APA and APAGS continue work to address the internship imbalance

APA’s recently announced $3 million internship stimulus package, combined with ongoing education and awareness campaigns, is part of the association’s larger commitment to help current and future graduate students secure an APA-accredited doctoral internship in psychology.

To help graduate students with the sometimes daunting process of securing an internship, the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) has compiled resources with step-by-step guidance on preparation, selection, application, interview and matching processes. While exciting, the internship process can also be a stressful time for many students. 

The number of students applying for internships outpaces the growth of internship positions; in 2012, 789 (19.4 percent) students matched to an unaccredited internship (PDF, 249KB). This crisis prompts some students to create their own internships of unknown quality, or to accept internships with minimal or no stipends. “It is important to understand that we are grappling with two issues,” said APA Education Directorate Deputy Executive Director Catherine Grus, PhD. “That is, we have both a shortage in the number of internship slots and a lack of a single standard for the quality of the internship experience.” APAGS has worked on several initiatives to promote quality internship training by emphasizing the need for systemic change and collaboration among various stakeholders.

APAGS itself cannot create more internship positions, but as the voice of more than 30,000 graduate students, it can strongly advocate for the issue. APAGS’s policy statement outlines the crisis and lays out future strategies for meeting the internship demand. “It’s critical that we renew our commitment to solving this crisis as well as draw on the support of other organizations and groups within APA that have the power to end a crisis that deeply affects our membership,” said APAGS Assistant Director Eddy Ameen, PhD. APAGS plans to continue educating applicants of doctoral programs, creating informed consumers who understand how to evaluate potential graduate programs.

Members of APAGS also supported the recently approved Board of Educational Affairs’ proposal for a $3 million internship stimulus package that will fund small grants to help non-accredited internships achieve APA accreditation.

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