Category: Careers

Washington, DC - For the first time this century, the number of psychology internships was greater than the number of graduate students who applied for them, an indication that the American Psychological Association’s $3 million stimulus to help alleviate this imbalance is working.

So far this year, 3,800 internship positions were offered and 3,725 students applied, meaning there were 75 more positions than applicants, according to APA Executive Director of Education Jim Diaz-Granados, PhD.

“This is extremely heartening news, and bodes well for students seeking to complete their graduate psychology education,” Diaz-Granados said. “We are proud to have been part of an effort across psychology education to make this possible.”

APA committed up to $3 million over three years starting in 2012 to help create more accredited internships. As a result of this funding, 29 additional psychology graduate programs have been accredited; 158 accredited internship positions were created; and 134 programs were funded, Diaz-Granados said. Of the internships available this year, 2,979 were accredited by APA, an increase of 618 positions from 2012.

“That being said, there is still a need to increase the number of APA-accredited positions offered to continue to match the number of applicants,” Diaz-Granados said.

The match rate so far this year is 87 percent, according to the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), meaning that 3,235 of those students who applied for an internship received one. However, there were 565 positions unfilled in this first phase of the process and 490 applicants who did not match. These unmatched applicants get another opportunity to find an internship in the second phase of the matching process, which is now under way.

“Not matching to an internship can delay and complicate the path to a doctorate for many students, and often has significant financial and emotional consequences,” said Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, associate executive director of the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, which has been working assiduously to end the longstanding internship imbalance. “Those who secured an internship have reason to celebrate the opportunity to continue their professional training and goals without interruption.”

Every year, more than 3,000 students apply for an internship, an important aspect of their doctoral programs in professional psychology. The APPIC match connects psychology doctoral students with internship programs that provide a required year of experience working with clients or patients under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. Following rounds of interviews, applicants and programs submit their preferences and a computer program matches applicants with available positions. Unmatched students may seek internships through a second round of the match (called Phase II), or through the APPIC Post-Match Vacancy Service, or apply again next year.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA's membership includes more than 122,500 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people's lives.