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Unfunded Internships & Postdocs

Unfunded Internships and Postdocs

APPIC changed the policy regarding unfunded internships and postdoctoral fellowships in 2006 following a bylaws change approved by the membership (please refer to Internship criterion #16 and postdoctoral criterion #14):

Criterion: The program has the necessary financial resources to achieve its training goals and objectives. Intern [postdoctoral] stipends shall be reasonable, fair, and stated clearly in advance. Unfunded internship [postdoctoral] positions are allowable only in unusual and infrequent circumstances.

Clarification: APPIC understands the financial difficulties facing many programs across the country and is hesitant to lose quality member programs. However, we believe that the field benefits from raising the bar in this area. This criterion change primarily impacts NEW member programs that will be required to have a stipend in order to become APPIC members, while programs that were already members in 2006 were "grandparented" and allowed to remain members through 2011 with the expectation that they obtain stipend funding. APPIC offers a number of member benefits to help programs whenever possible, by connecting them to Mentors who can guide them with other possible funding streams; in addition, we work closely with national policy making and advocacy groups to increase national funding for Psychology Training (i.e., Graduate Psychology Education or GPE grants). We are hopeful that the stipend requirement will enhance the training field and raise the standards to be commensurate with other professions (e.g., medical interns and residents all earn stipends while completing their training). A number of programs have been successful with increasing their stipend following the change in membership criteria; anecdotally, a number of training directors have thanked APPIC for giving their administration the impetus needed to make a change that had not occurred despite years of effort by the training faculty.

The payment of a stipend is a concrete acknowledgment that a trainee in the agency is valued and emphasizes that the primary task of the year is educational in nature. Stipends are generally lower than a salary received by a regular employee and implies that there is a significant training component in addition to experiential learning. Stipends are equal among trainees unless there is an extenuating circumstance (e.g., specialized skills, consortia agreements). This distinction between trainee and regular employee emphasizes that an internship [postdoctoral program] is "an organized training program, in contrast to supervised experience or on-the-job training".

GRANDPARENTING PROVISION: The grandfathering period has ended as all programs were notified in 2006 of the change to a required and fair stipend based on regional standards.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding APPIC's Stipend Requirement