Practice PERSPECTIVE ON
Illuminating the practice community
BY DR. KATHERINE C. NORDAL • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR PROFESSIONAL PRACTICE
Over the past five years, the APA Practice Organization (APAPO) has
surveyed its members three times — in 2008, 2011 and again last fall —
to explore practice characteristics, professional interests and needs, and
awareness and perceptions of APAPO activities. The 2013 survey was
constructed to allow for some longitudinal analysis.
Overall, the survey results corroborate that APAPO’s
strategic priorities are in line with member needs and
We received more than 2,500 responses to the 2013 survey
from members at all stages of their career, from early career
practitioners whose doctoral degree was awarded within the
past seven years, to the 30 percent of respondents who have
been in practice more than 30 years.
Independent solo and group practice remain the most
prevalent practice settings, with nearly 70 percent of
respondents selecting independent solo or group practice as
their primary practice setting. Non-federal hospitals, mental
health clinics and college or university counseling centers
were the most frequent institutional practice settings with
5 percent or more of respondents selecting one of those
locations as their primary or secondary practice setting.
Despite nationwide economic conditions over the past
five years, about half of respondents reported earning more
than $100,000 annually, up nearly 5 percent from 2008.
Survey results indicated that the percentage of self-pay
patients has held comparatively steady over the past five
In a new question for 2013, participants were asked to
select their top source of information on several topics. More
than 63 percent of respondents indicated APAPO is their
primary source of information for practice guidelines and
more than 56 percent selected APAPO as their top source
for Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and
regulatory compliance information.
The survey also revealed that private sector
reimbursement, the impact of health-care reform on practice
and Medicare reimbursement top the list of practitioners’
concerns. We also saw a significant rise since 2011 in
members who are “extremely concerned” or “concerned”
about clinical practice guidelines, electronic health records,
accountability and outcomes measurement.
These issues of concern are corroborated by the fact
that 98 percent of respondents indicated that protecting
reimbursement for psychological services is an “extremely
important” or “important” activity of APAPO. That number
is up from 92. 5 percent in 2011. Ninety-seven percent of
respondents also selected legislative advocacy efforts as a
top APAPO activity, as compared to 89. 1 percent in 2011.
More than 87 percent selected educating the public about
psychologists and psychological services, raising psychology’s
visibility in the marketplace and helping states protect the
doctoral degree as the standard for psychologist licensure as
top APA Practice activities.
Among the most significant differences between early
career psychologists and other APAPO member respondents
was in anticipated changes in professional activity over the
next three to five years. Early career psychologists indicated
they were more likely than life status members or all other
respondents to further diversify practice activities and
skills and increase their use of technology for professional
purposes. We are able to analyze responses from subgroups
of early career psychologists and life-status practitioners,
though we consider the subgroup findings directional only
given the limited number of responses.
We will continue to report additional findings in our
APAPO publications, including Good Practice magazine.
As always, I invite you to contact us with your thoughts as
we continue to work to meet the needs of the practitioner
Call the Practitioner Helpline at (800) 374-2723 or send
an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. n