Originally Posted by NYRangers1
A majority of responders have said they wouldn't do it over again. To those who said "no" for various reason; I'm curious as to what were your primary drives entering your doctoral programs? Did you pursue a doctorate to work primarily in academia, private practice, both, etc... Did you enter the field directly from undergrad? Had you considered other routes prior to applying/entering a doc program? What were they, and what were the reasons for not pursing them?
I left a lucrative prior career (tech/biz consulting) to go back to school because I didn't enjoy what I did. I found myself working 80-90hr weeks and during my little free time I was reading neuroscience and psych journals. I can always go back to my prior career, but I couldn't always go back to school. I initially planned to do an M.D. / Ph.D., though I was actively talked out of it by multiple people doing it, and I didn't find a great research match for what I wanted. Day to day practice of medicine didn't really appeal to me, though placement into neurology or radiology would have been doable.
My grad school plan was to graduate and spend 50% of my time doing clinical work & 50% of my time teaching/mentoring/consulting. I love consultation and assessment, which is what I mostly do now. I very much enjoy academic medicine and working with non-psych populations. In retrospect, I should have taken the MD/Ph.D. route because it wouldn't have been that much more time. I would have missed out on some great aspects of neuropsychology, but I'd have more financial flexibility. Eh, all and all I think I'll be fine, it just took a lot more work than would have been needed in most other fields of study (finance, business, etc).
I think there are opportunities for some psychologists to do quite well in the field, but the 'average' psychologist is going to struggle. I actively discourage most people who want to primarily be therapists. I tell interested students that they better have a plan and realistic chance of following it if they want to pursue training. Most don't know enough about the field to make an informed decision. The competition from all sides is discouraging, and it is just a piss poor economic decision for the vast majority of people wanting to do it. Speciality work may help with the economics, but the road is longer and harder...and it still may not pan out. Financially I'll probably never regain 8 years of loss income ($100k-$150k+/yr), but I think my quality of life is better now because I genuinely enjoy what I do...on most days. There are still ways to make a lot of money, but there are FAR easier and shorter paths for that.
ps. Go Devils!