Understanding APA Accreditation

About APA-CoA

The APA Commission on Accreditation (APA-CoA) is recognized by both the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, as the national accrediting authority for professional education and training in psychology. Accordingly, APA-CoA’s accreditation policies, procedures and guidelines are intended to be consistent with national recognized purposes and values of accreditation, as articulated by governmental and nongovernmental groups with an interest in accreditation.

Accreditation Scope

APA-CoA accredits:

  • Doctoral graduate programs in clinical, counseling and school psychology, and programs offering combinations of two or more of these areas. The primary professional degrees offered are the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) and PsyD (Doctor of Psychology). Accredited doctoral programs provide broad and general training in scientific psychology and in the foundations of practice, and have as a goal to prepare students for the practice of professional psychology.

  • Internship programs in professional psychology that are a required component of doctoral training. 

  • Postdoctoral residency programs that provide education and training in preparation for professional practice at an advanced level of competency in traditional and specialty practice areas of psychology.

APA-CoA does not accredit schools or universities, or programs at the bachelor’s or master’s levels. In addition, accreditation applies only to programs — it is not a credential that individuals can obtain.

Explaining Accreditation to Students and the Public

In addition to the FAQs on this website, the resources below may help to understand the accreditation process. APA-CoA is an active member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA), which forms a collaborative forum and a collective voice for the community of U.S. accrediting agencies that assess the quality of specialized and professional higher education programs and schools. ASPA has developed several briefing papers and a video to help educate the public on the process of accreditation: