Has the APA done ANYTHING to remedy the internship supply-demand imbalance

edieb

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An intersting thread popped up on an APA listserv and I thought I would carry it onto here...

The question is basically:
in the years since the internship imbalance started becoming dire, have any of you seen the APA do anything substntive about it? I know I have seen a few articles in The Monitor, but, beyond this, has anything really been done about the situation?
 

Existenz

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only thing they could do is make it easier to get accreditation. This might dilute the quality of internships though.
 

Ollie123

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Not a whole lot other than occasionally acknowledge it as a problem. They are somewhat handicapped by the politics/legality of it though because apparently they cannot simply drop accreditation from schools that do not match at reasonable rates. However, I know someone who was involved in discussions at APA on this very issue, and they are looking at "pushing" (whatever that means) schools with low match rates to reduce enrollment, and implementing measures to make it more clear to students what match rates actually are by requiring "informed consent" with regards to match rates and stiff penalties for those schools that try to cover up their disclosure data or provide inaccurate numbers (e.g. the APPIC data but not APA). Not exactly great, but part of the problem is the fault of the schools and the fact that APA has already let them gain a foothold within their system so I cannot fault them entirely. Sadly, I actually consider this "moving fast" for them.

I doubt providing more sites would be any kind of long-term solution. I also suspect it would lead to this "chase to the bottom" we seem to have right now. PCSAS is focused on schools right now but I'd like to see it getting involved in internship sites as well (though seems unlikely given their mission as it currently stands), especially if APA's solution to the matter is to lower the bar for internship sites.

I'm not sure I see APA coming up with a real solution, and I think its a strong possibility standards will continue to erode in the name of building up our numbers so we can wield undeserved political clout.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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The APA has little motivation to actually do anything because the more students out there, the more potential APA members. People may argue "for the good of the profession", but there have been plenty of instances where the APA has failed to protect the profession.
 
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The APA has little motivation to actually do anything because the more students out there, the more potential APA members. People may argue "for the good of the profession", but there have been plenty of instances where the APA has failed to protect the profession.
To the OP, I know the article you talked about. The positioning of the article was more about the pros and cons about what it would mean to accept a non-APA approved internship than what's being done to fix it. Ridiculous.
 
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edieb

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The situation is starting to really affect the job market. For example, last year I worked for 2 months in Missouri at a very large hospital. I quit when I landed my current V.A. job. The hospital hired 30+ clinical psychologists. It paind $36 k for a post doc. Once you were licensed, it paid $42K. you got NO insurance for the first 3 months you worked there. Can you imagine making $42K as a licensed PH.D.????

Out of my APA-accredited medical school internship, 2 out of 4 of us are unemployed. The 2 who can't find jobs are only looking in Michigan and Ohio but who can imagine being unemployed with a PhD? If they were MDs, they would have people begging for them to work with their company

This is really, really scary!
 

Markp

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Out of my APA-accredited medical school internship, 2 out of 4 of us are unemployed. The 2 who can't find jobs are only looking in Michigan and Ohio but who can imagine being unemployed with a PhD?

This is really, really scary!
That is scary... It is also why I am so glad to be insulated from all that craziness.

$42k for a licensed clinical psychologist?? I know I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning for that kind of pay.

Mark
 
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I think of all the options available to the APA, requiring complete disclosure on the part of programs is the most it can do. The ultimate responsibility falls on the trainee. It is up to us to do our research and aim to get into quality programs. There is far too prevalent of an attitude that being a psychologist "shouldn't be so hard" so people are willing to settle for sub-par programs instead of taking their time and improving their resume to receive proper doctoral level training. I think it is the duty of all in our profession to be open and honest with undergrads considering a career in psychology and let them know that the doctoral level psychologist position is NOT easy to achieve and that there are other options available to allow for research involvement and clinical practice.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I'd rather go back to my old career (that I hated) than accept a position for $40k after EIGHT years of school/training. I'm very concerned for our field, and only slightly less worried about my future.
 
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edieb

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I do think the APA can mandate that a certain percent of students from a program match into an internship. Otherwise, accreditation will be revoked. However, I definitely do NOT advocate that people cancel their apa memberships in protest. APA and our state psychological associations are our only legislative voice and if we do not join, then the other professions will steam roll over us.

Here is the page listing all the clinical psychologists on staff at Burrell Bxal Health, the place that only pays $42k post-licensure (and maxes out at $49K or something)

http://www.burrellcenter.com/about/swmostaff.aspx

Look at all the psychologists who work there...very scary folks

We really need to do a better job of advocating for our profession and expanding our scope of practice so we can differentiate ourselves from master's level folks!
 
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Here is the page listing all the clinical psychologists on staff at Burrell Bxal Health, the place that only pays $42k post-licensure (and maxes out at $49K or something)

http://www.burrellcenter.com/about/swmostaff.aspx

Look at all the psychologists who work there...very scary folks
Yikes! But a quick scan of the page shows that most of the psychologists are from 1 of 2 programs, either Illinois School of Professional Psychology or Forest Institute of Professional Psychology.I've recently seen a post from a potential applicant to one of these programs. Even when their poor outcome data was posted, there were others encouraging the unwise decision. Which again brings me back to the amount of research that a trainee puts into making such a decision. It certainly effects ALL of us ultimately, but tackling the criminal (in my opinion) professional schools is only one part of the fight. Trainees need to wise up, as well.
 
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Jon Snow

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Look at all the psychologists who work there...very scary folks
Interesting. There are 3 from good schools, Northwestern, Texas A&M and Iowa State.




I don't know anyone who couldn't find a job or that is being paid poorly, but I have a limited scope of interaction, I suppose. What I have found is that the economy is uniformly bad for psychology (and many other specialties) at the moment. I don't see large numbers of appealing jobs advertised at the moment. Will that get better? Don't know.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I think if someone comes from an APA-acrd program and APA internship they can secure at least decent employment. Once a student starts to compromise from there (APPIC, CAPIC, etc) then it gets harder. Someone just asked on one of the listservs what they can do coming from a CAPIC internship, and it will be somewhat limited.
 

Existenz

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That is scary... It is also why I am so glad to be insulated from all that craziness.

$42k for a licensed clinical psychologist?? I know I wouldn't get out of bed in the morning for that kind of pay.

Mark

my sis got a PhD from top 10 university and waits tables for the last year or so lol. I'm happy though she got a spot at University of California school to start next year.

Times are rough!
 

Ollie123

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my sis got a PhD from top 10 university and waits tables for the last year or so lol. I'm happy though she got a spot at University of California school to start next year.

Times are rough!
Okay, now THIS I have to admit I found very surprising. Was it in clinical? She couldn't find a post-doc? Was she restricting herself geographically?

I'm just curious - this board always has me wondering if I have a skewed perspective of things. Post-doc pay isn't great, but its gotta be better than waiting unless this was a 5-star, $100 a plate kinda place. We're recruiting for post-docs right now and our biggest concern is whether or not we can find anyone qualified to fill the spot, so I find it hard to believe they are hard to come by.
 
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my sis got a PhD from top 10 university and waits tables for the last year or so lol. I'm happy though she got a spot at University of California school to start next year.

Times are rough!
"Surprising" is an understatement. :confused:
 

erg923

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Okay, now THIS I have to admit I found very surprising. Was it in clinical? She couldn't find a post-doc? Was she restricting herself geographically?

I'm just curious - this board always has me wondering if I have a skewed perspective of things. Post-doc pay isn't great, but its gotta be better than waiting unless this was a 5-star, $100 a plate kinda place. We're recruiting for post-docs right now and our biggest concern is whether or not we can find anyone qualified to fill the spot, so I find it hard to believe they are hard to come by.
Ollie, its a shame writing academic publications is such a rewardless activity....otherwise you'd probably have numerous newly minted ph.ds willing to take a stab at furthering the science, and hence, take your lab's post-doc.

Unfortunatley, I think being exposed to the realities of academic politics and relatively low pay (unless your a super-star) jades people pretty quick. There is not a single person left in my lab who desires and to have a research-oriented career. Just food for thought...
 
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AcronymAllergy

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Ollie, its a shame writing academic publications is such a rewardless activity....otherwise you'd probably have numerous newly minted ph.ds willing to take a stab at furthering the science, and hence, take your lab's post-doc.

Unfortunatley, I think being exposed to the realities of academic politics and relatively low pay (unless your a super-star) jades people pretty quick. There is not a single person left in my lab who desires and to have a research-oriented career. Just food for thought...
I agree, although I'd generalize things a bit more--I'd imagine that the anticipated/desired career goals of clinical psych doctoral students are drastically shaped and/or altered by their graduate school experiences. With my cohort of peers, my experience has been the opposite of yours--after their time here, very few of my incoming peers desired to focus primarily on clinical work upon graduation, with the vast majority accepting internship positions that placed great emphasis on research training and experiences. They're also nearly all now looking applying to research-heavy post doc positions.

The politics do definitely tend to take most people by surprise, but at least in my program, it hasn't turned too many people off from the research-heavy path. Which is fortunate, because we definitely need more research "superstars" in the field.

In actuality, I wonder if the current debacle of healthcare billing, reform, etc. will turn many current students away from clinical work and toward potentially "safer" positions in academia?
 

Ollie123

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I'd agree - while my career goals haven't really changed much since coming in, I certainly see how they could have. I know they have for my fellow students (in both directions, though I think it is more common for people to shift in the clinical direction over time). As for the relative rewards of research...I guess this is just individual differences because I find it far more rewarding than clinical work. Its less draining because I don't have to be "on" all the time, and I have more flexibility in where and when I do the work, as long as it is getting done. This may be area dependent...I'm in substance use and even with the best treatments relapse rates tend to be high so rewards may not be as easily seen as in something like anxiety disorders, where treatment is generally quicker and far more successful overall.

I will say that I strongly disagree about the "pay" in research...or maybe I've just been lucky enough to only be exposed to superstars and that is where the bias comes from? Again, I feel like research pays much, much better than clinical work. We pay ~45k for post-doc. Last I knew, we start faculty at around 75-80k. Recent graduate just got hired for 90k starting salary in a VERY cheap cost-of-living area. In contrast, I see posts about people taking unpaid post-docs - someone mentioned them barely surpassing 20k in a counseling center, I see the same thing in monitor articles. Others are posting about how they are seeing CMHC jobs advertising at 35k. I've never seen a faculty job that low (excluding adjunct stuff and maybe community colleges). I know research used to pay comparatively worse than clinical work back in the day, but either it isn't true anymore, or I'm just getting a very biased picture of it.
 

AcronymAllergy

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I'd agree - while my career goals haven't really changed much since coming in, I certainly see how they could have. I know they have for my fellow students (in both directions, though I think it is more common for people to shift in the clinical direction over time). As for the relative rewards of research...I guess this is just individual differences because I find it far more rewarding than clinical work. Its less draining because I don't have to be "on" all the time, and I have more flexibility in where and when I do the work, as long as it is getting done. This may be area dependent...I'm in substance use and even with the best treatments relapse rates tend to be high so rewards may not be as easily seen as in something like anxiety disorders, where treatment is generally quicker and far more successful overall.

I will say that I strongly disagree about the "pay" in research...or maybe I've just been lucky enough to only be exposed to superstars and that is where the bias comes from? Again, I feel like research pays much, much better than clinical work. We pay ~45k for post-doc. Last I knew, we start faculty at around 75-80k. Recent graduate just got hired for 90k starting salary in a VERY cheap cost-of-living area. In contrast, I see posts about people taking unpaid post-docs - someone mentioned them barely surpassing 20k in a counseling center, I see the same thing in monitor articles. Others are posting about how they are seeing CMHC jobs advertising at 35k. I've never seen a faculty job that low (excluding adjunct stuff and maybe community colleges). I know research used to pay comparatively worse than clinical work back in the day, but either it isn't true anymore, or I'm just getting a very biased picture of it.
I wouldn't at all be surprised if pay in the research sector has remained stable/strong, or has possibly even grown (although I have absolutely no data to back that up). My thinking is that with the large number of clinically-oriented professional schools, as well as the relatively (in my experience) large number of individuals at Ph.D. programs who are more interested in clinical work than research, it's possible that solid researchers are becoming relatively rarer. The one dark cloud would be recent and pending budget cuts to public universities; I know my school is getting hit fairly hard by them, although I'm not actually sure if it's affecting salaries, or only the number of available positions.
 

Ollie123

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I agree with why clinical pay may be dropping, though I think a number of factors are at play there.

Universities are certainly not hiring at the same rates, I don't think that is a question. Its come up here before though...I think we tend to look at our own profession and not outside it. VERY few fields are doing "well" right now and haven't seen a slowing across the board. There are certainly exceptions (demand for MDs and nurses remains high, as do several others) but the job market has certainly gotten tougher pretty much across the board. I'd much rather be looking for a job in psychology these past few years rather than the auto industry! I haven't heard of faculty being forced to take salary cuts though I don't doubt raises have slowed and "extras" are certainly tougher to come by - now is not the time to be asking for new equipment, that's for sure! I'm not too familiar with private sector research jobs though I'm pretty certain if I feel like selling my soul I could probably get a very well-paying job in the pharmaceutical industry as a psychologist. This is all not to mention the wealth of other opportunities that present themselves...consulting gigs, etc. Statisticians are crazy-in-demand even with the budget cuts and I know biostats folks are getting hired for 6 figures even with master's degrees. I wouldn't be competitive for those jobs directly, but it indicates there is probably a market I could tap into on the side and I could probably work myself in there over time. I wouldn't want to since I don't like the idea of ONLY doing stats since that isn't why I went into psychology, but its nice to have options.

My other big concern is actually the effects of public funding for research. Congress appears to have completely gone off the deep end, and republicans have traditionally funded NIH well but I have no idea what is going to happen now. Coupled with discussions of merging NIAAA/NIDA and moving portions of NCI's portfolio over to the new institute, things in my area are very much up in the air right now.