Online Psychological Education Article

Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP

Online Psychological Education Article

In the APA’s June 2012 Monitor an article was printed about online education which has created quite a stir among psychology students completing online education. Some students completing this type of education are finding it difficult attaining a license to practice because the American Psychological Association often does not accredit these programs for various reasons. My graduate education with Nova Southeastern University in Davie, Florida was not online. It was my experience that my physical interactions with fellow doctoral psychology students, medical students, law students, and  professors significantly  contributed to and enhanced my professional education. In my opinion, it may be particular challenging to capture that aspect of education with online training. Also, securing an APA accredited internship and quality practicums was highly competitive and I believe I never would have acquired the positions I secured without attending a reputable APA accredited masters and doctoral program. Please read the article found at if you are considering graduate education in psychology. It is a must read. Please feel welcome to contact me personally if you would like t o discuss your options. I am a licensed psychologist in Jacksonville, Florida.

What you should know about online education

APA does not accredit fully online programs in professional psychology. Here’s why.

By Rebecca A. Clay

June 2012, Vol 43, No. 6

Print version: page 42

Online education

When it comes to enrollment, online courses are greatly outpacing the rest of higher education.

According to the Sloan Consortium survey report Going the Distance: Online Education in the United States, 2011, the rate of growth in online enrollments is 10 times that of higher education as a whole.

More than 6 million students took at least one online course in the fall of 2010, an increase of more than half a million students over the previous year. Sixty-five percent of the chief academic officers surveyed reported that online education is a critical part of their institutions’ long-term strategy. And 57 percent said that student learning outcomes are the same as or even better in online education as in face-to-face instruction.

But not everyone’s convinced. According to the Sloan report, a third of academic leaders believe online education is inferior to traditional face-to-face learning. When it comes to online doctoral programs in professional psychology, APA agrees.

In 2010, following a period of public comment, APA’s Commission on Accreditation (CoA) adopted an implementing regulation(C-27) that prohibits doctoral programs that are primarily or completely online from being APA accredited. “In moving forward with this decision, CoA reviewed its own policy regarding the importance of face-to-face interaction with students over the educational sequence as well as the policies of other doctoral accrediting bodies in the health service arena,” says Susan Zlotlow, PhD, director of program consultation and accreditation and associate executive director of APA’s Education Directorate.

But while CoA objects to the lack of face-to-face interaction in distance education for health service providers — programs where most of the instruction occurs with students and faculty in different places — it acknowledges that supplementing traditional instruction with online components can be a useful addition to accredited doctoral programs. “CoA did not rule out online or distance education courses as part of a doctoral program,” says Zlotlow. “Those courses will be reviewed like any other course to ensure that the content includes graduate-level understanding of issues.

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