For the fifth consecutive year, Spalding University’s School of Professional Psychology has achieved perfection in a key measure of the quality of its Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) in Clinical Psychology program – matching 100 percent of its final-year doctoral students with internships at sites accredited by the American Psychological Association.
A total of 26 Spalding PsyD students in the Class of 2022 landed internships at APA-accredited sites in 16 states, including Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana, California, Oregon, Texas, New York and Washington.
Overall, it is the eighth straight year that Spalding has matched 100 percent of its PsyD students with an internship, with all of them since 2017 being at APA-accredited sites. Clinical sites that have earned APA accreditation are considered to be of the highest standard and have the most competitive process for selecting interns. The national match rate for PsyD programs is 85 percent.
The sites at which Spalding students will intern represent a range of clinical settings, including Veterans Affairs hospitals, federal prisons, community mental health centers, psychiatric hospitals, pediatric hospitals and university counseling centers. Some of the sites have taken Spalding interns for multiple years consecutively.
“We are excited for and proud of our students and faculty for achieving a perfect internship match rate at APA-accredited sites for the fifth consecutive year,” School of Professional Psychology Chair Dr. Brenda Nash said. “This consistent excellence has created a reputation for our program nationwide. These are internship sites from all over the country that can take students from any program in the country, and the fact that we continue to place our students at a 100 percent rate speaks to the reputation that we’ve built. Our program and our university have name recognition with top internship sites around the country.”
All PsyD students in the United States are required to complete a full-time internship of about 2,000 hours in order to earn their doctorate. Once the student has finished all foundational coursework and practicum training, the internship serves as a capstone experience to complete the doctorate, similar to a physician’s residency. Students apply nationally to internship programs that align with their training and career goals. The internship sites then interview students from all over the country and rank them in a competitive process. As such, a program’s internship match rate is viewed as an effective, objective measure of the quality of a PsyD program.
“Any program can tell you how great it is, but having a 100 percent APA-accredited internship match rate tells you with unbiased certainty that we are a top-tier program,” Nash said. “The fact that we continue to have that match rate shows that our students are incredibly well-prepared by our curriculum and capable of going anywhere in the country for their internship. And it shows that the sites that could take students from any program want to take students from Spalding.
“I think the match rate is single-handedly the best way to measure the quality of a program. Maybe it isn’t in one particular year because anything can happen in one year, but if you look year after year – five years with 100 percent matching at APA-accredited sites – clearly you’re seeing an extraordinary program.”
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Nash, who is in her first year as faculty Chair after previously serving as Spalding’s Director of Clinical Training, said that Spalding’s 100 percent match rate is all the more impressive in 2021 given the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. She noted many sites around the country elected not to take interns this year, or offered fewer slots, due to COVID-19-related issues, shrinking the number of available positions for students.
While COVID-19 necessitated many adjustments, Nash said a positive outcome of the past 15 months is that Spalding PsyD students have become equipped with extensive experience in conducting telehealth sessions – an important skill that will be beneficial to the internship sites they serve over the coming year. Nash credited first-year Director of Clinical Training Dr. Amy Young for helping students continue their clinical training during the pandemic and for mentoring them through the internship process.
“Her tireless efforts helped Spalding continue its perfect match rate,” Nash said.
Spalding’s 120-credit-hour doctoral program was among the first PsyD programs in the U.S. and has been continuously accredited by the APA since 1989.
Spalding PsyD students receive strong generalist training across the lifespan, with the added bonus of being able to select one of four emphasis areas: advanced clinical psychology, forensic psychology, health psychology and, new for Fall 2021 and unique to the region, neuropsychology (with the option to focus on children/adolescents or adults).
The Spalding program was recognized in 2020 as one of the 50 best in the nation by PsyDPrograms.org and was the only program in Kentucky to make the list.
More information about Spalding’s School of Professional Psychology and the Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology program can be found at spalding.edu/psychology.