California Psychology Licensing Exam Rates of Graduates of Accredited and Unaccredited Programs

Article excerpt

Graduates of regionally accredited programs had a significantly higher pass rate (64.6%) on the written exam (Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology) than that of graduates of unaccredited programs (39.0%). The respective pass rates ,47.5% and 38.8%, on the oral exam were also significantly different. The implications of the finding were discussed.

The purpose of the present study was to compare the California pass/fail rates of graduates of regionally accredited and those of regionally unaccredited program on both the oral exam for licensure and the written exam, the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Research using 183 regionally accredited clinical psychology programs in the United States and Canada shows that those programs with more elitist admission standards, few students and graduates, higher faculty to student ratios and a traditional rather than professional school orientation had higher EPPP scores (Yu, Rinaldi, Templer, Colbert, Siscoe, and Van Patten, 1997; Templer and Tomeo, 1998; Templer and Tomeo, 2000). There has been, however, no previous studies in the literature that compared regionally accredited with regionally unaccredited doctoral programs in psychology. The Educational Reporting Service (1995) does not provide the mean EPPP scores of institutions that are not regionally accredited.

California is relatively unique in that graduates of unaccredited schools are eligible for licensure. As pointed out by Safarjan (1998), in California the standards applied by the Bureau for Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education pertain primarily to financial responsibility and not to quality standards. Safarjan said that graduates of unaccredited schools cannot be licensed in states other than California, and possibly Colorado, and that graduates of unaccredited schools are limited in regard to eligibility for employment, managed care companies, pre and post doctoral internship programs, the National Register, and ability to obtain full membership in APA.


The number of written exam (EPPP) passes and failures as a function of type of program graduated from was obtained from the California Board of Psychology for April 1996, April 1997, and October, 1997. The comparable information was obtained for the oral exam in June 1996, June 1997, and January 1998 (The Board does not provide mean scores). The data from institutions outside the United States and Canada was not included in this study. Programs that were not listed as regionally accredited in the directories of the 6 regional accreditation associations in the United States were presumed to be not regionally accredited.

Results and Discussion

On the written (EPPP) exam, 127 (39. …


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