Continuing Education for Psychologists
What is it?
Continuing education in psychology is a process during which psychologists participate in educational programs that are related to the practice of psychology. It is a way for them to learn about the most up- to-date science on treatment, testing, and learning. Psychologists can also learn about changes in laws that may affect them. Just as in most of the professions I can think of, many things change over the years after you complete your schooling and training before starting a career. Without continuing your education you cannot effectively work as a professional without continuing to learn about how best to perform your job now, not as it would have been done 5, 10, or even 40 years ago.
The number of credits required for psychologists in the USA vary by state and range from 0 – 60. There are two different terms used for CE (continuing education). The one used by the APA (American Psychological Association) is credit where a credit is equal to one hour. The other term is unit where 10 hours is equal to 1 credit. Each state determines which kind of credits they will accept. It is important to check with your state licensing board to find out if they will accept the type of continuing education credits offered by the programs you are planning to participate in even if they are APA programs. The office of CE Sponsor Approval oversees the process of approving programs to qualify.
Types of Programs:
There are several types of programs available from the APA as well as other providers referred to as sponsors. Programs are available via books, articles, webinar, video on demand, and face-to-face seminars or workshops. The American Psychological Association maintains a list of approved sponsors of continuing professional education on their website apa.org. There are in-person seminars available throughout the country so you can usually locate one near you. Many people prefer learning in person. You can take advantage of one of the other options if you can’t find a local program or if your schedule doesn’t permit attending in person. The subject matter of the programs varies a great deal so that you should be able to not only meet the requirements but learn about a subject that is interesting to you or that you feel will be important to you and the populations that you serve. Here is a sample list of some of the topics of the programs that are available; addictions, aging, biofeedback, children and adolescents, ethics, health psychology, neuropsychology, neurofeedback, psychotherapy, race, culture and identity, trauma, and violence.
Whether your state licensing board requires continuing education credits or not, it is extremely important to keep learning. All psychologists should want to keep their skills up and make sure that they know what the latest science is in the field of psychology. This is also an opportunity to learn about topics that are of interest to you. As a psychologist you will feel better and the people you serve will benefit from your increased knowledge.
Harry L. Campbell
President, Biofeedback Resources International Corp.
Author of What Stress Can Do