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CAPIC’s History and Unique Place | CAPIC Today | Accreditation: CAPIC, APA and APPIC | CAPIC and Diversity | CAPIC Myths and Facts

CAPIC and Its Unique Place in Psychology Training in California

Created in 1991, CAPIC’s founders recognized that by working together they could increase the quality of professional psychology training throughout the entire education trajectory, as well as better train psychologists to serve community and population needs in California.  CAPIC supports local, diverse and quality psychology training for licensure without the imprimatur of accreditation.

CAPIC has a long history of being responsive to the needs of its program members, the California public mental communities they serve, and the public at large.

  • CAPIC was founded in part to address the needs of smaller, often county-based, publicly-funded internship agencies who could not afford the stipend or accreditation fees required for APA-accreditation, while maintaining training quality. The majority of CAPIC internships are located in community-based clinics, where they address the needs of traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities and populations.
  • Over the past 25 years, over twelve thousand (12,000) interns have been trained at CAPIC internships which are serving the profession and mental health clients in communities in California. These CAPIC alumni now serve in a multitude of roles, including deans and directors of training at APA-accredited doctoral academic programs, training directors of doctoral and postdoctoral internships, chief psychologists in psychiatric hospitals, Kaiser hospitals, state and federal prisons, and many more such positions. Many CAPIC alumni are also licensed and serving as psychologists in other states.
  • In 2005, CAPIC hosted a national conference on the Half-Time Internship in Berkeley, CA, which led to the adoption of the halftime internship model nation-wide. Currently, roughly half of CAPIC’s internships are half-time, and the other half are full-time, while less than 10% of APA-accredited and APPIC-member internships are half-time. The results of this conference were memorialized in the following paper:
  • In 2008, CAPIC was awarded a contract from the California Department of Mental Health (CA/DMH) funded by the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) to provide stipends to psychology students serving in publicly supported mental health agencies in California, and to develop educational materials that would help train psychologists in the Resiliency-Recovery theoretical approach to treating people with chronic mental health problems. CAPIC was awarded a new MHSA contract in 2016. Under these MHSA contracts, CAPIC will distribute over $4.8 million in stipends to 250 students, resulting in over 700,000 hours of public mental health services to Californians.


Over twenty five years later, CAPIC continues to promote excellence in doctoral psychology education and training that provides a path to licensure, as well as provide psychological services to California communities. In doing so, we also address the unique needs of students and populations otherwise not well-served by the traditional training model.

CAPIC member internships are recognized as formal internships by the California Board of Psychology (CA BoP), alongside APA-accredited and APPIC member internships for the accrual of Supervised Professional Experience (SPE) hours.  

While CAPIC internships and postdocs are recognized by the CA Board for licensure, CAPIC is not an accrediting body.  This may have ramifications for employment (e.g. the VA currently requires an APA-accredited internship for employment) and for license mobility across states.  Still, the vast majority of state licensing boards allow equivalent alternatives to accredited internships, even as they explicitly mention APA-accredited internships and/or doctoral academic programs.  CAPIC credentials of applicants for psychology licensure, which are recognized by the CA BoP, have also been accepted on an individual basis by other state licensing boards, including Colorado, Massachusetts and Tennessee. Further, at a recent (Nov 2015) meeting of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), the State Board delegates overwhelmingly affirmed that an APA-accredited internship should not be a requirement for licensure.

For licensure, the CA BoP requires applicants accrue at least 3000 SPE hours, with at least 1500 SPE hours being obtained postdoctorally. CAPIC’s membership requirements lay the path for licensure in compliance with the CA BoP regulations.

As a part of CAPIC’s requirement for its doctoral academic program members, their graduation requirements must include the completion of an internship experience.  As part of CAPIC’s requirement for its internship program members, these internship experiences must provide a minimum of 1500 SPE hours, although roughly half of them provide 2000 hours.  Similarly, as part of CAPIC’s requirement for its postdoctoral program members, these postdoctoral fellowships must provide a minimum of 1500 SPE hours. CAPIC program member criteria are provided on the Joining CAPIC page of the CAPIC website.

Accreditation: CAPIC, APA and APPIC

CAPIC is a membership organization, like APPIC, and is not an accrediting body.  Half of our Doctoral Academic Programs are APA-accredited, while the remaining ones are regionally-accredited.  CAPIC internship membership criteria are based on APPIC membership criteria, with the primary differences being that (a) CAPIC encourages but does not require stipends for interns; and (b) CAPIC requires that multicultural training integrated into the doctoral and postdoctoral internship training program. While it is not a requirement for CAPIC internships to be APA-accredited, a few are.  Regarding stipends, APA and APPIC require stipends at all their internships, while CAPIC encourages them, with roughly half of CAPIC internships providing stipends.  CAPIC also conducts ongoing quality assurance reviews that include site visitations by a CAPIC board member or Quality Assurance delegate. CAPIC’s Quality Assurance program is explained further on the Quality Assurance page of the CAPIC website.

CAPIC internships provide substantially equivalent training as both APPIC member and APA accredited internships, in terms of professional staff, supervision, and the structured training experience.

  • See the Comparison Table of APPIC and CAPIC Membership Criteria posted on the CAPIC website.
  • See also the Morrison and Bucky posters from recent studies comparing CAPIC, APPIC member and APA accredited internships.
    • Morrison, A., Schaefer, M., Ribner, N., & Puliatti, R. (January 2015).Training healthcare psychologists: Outcomes from multiple models. Poster presented at the National Council of Schools and Programs in Professional Psychology Mid-winter Conference, San Diego, CA.
    •  Of Note: This CAPIC poster was created in response to a 2012 article in Training and Education in Professional Psychology (TEPP) by Schaffer, Rodolfa, Owen, Lipkins, Webb, and Horn. CAPIC questioned the methodology used and conclusions made.  A partial correction by the authors was made, distinguishing APA-accredited from non-accredited internships (including APPIC and CAPIC).  Later discussions further changed the comparison to be between structured internships (which would include APA, APPIC and CAPIC internships) from unstructured internships.
    • Bucky, S., Stolberg, R., Turner, S., & Kimmel, C. (April 2015). Comparison of supervisory characteristics across accrediting bodies and levels of training. Poster presented at the 2015 California Psychological Association convention, San Diego, CA.
  • A third study showing no significant difference in internship quality has also recently been published:

Despite these similarities, there are differences, including but not limited to:

  • Some employers (e.g. US Department of Veterans Affairs aka VA) only accept internship experience gained at APA-accredited internship programs.
  • Each state and province/territory has its own specific requirements for licensure, with most states’ licensing boards specifically recognizing APA-accredited programs, while usually providing exceptions for alternative pathways that demonstrate substantial equivalency.  The individual licensing board for your jurisdiction of interest should be directly contacted regarding its acceptance of training at non-accredited programs. In 2017, CAPIC also sent a letter to state licensing boards to help them assess our internships and make that determination for themselves.  The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) coordinates the activities of US and Canadian psychology licensing boards, and can provide additional info on individual jurisdictional requirements.
  • Many CAPIC internships offer 1500 hours of Supervised Professional Experience (SPE), while some states (and Doctoral Academic Programs) require 2000 hours.  Individual internships should be reviewed or contacted regarding their annual SPE hours, and whether additional hours can be accrued, if desired.
  • CAPIC encourages but does not require internships to provide stipends to its interns.  Approximately half of CAPIC internships are funded (i.e. provide stipends).
  • Like APPIC, CAPIC is a member-organization, and while both have membership standards, neither are accrediting bodies recognized by the Dept of Education or by CHEA.

To ensure out-of-state students and their Doctoral Academic Programs understand  the nature and the requirements of a CAPIC internship, both must complete an attestation.

Students must complete an attestation of their agreement to CAPIC policies and their understanding of CAPIC internships. Here is the link to the online student attestation: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1626175/Student-Attestation.

Doctoral Academic Program clinical training directors must complete a similar online attestation:   http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1626303/Doctoral-Attestation.

More details regarding CAPIC internships and their substantial equivalency to APA-accredited ones are given in this Letter on Substantial Equivalency, which has been shared with doctoral academic programs and state licensing boards across the United States and Canada.

CAPIC and Diversity

CAPIC internships are a path for licensure for psychology students, not simply a backup to APA accredited or APPIC member internships.

  • CAPIC pioneered the Half-Time (HT) internship model, which is now recognized nationally. HT internships address the unique needs of many students, who, due to work, family and/or other commitments, are unable to select full-time (FT) internships.
  • 2017 CAPIC internship status types: Approximately 43% programs offered either a full-time or half-time internship within the same site; 17% were entirely full-time; about 40% were entirely half-time. Of those which offer half-time internships, over 50% offered half-time 2-year internships.
  • CAPIC interns are diverse and serve diverse community needs.
    • In the 2019 CAPIC match, 41% of CAPIC interns identified as Caucasian; 15% identified as non-white Hispanic; 15% identified as African-American; 11% identified as identified as Asian; 2% identified as Native-American, and the remaining 16% declined to specify. About one third of CAPIC interns (35%) also reported that they were competent in languages other than English.
  • CAPIC internships offer students a broad range of training models.
    • Internship types: half-time 1-year, half-time 2 year and full-time
    • Organizational types: county/community MH sites, schools, hospitals, etc.
    • Theoretical orientations Bio-psychosocial, Cognitive behavioral, Family Systems, Humanistic/Existential, Integrative, Jungian, Narrative, Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic, Psychosocial Rehabilitation, Transpersonal);
    • Services offered: Brief, Long term, Individual, Couples, Family, Group, Inpatient, Outpatient, Crisis, Assessment, Neuropsychology, Psychological Testing
  • CAPIC internships offer students the opportunity to serve local and diverse populations often underserved by the traditional training model.
  • CAPIC internships allow students to remain in their local communities. These students also tend to be more diverse and more representative of the populations they serve.

CAPIC internships provide services to diverse communities and populations which are often underserved by the traditional training model. By maintaining training standards while relaxing stipend/funding requirements, CAPIC helps these smaller, public and/or community-based organizations to continue to provide quality training for psychology interns and needed services to their communities.

  • The majority of CAPIC internships serve traditionally underserved and underrepresented communities and populations.
  • The majority of CAPIC internships are directly associated with community-based public (mental/behavioral) health agencies, often the county departments themselves. For 2015 -16 CAPIC internships about 64% were located in community-based clinics and hospitals, and about 14% in school-based settings such as public schools and university counseling centers; the remaining sites were typically child psychiatric or correctional settings. Many of these sites have limited financial resources and are unlikely to pursue internships that require stipends. Many of these sites would be unable to serve their communities without the interns provided through CAPIC.

Considering all of these factors together, CAPIC has a unique place in psychology training and service in California. We are recognized by the CA BoP as a path to licensure, alongside APA accredited and APPIC member internships.  We facilitate quality internship training for a diverse student population often unable to relocate and often underserved by traditional training models. We also help ensure that diverse and underserved communities and client populations continue to be served by our internships and the students who train there.

CAPIC provides a path to licensure.  For many students, CAPIC also provides the right internship experience for their professional needs and personal aspirations.

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