Is APA accredation that important?

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by naj, Mar 13, 2002.

  1. naj

    naj New Member

    I have a DL grad school in mind that I want to go for psychology. It is not accredited by the APA but by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Is that good enough? Would that allow me to practice just about anywhere?I welcome any advice, thanks!

  2. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    OK, there's a couple of factors we need to get out of the way before the question gets answered.
    1) I assume you're talking about a PhD/PsyD program.
    2) I assume you're planning on working in the USA once you're done (there's no location listed in your profile).
    If I'm correct both times then the answer is "no." In order to obtain a license to practice, most states require that you either a) get your degree from an APA school or b)got your degree from a program that meets all the APA criteria (such as with a foreign school). The absolute answer needs to come from the state licensing board where you intend to practice. Contact them and ask if you can get a license having obtained your degree from the school you're considering.
    Good luck,
  3. simon

    simon New Member

  4. Howard

    Howard New Member

    May I second what Simon has said. Within the next 3-5 years the APA will be to Clinical Psychology and Counseling Psychology what the ABA is to law. Without a degree from an APA certified school you options will be very limited. So, go the extra mile up front and seek a school with APA certification. Good Luck.
  5. David Williams

    David Williams New Member


    To paraphrase a line from the film Casablanca, questions about psychology credentialing generally “round up the usual subjects.” Which include Jack, Simon, Howard and yours truly. Jack is a social worker, Howard is a counselor who would like to obtain licensure as a psychologist, Simon’s provenance is a little unclear, and I’ve been a licensed psychologist for quite a spell. I can only second their wise counsel to restrict your search to APA approved programs. Otherwise, even if you should obtain licensure in some state(s), you would be wise to prepare yourself to embrace life as a marginalized professional. I’ve never researched if there is a movement toward restricting licensure to APA approved programs but I have no reason to doubt Simon. There is another factor, which I suspect may have a significant impact in terms of driving qualification standards upward. For a number of years the profession has been marshaling resources to obtain prescriptive authority. Guam enacted a bill last year and just last week the Governor of New Mexico signed legislation giving appropriately trained psychologists prescriptive authority. The door is open and the expectation is that other states will follow, as was the case with NPs and optometry. It may be that you can achieve your goal through your plan. Sticking with lines from old films I guess the question you need to ask is “Are you’re feeling lucky?” My vote? If you’re restricted to DL check out Fielding Institute, which is APA approved. I always advised aspiring psychologists to check out the articles by John Grohol and Bridget Murray in the February, 1999 edition of the APA Monitor. It is available through the APA website. And, good luck.
  6. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Re: Re: Is APA accredation that important?

    Let me second your information. I am not a Psychologist but did look into it. I have an M.A. in Counseling and was a student member of the APA. As a student APA member you get the APA Monitor. One thing that struck me about the classified ads was the number of ads stating that you must be a graduate of an APA accredited program and have done an APA approved internship. Now, that was 6 years ago but I doubt things have changed much. What I sensed was what David stated and that was that you limit your career prospects. I do not believe you can get a Vet Affairs job without the APA accredited degree. Among Psychologists I defintely got the idea that there is a pecking order. One even expressed concern about Fielding while it was a candidate for APA.

    If you wanted to be a Psychologist and just could not do Fielding then I suppose the next step would be an RA accredited Ph.D. w/out APA but realizing the limitations.


  7. Howard

    Howard New Member

    Re: Re: Is APA accredation that important?

    There is also a move in Alabama to allow certain prescription privileges to anyone with a PhD in Counseling or Psychology who has completed an additional year of study and a one-year internship with a psychiatrist. BAD move.....I would not feel comfortable doing this and would never do it......there are too many variables in the human body. MHO....

  8. naj

    naj New Member

    Thank you all for the advice. I guess I will be doing my research before I rush into any program that is not APA accredited. :)
  9. simon

    simon New Member

    The changes in New Mexico resulted from the fact that it took up to several months for patients to be seen by a Psychiatrist. There are approximately 97 Psychiatrists for the entire state! In addition, within remote areas, there was a disproportionate number of suicdes among adolescents, hypothetically due to the lack of timely psychiatric intervention.

    Psychologists will be required to complete training in such areas as Neuroanatomy, Clinical Pharmacology, Psychopharmacology and Paraphysiology. In addition, they will have to successfully pass a national examination and subsequently be supervised for 2 years by a physician. If successful during this two year probationary period, Psychologists will then be able to prescribe psychotropics.
  10. se94583

    se94583 New Member

    Question to the psych gurus: what is your impression of the Wright Institute in Berkeley? Its not DL, but have you heard anything good or bad about their program and grads?
  11. sulla

    sulla New Member

    I am confused about all this....

    APA accredits fields in clinical, counseling and school psychology, right? so, this means that you are interested in other fields such as: experimental psychology, developmental, cognitive-behavioral, transpersonal, etc. you don't have to worry about APA since it does not accredit these programs anyway. Hey, even Harvard doesn't have an APA accreditation because none of their programs are in the clinical/counseling field.

    From what I understand getting a non-APA doctorate in clinical programs or others in the counseling area can greatly limit your options. But, will a doctorate from another psychology field limit your options too?

    So, one could apply for NCU (once it is RA accredited), and get a doctorate in health psychology or I.O and not have to worry about APA as far as I know. Would this be wise?

    I am interested in entering a psychology doctorate but not one in the clinical or counseling field.

  12. Jack Tracey

    Jack Tracey New Member

    sulla - As far as I know, you've gotten it right. The whole "APA thing" is about Clinical Psychology and has no relevance to persons interested in non-clinical branches of psychology that might be seen as falling into the "experimental" category or other branches such as developmental, etc. You are also correct in saying that none of the Harvard psych programs are APA approved. Harvard does not offer any Clinical Psych programs and so APA approval is unnecessary. Unfortunately, I don't know much about Health Psych programs or careers so I can't say much about that aspect of your question except to suggest that you find someone who's doing what you'd like to do once your degree is done and ask them these questions. Also, the people at the university programs should be of great assistance in answering these questions. One final point: regulations vary from state to state so be sure you don't get "surprised."
  13. David Williams

    David Williams New Member

    Yes, APA approval has traditionally been restricted to clinical, counseling and school. There is a fourth category for programs that are a meld of multiple flavors referred to as ‘combined’ programs of which there are relatively few. Specialty programs are starting to appear that don’t conform to the traditional categories, such as in neuropsychology. This may be the case for dedicated health psychology programs. I’m not exactly sure of the mechanism these programs and APA employ for arranging approval status but I sort of recall where this is an evolving process. A list of approved doctoral and internship programs is published annually in the American Psychologist although I can’t recall which volume. I’d suggest you go to the APA website to research this question. In point of fact, the health psychologists I know were trained in clinical or counseling programs. If you intend to practice in this arena you will require a license in order to be eligible to bill for services via CPT codes. Sulla, many programs in the traditional categories offer specialty tracks such as in health psychology/behavioral medicine or neuropsychology. Case in point: University of Georgia’s school psychology program offers a specialty track in pediatric neuropsychology. My point is that you needn’t restrict your search to dedicated health psychology programs; if, indeed, health psychology is what you want to do since there is a lot of shared variance between small ‘c’ clinical and health psychology. One rule of thumb is that you WILL require a license if you plan to see patients as opposed to teaching or research. Neither experimentalists nor developmentalists require licensure since these programs do not prepare psychologists to see patients. Transpersonal sounds esoterically enchanting but the next advert I see in the Monitor for persons trained in transpersonal psychology will be the first. You know the applicable line; “Would you like fries with that?” Cognitive psychology is also a specialty area whereas cognitive-behavioral is a form of psychotherapy. Short answer, if you want to practice health psychology plan on obtaining a license and restrict your search to APA approved programs. One interesting anomaly is that some new academicians don’t get licensed. Why? The trajectory doesn’t provide time unless the person takes an additional year or two for a post-doc residency. Fast-track types at prestige universities may take a job upon completing the internship then spend the next seven years going full-bore to secure promotion to assistant with tenure. No time to put in the hours seeing patients on top of grinding out seven pubs a year in refereed journals.
  14. simon

    simon New Member

    As can be discerned, there are a number of potential issues that need to be explored prior to lunging in a DL doctoral psychology program. In additon to what has been stated by Howard, Jack and David, Industrial/organizational Psychology is another specialization area which is accredited by APA. It should also be noted that The DL models in this area of specialization (organizational), offered by Capella, Waden and NCU, do not currently lead to licensure.

    How does one integrate this information into making a viable educational/career decision? Primarily, it is important to determine the area of psychology one is interested to pursue. Obviously, the fields of cognitve, social, experimental, clinical,neuro, school, counseling, sports,organizational and health psyhology have disparate emphasis, although there is overlap in certain specializations. This necessitates that the prospective student initially determine if they possess the aptitudes for the area of psychology for which they have interest, their strengths in terms of relating and assisting others through therapy versus engaging in research, analyzing their interest in administering and interpreting assessment instruments and the potential roles they wish to fulfill in their future careers.

    A comprehensive understanding of one's aptitudes, typology, personality factors and traits, professional and personal needs, preferences for work environments and client populations coupled with strong interest would be helpful coupled with a review of information obtained through meeting with psychologists in the area of interest and by reading relevant material.

    To merely jump from one specialization to another, without careful planning may result in an ill fit and unproductive outcome including a waste of time, effort and financial resources.
  15. sulla

    sulla New Member

    Thanks. I am currently finishing my M.A at the University of South Florida in the counseling field and don't need a ph.d for licensure. But I am looking for a Ph.D in psychology or a related field; I have more interest in the non-traditional fields. But I just don't know if getting PhD in a non traditional field from a small but RA university help me or hurt me in the long run. I am also thinking about the Touro PhD program since they have a Health Sciences department which would add to what I already know about psychology in general.
  16. Howard

    Howard New Member

    I don't knowhow old you are, but I would suggest that you get a PhD in something that will allow you to be licensed in you are young and have quite a few productive years ahead of you. If you are in your golden years go for the gusto. Most programs will allow you some degree of latitude in your area of concentration and you might structure your dissertation to your area of interest. But you will never regret getting the PhD that will always provide employment as opposed to one that will always provide intrinsic value. If you can, a B&M program that is RA and APA. If not, a DL that is at least RA. You may be in my position, I have a license at the masters level but I can't bill the insurance companies without a PhD in either counseling or clinical psychology. I am now working with University of Zululand for a degree in psychology which, with my counseling license, will allow me to bill insurance companies.

    Another thought, the script will need a PhD in either counseling or clinical psychology to proceed into this area if, God forbid, that is something you want to do.

    Good Luck.

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