From the CEO

Early career psychologists — those who have earned their doctoral degrees within the past seven years — make up nearly 13 percent of APA’s membership. This dynamic cohort represents the future of our discipline and association, and supporting their careers is one of APA’s top priorities.

Many of today’s young professionals are forging careers that are quite different from those of my generation. They often work in integrated settings, on teams and on multiple assignments rather than single jobs (see “Taking psychology further,” March Monitor). Understanding this generation’s unique needs and aspirations and helping them take advantage of psychology’s many opportunities is critical. Toward that end, APA’s Committee on Early Career Psychologists has developed many resources specifically targeted to new psychologists. The committee offers a wealth of information on its website on such topics as “How to Lead to Succeed” and “Self-Care Across the Life Continuum.” Among the site’s most popular resources is the Financial Planning Handbook for Early Career Psychologists, which provides practical advice on how to pay the rent while also serving the public. The website also connects fledgling psychologists with colleagues and mentors through the Early Career Psychologists listserv.

At APA’s annual convention, the Committee on Early Career Psychologists offers targeted programming on such issues as licensure mobility, loan repayment, crossdisciplinary training and work-life balance. The committee has also produced with APA’s Office of Public and Member Communications Building Bridges: Opportunities for Learning, Networking and Leadership, a booklet that helps early career psychologists get the most out of their APA membership and get involved in APA governance. We are working to further engage and serve our early career members through APA Communities, APA’s new social media platform through which psychologists of all stripes can share ideas and collaborate on projects.

Recognizing that we need their energy and ideas, APA and its divisions are also working to encourage early career psychologists to take on leadership roles. Several boards and committees have designated seats for early career representatives. Should we have more of them? The ongoing work of APA’s Good Governance Project (see May Monitor) will address this issue. Many early career colleagues who have served in APA governance tell me that while the experience can stretch their already-busy schedules, it’s also highly rewarding. They appreciate the opportunity to hone their leadership skills, while also shaping psychology’s future.

APA must continue to expand governance participation and leadership opportunities for early career members. Their comfort with new media technologies, in addition to their work-life demands, may move APA toward new models of governance. As we evolve to meet early career psychologists’ needs and harness their energy and ideas, the association can only grow stronger.

APA’s Committee on Early Career Psychologists is a seven-person committee that meets in the fall and spring and hosts events at APA’s Annual Convention. Each spring, APA invites nominations to serve on the committee. Self-nominations are welcome. For more information about the committee and its activities, go to Early Career Psychologists.