Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Psy.D. an online program?

No. Some subjects lend themselves well to online didactics. We feel strongly that clinical psychology isn’t one of them. Graduate training in clinical psychology should include active engagement with the material and lively discourse. In addition, the relationships student forge in the course of their graduate studies will serve them well in the form of future professional collaborations. In on-campus programs, students have more opportunity to learn from each other and to develop personal mentoring relationships with faculty.


Is the Clinical Psy.D. Program accredited?

Yes. California Northstate University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510.748.9001.


Is the Psy.D. Program pursuing APA Accreditation? What is the timeline?

APA accreditation is an extremely important aspect of developing a quality training program and involves three steps over the course of about five years. It is not possible for a program to have any form of APA accreditation in its first year.

Below is our timeline and process for pursuing APA accreditation, per guidelines listed on the APA’s website:

Step 1: “Intent to Apply” status: This is an elective document and policy review process. This step was completed in August, 2018.

Step 2: “Accredited, on contingency” status: After we submit our formal application for accreditation, the APA will review our materials and schedule a site visit. Assuming all goes well, we will then receive “Accredited, on contingency” status. We will initiate this step in our second year (the earliest time possible under APA’s guidelines).

Per the APA’s website (linked above): “If you complete a program that is recognized as “accredited, on contingency” effective before your graduation date, you will have completed an APA accredited program.

Step 3: “Full Accreditation”: The APA will continue collecting program data until our first class completes internship, at which time our program will be eligible for full APA accreditation.

We are in contact with the APA and with a private consultant regarding this process. It is one of our highest priorities. We plan to have contingent accreditation by the time our first cohort is applying to internship. However, there is no guarantee that accreditation will occur on our preferred timeline.

We are doing everything possible to pursue APA accreditation, and we are on track with respect to the APA process and timeline. California Northstate University has an excellent accreditation track record. Our other degree programs are either fully accredited within their professional domains or on track for accreditation in the near future. In addition, the university and our program have full regional accreditation. Even without APA accreditation, the Psy.D. degree at CNU is already valid for licensure in most states.


Is a Psy.D. Degree from California Northstate University valid? What is CNU’s accreditation?

In considering graduate programs, a lot of emphasis is placed on APA accreditation – and rightly so. But in most states, regional accreditation is actually the most important factor when it comes to licensure and employment. At this time, most states do not require APA accreditation for a degree to be valid for licensure. However, most states do require regional accreditation – which our program has.

California Northstate University is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), 985 Atlantic Avenue, #100, Alameda, CA 94501, 510.748.9001.

WASC accreditation meets the California State Board of Psychology’s program accreditation requirement for licensure.


Do I need a Master’s degree prior to applying to or starting your program?

You do not need a Master’s degree. Students may enter the program with a BA or BS degree.


What is the employment outlook for Clinical Psychologists?

When it comes to employment as a clinical psychologist, licensure is key; and employment prospects for licensed psychologists are excellent. In the next 7 years, it is estimated the US will need an additional 60,000 psychologists  (source). The profession is growing at 14% per year (source), with a current employment rate, pre-licensure, of 98.8% (Graduate Study in Psychology, 2017 Edition, APA).

With a license to practice professional psychology, you will have unparalleled flexibility with respect to employment and clinical specialization. Clinical psychologists work in business, organizations, hospitals, clinics, private practice, schools, universities, police departments, correctional facilities, government, and industry. They are authors, professors, therapists, researchers, assessors, program developers, administrators, entrepreneurs, and specialists.

The average salary data for Licensed Clinical Psychologists vary by source, location, and type of employment. However, here are some figures you may find helpful:

Average salary for Clinical Psychologist in California: $90,210 (source)

Average salary for Clinical Psychologist at Kaiser Permanente: $125,000 (source)

2015 APA report on salaries in psychology 


How does your program handle field training? Do I need to secure my own clinical training hours? 

The CNU College of Psychology Field Placement Office develops agreements with local training sites to provide supervised practicum training hours to CNU students. Students will be provided a list of potential practicum sites from which to choose and apply for their field placement in years 2, 3, and 4 of the CNU College of Psychology Curriculum.  Listed practicum sites have been approved by the Field Placement Office, with each site administering its own application and selection process.  Students are encouraged to reach out to multiple potential practicum sites as they cannot be guaranteed a position at their first choice of sites.  If a student is interested in a site not listed as a potential placement, they may request that the site be evaluated and approved by the Field Placement Office for practicum training.