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PSY Offline
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Any Psych Professionals Out There? - November 14th 2009, 06:12 AM

I'd just like to get as many viewpoints as possible. =)

I am currently a 3rd year psych major, earning my B.A. I'd like to counsel patients for a living... not interested in research, writing papers, etc. I just want to help people, like I do on TeenHelp and at my internship. =D

I know that I need to get at LEAST a Master's degree, if I want to earn $30k+ per year in the United States. Ideally, I'd like to get a PsyD, but I may have to settle for a Master's program, due to how competitive universities are these days.

Sooo... MFT? MSW? Good on salary, or is it worth working another 2-3 years to get the PsyD? Are you working in a hospital, clinic, or self-employed? Please share your stories and advice! Also, if you know of any good schools (anywhere in the U.S.), that would be greatly appreciated. =P

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Re: Any Psych Professionals Out There? - November 14th 2009, 09:56 AM

Not a current Psych Professional here, but I am a 1st year grad student. As you said, a Master's Degree is a must. Most states require a Master's Degree in order to be eligible for a counseling license. Really, for a career, I'd go so far as to say licensure is the main thing that will determine what you do. Without a licensure, even with a Master's Degree, you will be very limited.

As far as what Master's degree to go for, that really depends on the school. I am currently working on a Master of Arts in Counseling, which sets me up for the licensure requirements in Illinois. If you get an MSW, you really won't be headed towards the counseling aspect, it will in all likelihood be more of a case management focused degree. That's not a bad thing, but it doesn't sound like it's exactly what you're aiming for.

As far as working on a PsyD... if you have the mindset and discipline to do it, I'd go for it in a straight shot. I wanted to, but considering I will likely be married within the next 2 years, I'm going to put that on the back burner indefinitely. For the difference it will make in salary, I'm willing to sacrifice it to spend more time with my future wife . That, and she's going into a lucrative field so money won't be a huge issue. You certainly make enough as a counselor to live off of, but it's not exactly a cash cow of a job. Getting a clinical license will help with income if the state you plan to work in has such a distinction, Illinois does.

It really isn't possible to be self-employed right out the door as far as counseling is concerned. The supervision requirements of most states will usually make it so that you will need to work at a clinic, hospital, or shared practice for a year or two before being self employed. Also, from an insurance and logistics perspective, most counselors aren't completely self employed. You really have to have a good business mind to be completely independent.

As far as schools go, like I said licensure is going to be the main thing to worry about. Any program that sets you up with the proper classes for licensure would do. I really like the program at the school that I am at. It has a very strong clinical base (all of my professors have EXTENSIVE experience in the field, long before becoming professors), and also has a firm grounding in the Christian faith (which was an important factor for me).

Anyway, that's what I can come up with! Feel free to PM me if you have any specific questions, want information about the school I'm at, or anything of the such.
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