Of the 4,481 psychology graduate students who applied for an internship in the first phase of this year's internship match, 76.4 percent secured an internship, a match rate that is slightly better than last year's rate of 74 percent. Still, that improvement is not enough for APA and its student arm (the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students, APAGS), which have made finding solutions to the internship shortage a top priority.

"The good news is that there were more internship positions, both accredited and non-accredited, offered in the match," says Nabil El-Ghoroury, PhD, APAGS associate executive director. "The bad news is that 957 students did not match after Phase I. While this is down from 1,041 last year, it's still an unacceptably high number."

Internships are an essential part of the training psychology graduate students need to complete their clinical, counseling or school psychology doctoral training. Historically, the internship shortage has been due in part to the number of new internships not keeping pace with the growth in the number of students seeking internships. The 2013 match was a change in that trend since this year the number of positions grew by 186, while the number of internship applicants grew by 46.  In addition, the number of unfilled internships at the end of Phase I was 282, also an increase from last year. Those positions are expected to be filled in the next match phase.

Over the last several years, APA and APAGS have instituted several efforts to help solve the problem. They include:

  • APA funding a $3 million Internship Stimulus Package, designed to help non-accredited internships achieve APA accreditation. So far, APA has funded 32 internships at a total of $593,000.
  • APA and APAGS advocating for reimbursement for services provided by clinical interns. Reimbursement for such services could make it easier to create and fund internship positions.
  • APA and APAGS educating doctoral program applicants about the internship shortage so that they can make fully informed decisions about their education and training. APAGS released these materials in January and will continue to develop and share information at conferences, on the Web and through its campus representative network.
  • Convening interorganizational efforts such as through the Council of Chairs of Training Councils to take action to address the imbalance. 

Read an APA/APAGS statement on the latest APPIC Internship Match, which lists the various initiatives in place to help address the internship shortage.

—Sara Martin