The internship match imbalance continues to be a significant issue facing professional psychology, but several efforts have been developed to address the problem, said speakers at a session during APA’s 2010 Annual Convention.

This year, 846 psychology doctoral students who sought internships — 23 percent — did not match with an internship during the initial match process, according to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers. That number is on par with last year when a record 24 percent of applicants did not match. Students who don’t get an internship can face delays in completing a doctorate, sustain additional expenses and have more student loan debt.

The convention session, sponsored by APA’s Board of Educational Affairs, “provided an opportunity to inform attendees about the specific actions that have been taken related to the match imbalance as well as to convey the collaboration that is occurring among groups related to these actions,” says Catherine Grus, PhD, deputy executive director of the APA Education Directorate.

Speakers included representatives from doctoral training councils, APPIC, APA’s Education Directorate and the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students.

Progress so far includes:

  • The creation of an online toolkit that helps psychology programs find funding and support to launch new internships. The kit was unveiled earlier this year by the Council of Chairs of Training Councils and is available online. The eventual goal of the toolkit is to foster the creation of new internship slots to help meet demand. 
  • APA and APPIC are stressing “truth in advertising” for psychology programs. APA emphasizes that students must have easy access to information about match rates for specific doctoral programs.

“While progress has been made in terms of implementing actions to address the imbalance, efforts need to continue and the groups involved have made a commitment to ongoing discussion and action,” Grus said.

—S. Martin