Association Rules — 10. Membership

10-1. Membership Classes

10-1.1 The APA Bylaws provide for three classes of membership in the Association: Fellow, Member, and Associate member. Requirements for each class of membership are given in the APA Bylaws.

10-2. Membership Board

10-2.1 The Membership Board shall consist of no fewer than eight members and one affiliate of the Association, three of whom shall be elected each year for a term of three years.

10-2.2 Nomination slates for election to the Membership Board shall be drawn in such a fashion as to reflect the diverse interests of APA members.

10-2.3 Members shall not serve on a division Fellows Committee, nor endorse initial APA Fellow candidates, during their term on the Membership Board.

10-2.4 The Membership Board shall oversee Association membership retention, recruitment and engagement activities and make annual reports on these activities to the Council.

10-2.5 In carrying out its mission, the Membership Board will host a summit meeting, on a periodic basis, of governance representatives for a one-day dialogue before the beginning of the Spring Consolidated Meetings. The purpose of the meeting is to gain insight and input from the various constituents on trends, potential opportunities and/or challenges in their respective areas as they relate to the recruitment, retention, and engagement of members and affiliates. This information would then be used to develop the Membership Board’s long and short-term strategic plans.

10-3. Fellows Committee

10-3.1 There shall be a Fellows Committee whose mission shall be to review the nominations for Fellows and report their recommendations on each case to the Board of Directors through the Membership Board. The Fellows Committee shall consist of at least four Fellows of the Association, at least one of whom shall be appointed each year for a term of three years. The Fellows Committee shall report to Council through the Membership Board.

10-3.2 Members shall not serve on a division Fellows Committee, nor endorse initial APA Fellow candidates, during their term on the Fellows Committee.

10-3.3 The terms of the two senior members of the Committee may be extended for up to two years to permit their participation in the committee’s meeting at which Fellowship nominations are considered.

10-4. Application Procedures

10-4.1 Application or nomination forms for Member, Associate member, or Fellow status shall be prescribed by the Membership Board, after consultation with other APA committees involved in their use. Such forms are used to collect information sufficient to establish the applicant's ethical and technical qualifications for membership and to create necessary membership records and APA Directory/Register records.

All applicants for Associate member or Member status shall indicate whether or not they have previously been rejected for membership in the Association or had membership voided or have previously been convicted of a felony or sanctioned by any professional ethics body, licensing board, other regulatory body or any professional or scientific organization. All applications for Member or Associate member status shall carry the following statement, which the applicant shall sign:

"In making this application, I subscribe to and will support the objectives of the American Psychological Association as set forth in Article I of the bylaws, and the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct, as adopted by the Association, and I affirm that the statements made in this application correctly represent my qualifications for membership, and understand that if they do not, my membership may be voided."

APA may seek evidence from schools and universities that the candidate has attended, state/provincial/territorial or local psychological associations, professional employers, and/or other appropriate sources of information, when the submitted documentation leaves doubt as to the applicant's qualifications for membership in the Association.

Nominations for Fellow status shall be made by divisions to the Fellows Committee. The written nomination shall show that the candidate's doctoral dissertation was on a psychological subject and that the professional experience cited as qualifying an individual for Fellow status was work which the person was properly qualified to perform and that was appropriately supervised. The recommendation shall include the endorsement of at least three, but preferably more, Fellows of the Association. In instances when the nominee is working in a highly specialized area, one of the three endorsers may be a former APA Fellow who is no longer a Member of the Association. The recommendation shall make clear what evidence the division puts forward to support the "unusual and outstanding contribution" of the candidate. The division may assemble the information by whatever means it deems appropriate but shall make reasonable verification of it before submission to the Fellows Committee.

(a) With respect to the nomination of Fellows, each division shall, by such means as it shall determine, solicit nominations from its members of those who are deemed worthy of election to this honor. The division may require the nominator to indicate the evidence available in support of the nomination. It shall be the responsibility of the division to select from these nominees and to prepare the recommendations for submission as provided in the previous section.

(b) Divisions shall be informed that it is the assumption of Council that the final list of Members recommended for election to initial Fellow status contains only those Members officially nominated by the relevant divisions. Divisions are responsible for maintaining appropriate review schedules to meet this requirement. This rule does not deny the right of an individual Council member to challenge any nomination on the list.

10-5. Interpretation of Educational Requirements

10-5.1 In acting upon an application for Associate member or Member status in the Association, the Membership Board and/or Membership Staff shall be guided by the following interpretation of the requirements stated in the APA Bylaws:

The applicant's graduate or professional school must have full regional accreditation at the time the applicant is elected to membership, although the applicant's training or degree may have been received during the five years prior to full accreditation. A regionally accredited institution is defined as an institution that is listed as fully accredited by the appropriate regional accrediting body in the Directory of Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education, published annually by the American Council on Education, or one of equivalent standing outside the United States.

10-6. Fellow Criteria

10-6.1 There can be no single criterion upon which to base nomination for Fellow status. Operational definitions of "unusual and outstanding contribution or performance" differ from division to division. The relative weight given to individual criteria and to combinations of criteria shall be carefully examined by divisions and by the APA Fellows Committee when they assess the impact the nominee has had on the field of psychology. Criteria may include, but shall not be limited to, the following: publications, innovations, workshop activity, professional service, demonstrated leadership, journal editorship, and awards. (see Appendix B for the criteria included on the Standard Evaluation Form (Fellow) and on certain division surveys.)

10-6.2 A person may be nominated for initial Fellow status by only one division. If additional division Fellow nominations are submitted at the same time as the initial nomination, Fellow status may take place for these additional divisions upon initial Fellowship election by the Council of Representatives. Any individuals who are nominated by more than one division shall select the division which best represents their work and contributions to psychology. The selected division will become the "nominating division." Such nominees will inform the nominating division of any other divisions which have also expressed interest in nominating them for Fellow status.

10-7. Division Standards and Procedures for Nomination of Fellows

10-7.1 When a division nominates a Member for Fellow status, and that person is already a Fellow in another division, the standards to be applied by the second division shall not be significantly different from those applied when a Member is nominated for Fellow status for the first time.

A division may have requirements for Fellow status in that division beyond those required by the Association. The Central Office will endeavor so far as possible to assist a division in administering these additional requirements but is not required to do so.

10-8. Justifying a Waiver of Requirements

10-8.1 When asking for waivers of the doctoral or experience requirement for Member or Fellow status or a waiver based on distinction in a related field, the applicants must provide reasonably persuasive evidence to support the request. It is not sufficient that such a waiver is recommended by a division, nor is it the responsibility of the Membership Board to develop or document the case.

10-9. Voiding of Membership

10-9.1 Membership obtained on the basis of false or fraudulent evidence may be voided at any subsequent time by the Board of Directors. Action to void may be brought either by the Ethics Committee or by the Membership Board.

10-10. Termination of Membership

10-10.1 Membership in the Association may be terminated by the death of a member, resignation, dropping for nonpayment of dues, or as provided in the Ethics Committee's Rules and Procedures.

Notice of the death of a member or formal resignation should be forwarded to APA Central Office. Resignation will ordinarily be accepted forthwith, except while a member is under scrutiny by the Ethics Committee.  While under such scrutiny, a member may be permitted to resign under stipulated conditions in accordance with provisions in the Ethics Committee's Rules and Procedures. 

A member is dropped from membership in the Association after nonpayment of dues by January 1 of the year after dues have been unpaid for one year, except while a member is under scrutiny by the Ethics Committee.  Members dropped after nonpayment of dues will be considered voluntary resignations from the Association.

10-10.2 A member may resign from any division by not paying the dues or assessment of that division in connection with the annual Association dues statement.

10-11. Reinstatement or Readmission

10-11.1 The membership of a person who has voluntarily resigned may be fully reinstated at any time by the payment of all current dues.  Prior to such reinstatement, the person must indicate any prior unethical conduct and make the ethics affirmation in accordance with the procedures of Association Rule 10-4 and is subject to investigation by the Ethics Committee as provided in its Rules and Procedures for applicants.  Reinstatement is effective as of the current year.  The period of voluntary resignation shall not be counted towards the years needed to attain dues-exempt status.  When fully reinstated, the person's membership dates from the original year of election.  This option shall not be available to a former member who was under scrutiny by the Ethics Committee at the time membership was terminated.

10-11.2 The membership of a person who has voluntarily resigned or who has been dropped for nonpayment of dues may also be reinstated upon payment of dues for the current year. Reinstatement is effective as of the current year. The period of nonpayment of dues shall not be counted toward the years needed to attain dues-exempt status. This option can be used only once and shall not be available to former members who were under scrutiny by the Ethics Committee at the time membership was terminated.

10-11.3 A person whose membership has been terminated under the provisions of Article II, Section 17 of the APA Bylaws or who has resigned while under the scrutiny of the Ethics Committee may request reinstatement of membership under the conditions stated in Article II, Section 18. Accordingly, the Membership Board will automatically inform the Ethics Committee of all such reinstatement requests and the Ethics Committee shall be responsible for furnishing the Membership Board with a recommendation as provided in its Rules and Procedures.

10-11.4 Ordinarily, individuals who have previously resigned or been expelled from membership must reinstate into the previously held membership status and dues category and may not reapply as a new member. Exceptions regarding the membership status and dues category of reinstating members may be made by the chief staff officer or the Membership Board.

10-12. Life Membership Status (Dues Exemption)

10-12.1 Any member who has reached the age of 65 and has belonged to the APA for a total of 25 years, may choose to begin the dues-reduction process, culminating in dues exemption by so advising Central Office of his or her eligibility. Any member, who, regardless of age or length of membership, has been adjudged totally and permanently disabled, may choose to become exempt from dues by so advising Central Office of his or her eligibility. Ordinarily, the transfer in status will become effective as of the January 1 immediately following the member's request, but in appropriate circumstances the change in status may be made effective as of the previous January 1.

These members will be exempt from further payment of APA dues, as well as division dues, division assessments, or other assessments established by the Council. However, these members will have the option of paying a subscription price/service fee if they choose to receive the American Psychologist and the APA Monitor on Psychology. The subscription price/service fee will be determined by Council to allow for dues distribution to those APA divisions to which the dues-exempt member belongs and to help defray the costs of the American Psychologist, the APA Monitor on Psychology, and for administering services.

Dues-exempt members shall pay the same price for journals as dues-paying members. However, subscriptions to the American Psychologist and the APA Monitor on Psychology are included in the subscription price/servicing fee set by Council to cover such subscriptions and to help defray the cost of administering services to dues-exempt members. (see also Association Rule 100-6 LIFE MEMBERSHIP STATUS (DUES-EXEMPTION). The journal credit applies only to dues-paying members.

10-13. International Affiliate

10-13.1 Applications from persons who wish the status of International Affiliate may be accepted at any time by the chief staff officer, who shall have discretion in determining what form of evidence is sufficient to meet the requirements for this application.

International Affiliates may subscribe to any of the journals published by the Association or purchase other APA publications at the same reduced rates charged to members. They may attend meetings of the Association as members of the Association.

10-14. Student Affiliate

10-14.1 Applications from students desiring to become Student Affiliates may be accepted at any time by the chief staff officer, who shall have discretion in determining what form of evidence is sufficient to meet the requirements for this application.

A Student Affiliate who interrupts studies for a period not to exceed 10 consecutive years shall be considered as a student throughout the break in studies for purposes of determining eligibility for Student Affiliate status.

Student Affiliates may subscribe to any of the journals published by APA or purchase other APA publications at the same reduced rates charged to members.

10-15. High School Teacher Affiliate

10-15.1 Applications for High School Teacher affiliate status may be accepted at any time by the chief staff officer, who shall have discretion in determining what form of evidence is sufficient to meet the requirements for this application.

High School Teacher Affiliates may subscribe to any of the journals published by the Association or purchase other APA publications at the same reduced rates charged to members.

Cross Reference

  • Regarding "Dues Exemption," see "Fees" and "Reduced Dues Status" in Finance.

  • Regarding "Voiding of Election," "Termination," and "Reinstatement," see Ethics.

10-16. 2-Year College Teacher Affiliate

10-16.1 Applications for 2-Year College Teacher Affiliate status may be accepted at any time by the chief staff officer, who shall have discretion in determining what form of evidence is sufficient to meet the requirements for this application.

2-Year College Teacher Affiliates may subscribe to any of the journals published by the Association or purchase other APA publications at the same reduced rates charged to members.