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The practitioner–scholar model is an advanced educational and operational model that is focused on practical application of scholarly knowledge . It was initially developed to train clinical psychologists but has since been adapted by other specialty programs such as business, public health, and law.
In 1973, a new clinical psychology training model was proposed at the historic Vail Conference on Professional Training in Psychology in Vail, Colorado—the practitioner-scholar model—providing yet another path of training for those primarily interested in clinical practice. Prior to this, in 1949, a ground breaking conference was held in Boulder, Colorado, endorsing a model of study for clinicians that to this day has dominated clinical programs at most University based institutions: the scientist–practitioner model, designed to provide a rigorous grounding in research methods and a breadth of exposure to clinical psychology. Prior, research scientists had dominated the field of psychological work, and this second, new model, known as the 'Vail' model, called for more practitioner-oriented course work.
Several features differentiate the practitioner-scholar model from the other two:
- Training in this model is more strongly focused on clinical practice than either of the other two.
- Many (but not all) of these training programs grant a Psy.D. degree rather than a Ph.D. or Ed.D.
- Admissions criteria may place more of an emphasis on personal qualities of the applicants or clinically related work experience.
- Accepts a much larger number of students than the typical Ph.D. degree.
- These programs are typically housed in a greater variety of institutional settings than are research scientist or scientist-practitioner programs.
Like scientist-practitioner training, practitioner-scholar training is characterized by core courses in both basic and applied psychology, supervision during extensive clinical experience, and research consumption. Both require predoctoral internships that are usually full-time appointments in universities, medical centers, community mental health centers, or hospitals.