Efforts to address the psychology internship imbalance may have turned a corner. The gap between the number of available internships and applicants decreased for the second year in a row, according to the first-round results of the Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) Match, held Feb. 21.
This year, 146 fewer students registered for the match than last year and there were 125 more internship positions available. Of the 3,974 students who submitted rankings for a match, 3,173 applicants were matched to internship positions in Phase I.
Nearly half (48 percent) of all applicants matched to their first-choice internship program. About two-thirds (68 percent) received one of their top two choices, and about four in five (81 percent) received one of their top three choices.
Although this is encouraging news, the internship shortage is not solved, says APAGS Associate Executive Director Nabil Hassan El-Ghoroury, PhD. "The flip side is there are still 801 people who did not get matched. That is too high."
Of the 125 new positions, 73 (58 percent) were in APA- or Canadian Psychological Association-accredited programs. Students who didn't match during the first phase of the process vied for the 328 unfilled positions during Phase II in March. Candidates still unmatched can tap APPIC's post-match vacancy service, which lists remaining positions and new positions throughout the spring and summer.
APPIC Match Coordinator Greg Keilin, PhD, says increasing the number of quality, accredited internships remains a top priority for APPIC and educators. "While these numbers are encouraging, we need to continue our efforts in the education and training community and keep moving in this direction, because we still have quite a ways to go," he says.
One way APA is working to get there is through the Internship Stimulus Program, which is awarding $3 million over three years to help training programs with quality, non-accredited internships earn APA accreditation. APA awarded the first round of grants in December 2012, the second in June 2013 and the third in March.
"We are excited to see that the internship grants program is starting to have the impact it was designed to — that is, to create more accredited internship positions," says Catherine Grus, PhD, deputy executive director of APA's Education Directorate. "Two programs have received accreditation and between them represent eleven accredited internship positions. Ten additional programs have submitted their materials for review by the Commission on Accreditation."
In May, APPIC will release results from a survey of its membership on barriers to accreditation. Those results should help APPIC identify what additional resources its members need to become accredited and so increase the number of quality internships available for students, says APPIC Chair Jason Williams, PhD. "This year's numbers show a trend in the direction that we want to go, but obviously not a fast-enough trend," he says.
Internship matches on the rise
Applicants and positions in 2014 compared with the 2012 and 2013 APPIC matches. More match statistics.
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