Tag Archives: APPIC

Possible Impact of Federal Hiring Freeze on the Internship Match

Dear fellow students,

As many of you already know, President Trump issued an executive order on January 23rd toInternships in Psychology Workbook freeze the hiring of Federal civilian employees across the executive branch with the exception of military personnel. The President’s memorandum can be found here. At present, this freeze includes all hiring at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP), and the Indian Health Service (IHS). Taken together, these three Federal departments are host to more than 700 APA-accredited internship slots, the vast majority of which are accredited through the VA.

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Important notice to users of MyPsychTrack

APAGS recently heard about a change to the MyPsychTrack (MPT) system that could create confusion and lost data. MPT is changing to a new and improved portal (https://app.mypsychtrack.com/) on March 4th, 2016. If you are a student tracking clinical training hours on MPT, unless you logged in recently to record hours, you may be unaware of this change. To maintain all your data, you have to upload your data to the new portal by March 4th. Data logged on the old portal may not be available on or after March 4th.

There is a link on the MPT homepage that provides assistance on transferring hours into the new system. Contact MPT support if you have any questions or concerns and they will walk you through the process.

APPIC believes this will affect about 200 people who haven’t updated their MPT account since March 2015.

Please share this widely with your peers, and of course, it’s always a good practice to back up your data regardless of the system you use!

A Few Good Reasons Why the Internship Crisis Might Get (Slightly) Better

Internship is stressful, so let us bask in some good news for a moment.

For the past 18 years, APPIC has produced forward-looking best-case scenarios about the internship match for doctoral students in clinical, counseling, and school psychology using a point-in-time profile of applicants, doctoral internship sites, and open spots on New Year’s Eve.

APPIC predicts that the imbalance between the number of applicants and positions — what APAGS and others call a crisis — will continue to improve, as it has in 2015 and 2014.

Here is what APPIC shared recently* with the psychology education and training community:

  • There are currently only 148 more registered applicants than available positions (compared to a difference of 498 last year and 1,148 only four years ago)
  • Approximately 200 students withdraw from the Match each year after registering (for a variety of reasons, such as not having received any interview offers, deciding to delay their internship another year, seeking or obtaining a position outside the APPIC Match, etc). This suggests that the number of positions in the 2016 Match could equal, or even slightly exceed, the number of students who submit a Rank Order List. “Please note, however, that this does not mean that all applicants will get placed, nor will all positions get filled.”
  • As a result, the 2016 APPIC Match will likely show the closest balance between applicants and positions of any APPIC Match to date.
  • The number of accredited positions, while significantly improved this year, is far lower than the number of registered applicants. (APAGS reported on match rates using just data from the APA Commission on Accreditation on match day 2015).

APPIC reminds us that it has provided a snapshot as of December 31, 2015, and that numbers change each day.**

APPIC’s optimism is corroborated by Robert Hatcher’s new article in APPIC’s academic journal. Hatcher predicts that “even if the internship growth rate slowed to less than 1%, match rates would be in the mid-90% range by 2018” (2015). The article does paint some complications that we’ll be paying attention to.

Crave even more good news this week? APA just announced that “psychology graduate students now have access to 55 new APA-accredited internship slots, thanks to the accreditation of 11 internship programs that received funds from APA’s internship stimulus package. The new slots were created after APA’s Commission on Accreditation was able to accredit 17 internship programs in October. Eleven of those programs were internship stimulus grantees and the additional six programs will also provide a number of internship slots, but those numbers are not yet available.”

APAGS is well aware that while we have some optimistic news before us, not all qualified doctoral students who desire an internship will receive one, and not all doctoral programs and types are matching their students to accredited programs at comparable rates. APAGS has committed substantial resources to address these concerns, and we’ll continue to see that other groups do the same, until the crisis is effectively ended.

If you want to help address the internship crisis as an advocate, go to http://on.apa.org/internshipcrisis to learn how.


Notes:

*All APPIC information presented here, and much of the verbiage, was provided by APPIC in listserv announcements in January 2016.

**For numbers wonks: As of December 31, 2015, the total numbers of applicants and internship sites registered to participate in the 2016 APPIC Match were: 3,940 registered applicants, 3,792 positions offered by 786 registered internship sites (744 of these registered sites are APPIC members).  Compared to last year at this time, these numbers reflect a decrease of 223 applicants, an increase of 127 positions, and an increase of 14 internship sites.  Furthermore, the number of APA- and CPA-accredited positions has increased by 231. Compared to four years ago at this time, which was the year of the worst imbalance between applicants and positions: The number of registered applicants has decreased by 418 (4,358 to 3,940); The number of registered positions has increased by 582 (3,210 to 3,792); The difference between the numbers of registered positions and applicants has decreased by 1,000 (1,148 to 148); The number of registered APA- or CPA-accredited positions has increased by 590 (2,366 to 2,956); The number of registered internship sites has increased by 74 (712 to 786); The number of registered APPIC-member internship sites has increased by 77 (667 to 744).

 

The Texas State Capitol Building. (Source: StuSeeger on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

Tackling the Internship Crisis Through Legislative Advocacy

The Texas State Capitol Building. (Source: StuSeeger on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

The Texas State Capitol Building. (Source: StuSeeger on Flickr. Some rights reserved.)

They say everything is bigger in Texas, but there is at least one exception: The window for getting new legislation introduced and passed is tiny!  Despite the fact that the legislature only meets for 140 days every two years, the Texas Psychological Association (TPA)–with the help of its Student Division–was able to find legislative sponsors for the “Intern Bill” and mobilize TPA members and their representatives to support it.

This bill authorizes licensed psychologists to delegate services to a pre-doctoral psychology intern under their supervision.  Allowing licensed psychologists to delegate services to their interns is the first in a series of steps toward making internships more sustainable. As the Director of the TPA’s Student Division, I was given the opportunity to play a key role in advocating for this legislation.

Climbing the legislative ladder

At my first TPA Board of Trustees meeting as the Director of the Student Division, I learned they were planning to find legislators to sponsor the Intern Bill.  After having seen the video created by APAGS about the internship crisis, I was well aware that the lack of internships for qualified doctoral students had reached alarming proportions, with up to 29 percent of applicants not matching during the last five years.  I coordinated with TPA’s Grassroots committee to mobilize students to support this bill and ended up becoming personally involved in advocating for this legislation.

My efforts began by mobilizing the Student Division’s Board of Directors and Campus Representatives to begin spreading the word to colleges and universities across Texas about this bill and what it could do for psychology students.  One of the difficult things about advocacy is that you rarely get feedback about how your message is being received and whether it inspires others to take up the challenge.  I learned that our message was effective after TPA invited its members to spend a day together at the capital with legislators, speaking with them about bills we are sponsoring.

Students turned out in record-breaking numbers for this event, ready to take on the challenge of advocating for this much needed legislation.

I headed back to the capital a few weeks later, along with other key TPA members, to testify before the Texas Public Health committee about the importance of passing the Intern Bill.  This was an exciting opportunity.  I prepared my testimony by doing a little research and getting feedback from students who had not previously matched to an internship program.  After all this work, the amount of time I was allowed to testify was reduced from 10 minutes to about 2 minutes!  I had to be very concise, but I was able to speak about my most important points during this time (To watch, find the testimony from  04/07/2015 under Public Health, starting at 14:25).

Representative Garnet Coleman and Senator Kevin Eltife have been very supportive of the profession of psychology.  Their sponsorship of House and Senate versions of this bill, combined with the persistence of students and TPA members, led to a majority vote with almost no opposition by the House and Senate. The bill became law in June 2015.

The power of student advocacy

My advice to those involved with other organizations interested in promoting similar legislation falls into three categories: awareness, student involvement, and focus.

Awareness: Even in academic settings, people are largely unaware of the severity of the internship crisis.  Laying out the numbers gives people a clear view of the problem.  Once they have been armed with the facts, people are more likely to become involved in changing the situation.  For me, presenting the percentage of students who did not match to accredited internship programs had the greatest impact.  These statistics can be found on the APPIC website.

Student involvement: Students are willing to get involved in legislative advocacy.  When reaching out to them, it is important that you to provide several avenues to express their support.  Those who have the resources to travel to their state’s Capital (or live nearby) should be encouraged to make their position known in person before legislative committees, or set up appointments with their representatives individually.  Providing links to online petitions and to the contact information for the state’s representatives can help others get involved.  Also, encourage your peers to address these issues with their professors and advisors.

Focus: When giving testimony before legislators keep the focus narrow enough so that you don’t become bogged down in unfamiliar jargon.  Present a brief overview of the statistics and then turn your attention to the impact the internship crisis has on individual students and their constituents.  Once they understand that billing for interns will lead to increased access to mental health care for their state’s residents, supporting the legislation becomes that much easier.

Don’t be afraid to ask

If you are a student, it is important to be involved in both a national organization, such as APAGS, and your state psychological organization.  It was through APAGS that I discovered that the internship crisis existed, which prompted me to get more involved with TPA in trying to do something about it.  All I had to do was ask TPA to help with the Intern Bill–they were ecstatic that a student was willing to get involved.

The bottom line is: Don’t be afraid to ask.  Ask your state psychology organization to introduce an Intern Bill; ask other students and psychologists to support it; ask your state government to pass it.

It is my hope that the success we have experienced in Texas will make it easier for other state governments to say yes to an Intern Bill.

Amanda Phillips

Editor’s Note: Amanda S. Phillips is a doctoral student in clinical health psychology at the University of North Texas. She is also the 2014-2015 Director of the Student Division of the Texas Psychological Association. 

Standardized Reference Form: What Students Need to Know

The Fall 2015 round of applicants for internship will be greeted with a new feature that levels the playing field for everyone entering the pool: the Standardized Reference Form (SRF). Over the course of two years, a working group from the Council of Chairs of Training Councils (CCTC) collaborated to improve the process of evaluating applicants in a way that was meaningful to reviewers and equitable for students.

Instead of the sometimes vague letters students may have received in the past, this form asks for writers to speak to specific competencies that are relevant to training in a narrative format. This includes student strengths and areas for growth. We all have both, and now there won’t be a penalty for honest assessments of where students are in their skills and abilities before internship. It even allows for recommenders to indicate the years they trained you, so that the reviewers can see your developmental progression.

We don’t expect this letter to influence the match statistics, but the intention is that it results in a better fit for the intern and the site. CCTC will continue to work with The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers (APPIC) to evaluate the letter in the next year, allowing the form to evolve and improve over time. Students are welcomed to share feedback about it as well.

Most change requires adjustment and a little anxiety, but here are some “To Dos” to assist students with making this a smooth transition:

  1. Go to the AAPI and download the SRF for yourself to see how you will be evaluated. Write a letter on yourself to self-assess on the competencies being addressed.
  2. Tell all your cohort members to do the same. Spread the word.
  3. Give anyone who may be writing a letter for you a copy of the SRF well in advance, especially if they’ve written letters before. This allows them to have a heads up on the new format, in case they have not yet been introduced. Share the FAQs with them, to answer any questions.
  4. Talk with your recommenders about the SRF and how you see your strengths and areas for growth related to each competency. Make the process collaborative, especially if they have not seen the progression of your skills.

APAGS continues to work on the internship crisis and standardizing the way interns are evaluated is one piece of the larger puzzle. Check back here for any updates about the SRF along the way.