How much am I willing to pay for Membership? (also "What do I get from my Membership?")

Okay I will focus this post regarding Membership just on Full Memberships (not affiliate memberships) and Student Memberships, as there are too much to talk about if all the others are included.

So how much are you willing to pay for Membership?  $20/$50/$100 or $200?
Let's look at the membership prices of the different associations.  Prices are for per annual.
SPS:  Student:  SGD$30;  Member:  SGD$75
APS:  Student:  AUD$85 (SGD$87.75);  Member:  AUD$620 (SGD$640.04)
APA:  Undergraduate Student:  USD$35 (SGD$46.97);  Graduate Student:  USD$67 (SGD$89.92);  Member:  USD$247 (SGD$331.56)
BPS:  Student:  GBP 25 (SGD$43.82);  Member:  GBP 130 (SGD$227.86)
Conversions as produced by XE.com.  As updated on 10th August 2016.

So we can see that the SPS membership is the cheapest, but why?  This is something to ponder on.

Singapore is the top earners or richer countries among others, but we can argue that probably psychologists are not among the top few earners.  Fine.
It can also be argued that the socioeconomic statuses of the other countries are higher, which means the psychologists there earn a higher pay (e.g. Full-time Australian psychologists earn an average of $1500 a week) hence the cause for higher cost for membership.  Okay that's reasonable.

In my opinion, my guess is that it has to do with the recognition of psychologists in Singapore and that there is a vicious cycle to this issue.  The people in Singapore are not very familiar and knowledgeable about the role of psychologists and what we do.  Anyone in Singapore unfamiliar with psychology or about the profession of a psychologist would have a first impression that all psychologists work with mental health patients or in the Institute of Mental Health.  Sorry we are not all clinical psychologists.
From the lack of knowledge, this affects psychologists in Singapore by probably not receiving the adequate prestige and recognition that should come with the role and profession.  This subsequently results in insufficient people and resources (including money) to actually rise this standard of the profession of psychologists in Singapore.  With the standard not risen, public education is not achieved and hence the profession lies low.
Perhaps currently the government is doing something about it, having put out an Act to regulate the clinical psychologists.  I am not sure if this act will cover the other areas of the psychologists, but hopefully something will happen there, so that this cycle will be broken.

So we pay lesser membership fees in Singapore; that is just one good thing. So what do we get from paying this membership?  Please refer to the different societies and association websites (SPSAPAAPSBPS) for their member benefits.
For all of the associations, you will be able to use the acronym in your title, such as MSPS, MAPS, etc., and you will have access to the the online website for documents and resources which only psychologists (or psychology students) need, such as the Code of Ethics, case studies, and access to job information.  Most also provide newsletters, journals and publications (hardcopy) on a bi-monthly (APS), 9 times a year (APA), or even up to monthly (BPS) basis for free.  What are also usually included are: discounts to conventions and books and other products, free access to online databases, and reduced rates for professional indemnity issues (in case you are sued by your client)

So what do you get for being a MSPS?
  • Yes, that name. Tick.
  • Code of conduct... which is available to everyone to see..
  • Professional development meetings and networking opprtunities..for interest-groups and social meetings..
  • Discounts for events..
  • Ezine magazine.. Accessible to all.. 
Putting two sides of the picture, some people may ask:  "So what am I getting (other than the name of MSPS) after I pay that $75?", and some may say:  "Wow so cheap!  It only costed me $75 to get the MSPS, when I need to pay AUD$620 for a MAPS."

Which side are you on?


NOTE to SPS: I am not trying to scorn or disrespect the SPS in any way. I am just stating what I see on the website, and hoping that things can be improved for psychology in Singapore.

1 comment :

  1. Exactly. I think the value of a membership in a professional society is based on what benefits the society can give to its member. Things like discounts to professional indemnity issues, free or discounted rates to online databases (for researchers and academics especially), regular and frequent publications which contain materials of relevance to various stakeholders, are very important for professionals. On the other hand, students may find the somewhat cheaper rates appealing especially for getting discounted rates to events (nonetheless, the take-up rate is probably still much to be desired owing to lack of initiative etc.). The SPS has its direction and rationale for it, but it may be good for the SPS to also consult the other more established professional psychological bodies on how they come to their renown today.

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