This article is adapted from "United States National Tour" prepared by E. Lawson, E. Sztein, B. Overmier, A. Fraknlin that appeared in Wedding, D., & Stevens, M. J. (Eds.) (2009). Psychology: IUPsyS Global Resource (Edition 2009) [CD-ROM]. International Journal of Psychology, 44 (Suppl. 1)
In total, there are more than one hundred separate psychological organizations in the United States (most states have one, and each region has one, e.g., Midwestern Psychological Association, and each sub-discipline has one, e.g., the Pavlovian Society, the Psychometric Society, etc.) some with memberships in excess of five thousand; some have international members. Eighteen of these organizations are represented by the Federation of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.
Among the first instructors/experimental psychologists in the U.S. we can name William James, Charles Sanders Peirce, and Granville Stanley Hall. The first Department of Psychology in the United States was established in 1924 at Princeton University.
When the American Psychological Association was established in July 1892, the profession it sought to advance was almost as new. National membership that month was fewer than three dozen, a number that multiplied rapidly over the next one hundred years as people in the U.S. coped with the increasing complexity of modern life. Currently, approximately 28% of psychologists are educators, researchers, or administrators within universities colleges, and schools. Another 51% provide or administer human services in (1) independent practice (22%), (2) in hospitals and clinics (20%), or (3) in other human service settings (9%). Approximately 12% work in business, industry, or government. A snapshot of psychology degrees conferred by U.S. institutions dated in the year 2000 includes 74,060 B.S., 14,465 M.S., and 4,310 Ph.D. degrees. APA's Center for Workforce Studies estimates that there are 93,000 clinically trained psychologists in the United States. As of 2005, there were approximately a total of 85,000 Ph.D. and Psy.D. that were members of APA. Licensed psychologists totaled approximately 85,000 in 2004. Graduations average 4,000-5,000 per year and approximately 2,700 of those are in health service provider fields, resulting in an additional 8,100 professionals clinically trained.
A clear demographic shift took place in the last 40 years that resulted in the feminization of the discipline in the U.S. While in 1971 only 46% of B.S. degrees were earned by women, the percentage in the year 2000 rose to 76.5%; and while in 1973 the percentage of female Ph.D.s in the workforce was only 20%, by 2001 it had risen to 47.9%.
Research conducted in psychology in the United States is very broad and covers many specialty areas, as suggested by the names of the 54 Divisions in APA (see www.apa.org/about/division.html). Indeed, there are some sixty-five different focal psychological science research societies in the United States. Undergraduates (B.A./B.S.) degrees in psychology are awarded by over two thousand colleges and universities, over six hundred of which offer advanced degrees in psychology. Research programs exist in almost all fields of psychology. Although most research programs are university-based, many are private, performing research under contract to industry or government. Several government research institutes also employ psychologists.
An important trend in psychology today is the application of psychology for the benefit of society. The areas currently growing the most in psychology are those addressing societal as well as individual needs such as clinical, school, developmental, and industrial/organizational psychology and service-related activities performed by psychologists have risen dramatically.
Typically a psychologist trained to the doctoral level has completed at least two extensive research projects (master's thesis and doctoral dissertation) and a wide variety of courses in the basic science of human behavior, statistics, and research methodology. In addition, psychologists generally specialize in a specific area in psychology.
In addition to general graduate training leading to the doctoral degree (which prepares psychologists for teaching, research and many service positions), all fifty states of the United States, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have laws regulating the practice of psychology. These laws generally provide that individuals wishing to offer psychological services to the public for a fee must meet certain educational standards and pass an examination.
As the minimum requirement for licensing or certification, most states require a doctoral (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) degree "in a field of study primarily psychological in nature" plus up to two years of supervised experience. Individual states ordinarily require that applicants have obtained their doctoral degree from a psychology program accredited by the American Psychological Association or from a program in an institution that is itself accredited by one of the regional accreditation associations for schools and colleges. Certificates and licenses issued under state statute do not refer to any specialty within the profession of psychology. However, the American Psychological Association's "Ethical Principles" require that psychologists limit their practice to those areas in which they have developed professional competence through training and experience. Many states require that psychologists wishing to maintain their licensure or certification follow courses of continuing education. Unless otherwise qualified, psychologists do not engage in the practice of medicine, although psychologists have gained prescriptive authority in two states (New Mexico and Louisiana) and one U.S. territory (Guam). Five other U.S. states are currently discussing prescriptive authority for psychologists.
American Journal of Psychology, 1887-
American Psychologist, 1946- , 9/year
Psychological Bulletin, 1904- , published bimonthly
Psychological Review, 1894- , 4/year
Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior, 1961- , published bimonthly
Child Development, 1930- , published bimonthly
Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, 1968- , 4/year
Psychological Science, 1990- , 12/year
Current Directions in Psychological Science, 1992- , published bimonthly
Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 1994-
Applied and Preventive Psychology, 1992-
Psychological Record, 1937- , 4/year
Developmental Psychology, 1965- , published bimonthly
Journal of Counseling Psychology, 1954- , 4/year
Journal of Experimental & Clinical Psychopharmacology, 1993- , 4/year
Journal of Experimental Psychology:
[5 separate sections: Animal Behavior ; Applied ; General ; Human Perception ; and Learning, Memory & Cognition], 1916- , published bimonthly
Journal of Applied Psychology, 1917- , published bimonthly
Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 1906- , 4/year
Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 1968- , published bimonthly
Behavioral Neuroscience, 1983- (previously Journal of Comparative & Physiological Psychology), published bimonthly
Neuropsychology 1987- , published bimonthly
Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 1970- , published bimonthly
Psychological Assessment, 1989- , 4/year
Psychological Methods, 1996- , 4/year
Psychology & Aging, 1986- , 4/year
Psychometrika, 1936- , 4/year
Psychotherapy Research, 1991- , 4/year
Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 1957- , 4/year
Rehabilitation Psychology, 1956- , 4/year
Research on Aging, 1979- , published bimonthly
Research in Developmental Disabilities, 1980- , published bimonthly
Review of General Psychology, 1997- , 4/year
School Psychology Review, 1972- , 4/year
School Psychology Quarterly, 1986- , 4/year
Sport Psychologist, 1987- , 4/year
Teaching of Psychology, 1974- , 4/year
Integrative Physiological & Behavioral Science
Behavior Therapy, 4/year
Learning & Motivation, 1970- , 4/year
Learning and Behavior (previously Animal Learning & Behavior), 1973- , 4/year
Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, 1964, published bimonthly
Cognitive Psychology, 1970- , 4/year
Developmental Neuropsychology, 1992, published bimonthly
Ecological Psychology, 1989- , 4/year
Educational and Psychological Measurement, 1941- , published bimonthly
Educational Psychology Review, 1997, 4/year
Experimental Aging Research, 1975, 4/year
Group Dynamics: Theory, Research & Practice, 1997- , 4/year
Human Factors, 1960, published yearly
Infant Behavior & Development, 1978- , 4/year
International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 1994- , 4/year
Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 1997- , published bimonthly
Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 1960- , 12/year
Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 1989- , 12/year
Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, 1977- , 4/year
Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1964- , 12/year
Journal of Genetic Psychology, 4/year
Journal of Memory & Language, 1962- , 12/year
Journal of Pediatric Psychology, Founced 1976- , 8/year
American Journal of Psychology, 1887- , 4/year
Journal of Social Psychology, 1929- , published bimonthly
Updated November 2008