As you get ready to choose a college or university for your education, you may be wondering how to tell if a school is really going to prepare you for the work you plan to do. There could be a lot that goes into the field of psychology, and having a valuable, comprehensive education is critical to ensuring your ability to do well in that program. One of the ways to do that may be through ensuring the American Psychological Association (APA) has accredited the program you are going to enroll in – you may want to do this before you enroll.
What Is APA Accreditation?
An APA accreditation is an important piece of information that prospective students should look for when comparing colleges and universities to attend for a psychology degree. The accreditation process is a type of quality assurance. It often helps to provide prospective students with insight into how well an existing program meets the established standards in that particular field of study. For students, it may help you to know that the program teaches the type of content you need to work in this field.
There are various accreditation programs. Some institutions receive accreditation status from a regional organization. Accreditation from the APA helps to provide students with the insight they need to have to determine how well the college’s program fits their educational needs and goals.
The APA Commission on Accreditation may provide an evaluation of the educational program based on very specific requirements. That often includes whether or not the program meets very specific, clearly defined objectives and educational content that helps prepare students for the work environment. The organization also may helps to ensure the educational program is evolving to align with new standards as well as research and policies that become available.
What Does It Mean When You See APA Accreditation?
When you are comparing educational programs, and you see APA accreditation listed, that often means the educational program in psychology is likely to:
- Provide the education that coincides with what is currently being practiced in psychology
- Provides education that is facilitated by industry experts
- Maintains satisfactory standards that are reviewed routinely
Why Is an APA Accreditation Important in Psychology?
You may find an educational program that does not have an APA accreditation and wonder if it is a viable option for your educational goals. In some cases, that may not be worth it, especially if your state requires that you obtain an accredited education to obtain any necessary license. More so, having a quality educational program may be critical to your long-term goals and career needs.
There may be value in an APA accreditation in many ways. Consider what it means solely for your education and career, for example. It may:
- Provide you with an educational foundation that allows you to build a career in the field of psychology.
- It provides you with knowledge that the program is going to provide access to skills that are effective for evidence-based clinical services that you may be providing to the public.
Are There Multiple Types of Accreditation for Psychology Programs?
The American Psychological Association (APA) is the only authorized accrediting organization to provide doctoral-level education accreditation for professional psychology programs. The U.S. Department of Education authorizes this service. It provides for accreditation for doctoral programs in counseling psychology, clinical psychology, or school psychology. It also provides accreditation for doctoral internships and postdoctoral residencies.
There are other accrediting bodies. These are regional organizations. They may offer some accreditation for bachelor’s and master’s programs along with doctoral programs. The APA provides for doctoral accreditations only.
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What Types of Psychology Degrees Should Be Accredited?
When choosing an educational path, it is often critical to have accreditation for all of your educational programs and degrees. The APA only provides doctoral level accreditation. However, your bachelor’s degree and master’s degrees should also meet the requirements set by an accrediting organization. These are typically regional organizations.
You may check with your state’s licensing board to determine which specific accreditations are available in your area. For example, the state may require you to have a degree from an accredited program. It often lists all of the recognized and authorized accrediting organizations in your area. Take the time to learn as much as possible about any accreditations available as it may prove valuable in determining which school you decide to attend.
- Accredited online university.
- Capella University offers doctoral programs designed to take you to the forefront of your profession.
- Competency-based curriculum delivers both foundation knowledge and real-world skills, so that what you’re learning in your courses is immediately applicable to your career goals.
How Do You Determine What Type of Accreditation a Program Has?
Often, colleges and universities provide detailed course information as a component of their online information about a specific degree program. This may be listed on the website for the college or within the curriculum. Look for this information by searching the site. Or, you may wish to reach out to the professor overseeing the program or dean to inquire about accreditation. Ask questions about the last accrediting review the school had and how well it did, too. That may provide you with important information about what you may be able to expect.
How to Find a Psychology Degree That’s Accredited
If you are getting ready to enroll in any type of psychology program, take the time to learn as much about it as possible. That includes learning about the curriculum and types of classes with it. Then, seek out information about whether the degree program itself is accredited. That may provide you with information about whether it is accredited or if the accreditation is under review (not complete yet). It may also tell you which body approves the accreditation.
You may be able to find a wide range of APA accredited doctoral programs in psychology available today. Many colleges and universities may seek out this because it is so valuable to prospective students who want to ensure they are paying for a quality education. Keep in mind that accreditation may change over time, which means it is up to you to make sure you research your options before committing to any school.
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