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Thanks to a new pilot program organized by the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC), many practice-oriented students will receive offers for postdoctoral positions on the same day: March 14.

In the past, students could receive postdoc offers anytime from December to May. The result: Applicants sometimes settled for a fellowship that happened to respond quickly, says Eugene D'Angelo, PhD, APPIC chair.

A year of specialized training following graduation, postdoc fellowships give new doctorates an opportunity to provide direct clinical care to clients under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. All but eight states require a postdoc for licensure, according to the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

"Our aspiration is to bring together all postdoctoral training programs into one pool for the sake of order, in an effort to reduce some of the strain for the candidates," D'Angelo says.

The pilot program includes 130 APPIC postdoc programs. Non-APPIC programs are also encouraged to hold their offers until March 14, says Lisa Kearney, PhD, secretary of APPIC's board of directors.

As before, students will search for postdoc opportunities and apply on their own, she says. What's different is that, on March 14, programs will start working down their lists and offering positions to their top choices. Upon getting an offer, an applicant can accept, decline or freeze the offer for four hours — with a limit of one offer held at a time.

If students receive offers from non-APPIC programs before March 14, they can immediately seek a counteroffer from their top choice, D'Angelo says.

—C. Munsey