The American Psychological Association (APA) is the main professional and scientific organization for mental health professionals in the United States and Canada. With close to 150,000 teachers, professors, researchers, clinicians and students, it has become the largest group of psychologists in the world. Psychologists are interested in both normal and abnormal mental functioning and fill a number of roles within the discipline, including doing research or applying the resulting knowledge to helping people.
The mission of the APA is to further the understanding of psychology-related issues in order to improve patients lives. The APA serves as both a uniting force for the study and practice of psychology, as well as a catalyst for continued growth and sharing of knowledge. According to the APA, psychology is primarily science based. Only those who have completed a doctorate and have been licensed in their state of practice are permitted to call themselves a “psychologist”. That is not to say, however, that one must have completed at doctorate to be a member of the APA — people who have completed at least two years of postgraduate studies in psychology are eligible to apply for associate membership.