Developmental psychologists often join professional organizations in order to stay informed about new studies and techniques in their fields and to receive the support of other professionals with similar experiences. Although many psychological associations are state-specific, and their requirements and recommendations vary, there are also several national groups that feature state divisions, according to the American Psychological Association. These are few of the top professional organizations that developmental psychologists should consider joining.
The AACAP exists to promote the positive and healthy development of all people from infancy to adulthood. This broad spectrum of study and care includes research, education and even advocacy for individuals and groups who do not have a strong voice of their own. The group is guided by an executive committee made up of certified individuals who have dedicated their work to helping people of all ages. The AACAP’s commitment to working with all people and to meeting the professional needs of its membership makes it a great organization for developmental psychologists, no matter their areas of specialty.
The AERA organization was formed in 1916 as a nationally recognized research society. The main goals of this association are to advance the knowledge of education and to encourage scholarly inquiry about education and the ways that it can be improved and used for the good of every citizen. The membership is divided into 12 divisions and more than 155 special interest groups. Although many are teachers and researchers, their developmental psychologists make up a strong constituency that shapes the developmental side of education policies.
3. American Psychiatric Association (APA)
There are currently more than 37,000 members involved in the APA doing research, reaching others in academia and practicing with patients. The organization’s goal is to ensure that all patients are receiving effective and humane treatments throughout their psychiatric care, from the initial diagnosis to treatment or to counseling. The group is dedicated to keeping a close eye on psychiatric research, maintaining proper ethical standards in clinical practice and providing encouragement and leadership to its members. This is an especially supportive professional organization for developmental psychologists.
4. American Psychological Association (APA)
This organization, also known as APA, is very similar to the American Psychiatric Association in its goals and its work. With more than 115,000 members, the group firmly believes that individual lives and society as a whole will benefit from the proper application of psychology practices. To this end, the APA works to improve the qualifications and the research of psychologists to produce the highest levels of education, conduct and ethics. The group does this through professional conferences, published reports, discussions and its own publications. With so many resources available, this is a valuable professional organization for any developmental psychologist.
The ABAI has been in operation since 1974. Its membership is especially focused on the philosophy, the application and the teaching of behavior analysis, all of which are topics directly related to developmental psychology. In addition, the organization is divided into special interest groups, known as SIGs, to better serve individualized areas of concern. There are also numerous university programs affiliated with and accredited by the ABAI. Through a variety of worldwide events, job placement services and scholarly journals, this professional organization provides excellent outreach and support to its membership.
Related Resource: 5 Great Websites for Clinical Psychologists
Being a part of a professional organization can provide a lot of important specialized information and practical support for developmental psychologists. This is not a field benefited by individuals working alone, and the knowledge and encouragement provided by other experts through these groups are instrumental in continued professional success.