Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation (G&P) Roadmap

The current Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation (G&P) (PDF, 157KB) were initially adopted in 1995 and implemented in 1996. Much has changed since then in higher education, education and training in professional psychology, and the health and mental health infrastructure in the United States. Although the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) has made changes to the G&P since 1996, these changes have been minor. CoA relied on writing and adopting a number of Implementing Regulations to clarify what was expected of programs seeking either initial or continuing accreditation. Given the contextual changes since 1996 and the need for greater clarity, CoA decided to revisit its requirements for accreditation at the doctoral, internship and postdoctoral residency levels. In moving towards the formulation of the Standards of Accreditation for Health Service Psychology (SoA), CoA was mindful of the requirements for recognition by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation.

To guide the development of a new set of accreditation standards, CoA designed a “roadmap” for a four phase process. This systematic process relies on input from all of the relevant publics at each phase. CoA is currently in Phase IV of the roadmap, recently approving a draft SoA in October 2014. Consistent with the “Policies for Accreditation Governance,” the SoA must be approved by APA governance before it becomes official APA policy. If approved by APA governance, the earliest the SoA would be implemented is for programs assigned to the 2017 site visit cycle, including those with self-studies due Sept. 1, 2016. For all programs submitting a self-study prior to Sept. 1, 2016, please adhere to the G&P and not the SoA.

Phase I: July-October 2012

CoA decided to take a fresh and thorough look at the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation. To initiate this process, CoA developed a series of 34 questions (four general and 10 for each level of training) and posted these questions for a period of public comment. The public provided thoughtful responses which guided the work of CoA in Phase II.

Phase II: October 2012-June 2013

At the October 2012 meeting, CoA reviewed the public comment collected during Phase I and identified:

  • Places of substantial agreement.
  • Areas where there was disagreement and how these areas could be addressed.

This analysis led to the creation of a second set of questions for public comment which closed in June 2013. During this comment period, CoA provided updates on the roadmap in person at the 2013 midwinter training council meetings and virtually through town hall meetings. This created additional platforms for the public to provide feedback.

Phase III: July 2013-June 2014

At the close of the July meeting, CoA completed draft “skeleton” standards for each level of accreditation. It released these drafts during the CoA Open Forum at the 2013 APA convention. After convention, the drafts underwent technical writing and legal review. The updated drafts were then posted for public comment from January to July 2014. CoA also presented an update on the G&P roadmap process at a number of the training council meetings in early 2014.

Phase IV: July 2014-Present

At its July 2014 meeting, CoA reviewed public comment collected during Phase III. Six main issues/questions emerged from the submitted comments. The CoA developed responses to each of these issues and created an updated draft, which was approved by CoA in October. Also at the October meeting, CoA voted on a draft Introduction to the SoA to put out for public comment. In early 2015, CoA will review the submitted comment, adjust the Introduction as appropriate, and then submit the Introduction and SoA for each level to APA governance for final approval and adoption as APA policy. As CoA awaits final approval, it has begun to develop a plan for training its public in the new SoA.