are fighting tirelessly on your behalf and will continue to do so until every psychology graduate student gets the quality training he or she deserves.
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