titanz7 - mental health diagnosis is part of our work as clinicians. If I can't diagnose, how can I create a treatment plan and assess whether the client is improving? BA/BS/BSW mental health workers don't dx that I know of. And I think there are MSW tracks that don't prepare people to be clinicians - but the SW folks will have to speak to that.
I am not a clinical psychologist or an LCSW. I am working toward an LPC - licensed professional counseling.
As part of my 60 credit CACREP program, I took one class in assessment. It was an overview of several standard intelligence, personality, career, achievement and other assessments and tests - and included a brief overview of the MSE (mental status exam) and SCID - structured clinical interview. From that class, I felt qualified to administer nothing other than the MSE and some of the light weight career assessments.
About 1/3 of my other classes required that I be competent in clinical interviewing, DSM diagnosis, and assessment.
My colleagues who were in the PsyD program took several classes in assessment and several classes in statistics. We shared a practicum site. The counseling clinicians were responsible for diagnostic interviewing and we did dx our clients. The PsyD clients did all the formal testing. Their clients went through a battery (and it was a battery!) of testing. The PsyD clinicians then spent hours and hours learning how to write useful assessment reports.
Many of these clinical psych folks went on to hospitals, the VA, college counseling centers and other large clinical settings where the bulk of their work is assessing and writing reports. They also do therapy but testing and assessment is what sets them apart from the LPCs and LCSWs.
The doc students that I admired most and who got great outcomes had the best of the counseling skills with the addition of assessment skills. They worked with the "sickest" clients. They also worked with clients with brain injuries, autism, ADHD, personality disorders, psychosis, etc.
As a counselor, I assess and diagnose everyday. I am not qualified to do the battery of assessments that a Licensed Clinical Psychologist does - nor do I want to be. There are handful of talented LCP in my town - and they are who I refer out to for formal testing.
Because my passion is therapy, I knew I wanted the training that prepared me to do what I am now doing - individual, group, family, and couples therapy.