Whether you are seeking to further your career opportunities in psychology on-campus at a traditional brick-and-mortar university or online from a distance learning institution, it is essential that you select an accredited psychology degree program. Not only does accreditation ensure that the curriculum meets acceptable standards of quality, but it also guarantees that the degree will be recognized by other colleges for the transfer of credits and future employers for landing your first position after graduation. Therefore, it is recommended that you select a degree program that has been given the stamp of approval by one or more of the following highly regarded psychology accrediting bodies.
American Psychological Association (APA)
As the most prominent organization devoted to psychology education in the United States, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Commission on Accreditation grants accreditation to doctoral graduate programs in clinical, counseling, and school psychology as well as programs offering combinations of two or more of these specialized areas. With the goal of preparing graduates for the practice of professional psychology with a general training in scientific psychology and the foundations of clinical practice, the APA is the primary accrediting body for Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) degrees. Although the APA does not accredit universities for their bachelor’s or master’s programs, the association is also responsible for providing accreditation to internship programs and post-doctoral residency programs at an advanced level of competency for professional psychological practice.
National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)
For graduate programs that are strictly devoted to school psychology to prepare students for enhancing the learning and mental health of youth, the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) offers a national review and accreditation service in its efforts to support preparation of graduate candidates for effective school psychology practice. As one of the specialized professional associations within the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the NASP has the mission to promote professional competence, recognize the essential components of quality education, and advocate for the value of school psychological services. According to its standards for training programs, the NASP grants national approval to specialist-level and doctoral-level in school psychology degrees.
Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS)
Awarded recognition by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the Psychological Clinical Science Accreditation System (PCSAS) is an independent non-profit accredited body that is responsible for providing rigorous accreditation to Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs related to psychological clinical science or scientific clinical psychology programs. PCSAS was initially established to promote superior empirical-based education and training in clinical psychology to increase the quality of clinical scientists making significant contributions to the advancement of public mental health. With an optional and voluntary accreditation process, the PCSAS has granted full accreditation to 21 exemplary doctoral clinical psychology programs that are offered within research-intensive universities nationwide.
Before choosing a conventional on-campus or online psychology program to advance your knowledge of the dynamic field, it is important that you consider a number of factors, including your own individualized interests, the tuition costs for attendance, the types of degrees offered, your specific learning needs, and the program’s accreditation status. When you select an accredited degree program, you can rest assured that you will have access to the best learning community with high faculty credentials, extensive student support resources, and a rigorous curriculum. Therefore, once you have an accredited psychology degree in hand, you will fulfill the learning requirements needed to further your education, apply for national licensure, and pursue your dream career in psychology.