Does it Matter if my Psychology Degree Program is Accredited?

When you are searching for the best Psychology degree, it is common to research several different aspects of each psychology degree program to make the best choice. Not only are you paying to go to school, you are paying to develop a solid foundation of knowledge in the field of psychology so that you can become a contributing professional in the field once you earn your degree. While student to teacher ratios, the cost of tuition, the graduation rates, and employment rates following graduation are all important factors to keep in mind as you distinguish between good and less than ideal psychology degree programs, you also need to understand why choosing an accredited psychology degree program is important. Read on to learn about accreditation, what it means, and why it benefits you to choose an accredited Psychology degree program.

What is Accreditation and What Types Are There for my Psychology Degree?

There is more than just a single type of accreditation, and understanding the differences between agencies and types of honors is important. Regional accrediting bodies are agencies that oversee schools on an institutional level. These agencies make sure the entire school is operating to the standards that are set by the agency so that the school can offer financial aide and participate in other state and national level programs.

While a regional or national accreditation is important, when you want to earn a degree in a field like Psychology, it is important to verify that the school has a programmatic accreditation by a reputable body in the field. There are several bodies that evaluate both brick-and-mortar and online psychology degree programs on a specific level to ensure that students learn the principles by earning their degree. The most reputable association is the American Psychological Association, and schools must initially apply and complete the voluntary process for their Psychology degree programs to receive an accreditation. Once the program earns initial accreditation, the association has a Commission on Accreditation that will review programs at renewal to see if it is still consistent with the Guidelines. If the accredited psychology degree program does not meet the guidelines, their accreditation is denied or revoked.

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What Are the Risks of Choosing a Program That Is Not Accredited?

Choosing to go to a school with a Psychology program that is not accredited is risky in a number of different ways. For starters, if the program and the institution are both not accredited, this means that you cannot qualify for any type of state or federal financial aide. As far as your career is concerned, most states require that applicants for licensure as a psychologist have a degree from an APA-accredited school to test for their license. Failing to check a school’s accreditation could be a costly mistake if your goal is to be a licensed psychologist, and still many employers that do not require licensure will want their candidates to possess a psychology degree from an accredited school.

If you want to meet the hiring requirements of employers and the licensure requirements in your state, make sure that you take time to find schools that offer psychology degree programs that meet the guidelines of the APA. Narrow down the long list of schools that you can choose from, compare the statistics and costs of each school, and make a smart psychology degree choice for the sake of your long term future in the field.