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Accreditation and Your Clinical Psychology Masters Degree

When you choose to study for a master's degree in clinical psychology, there are a number of important considerations to keep in mind. Most students look into several universities' program offerings to make the best choice for their chosen field, and of course, cost is always a big consideration, so most students spend a considerable amount of time on seeking scholarship and grant funding. However, a lot of students overlook one of the most important aspects when choosing a college or university for their Clinical Psychology Masters Degree, and that's the accreditation of the school.

  • At this time, there is a recognized accreditation body for those pursuing Ph.D. programs in school psychology, clinical psychology, and counseling. The accrediting body for Ph.D. programs is the APA. However, there isn't an official body for accreditation for Masters programs. At some level, these programs may have accreditation, but it's important that you do your research before you enroll in any school. An example of checking into accreditation is that some schools that offer an Ed.S program in School Psychology are checked by NASP. For a student who plans to go into Marriage Counseling, Family Counseling, or Social Work, programs for this will have an accreditation process at the Masters level. The U.S. Department of Education and the Council of Higher Education Accreditation have both established the APA Commission on Accreditation as the authorized, nationwide accreditation body for the education and training of students who want to enter the field of psychology. The policies set forth by the APA, including procedures and guidelines, are consistent with what is set forth by government groups and those not affiliated with the government, whose focus is accreditation
  • Accreditation is also a big issue when you're transferring your credits for your masters in clinical psychology program from one university to another. When you've previously been studying at one school, but are transferring to another, you must make sure that both schools have the proper accreditation. You have to ensure that all of the credits you've earned thus far from your masters program will transfer to your new school. Accreditation is absolutely essential for assuring students and the public in general that all of the recognized educational standards are met or even exceeded by the university. Accreditation standards are judged by the services the university provides for students, the stability of the university's finances, the quality of the university's staff, and the degree programs that are offered. You have to choose carefully when enrolling in a degree program, because the college or university must provide the coursework for your chosen field. In order to practice psychology, you'll have to be properly licensed in the state you reside in. Licensing requirements may vary from state to state, so it's important to enroll in a university that has the accreditation needed. To be accredited, state and national exams must be passed, and the state decides on the criteria for accreditation.
  • In the United States and Canada, all of the licensing boards are members of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, which were created for and to maintain the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. A number of states may mandate additional examinations in addition to the EPPP to be licensed to practice as a psychologist. A mental health or jurisprudence law exam may be required in some states. The examination may be written or oral, depending on location. You should be aware that most of the states also require a set number of continuing education credits every year for a psychologist to renew their license. This may be accomplished in several ways. A psychologist may enroll in classes that are audited, or they may attend approved workshops. Licenses to practice for certain fields may be earned at the masters-level. These include Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Psychological Associate, or Licensed Professional Counselor.
  • Accreditation agencies were put into place to make the distinction between reputable universities that offer accredited degree programs, and the mail order companies known as "diploma mills," that offer diplomas and degrees by mail without the student completing little if any coursework.
  • A license to practice is required in the United States, Canada, and the UK. Although in the US states, the requirements may differ, three factors always apply in order to be licensed. The student must graduate from a university that's accredited, they must complete an internship or clinical experience that's supervised, and a written or oral exam must be passed in the state the student resides in.
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