5 Best Psychology Associations for Students

Students earning a graduate or post-graduate degree in psychology can enhance their educational and professional prospects by becoming involved in psychology associations. There are many of these organizations based in the US and around the world that are beneficial to master’s and doctoral students as they earn their degrees.

Below are five of the best psychology associations to belong to as a master’s or doctoral student.

#1 American Psychological Association (APA)

APA is the top professional and scientific organization representing psychology in the US. Current membership consists of 118,000 researchers, educators, consultants, clinicians and students. (APA.org).

The mission of the APA is to encourage the advancement, communication, and application of the latest psychological knowledge and science to benefit society and enhance lives. The APA does this by:

  • Using psychological principles to make a positive impact on important issues in society.
  • Elevating the general public’s understanding of psychology.
  • Preparing the psychology discipline and profession for the future.
  • Enhancing the APA’s standing as a strong voice for the psychology profession.

For graduate and post-graduate students, the APA offers substantial educational resources that can help you to succeed in your psychology program. An advanced degree in psychology is needed for students to work as researchers, clinicians, or academics.

The APA provides guidance for applying to graduate school and tools to find accredited psychology programs in the United States. The association also provides other vital information for doctoral students, including:

  • Dissertations and research
  • Diversity issues
  • Doctoral internships
  • Funding sources for master’s and doctoral programs
  • Career development after graduate school
  • Postdoctoral fellowships

#2 American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS)

A division of the APA, the APAGS is building a better future for the psychological field by working as a united voice to advocate for and to enrich graduate student development. The association aspires to have the highest quality master’s and doctoral degree training for the new generation of psychological science innovators, expert clinicians, and new leaders in the field. (APA.org/apags/).

APAGS is the largest group of organized graduate students of psychology in the world. APAGS represents about ⅓ of all APA members and is one of the biggest groups in the APA. The association delivers information to master’s and doctoral students about important education and training matters; legislative developments in psychology; and future changes in the field.

For psychology graduate students, being a student affiliate of APA enrolls you automatically in APAGS. Undergraduates also can join APAGS. Membership benefits for students include:

  • Professional community: Access to new science, practice, and conversations in the public interest. Also, you have connections to people who want to improve the world through the use of psychological science.
  • Fundings and savings: Take advantage of more than $200,000 in grant and award opportunities each year.
  • Publications: Receive subscriptions to these journals – American Psychologist, Monitor on Psychology, and Translational Issues in Psychological Science.
  • Professional development: Run for official APAGS positions, serve on psychology task forces, and participate in the annual convention.
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#3 Association for Psychological Science (APS)

APS is the premier international association that is dedicated to advancing the science of psychology across geographic and disciplinary borders. (Psychologicalscience.org). APS has more than 35,000 members across the globe. It hosts an annual convention with more than 4,200 scientists and students each year.

Members provide a better understanding of the world through teaching, research, and application of the science of psychology. APS members also share advanced research in all areas of psychology through:

  • Promoting scientific opinions and perspectives in psychological science
  • Enabling global connections among the membership
  • Engaging the general public with the association’s research on psychological science
  • Advocating for more support for psychological science by government

APS offers resources for graduate and post-graduate students, including advice on psychology programs, fellowships, accreditation information and more.

Its Rising Stars program identifies outstanding APS members in the early stages of research after they earn their Ph.D. Its purpose is to highlight exciting and groundbreaking work by the field’s newest psychology researchers. Professionals are considered for the Rising Star designation by evaluating their promise of excellence in research, based on these factors:

  • Major publications
  • Major recognitions
  • Noteworthy discoveries, empirical or theoretical contributions, and methodological innovations
  • Research with potentially significant societal impact

#4 American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP)

ABPP is the major organization for Specialty Board Certification in Psychology, with 15 specialty boards and one subspecialty board. The American Board of Professional Psychology promotes high-quality psychological services by examining and certifying professional psychologists who are engaged in specialty practice. (ABPP.org).

Board certification for new psychologists is important for these reasons:

  • Shows psychology specialty expertise which distinguishes you from others in the field.
  • Healthcare providers in other areas consider board certification as a requirement for patient care.
  • Being board certified makes the student stand out in the job market.
  • Many hospitals inquire about board certification when the psychologist applies for privileges.
  • Health insurance companies often ask about board certification when the psychologist applies to be part of their networks.
  • Some academic settings mandate board certification for tenure and promotion.

For students who want to become board certified in a psychological specialty, the following are required:

  • You must have earned a Ph.D., Psy.D., or Ed.D. from a program in professional psychology that was accredited by the CPA (Canadian Psychological Association), APA, or was listed in the publication Doctoral Psychology Programs Meeting Designation Criteria.
  • Professionals who earned their doctoral degree in 2018 or later from a university in the US or Canada must have been awarded the degree from a program accredited by the APA or CPA.
  • All ABPP candidates in the US or Canada must be licensed as a psychologist for independent practice in the US or Canada.

#5 Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)

The CPA is the major psychological association in Canada. Its objectives are:

  • To enhance the welfare and health of every Canadian.
  • To promote innovation and excellence in psychological education, research, and practice.
  • To promote the development, advancement, application, and dissemination of psychological science.
  • To provide the best quality services to all members.

The CPA has 32 sections, one of which is the Section for Students in Psychology. This section provides a forum where students can learn from one another and prepare for a career in psychological science. Students also more fully experience their postgraduate and postsecondary journeys and develop additional skills and contacts for their careers.

The CPA offers various student internships, awards, and fellowships that can help psychology students in their master’s or doctoral programs. (CPA.ca).

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