Postdoctoral Trainee Selection Process and the CHD

Frequently Asked Questions

(2022/2023)

A. Selection Standards Prior to the CHD E. Purpose and Type of Postdocs
B. Selection Standards on the CHD F. Universal Psychology Postdoctoral Directory
C. Selection Standards and CHD Miscellaneous G. International Sites for Postdocs
D. Difference - Internship and Postdoc Selection H. Application Process and APPA CAS

 

APPIC has transitioned to the APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Standards with Common Hold Date (CHD) for the current selection cycle. We recommend reviewing the Standards and their rationale carefully.  Programs will identify in their UPPD listings whether or not they are choosing to abide by the Standards.

A. Selection Standards Prior to the CHD

  1. How do I know if a program is following the APPIC Postdoc Selection Standards and the CHD?
    • This will be indicated in the UPPD listing. It should also be listed on the program's website or other public materials. If it is not listed, you can contact the training director and ask. (See UPPD)

  2. What do I do if a program doesn't know about the Standards, or says they aren't following them?
    • Programs are free to choose whether or not they follow the Standards though APPIC is strongly encouraging programs to adopt the standards. There is not an official rule requiring compliance. If the postdoc program is not familiar with the Standards or is not following the Standards, you could both refer them to the information and also request to hold the offer until the CHD; there is an email template with suggested language for this purpose. VA has agreed that all of its clinically-focused programs will follow the Standards. 

  3. What should I do if I apply to some programs that are following the Standards and others that are not?
    • There is no easy answer to this. For programs that do not commit to following the Selection Standards, you could ask them about their timeline for offering positions and how long they will allow applicants to hold offers. It will be helpful for you to have a clear ranking of the programs that you are interested in as soon as the first week of February so that you know your preferences as you are made offers. It is important to get mentorship through the process as you get offers and advice about how to respond.
    • If you are applying to programs that are not adopting the Standards, you may need to respond to an offer from a program prior to completing interviews or learning about your standing from other programs.

  4. Why don't the Standards provide a specific date for making offers or for interviewing?
    • APPIC recommends establishing an interview time frame that will allow programs to make initial offers and allow the selection process to unfold in the few weeks prior to the CHD (i.e., interviews completed by around February 1st), but not significantly earlier. It is also recommended that programs refrain from shifting their interview schedules significantly earlier or making very early offers (i.e., more than 3 weeks in advance of the CHD). However, as the Standards are voluntary, it is up to individual programs to determine their selection timeline.
    • The Standards intentionally do not dictate specific dates in order to increase adherence to the CHD within the postdoctoral community. Increased regulatory provisions would likely lead to additional points of contention that may drive some programs to avoid adopting the CHD.

  5. In terms of being selected for a postdoc, how do programs usually contact you to offer a position? Phone call, email?
    • This varies by program and it is appropriate to ask. Under the standards, programs are advised to follow any offer made by phone with a written offer via email.   We recommend that, beginning in very early February, applicants be prepared to receive offers and be aware that the Standards indicate that you must acknowledge an offers within 24 hours or the offer could be retracted. See the suggested Postdoc Communication Templates (appic.org) for applicants and programs.  It is a good idea to make sure you have preferred contact information for all of the programs you are considering so you know how to get in touch with them as well.

  6. How long can I ask to hold an offer?
    • The selection Standards indicate that programs should allow you to hold an offer until 10 AM EST on the Common Hold Date (2/27/23). Be aware that you can only hold one offer at a time and need to withdraw from your lower-ranked programs when holding an offer.  Programs may check in with you while you are holding an offer, but should not pressure you to make a decision before you are ready. Offers made on the CHD can be held for up to two hours. Be familiar with the communication templates for applicants and programs, particularly those around holding offers.

  7. If I don’t accept an offer right away, will the postdoc program view me negatively if I wind up at that program?
    • Most postdoctoral training directors appreciate the importance of this decision for an applicant and generally want applicants to secure their preferred position. It is important to communicate your enthusiasm about the offer while also being transparent with programs and behaving in a professional manner.

  8. I’ve heard from others who have gone through postdoctoral selection about a reciprocal offer process that used to exist.  Am I able to request a reciprocal offer with the Standards? (If I get an offer from one program, but there's another program I prefer, what do I do?)
    • There is no reciprocal offer process incorporated in the Standards.
    • If you receive an offer from a program that is not your top-ranked program and you choose to hold that offer, you are permitted to also reach out to higher-ranked programs and inquire where you stand (see Templates), but not to specifically request an offer from the program. That program is not required to give you any information, but they may share where they are with the interview or offer process and if they have an offer being held.

  9. Why is there not a reciprocal offer component to the CHD process? What is an applicant to do if they receive an early offer from one of their lower-ranked programs not following the CHD?
    • The Postdoctoral Committee considered several iterations of reciprocal offer processes in development of the Standards but none seemed viable as they would involve rescinding an offer made to a higher-ranked candidate, which would be inconsistent with the foundational principle of the CHD process.  The reciprocal offer component has also been experienced as complex and confusing by many applicants and programs, and the iterations considered with the Standards were also complex. Reciprocal offer requests may also tempt programs to skip over applicants on their ranking list to fill a position, potentially undermining the optimal applicant-program pairings had the process been allowed to play out. 
    • Applicants who receive an offer from a lower-ranked program not following the Standards, could:
      • Accept or decline the offer.
      • Explain that they are still in the midst of interviewing or assessing options and ask if the program would allow them to hold the offer until the CHD.  See email templates for example language.
      • If the above is unsuccessful, request to hold the offer for as long as possible, anticipating they may receive an offer from one of their higher-ranked programs prior to the CHD. As indicated in Standards, “The applicant may also choose to reach out to higher-ranked programs to ask about their standing and when the program will be extending offers, or where the program is in the offer process.“

  10. What is the intent or purpose of applicants being able to check in with a higher-ranked program if reciprocal offers are not part of the Selection Standards?
    • There may be scenarios in which applicants want to check in with higher-ranked programs about their status, particularly if they are holding an offer from a program that is not abiding by the Standards and is requiring a decision prior to the CHD. Applicants holding an offer may reach out to higher-ranked programs to ask about their standing, when the program plans to extend offers, or where the program is in the offer process. Programs should be aware that applicants are not constrained to check in only with their top-ranked program, and applicants may choose to check in about offer timelines with multiple programs.  Programs should not presume that a check-in implies that the applicant would accept an offer if it were extended.

  11. What do I do if I accept a postdoc position?
    • Notify all programs with which you interviewed as soon as possible. This will be very helpful in informing those program’s selection decisions and facilitating swifter offers to their alternative candidates.
    • For all filled postdoctoral positions (before, during and following the CHD), applicants should receive an email with an official confirmation of the agreement within 48 hours.

  12. What do I do if I do not have an offer on February 27th?
    • Don't panic. At present, there are significantly more postdoctoral positions than applicants, so there will likely be many, good positions still available. The timeframe for advertising/posting postdoc positions is much more variable than with internships, and new positions also arise. The UPPD allows programs to indicate unfilled positions following 2/27/23. The UPPD allows applicants to then search for open positions.

  13. What if I do not have a position on February 27th and have not heard from all the programs I applied to?
    • It is very appropriate to ask the program(s) where you stand. It is possible they have an offer that is being held and you are still under consideration.

  14. Are offers binding?
    • The postdoc selection process results in what is considered a professionally binding agreement between the training program and the applicant. It would be highly unusual and considered unprofessional to renege on an offer for a "better offer" after an agreement was reached with the program/applicant. The exception would be rescinding an acceptance due to unexpected, grave personal circumstances where both the program and the applicant agree it is best to set aside the agreement. Both program directors and applicants need to understand this is the same as a job offer and acceptance, it is a verbal contract.

  15. Are programs and applicants required to use the communication templates?
    • The communication templates are not required to use, but it is strongly recommended that both applicants and programs use them to facilitate clear communication.  They can be customized as appropriate. The templates can be very helpful in assuring that programs and applicants are aware of the expectations and responsibilities for a fair and fluid selection process utilizing the Standards, which are new this year.

  16. What should an applicant do if I apply to programs that do not allow applicants to hold offers until the CHD?
    • We acknowledge that some programs will not follow the Standards and the CHD, and applicants will have to follow their requirements for accepting, holding, or rejecting their offers.
    • However, we believe that more programs will adopt the Standards than followed the previous Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines and UND system since the Standards provide more flexibility to programs as to the timing of their offers. We anticipate that programs that have followed Postdoctoral Selection Guidelines in the past will likely adopt the Standards, and we are optimistic that many programs that were not following the previous Selection Guidelines will choose to follow the Standards. This would bring more programs into a common system, which is optimal and will improve the effectiveness of the system.

 

B. Selection Standards on the CHD

  1. If applicants are allowed to hold offers until 10:00 AM EST on the CHD, why do the Standards strongly suggest that applicants not wait until the last minute to accept or decline held offers?
    • Most applicants will likely have the information they need to make their decision on held offers even before the CHD, and it would be helpful for programs to have this information as early as possible so they can reach out to other applicants.

  2. Are programs free to allow applicants to hold an offer beyond 10:00 AM EST on the CHD?
    • While programs are not required to allow applicants to continue to hold an offer beyond 10:00 AM EST on the CHD,  a program may choose to do so. A program may decide to allow an applicant to continue to hold an offer on the CHD for many reasons, including, but not limited to, the program not having other viable applicants.

 

C. Selection Standards and CHD Miscellaneous

  1. Will the CHD work? What happens if I don’t fill all of my programs’ positions?
    • We know there are substantially more postdoctoral programs than applicants. With this imbalance, no system of selection could ensure that a program will fill all of its positions. With the previous Uniform Notification Date (UND) process, many programs have expressed the belief that the system does not work because “they lose applicants to other programs” who make early offers and do not follow the UND. Given the current supply-demand dynamics, we need to redefine what it means for a postdoctoral selection process to be effective. We have data indicating that the recent process, although stressful, has yielded good outcomes for applicants, with 72% securing their #1 ranked program and 92% of applicants securing their #1 or #2 ranked program. Many postdoctoral positions may continue to remain unfilled due to the current imbalance, even with the Standards and CHD. However, we anticipate that programs will feel less “handcuffed” by the Standards than they did under the UND because programs will no longer be constrained as to when they can make offers. Programs will likely also find it more apparent that when they “lose” applicants, this is due to the applicant securing their preferred program, and not due to a flaw in the CHD process or due to not making offers early enough. It is hoped that through the cascading nature of the CHD Standards, programs will have more confidence that unfilled positions are a result of a position/applicant imbalance and not the selection process.
    • If an applicant rejects an offer, the program will be free to immediately extend the offer to their next top-ranked applicant. Though there is inherent unease in recruitment processes due to the imbalance, we are optimistic that these features of the Standards will reduce program discomfort and reservations about adopting it.  Wider adoption of a common process among programs would also increase the effectiveness and reduce the complexity of the process.

  2. Will programs accelerate their postdoctoral application and selection process and make offers even earlier in effort to “get a leg up” on other programs?
    • As noted in the CHD process, programs are strongly encouraged to not shift their interview schedules to be significantly earlier or to significantly advance the dates they make offers with the intention of “getting a leg up” on other programs. Specifically, programs are encouraged to establish an interview time frame that will allow them to make initial offers and allow the selection process to unfold in the few weeks prior to the CHD (i.e., interviews completed by around February 1st), but not significantly earlier. Annually, postdoctoral selection processes have been creeping earlier and earlier, which challenges both programs and applicants. With the Standards, extending earlier offers simply lengthens the amount of time applicants have to hold an offer and does not necessarily advantage a program following the Standards, reducing the incentive to shift their selection timeline earlier and earlier.
    • We acknowledge that some programs will not follow the Standards and may choose to make earlier offers with hold-times shorter than the Standards allow. However, we are optimistic that more programs will comply with the Standards than the UND since it provides more flexibility to programs around offer timing. If the Standards were widely adopted, we would anticipate a reduction in the annual creep of postdoctoral selection season and hopefully a less stressful selection process.
    • APPIC recommends that programs indicate the approximate date they intend to make offers in their public materials and UPPD listings, in addition to indicating if they are abiding by the Standards.

  3. Programs may be uncomfortable allowing an applicant to hold an offer until the CHD, given the concern that the applicant could eventually decline their offer, and the program will lose their other applicants in the meantime.
    • It is unlikely that the majority of applicants will hold offers all the way until the CHD. In fact, we believe that the vast majority of positions will be filled prior to the CHD, not due to programs making “early offers” but through the natural process of cascading extension and acceptance of offers. The CHD offers the benefit of a selection process with less inherent time pressure than the previous UND. Positions not immediately filled through initial offers may still be filled in a relatively short time frame given the following:
    • An applicant holding a program’s offer will accept that offer if they learn their higher-ranked program filled a position, or
    • An applicant holding a program’s offer will decline the offer if they get an offer from a higher-ranked program. This allows the program to make an offer to the next applicant on their list.
    • Based on annual applicant survey data, we know that 90% of applicants secure their #1 or #2 ranked program. Therefore, we can anticipate that many initial offers will be accepted immediately, and we suspect that many offers that are held will be resolved in a matter of a few days, rather than being delayed until the CHD. As stated previously, inherent in the current imbalance of more applicants than programs, it is understood that even with the Standards some positions will not be filled; while an undesirable outcome for a program, this is due to the imbalance, rather than an inherent problem with the process. The Standards allow programs to check in with applicants holding offers as long as they continue to allow the applicant to hold the offer until the 2/27/23 CHD. This will allow program directors to gather information about how long an offer may be held, reducing some anxiety and uncertainty.

  4. What if my program has multiple focus areas, positions, tracks or specialties?
    • A program that has multiple focus areas and/or positions would treat each position the same as if it were at another program. For example, a position in a focus area, even if it were at the same program as a position in another focus area, could be offered earlier than another position and held until the CHD.
    • An applicant can also hold a position from one focus area and seek a higher-ranked position in another focus area (even at the same program).
    • All Standards apply to positions at the program the same as if those positions were at separate programs.

 

D. Difference Between Internship Selection and Postdoc Selection

  1. Is there a match for Postdocs?
    • There is not a match for non-neuropsychology postdocs. For Postdocs, there are the APPIC Selection Standards, involving the Common Hold Date (CHD), but they are not mandated.
    • See the APPIC Postdoc webpage. There is a wealth of resources to help applicants and programs learn about and navigate the postdoctoral selection process. Many of these resources, will be referenced throughout this document. (see APPIC Postdoc page)

  2. Is there an imbalance between postdoc positions and applicants?
    • There is a significant imbalance favoring postdoctoral applicants, but nobody knows how large that gap is because not all postdoctoral positions are advertised nationally or known about in advance. A recent survey of postdoctoral training directors indicates that as many as 30% of postdoctoral positions go unfilled.

  3. Is the postdoc application and selection process standardized like the internship process?
    • Internship has a standardized application process (i.e., the AAPI) and a standardized Match to place students into internship positions. For postdocs, the APPIC Postdoc Committee is working to organize application and selection processes but there is no regulated standardization, as there is for internship. We are trying to accomplish a more organized postdoctoral selection processes through the Universal Psychology Postdoctoral Directory (UPPD), APPA (APPIC Psychology Postdoctoral Application) CAS, and the APPIC Postdoctoral Selection Standards and Common Hold Date. (see APPIC Postdoc page). Postdoctoral programs are still free to handle the application and selection process however they wish.
    • Beginning with the 2023-2024 year, we are implementing Postdoctoral Selection Standards with a Common Hold Date. We recommend reviewing the Timelines for Postdoctoral Selection documents on the APPIC site.

  4. Is the process for securing a postdoc in Neuropsychology different?
    • In Neuropsychology, there is a national match system sponsored by APPCN (Association of Postdoctoral Programs in Clinical Neuropsychology); however, not all programs participate. Many of the programs that do not participate may make offers earlier than the APPCN match date. If you are considering neuropsychology programs, make sure you understand whether or not each program participates in the match, and if not, what their timeline is regarding interviews and offers. We recommend Reviewing the Neuropsychology applicant Timeline document on the APPIC website. We also highly recommend receiving mentorship through the application and selection process.

  5. Is there an equivalent at the postdoctoral level to the internship couples’ match?
    • No, there is not a couples-matching equivalent in postdoctoral selection. For couples who are applying to postdocs and trying to coordinate, we recommend clear and open communication to the programs you are considering during the application and selection process.

 

E. Purpose and Type of Postdocs

  1. Do I need to do a postdoctoral fellowship/residency?
    • The purpose of postdoctoral training is advanced or specialized training, as differentiated from the broad and general training received on internship. Applying to a postdoc typically would not be in lieu of a job or solely to accrue supervised hours for licensure. Specialized postdoctoral training may be required to market yourself for a particular type of position or specialty practice. There are many reasons to seriously consider postdoctoral training, above and beyond what can be covered in this FAQ. Please see Silberbogen et al. (2018) for a review of the purpose and function of postdoctoral training and considerations that one might make depending on a number of professional and personal factors.  We encourage you to read the following article: (Silberbogen, A. K., Aosved, A. C., Cross, W. F., Cox, D R., & Felleman, B. I. (2018). Postdoctoral training in health service psychology: Current perspectives in an evolving profession. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 12(2), 66-73. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/tep0000182)

  2. What are some career paths or specialties that might necessitate a postdoctoral fellowship versus a career path that does not?
    • Practicing in recognized specialty areas (e.g., neuropsychology, health psychology, rehabilitation psychology, among others) often require formal postdoctoral training. It is recommended that applicants become familiar with the formal Education and Training Standards for the specialty of interest, as well as the requirements to become board certified (ABPP) in that area. Board certification is increasingly becoming an employment requirement, particularly in academic medical centers, so ensuring eligibility for this may be an important consideration.
    • Trainees who are interested in launching a research career typically complete a postdoctoral fellowship to develop more focused research competencies (e.g., in manuscript development and grant writing). Fellowships may increase your competitiveness for academic positions, as they provide more focused time for developing a line of independent research.

  3. To what extent does your postdoctoral fellowship set the direction of your career path?
    • Postdoctoral programs, ideally, provide specialized or advanced training in recognized specialties or focused areas, as well as critical mentorship and professional development. Such advanced or specialized training may help you secure jobs in those areas. With the exception of recognized specialty areas (see the question above), completing a postdoc may be an advantage but not be absolutely critical for certain career paths. It is highly recommended that you seek guidance and mentorship from individuals in career paths of potential interest and seek out resources to make well-informed decisions.

  4. Do I need to attend an APA-accredited postdoctoral fellowship or an APPIC-member postdoctoral fellowship?
    • It is important to consider the quality of a program and its focus on training. Accredited postdoctoral programs undergo a rigorous review process, and APPIC has clear membership criteria with applicant programs reviewed by the APPIC postdoctoral membership committee. While there are good non-accredited and non-APPIC member postdoctoral programs, it would be advisable to consider alternative markers of quality for such programs (e.g., program reputation).  We would also recommend speaking with your internship TD or to past postdocs. Postdoctoral training should occur within a program with a clear curriculum and training plan that focuses on the professional development of the fellow.
    • Although quality is important for all positions, APA accreditation and/or APPIC membership are less common and likely less important for research-focused programs. Quality research fellowships typically have an organized training model, which may include didactics, training in grant writing, and mentorship from an established investigator.

  5. Do you have to complete your postdoc in the state in which you want to become licensed?
    • No. Each state has different licensure requirements. Some require accrual of postdoctoral hours and some do not. States can differ significantly on what type of hours qualify for licensure. It is recommended that postdoc applicants become familiar with the licensure requirements in states of potential interest to make sure all potential postdoctoral programs meet those requirements.  No U.S. states or Canadian Provinces require that the postdoctoral training program be accredited.
    • It can be difficult for an individual to accurately forecast potential jurisdictions of future interest. As you consider the possibility of a postdoctoral position, also keep in mind the possibility of unplanned life changes. Even if you live in a state that does not require postdoctoral hours for licensure, that does not mean that you might not need to move to one that does in the future. Please review the licensing requirements of all States to prevent any surprises in the future. It may be advisable to consider whether a postdoc would support eligibility for licensure across jurisdictions you think you may want to practice in over the course of your career. Contact information for state and Canadian Province boards can be found on the ASPPB website.

  6. Is APA accreditation necessary for licensure? Is APPIC membership? Will licensure be more complicated without one of these endorsements?
    • No, neither APA accredited nor APPIC member postdoc fellowships are required for licensure. However, in many jurisdictions, the licensure application process can be faster, easier, and more certain to be successful if one has completed an APA accredited and/or APPIC member internship and postdoc programs.

  7. What do the terms “specialty training”, “emphasis”, and “focus” mean? How are they different?
    • The term “specialty” refers to specialties that are recognized by the Council of Specialties (e.g., Forensic Psychology, Clinical Neuropsychology, among others). There are clear Education and Training Standards for recognized specialties. “Emphasis areas” can resemble areas of specialization but may include other areas of concentration or focus in an area that is not a recognized specialty. The Taxonomy for Professional Psychology Health Service Specialties and Subspecialties has levels of opportunity for the training provided in recognized specialty areas: Exposure, Experience, Emphasis, and lastly Major Area of Study. The term “focus” is a new term that is synonymous with and intended to replace the term “emphasis”, which has a specific meaning in the Taxonomy which is not compatible with the advanced nature of postdoctoral training.

  8. What are the risks of arranging your own supervised experience as a “postdoc?”
    • Such experiences are not part of a formalized training experience. Some providers hire those who still need supervised hours for licensure for their own financial reasons and may not be very committed to training. There are no real assurances on the quality of overall training and supervision in such cases. Some licensure boards make it much more difficult to get licensed without a formal postdoc, which sometimes results in longer supervised clinical experiences, etc.

  9. I am interested in several research postdocs, but clinical hours are often not a part of these positions (e.g., T32s, individual labs). What are some options I could consider/negotiate for trying to arrange these hours, in order to still get licensed?
    • Training directors of T32 fellowships in behavioral science should be familiar with this question and potential or prior strategies to address it. As long as you make it clear that your main interest is in research training, asking if/how others who completed the program obtained hours for licensure would typically be considered acceptable.

  10. Especially for research-oriented post-docs, would you recommend emailing prospective supervisors before applying to introduce yourself, confirm that there is an available post-doc position, and inquire about whether your interests and experiences would be a good fit for the postdoc?
    • Yes. Research mentors are used to receiving emails querying the availability of postdoctoral training under their mentorship. They may have information about pending grants that have not been posted yet. It is appropriate to email to inquire about availability and fit.

  11. What makes you competitive for research postdocs?
    • Having clear research interests and a CV that reflects some publications in that particular area are important. Although not necessary, it is impressive if you have been able to obtain funding for yourself (e.g., small pilot project, small foundation grant, travel award to conferences). Fit between your research interests/experiences and those of the prospective mentor is typically the most important factor.

  12. If you are applying to a research postdoc, does that mean you should have extensive research experience beforehand?
    • Not necessarily. Many people find their passion or preferred career trajectory on internship, and this can happen with research too. Be aware that you may be competing with other applicants who have more focused research experience, so you will have to clearly define why this path is important to you and how you are sufficiently prepared for the postdoc experience.

  13. How do benefits, like family leave, work in postdoctoral programs?
    • Benefits, including those such as family leave, vary widely across training programs. It is best to ask the programs you are considering what benefits they offer, especially related to family leave.  In addition to the Training Director, current postdocs may be a helpful source of information; for large institutions, it may be possible to more privately address such questions to an HR department.

  14. How negotiable are components of a postdoc position (e.g., start date, salary, reducing a 2-year program to a 1-year program)?
    • Typically, there is not much room (or any) for negotiation with regard to salary and length of the program. Some programs may be flexible regarding the start date (especially in a case where your internship end date falls after the start date for the postdoc). However, it is best to ask about these details in advance because some programs may not have any flexibility.

 

F. Universal Psychology Postdoctoral Directory (UPPD)

  1. What is the UPPD?
    • The UPPD is the Universal Psychology Postdoctoral Directory. It was a recommendation borne out of the 2016 postdoctoral training Summit to have one place for applicants to search for all postdoctoral training experiences.  There are no accreditation or membership requirements for programs to list their available postdoctoral positions.  There are nearly 3 times as many positions listed in the UPPD (currently 1400+), as compared to the number of programs listed in the APPIC Directory. Additionally, the search functions are more specifically geared towards postdoctoral training in the UPPD using specialty and emphasis areas as well as research foci.
    • The UPPD is different from the APPIC Directory. All postdoctoral APPIC members are listed in the APPIC Directory (as well as the UPPD), but not all formal postdoctoral training experiences are listed in the APPIC Directory. The UPPD is designed to be the “go to” place to get information on postdoctoral training opportunities.

  2. Will all postdoctoral positions be listed in the UPPD?
    • We have made great progress over the years in getting postdoctoral training experiences listed in the UPPD, and we are fairly close to achieving the goal of the UPPD being the main or go-to resource to list and learn about postdoctoral positions. However, not all postdoc positions will be listed in the UPPD.
    • It is likely that heavily research-focused programs and private practices may choose not to list themselves in the directory. Some, but not all, neuropsych programs have listed their information in the UPPD.

  3. How do I access the UPPD?
    • Click on the blue link above. The UPPP can also be accessed through the APPIC Postdoc training page: (see APPIC Postdoc page).

  4. When is the UPPD complete...how will I know when all available listings are there?
    • We believe the UPPD has the majority of programs listed (particularly clinically focused training experiences).  However, postdoctoral training opportunities continue to emerge as the year progresses. There is a feature to search by recently added programs. Programs that have not been updated for this selection cycle are flagged in search results.

  5. Are all UPPD listings accredited in some way (e.g., APA or APPIC member)? If I find a post-doc on the UPPD website, will it ensure I can get licensed?
    • The UPPD includes both APPIC-member programs (i.e., postdoctoral training programs that have undergone a formal external quality review process), which may or may not also be APA-accredited, as well as postdoctoral positions that have not been externally reviewed by either APPIC or APA. If you wish, you can use the search function to show only programs that are APPIC members or that are APA accredited.  Programs that are neither APPIC members or APA accredited are flagged with a warning that these programs have not undergone any form of external review and that completing a program that is not APA accredited or an APPIC member may have implications for licensure, but this depends on the jurisdiction. It is important for you to do your research, speak with supervisors/mentors, and review state licensing regulations as you make decisions about postdoctoral training.

  6. Are private practices allowed to post on the UPPD?
    • Currently, yes. The UPPD is open for all types of postdoctoral training experiences. There is no formal criteria or review process for a program to list themselves in the UPPD. For this reason, applicants should not assume that programs listed in the UPPD have been vetted or meet a particular standard or level of quality, unless they are APPIC member programs or are accredited by APA.

 

G. International Sites or Postdocs

  1. Are there opportunities for international students for postdoc?
    • Yes, though not all programs or institutions will be available to international students.  It is best to read the program materials carefully and check with the TD.
  2. Are there clinical postdocs in Canada? Are there directories for international programs?
    • There are some postdoctoral experiences in the UK and Canada, but none are currently listed in the UPPD. This could change, as programs are added all the time. We are not aware of any directories of international postdoctoral programs in psychology.

 

H. Application Process and APPA CAS

  1. Should you try to get a postdoctoral experience in the region where you want to work or settle down after the postdoc?
    • Many people take this approach and may choose to focus or limit their postdoctoral search to geographic regions. It is also true that postdoc alums are often quite competitive for future jobs in the setting/institution/organization where they completed their postdoc.  Seeking mentoring on the number and types of programs to which to apply can be very helpful in making these decisions.
  2. If I have not defended my dissertation, should I even apply to a postdoctoral experience?
    • Potentially, depending on your dissertation progress – Assuming you anticipate defending/having your degree conferred prior to the start of the postdoctoral program, we would recommend that you apply for postdoctoral training positions Clinical and research programs generally will not allow an ABD student to begin a postdoc, as they are not yet postdoctoral; for those licensing jurisdictions that have regulations about postdoctoral hours or time accrued, these may not begin “counting” until the degree is conferred, so it is best to ensure that your dissertation is completed and your degree will be conferred prior to a postdoctoral program’s start date.
  3. To how many postdoctoral training experiences should I apply?
    • There is not definitive data to guide this recommendation. Although we don't have data on how many applications will maximize the likelihood of obtaining a postdoc, we know that the modal application number is around eight. This can vary based on the type of postdoc program and geographical area.
  4. What is the timeline for this process? When is program information available? When are applications due? When are interviews?
    • Since the postdoctoral selection is less systematically formalized, timelines can vary by program. However, for most programs that have a clinical training component to them, it is recommended that applicants start searching in early fall. Deadlines for applications tend to fall between December and January.
    • Interviews typically occur in late January and early February. If interview format is important to you, check format expectations for the programs you are considering.  The APPIC Board has strongly encouraged programs to utilize a virtual interview format.
    • Although not all programs will adhere to the APPIC Selection Standards with a Common Hold Date, programs are asked to allow applicants to hold offers until the CHD (Common Hold Date) of 2/27/23. An email template is available for applicants who receive an offer from a program not following the Standards and who wish to request the opportunity to hold the offer until the Common Hold Date.
    • Timelines are more variable for research positions depending on the source of funding. We recommend Reviewing the Timeline documents on the APPIC site (see APPIC Postdoc page), as one has specifically been developed for those applying to Research positions.
  5. How will this process work if I'm applying to both research and clinical postdocs?
    • This can be tricky, and there may be some conflicts as predominantly research-focused programs may not be aware of or follow the Selection Standards. This would be most challenging when research programs are making very early offers and not allowing applicants to hold the offer until the CHD. We recommend being frank with programs about the time frame for other programs you are interested in as you go through the application process. We also recommend talking with your graduate and internship mentors to advise you through this process. We recommend reviewing the timeline documents for Clinical Applicants, Neuropsychology Applicants, and Research Applicants, as relevant to you.
  6. How does one handle applying for jobs and postdocs? What is the best way to communicate to both programs without missing out on an opportunity?
    • We recommend clear and transparent communication with all parties involved throughout the process.
    • Be aware that accepting a postdoctoral position and later reneging on that commitment to accept a non-postdoctoral position is considered very unprofessional behavior.
  7. Does it hurt to apply to more than one track at the same program (such as a VA)?
    • Many applicants apply to one or more tracks at a program; it will be important to make a strong case for why you are a good fit for each track of interest. You should also be prepared to discuss how you might rank the various tracks at each program.
  8. Do you have any suggestions for people applying for positions in different settings than their internship (e.g., a focus area in a VA with no prior VA experience)?
    • Highlight the relevant experience that you have (e.g., working in a large, busy, complex hospital) and illustrate how the new setting fits with your longer-term career goals.  Consider asking your recommendation writers to address this in their letters.  It may also be wise to ensure you also apply to some programs/settings that are more clearly in line with your prior experiences and established competencies.
  9. What should I be aware of if I am applying to a postdoctoral training experience at the same site as my internship?
    • Ideally, your internship or the postdoc training director will talk about this with you, so that you can find out if there is preference given to internal applicants and how consideration of internal candidates may affect time frames.
    • Be aware that you may be competing with your classmates, who are also likely your internship support network. You should also be aware that, as an internal applicant, you may not be selected and that you may be faced with completing the remainder of internship following the “rejection”.
  10. How does it work if I am applying to both 2-year neuropsychology and non-neuropsychology clinical postdocs?
    • Some may question the clarity of your career path, if you want to be a neuropsychologist.
    • Be aware that timelines for interviews and offers are likely to differ. Non-match and Neuropsychology programs may make offers early. Many neuropsychology programs participate in a formal match through APPCN, and entering into the match is binding.
  11. What kinds of application materials are required to apply for a postdoc?
    • Programs differ in their requirements, but most require a CV, transcripts, a letter of interest demonstrating interest and fit, and letters of recommendation. Some will require work samples. Some TDs have started asking for applicants to submit a copy of their AAPI (internship application). Check the program website or with the TD.
    • Since programs may have different application requirements and timelines, it is recommended that applicants use a spreadsheet to help track what programs require and important dates. See the sample spreadsheet developed by the APPIC Postdoc Committee.
  12. Do you have any tips on preparing a good cover letter/letter of interest? How does it look different from the internship cover letter?
    • There will be similarities in that you should address fit with the specific postdoctoral program. For a postdoc cover letter, you are striking a balance between describing both what you want to learn (something that is often strongly emphasized in internship cover letters) and also what you will bring/contribute.
  13. If you are not doing a research-related postdoc, does it make sense to limit how much research experience is described on your CV?
    • Not necessarily. You might drop long narrative descriptions of research experience, but it would still make sense to keep any publications, presentations, grants, and/or research-related awards.
  14. Is there a standardized reference letter for postdocs (like there was for internship)?
    • No. Given the heterogeneity of postdoctoral training, programs often request different types of letters.
  15. What kinds of letters of recommendation should I have and who should they be from?
    • Read the program materials. The application instructions should specify if certain letters are needed (e.g., a letter from internship TD verifying you are on track to successfully complete, letter for dissertation chair verifying defense or strong likelihood of defense). You should have at least one letter from an internship supervisor, and a letter from someone in your graduate program is also expectable.
  16. How relevant will supervisory/training experience be when applying? How heavily should it be referenced in an application?
    • This will vary widely by training program. Read the program materials and consider asking the TD.
  17. When do I need to use APPA CAS (the centralized postdoctoral application system)?
    • Not all programs use this application process. Check the UPPD and a program’s webpage for instructions on how to apply. If they are using APPA CAS they should indicate this in their instructions. You can also check through the APPA CAS portal and see if that program is listed. Note: the base application needs to be completed in order to see what programs are listed. APPA CAS is very different and not as detailed as the AAPI. Separate letters are required for each individual program. (See APPA CAS Postdoc Application Information).
  18. How much does APPA CAS cost per application?
    • $35 for the first application and $25 for each application after that.
  19. How do I request a virtual interview?
    • Programs should indicate interview options in their UPPD listing and other public materials. If they do not provide any information about this, it is very appropriate to ask. The APPIC Board of Directors has recommended that programs use the virtual interview format.