APA-Approved Online Schools with Clinical Psychology Programs: How to Choose
American Psychological Association (APA) approval is reserved for traditional, on-campus psychology programs. Students may be able to find some APA-approved institutions that offer a few courses online. However, fully online APA-approved clinical psychology programs are not available.
How to Find an APA-Approved Clinical Psychology Program with Online Course Options
APA Approval Requirements
It's important to note that, as of 2013, the APA did not approve any fully online clinical psychology programs. The APA only approves doctoral degrees, internships and residencies, and the conditions for program approval prohibit fully online degree programs from gaining APA acceptance. In order to earn APA approval, students must complete two out of the three years at the institution granting the degree and at least one year as a full-time resident. This means that for APA approval to be granted, degrees must be completed at least partially in a traditional format.
Although fully online programs cannot be APA-approved, the APA has no regulations against the inclusion of some online coursework within an approved program. This is still uncommon, but prospective students may want to check the curricula for the schools they're considering to see if online options are available for any courses. The APA maintains a list of accredited clinical psychology programs on its website to assist students in researching and choosing a school.
APA-Approved Clinical Psychology Programs with Online Coursework
Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology
Although this program requires a lot of face-to-face clinical training, some APA-approved programs may offer foundational courses in the science and theory of psychology in an online format. Since foundational courses are intended to help students acquire a base of knowledge rather than to advance their practical skills, it's easier to adapt these core classes into an online format. Examples of class topics that may be offered online include human development, the history of psychology, ethics and cognition.
At other schools, courses might be offered in a hybrid format, incorporating distance-learning technology to make an on-campus course more flexible and accessible. For example, some multi-campus schools may use features like video conferencing and online course management systems to synchronously teach students enrolled at different campuses.
Even in programs with online components, students should expect to complete most of their APA-approved clinical psychology training in a traditional, on-campus setting.
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