February 24, 2013

Internship Crisis Discussion

Hi everyone,
With round one of the 2013 APPIC Internship Match complete, it is a good chance for us to reflect on the “InternshipCrisis” and what it means for our field.  As many of you know, for several years now there has been an "Internship Crisis" in that many more students apply to Internship positions than are matched.

Below is the statement made by APAGS regarding the 2013 APPIC Internship Match. 

I wanted to get some discussion going about what people’s thoughts are on the “Internship Crisis.” Here are some possible questions to generate discussion:
1)     What are your concerns about the Internship Crisis?
2)     Do you think we fully understand the cause of this crisis? (i.e. is it merely an issue of not enough internship positions)
3)     Do you think there is anything else APA could be doing to help solve this crisis?
4)     Has your department/program addressed the Internship Crisis?
Additionally, please let us know if there is a way that we can be supportive or helpful to you or to others.

For more information on Phase II of Match: http://www.appic.org/Match/APPIC-Match-Phase-II

Rosanna Breaux
SSCP Listserv Facilitator

APA/APAGS Statement on the 2013 APPIC Internship Match

For students in clinical, counseling and school psychology programs, the APPIC Internship Match Day is a critical milestone in their
 academic careers. The American Psychological Association and American Psychological Association of Graduate Students are encouraged that, during the first phase of the 2013 internship match process, fewer
 students looking for an internship failed to match than did so last year. However, we also strongly note that the imbalance between the number of students seekinginternship and the number of internship positions, particularly accredited internships, is unacceptably high. Helping to resolve theinternship crisis is one of APA and APAGS's highest priorities — and will remain so until it is no longer a crisis.

The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internships Centers released this year's match statistics today:

4,481 students registered for the 2013 match
4,051 students submitted a ranking list
2,515 positions were available at APA- and CPA-accredited internship sites
861 positions were available at APPIC member, non-APA/CPA-accredited
internship sites
2,431 students matched to APA- and CPA-accredited internship sites
663 students matched to APPIC member, non-APA/CPA-accredited internship sites

These data indicate a match rate of 76.4 percent to any internship, and 60.0 percent to APA- and CPA-accredited internships.

These numbers reveal that the field is continuing to experience an internship crisis, one that in many cases haphazardly affects students who are otherwise qualified and prepared to be interns. We reiterate that this crisis is complex and requires the continued focus of many stakeholders devoted to short- and long-term solutions, such as the ones APAGS outlined in July 2012 with our official position on the crisis and published in Grus et al. (2012).

For those who did not match to an internship this year, APAGS extends our uncompromising support and encouragement. We understand that no matter how many times you have braced yourself for the possibility of
not matching, the reality still stings. This news may also lead you to doubt your abilities and feel let down by others. These are natural feelings, and you are not alone. APAGS is pained to hear stories of students in these predicaments. They are happening far too frequently and affect students who would very likely match in a system that had no shortage. We hope you find constructive ways to further your professional development in the upcoming year. APAGS and APA continue to fight for students in these situations where ever possible.

APAGS recently updated its article describing the next steps for students who did not match. The article contains links to furthersources of support.

Those who secured an internship have reason to celebrate the opportunity to continue your professional training and goals withoutinterruption. We hope that you are pleased with your outcome and that you have a great internship training year.

For all students — present and future — APA is extremely concerned about the APPIC internship match imbalance. We have been involved in a number of steps to address it in 2012 and 2013, specifically:

APA funded an Internship Stimulus Package, designed to help currently non-accredited internships achieve APA accreditation. As a result of the advocacy of APAGS and other training groups, APA agreed in August
2012 to fund up to $3 million over three years for this program. So far, APA has funded 32 internships at a total of $600,000. We are advocating for reimbursement for services provided by clinical internsInternship sites in numerous states have had difficultygetting reimbursed for services provided by interns. Reimbursement for such services could make it easier to create and fundinternship positions. APA's Commission on Accreditation is at a historic moment in considering revisions to its Guidelines and Principles, providing APAGS with several opportunities to outline our concerns and recommendations related to the internshipcrisis. We consider each question and comment an opportunity to advance our goal of an APA-accredited internship position for every student in an APA-accredited doctoral program. At "Courageous Conversations 2," an internship crisis dialogue amongAPAGS, APPIC and various councils of doctoral training programs in December 2012, APAGS spoke to the needs of its members:

We asked doctoral training councils to encourage doctoral programs to provide financial assistance to students who do not match in the APPIC match. This support could include an assistantship with a stipend or free tuition to students who need to stay enrolled to document full-time status. All training councils agreed to recommend this to their member programs.  We will educate applicants to doctoral programs about the internship match so they can make fully informed decisions about their education and training. APAGS premiered these materials in January 2013 and will continue to develop and share information at conferences, on the Web and through its Campus Representative network.

For more from APAGS on the internship crisis, please go to http://


  1. While important in its own right, the internship imbalance may be overshadowing the fact that a minority of students now receive APA accredited training (throughout graduate school and internship). This year's match rate for APA accredited internships was 52%, which may include a percentage of students who did not attend APA accredited schools and does not include a (presumably) large group of students that complete CAPIC internships or create informal internships.

    This may be more worrisome than the internship imbalance. Does APA accreditation provide any utility if only a minority of the students actually receive that training?


    1. You raise a good point Eugene. I guess the utility (or prevention) that it currently is serving is keeping psychologists from gaining access to some jobs and being licensed in the majority of states if they do not have an APA-accredited university giving them their degree. Are you suggesting that the standard of APA-Accreditation should not exist, as many students do not follow it, or are you addressing the concern that APA has a responsibility to continue to support internship sites to improve their programs to meet APA standards? What do other people think?

      Here is some additional information on APA-Accreditation if you are not familiar with the benefits of attending an APA-accredited university and internship:


      National Register - has a section saying what you need to do if you attend a non-APA accredited internship: http://www.nationalregister.org/cred_requirements.html

      What APA has to say: http://www.apa.org/gradpsych/2010/11/unaccredited.aspx


    2. Just underscoring a major shift in the field. Hope other students have something to add

    3. Hello all,
      I'm joining this conversation a bit late in the game, but have been following this listserve topic. In the last couple of posts, I recognized a discrepancy in APA-accredited internships versus APA-accredited graduate programs. It is true that most states require a doctoral degree from an APA-accredited graduate program (or a serious amount of paperwork showing that your graduate training was comparable); however, fewer states require an APA-accredited internship for licensure.

      I know very little about programs outside of the U.S., but non-APA-accredited graduate programs for training clinical psychologists are generally frowned upon in our field. This is not surprising given the fact that as I type this email, I see an ad for a completely online PhD program in clinical psychology on my desktop. At the same time, I know some very competent clinical researchers who did not attend APA-accredited programs. For example, a former supervisor of mine completed a PhD in applied behavior analysis at the University of Kansas, one of the most respected programs for that type of work. She went through several hoops to get experience and licensure as a clinical psychologist who specializes in working with children with autism and is a research faculty at a medical school.

      As I begin to explore internship training for myself, I have begun to question how well an APA-accredited internship matches my training and career goals. For example, I am primarily interested in extending evidence-based treatment to those that do not have access to services due to income, education, or geographic location. An internship focused on providing services in a clinic or medical center may give me some good experience, but may not translate directly into what I plan to do, working with existing community services (i.e. schools) to provide screening and treatment to children in their natural environment.

      When I entered my program, I planned to follow the expected path - graduate school to APA-accredited internship to post-doc to research faculty job; however, I found that this might not be the best path for me or my career. I could construct an internship that better fit my interests and training needs and would still allow me to obtain licensure in most states. I think as the match crisis continues, more and more students are seeking out other alternatives out of necessity or are developing a greater awareness of what their training needs are and how they relate to their goals.

      Well, that is my rambling for the day. I look forward to seeing more discussion on this topic!


    4. SSCP students appear to be either very busy or highly uninterested.

      I agree with your sentiment Katrina, internship is all about what you would like to do with your career. Unfortunately, many jobs (all VAs, most Med Centers) and even academic positions now require APA-accreditated internships.


    5. I appreciate the discussion of APA-accredited internships vs. those
      that are not. Katrina is totally right, as the internship crisis
      continues almost unabated, this is something graduate students need to
      seriously think about. One big problem I see is I'm not sure how many
      applicants or early graduate students are fully aware of the
      internship crisis or the consequences of not matching and/or non-APA
      accredited internships on licensure, future employment, etc. As a
      field it seems like we should have a high level of transparency about
      these issues.

      Another issue that Rosanna brought up is APA's role in working to
      solve this crisis. From my perspective it hasn't seemed like they've
      done a whole lot. Yes, APAGS worked this year to secure funding to
      create more internship slots, which is a start, but it doesn't even
      begin to put a dent in the imbalance between applicants and slots.
      Maybe if APA used the money they are putting towards trying to pass
      prescription privileges in certain states they could make more of a
      dent, but perhaps that is a debate for another time:)

      It seems to me that somehow working toward limiting the number of
      applicants each year is simply going to have to happen at some point
      if APA is going to get serious about solving this issue. I know this
      gets brought up almost every year on the main SSCP listserv and there
      have been some pretty spirited debates on how to go about doing this.
      Large for-profit programs could be limited to the number of students
      they can admit every year, graduate schools could be required to
      provide their own internship training, there could be a cap on the
      number of applicants that every graduate program puts forward each
      year, etc. I'm not sure there's an obvious answer, but I do think it's
      obvious that something needs to be done on the demand side of this
      equation, not just the supply side.

      I too look forward to hearing the opinions of others.