Psy.D. Degree

Practicum Placement Process


The practicum placement process occurs over the course of the Spring semester with assignments typically finalized in May prior to the start of the next training year in July.  SOPP has educational affiliation agreements with a cadre of sites located in central and southwest Ohio that accept students for practicum training and participate in SOPP’s structured practicum placement process (outlined below). If you have ideas for new practicum training sites, please contact the Director of Clinical Training (DCT), Practicum Liaison, or Office of Clinical Training (OCT) at 937-775-3490. 

Students are asked to fill out a Student Practicum Profile Survey (SPPS), giving an overview of their clinical practice activities thus far through SOPP. Students should review descriptions of practica options for the upcoming year; review their career goals and perceived needs with their advisors; and then submit the SPPS, signed by the advisor, to the OCT. Thoughtful completion of the SPPS, along with the vita are very important guides for the placement process.

The overriding priority in placement matching is that each student is afforded a balanced training experience over the course of his/her/their clinical training. This balance is achieved, in part, through a yearly review of each student's training needs and progress by the faculty. This balance is also practically achieved, in part, by applying the first four priorities listed in the section below on weighting of factors relevant to placement decisions. If a student has not been at a designated internal program, for example, then such a site will become a priority for that student. If a student has had strong intervention experience but little formal assessment work, then a strong assessment site is a priority. If a student has worked mainly with clients matching his or her own culture or ethnicity, then a site exposing the student to clients who are culturally or ethnically different from the student is a priority.

The DCT will then review the Practicum Profile Surveys and vitae of all students and work with the Training Committee to select (typically up to three) sites for each student to interview. The needs of the most advanced students in the program will be addressed first. An effort will be made not to overwhelm any site with candidates, and to spread candidates as evenly as possible across sites. Therefore, as the needs of successive cohort levels are addressed, some sites will become unavailable to newer students in the program, and other sites from those available appropriate to their needs will then be selected for them.  In coordination with the DCT, some sites choose the students they interview out of those who express interest.

Students training at sites who conduct interviews will be given their lists (typically up to three sites) at which to interview, and they will be given three weeks to interview at those sites. Failure to complete assigned interviews may result in removal from the practicum process for the year. Following these interviews, each site will rank the students interviewed for placement at their sites. The DCT will assign practicum placement in consultation with the Training Committee in consideration of the factors outlined below.

Again, the most advanced cohort of students are matched first, because this is their last chance to complete their training needs and preferences in practicum before going on to internship. Once again, an attempt will be made to distribute all students evenly across available sites. The students newest to the program are thus less likely to fulfill all of their expressed needs, but due consideration will be offered to these newer students' prior experience and appraised training needs in assigning their placements. Newer students will gain priority as they progress through the program.

Students newest to the program are placed based upon a review of any prior experience and a faculty appraisal of their training needs. Those with less prior experience and/or who have greater needs for closer supervision are more likely to be placed in one of SOPP's internal training sites.

The student(s) preliminarily matched with each site will be shared with each site to be assured that there is no match judged as inappropriate, or too challenging for the assigned student. This time also allows for discussion with sites as to exactly how the students were assigned to their site, and why some students judged acceptable by the site may have been assigned elsewhere.

Finally, each student is informed of his or her practicum site, and the sites are informed of their assigned student(s) for the following year. Students are then directed to contact the assigned site and make arrangements for the following year. In the event a student is not deemed an acceptable fit by sites in which they interview or are not able to be matched with a site through the structured process, the student is responsible for acquiring a suitable practicum placement with the guidance of the DCT.

Factors Considered in the Practicum Placement Process

The factors below are considered by the DCT and Training Committee during the practicum placement process and are listed in order of weighting.

  • Need for placement at an SOPP program
  • Student's need for either additional assessment or intervention experience
  • Student's experience with clients culturally or ethnically different from him/her/them
  • Faculty appraisal of the student's clinical training needs and priorities
  • Student's level in the program (i.e., 4th years' needs addressed first, then typically 3rd, 2nd, etc.)
  • Rating by potential sites following interviews 
  • Filling available training slots for the year
  • Student's appraisal of his/her/their needs and priorities
  • Student site ranking

January 18, 2019