The Chicago School of Professional Psychology (TCSPP) is a leading nonprofit graduate psychology school committed to providing students with the highest level of professional psychology education to prepare them for lifelong careers in the fields of psychology and related behavioral and health sciences.
TCSPP is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), a regional accrediting body recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and is a member of the National Council of Schools and Programs of Professional Psychology (NCSPP).
APA accreditation is program and location specific and each program at each campus must apply for and obtain it separately. The Doctor of Clinical Psychology program of TCSPP at Washington, D.C. is currently not accredited by the American Psychological Association.
Q: Is the Doctor of Clinical Psychology program at Washington, D.C. Program APA Accredited?
A: No, the Doctor of Clinical Psychology program of TCSPP at Washington, D.C. is not APA Accredited. Determination of when to make the application to APA is at the sole discretion of TCSPP; however, TCSPP will make a systematic effort to apply for such accreditation once the Doctor of Clinical Psychology program of TCSPP at Washington, D.C. is prepared to do so.
Q: Will the Doctor of Clinical Psychology program of TCSPP at Washington, D.C. pursue APA accreditation?
A: Yes. The Washington, D.C. Campus is collecting data for inclusion in a self-study to pursue APA accreditation. The Doctor of Clinical Psychology program of TCSPP at Washington, D.C. has hired an APA accreditation consultant to help assist with the preparations to pursue APA accreditation. During the data collection and self-study development, every effort will be made to continually inform and update students of where TCSPP stands in this process. For instance, information sessions, department meetings, and brown bag lunches are held at least three times a year on the APA program accreditation process.
Q: What is APA program accreditation?
A: According to APA’s Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, APA program accreditation is both a status and a process. As a status it represents that a clinical doctoral program has formally met quality standards articulated by APA’s Commission on Accreditation (CoA). As a process it represents to the larger psychology and academic community that the program has agreed to engage in a self-study to evaluate its standing against the standards outlined by the CoA and has opened its doors to external peer review as a means to engender persistent program improvement.
Q: Must all clinical psychology programs seek APA accreditation?
A: No. APA program accreditation is a voluntary process, meaning an institution offering a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology chooses whether or not to apply, and when to apply for accreditation.
Q: What is the difference between APA program accreditation and regional accreditation?
A: The APA’s CoA is a specialized/professional accreditor, meaning that APA accreditation only extends to specific doctoral graduate programs, pre-doctoral internships, and postdoctoral residencies in professional psychology. APA accreditation is program and location specific and each program at each campus must apply for and obtain it separately.
Regional accreditation covers entire institutions. TCSPP is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), one of six regional accrediting bodies in the United States. Each regional accreditor is authorized to accredit institutions in specific states, divided by geographic region. APA-accredited doctoral graduate programs must be housed in an institution that has regional accreditation; however, an institution may hold regional accreditation and not have any APA-accredited programs.
Q: How does a clinical doctoral program prepare for APA accreditation?
A: The process of collecting data for a self-study takes several years. Those data include, but are not limited to, incoming student GPAs, student performance across the entire program cycle, core faculty credentials, student retention, coursework outcomes, practicum and doctoral internship placements and performance, and proper institutional resources to achieve training goals. The process also includes input and review by APA consultants.
Once the self-study is submitted, it undergoes an initial review to ensure internal consistency and that all sections are completed appropriately. CoA only reviews self-studies three times a year. The document is then forwarded to a committee for a full review and determination if a site visit to the academic program is warranted. The committee may also ask questions for the program to answer prior to scheduling the site visit.
After the visit, the site visit team may have some additional questions for the program to answer, and, following receipt of answers to those questions, the team submits a report to the CoA. The report is made available to the campus leadership team for review and comment. After this process is completed, the program is placed on the CoA’s next program review agenda for decision.
Q: How long does the APA program accreditation process take upon the submission of the self-study?
A: According to APA’s Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation, it can take 18 months or more from the time a program submits a self-study until the CoA reaches a decision. The CoA awards accreditation to those programs judged to be in accordance with the Guidelines and Principles (G&P) for Accreditation of Programs in Professional Psychology. The official date of accreditation is then retroactive to the date of the site visit.
Q: Can APA program accreditation be denied?
A: Yes. The CoA can deny accreditation to applicant programs if the program does not meet the Guidelines & Principles, but would give a deferral if they thought the program was not entirely in accord to give the program a chance to make adjustments before a denial of accreditation. There is no guarantee that an applicant program will obtain accredited status. This means that as a student, there is risk involved in entering a program that is not yet APA accredited should he or she desire to graduate from an APA-accredited program.
Q: What options do graduates of non-APA accredited programs have in the job market?
A: Whether or not the Clinical Doctoral Psychology Program is APA accredited, a clinical doctoral psychology graduate from a regionally accredited institution can pursue a professional career as a licensed psychologist in Virginia. A graduate can apply to sit for the national licensure examination, the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). A graduate may also able to apply for licensure in other states, subject to individual state requirements and completion of any state-required post-doctoral residency requirements. Outside agencies control the requirements for taking and passing certification/licensing exams and are subject to change without notice to the campus. You may want to visit the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards website (http://www.asppb.net) for more information.
Q: What is APPIC?
A: The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) is a membership body for doctoral programs and internship and postdoctoral sites. APPIC is responsible for a directory that provides doctoral internship site data for students searching for doctoral internships. APPIC also regulates an internship application and matching process that allows students to obtain a doctoral internship.
Q: Can a student obtain an internship without using APPIC?
A: Yes. Students can develop a doctoral internship position and have their doctoral program assess the doctoral internship position to determine if it meets the doctoral program’s academic requirements for passing the doctoral internship.
Q: Will TCSPP help students seeking to develop their own internship site outside the APPIC process?
A: Yes. The Doctor of Clinical Psychology program of TCSPP at Washington, D.C. has a training department, Applied Professional Practice (APP), which assists students in developing internship sites. The APP office utilizes the application for APPIC membership as a template for doctoral internship sites to determine and evaluate viability, effectiveness, and the training model of the site. The Office of APP can provide the application to the doctoral internship site as well as answer any questions the potential site supervisors may have about the application process.
Q: How does the APPIC Intern Applicant Policy impact non-APA accredited programs?
A: APPIC announced in spring 2013 that it is changing how it administers its national match for clinical internship placement. The amended APPIC Intern Applicant Policy specifies that beginning in the 2016-2017 academic year, students must be enrolled in an APA-accredited doctoral program, or in a program that has been scheduled for a site visit by the APA, to participate in the APPIC internship application and matching process. Recent correspondence from APPIC notes that a committee is being formed to review programs that are “in-progress” toward accreditation to determine whether students are eligible to participate in the 2017 match.
Q: I have more questions, where can I get additional guidance?
A: The Washington, D.C. Campus Department of Clinical Psychology will be happy to answer any questions and offer any additional information. The lead contact is Dr. Milton Fuentes, Department Chair, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-706-5057.
This page was last updated August 14, 2014.