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Course: Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct
by American Psychological Association

CE Credit Hours: 1
Fee: $0

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The material for this course is The American Psychological Association's (APA) Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (hereinafter referred to as the Ethics Code) consists of an Introduction, a Preamble, five General Principals, and specific Ethical Standards.

The following introduction to the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct is found on the APA website. It discusses the intent, organization, procedural considerations, and scope of application of the Ethics Code. The Preamble and General Principles are aspirational goals to guide psychologists toward the highest ideals of psychology. Although the Preamble and General Principles are not themselves enforceable rules, they should be considered by psychologists in arriving at an ethical course of action. The Ethical Standards set forth enforceable rules for conduct as psychologists. Most of the Ethical Standards are written broadly, in order to apply to psychologists in varied roles, although the application of an Ethical Standard may vary depending on the context. The Ethical Standards are not exhaustive. The fact that a given conduct is not specifically addressed by an Ethical Standard does not mean that it is necessarily either ethical or unethical.

This Ethics Code applies only to psychologists' activities that are part of their scientific, educational, or professional roles as psychologists. Areas covered include but are not limited to the clinical, counseling, and school practice of psychology; research; teaching; supervision of trainees; public service; policy development; social intervention; development of assessment instruments; conducting assessments; educational counseling; organizational consulting; forensic activities; program design and evaluation; and administration. This Ethics Code applies to these activities across a variety of contexts, such as in person, postal, telephone, internet, and other electronic transmissions. These activities shall be distinguished from the purely private conduct of psychologists, which is not within the purview of the Ethics Code.

Educational Objectives

Upon completion of this course, the clinician will be able to:

  • Level of Appropriate Expertise for the Course:
    This material in this course is appropriate for psychologists and clinicians at all stages of experience: early career, mid-career and very experienced.
  • Explain the structure and organization of the APA Ethics Code and list the 5 General Principles of The Ethics Code.
  • Use these standards to conduct my practice morally, avoiding ethical violations
  • Observe the primary obligation of protecting confidential information and integrate ethical issues related to informed consent and confidentiality.
  • Monitor the multiple relationships that can confront clinicians and use The Ethics Code to navigate such relationships.
  • Communicate to colleagues the ethical issues related to psychologists as they conduct themselves in a variety of roles in education, training, research, publication, assessment, and therapy.

Syllabus / Course Instructions

  • The Course consists of reading the Ethics Code on the APA web site APA's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct ( view the course material on the APA website) and successfully completing an online posttest and filling out a course evaluation.
  • This free course will give you access to both a printable copy of the test and an online version. Print the test to use as a companion as you read the book and answer the questions.
  • You cannot exit the online test once you begin, so have your answers available.
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Bio: APA

Based in Washington, D.C., the American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States. With more than 154,000 members, APA is the largest association of psychologists worldwide.

Mission Statement
The mission of the APA is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve peoples lives.

Vision Statement
The American Psychological Association aspires to excel as a valuable, effective and influential organization advancing psychology as a science, serving as:
  • A uniting force for the discipline
  • The major catalyst for the stimulation, growth and dissemination of psychological science and practice
  • The primary resource for all psychologists
  • The premier innovator in the education, development, and training of psychological scientists, practitioners and educators
  • The leading advocate for psychological knowledge and practice informing policy makers and the public to improve public policy and daily living
  • A principal leader and global partner promoting psychological knowledge and methods to facilitate the resolution of personal, societal and global challenges in diverse, multicultural and international contextsAn effective champion of the application of psychology to promote human rights, health, well being and dignity


APA Core Values
The American Psychological Association commits to its vision through a mission based upon the following values:
  • Continual pursuit of excellence
  • Knowledge and its application based upon methods of science
  • Outstanding service to its members and to society
  • Social justice, diversity, and inclusion
  • Ethical action in all that we do


Organizational Purposes
APA seeks to advance psychology as a science, a profession, and as a means of promoting health, education, and human welfare. We do this by:
  • Encouraging the development and application of psychology in the broadest manner
  • Promoting research in psychology, the improvement of research methods and conditions, and the application of research findings
  • Improving the qualifications and usefulness of psychologists by establishing high standards of ethics, conduct, education, and achievement
  • Increasing and disseminating psychological knowledge through meetings, professional contacts, reports, papers, discussions, and publications