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Organizational Spotlight

Spotlight on the American Psychological Association (APA)


Amy Clark, Senior Associate Editor

June 2021

What is APA?

The American Psychological Association (APA) was founded in 1892 with 31 members; more than 125 years later the organization has grown to represent over 122,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants, and students associated with the science and practice of psychology. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., USA, APA’s mission is “to promote the advancement, communication, and application of psychological science and knowledge to benefit society and improve lives.” To this end, APA takes a wide scope to include more than 50 divisions representing subdisciplines of psychology—such as educational, behavioral, and clinical—and topical areas, including child and family, aging, and peace.

What are APA’s key services, publications, and events?

APA Publishing: The publishing branch of APA set the standard for scholarly research and writing in psychology and many other disciplines with the establishment of the well-known APA Style, now in its 7th edition. In addition, content produced by APA Publishing includes 90 peer-reviewed journals; a large library of scholarly and professional books and videos; databases, including APA PsycInfo® and APA PsycNet®; and digital learning tools.

Annual Conference: APA’s annual convention is the place for researchers, practitioners, and students in psychology to expand their knowledge, find solutions to research problems, advance their careers by networking, and engage with timely and important topics.

Educational Resources: APA provides learning resources for professionals, educators, and students at all levels, including teaching materials for K-12 educators, accreditation programs, continuing education credits, and career development guidance.

Psychology Help Center: Targeted toward consumers, APA’s Psychology Help Center, functions as a starting base for those seeking information and guidance pertaining to psychological well-being.

Grants, Awards, and Funding: APA provides a searchable database of scholarships, grants, and awards sponsored by APA and other psychology-related organizations.

Why join APA?

Joining the leading organization in your field is beneficial for developing your career and professional identity and keeping current with cutting-edge knowledge and hot-button topics. Membership is also a form of advocacy for your field of scientific study. Some of the benefits APA’s members receive include full access to APA’s member magazine Monitor on Psychology and flagship journal American Psychologist; discounts on books, videos, conference and meeting registration; and free referrals through Psychologist Locator.

What are some interesting components of the APA website?

Psychology has applications in all of our lives, and this is evidenced by a tour through APA’s website, where one could easily spend hours reading, listening, viewing, and learning. Got some free time? Here are just a few things you could check out:

• Subscribe to the APA Style newsletter to get monthly updates and tips. While you’re at it, subscribe to Science Spotlight, APA’s new email newsletter for psychological scientists.
• Listen to the Speaking of Psychology podcast. I listened to Episode 144: “COVID-19, insomnia, and the importance of sleep,” with Jennifer Martin, PhD.
• Browse a topic of interest under Psychology Topics. Information hubs include “Racism, bias, and discrimination,” “Stress,” and “COVID-19.”
• View a fascinating interactive multimedia timeline of APA’s history. Did you know that in 1894, Margaret Floy Washburn, became the first woman to earn a PhD in American psychology? In 1921, she served as APA president, the second woman to do so, after Mary Whiton Calkins.

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