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Counselor Education vs. Counseling Psych thoughts

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by kid16, Aug 31, 2011.

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  1. kid16

    kid16

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    Anyone with a Master's in Counseling considered applying to Counselor Education PhD programs (CACREP) in addition to, or even instead of, Counseling Psychology PhD programs (APA)?

    Just wondering if anyone else has arrived at a similar place as I have given that I primarily want to teach and conduct research at the graduate level and a Counselor Ed program seems not only to be much faster (at three years total), but with all the new CACREP program popping up may even be a better long term career choice with regard to the overall need for more and more professors and significantly less competition upon graduation due to smaller Counselor Ed PhD programs and even less of them (versus APA accredited psychology programs).

    Thoughts?
  2. aagman01

    aagman01

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    I have a friend doing a phd in counselor education now.

    Apparently, its quite a bit less competitive getting into such programs. Also, in her opinion, the academic job market is less competitive for counselor education than it is for counseling psychology (at least in her opinion).

    Its kind of an interesting dilemma - these counselor education programs are popping out tons of master level counselors, which is diluting professional practice (too many folks for to few jobs). On the flip side, there are apparently abundant job opportunities for in counseling education programs for folks who have their doctorates in counselor education.

    My friend also mentioned something to me about the accreditation changes. Can you (or someone) please explain that a bit more? Do recent changes mean that all programs training masters level counselors (for eventual LPC) need to begin hiring only folks with counselor education phds (and can no longer higher counseling psychology phds to serve as trainers/faculty)?

  3. G Costanza

    G Costanza

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    I believe the new change requires CACREP programs to have the "core" of their faculty be counselor ed phds. So they could ceetainly hire counseling psych people but there will be an increased demand for counselor ed faculty.
  4. jdawgg

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    I was faced with this same decision and decided to go the counselor ed route. There is a high demand for counselor ed phds right now and the programs are much shorter. Psychologists are in a very poor position in the mental health system right now. Their programs are extremely difficult to get into and the training takes forever, there is a shortage of apa internships, pay continues to decrease, job opportunities (especially in academia) are uncertain. Masters level folks will continue to be the primary providers of therapy and their scope will continue to expand because of cost containment issues.
  5. CitoPsych

    CitoPsych

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    I would have to ditto what Costanza is saying. I am looking through CACREP standards right now to give you the official verbiage, and as soon as I find it I’ll edit this post (I believe they are coming up in the next revision of standards but I could be mistaken), but yes, I too have been looking into Counselor Ed Phd programs for some time and debating whether or not I want to make that my next move. I am currently trying to bolster my resume by presenting at a few conferences and getting clinical experience. From my understanding most of the upper tier Counselor Ed programs want you to be licensed or have some form of experience out in the field. I am curious to hear what psychologists or those in Clinical Psych or Counseling Psych Phd programs think.
  6. busybusybusy

    busybusybusy

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    My understanding is that Counseling Psych programs are moving more toward the psych side and the APA's standards as opposed to CACREP standards. The APA has a group or taskforce of some sort that is currently putting together standards for Counseling Psych programs that are more rigorous than the current CACREP standards. I think it's going to be the difference between a counseling program being housed in the Psych dept. or the Education dept.
  7. G Costanza

    G Costanza

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    But the APA doesn't recognize a master's level psychologist. How/why would they have any influence with standards?

    Are there schools with counseling psych in their psych department? I certainly don't know about many schools but I've only heard about them being in the college of ed.
  8. busybusybusy

    busybusybusy

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    As far as my understanding goes, due to the changes in CACREP that are happening (honestly, I don't know what these are) Counseling Psych MA programs are breaking away and going to be following standards set forth by MPAC. There has been ongoing discussion that the APA would start accrediting MA counseling psych programs and absorb MPAC, separating them from Counselor Ed programs, but I don't think this has been made official as of yet. You can read some about it here: http://www.ccptp.org/resources/2011conferenceresources.html

    There are a ton of Counseling Psych programs that are in psych depts, you can see which are/aren't here: http://www.apa.org/ed/accreditation/programs/accred-counseling.aspx
  9. G Costanza

    G Costanza

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    Thanks for the info!
  10. aagman01

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    From the link posted by busybusybusy above, it appears that "core faculty" must be counselor educators. Masters level counselor ed programs are the money makers in many departments (I know they are in mine). So they are important to the vibrancy of doctoral programs. Counselor educator programs are, from what I have seen and understand, quite different from counseling psychology programs (in terms of orientation and practices). For example, i know a lot of counseling psychologists in grad school because we share some similar courses. Counseling psych folks engage primarily in quantitative research, are trained in ebts, etc. Counselor ed folks are less scientific (in the quantitative sense) and more similar to teacher ed folks in their use of qualitative orientation/"research" and post-modern perspectives. My thoughts are that this policy change by CACREP will lessen scientific rigor (at least how I am accustomed to it) within community counseling training programs. Not, in my opinion, a good thing based on what I have seen among some LPCs I have worked with throughout my externships and now during my internship. I am not in counseling psychology, but if I were and was considering an academic route, I would be concerned.


    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
  11. globalcitizen

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    I left an APA counseling psychology program after one year to enroll in a CACREP counselor education program for many of the reasons discussed herein. This turf war is outright horrible/unethical possibly and is not fair to students. Looking back I would say that APA counseling programs are a good fit for someone who wanted to get in a APA clinical prgm but could not. The distinction between counseling psych and clinical psych no longer exists. Counseling psych has sold out. Further, the medical model has gone beyond clinical psych to psychiatry. The role that psychologists once played along side of doctors has diminished.

    I would recommend the following: (1) if you want to pursue academia or school research, consider CACREP. It appears that there are more psychologists who would have liked a career in academia but couldn't find a job. (2) if you want to pursue practice WITH psych testing (beyond career assessments) and well paid jobs such as those in the VA, consider APA counseling or clinical. The VA has been slow to recognize LPCs despite a new imitative to hire more. I think this is turf again - VA psychs intentionally moving slow. (3) if you dont have money, the APA has more of it than CACREP (TAs, grants, etc.). This appears to because of the muscle and legacy behind APA (internationally, etc.). (4) if you want to pursue work overseas. There is an intl credential for APA trained psychologists to get licensure overseas. LPCS are still working on national domestic standards so your rep in let's say the UK would be questioned.

    Just my two cents,
    Global Citizen
  12. globalcitizen

    globalcitizen

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    There are more counseling programs than counseling psych programs. yet, more psych prgms (clinical and counseling combined) than counseling prgms. Clinical psychs typically do not hire counseling psychs for their academic prgms.


  13. busybusybusy

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    I'm not going to argue to benefit of an APA Counseling Psych (PhD) program vs. a CACREP Counselor Ed (PhD) program because to be honest I don't know a ton about CACREP programs. Here's what I do know:

    -Application standards and acceptance rates for APA Accredited Counseling Psych programs are just as stringent as they are for Clinical Psych programs, so don't think that getting in to a Counseling Psych program is easier than Clinical.

    -If you attend a CACREP program you are really more trained to train counselors. You are not trained on testing or assessment and will not be trained to be a doctoral level practicioner.

    -In my experience there are some Counseling Psych profs. in Clinical programs due to the ever increasing lack of difference btw the two. However, if you graduate from a CACREP program you are not able to teach in Clinical because it is completely different.

    -Although the gap btw Clinical and Counseling is narrowing, there are still some very distinct differences such as focus on social justice, multicultural factors and a focus on normative behavior vs. abnormal behavior.

    Hopes this helps anyone who is trying to figure out the differences!!
  14. Neuropsych2be

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    Sounds like clinical psychology programs could take a lesson from counseling psychology programs. :)
  15. G Costanza

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    I think your two cents have one cent of personal bias and another cent of inaccurate info.
  16. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    To be fair, our current economy has very much devalued our currency, so someone's 2 cents just isn't the same as it was 5-10 years ago. :D
  17. Rivi

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    I am in a counseling psychology Ph.D. program, and we have a counselor education program within our department that we take different classes with. I definitely respect both degrees, but in terms of comparison, IMHO, counseling psychology has it better in terms of job opportunities and career flexibility (assessment and practice as a psychologist in addition to everything counselor education ph.d.'s have, non-academic research jobs are much more open to counseling psych as well). Counselor education has the lockdown on Master's programs with the recent CACREP standard (which is absolutely a turf war thing. Look at the CACREP curriculum and explain to me how a counseling or clinical psychology program graduate is somehow unable to be a core faculty member and teach and supervise master's students. I graduated from a well-respected CACREP master's program and 50% of it was stuff I learned in undergrad). If you specifically want to go into academia and train counselors, counselor education is a great option. You can also do therapy on the side (most counselor ed faculty are licensed as LPC's). If you want to use assessment, work as a psychologist, do research in non-academic facilities like the military, counseling psyc probably is a better fit.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2011
  18. rachelw

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    It seems that there is a debate on which degree (Counseling Psychology or Counselor Education) is better for the job market... I like the idea of Counseling Psych PhD as my eventual career goal is to work in a university counseling center and perhaps do therapy on the side too, but I keep hearing about the crazy competition for APA internships, scarcity of jobs after graduation, decreased salary, etc. (like what jdawgg said above).

    Now, if CACREP Counseling Ed folks are slicing another big chunk of the pie off, with the new rule dictating that only PhDs in Counseling Education able to be faculty in a Counselor Ed dept - wouldn't that make the PhDs in Counseling Psychology weep??

    With that in mind, I am wondering if it might be better off for me if I just go the Counselor Ed route (which guarantees the academic jobs) and do therapy on the side (with LPC). I posted my question here http://forums.studentdoctor.net/showthread.php?p=12022909#post12022909 Please advice.

    I would also love to hear more about the different orientation and practice between CP (APA) and CE (CACREP). So CE is more qualitative. More "applied"? CP is becoming very much like Clinical Psych? What else (specifically)?
  19. busybusybusy

    busybusybusy

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    The thing is that people who get Counseling Ed degrees (generally) are not trained to be psychologists. While I am biased because I'm in a CP program, I feel that the job market is more open for people with a CP PhD, you can work in academia (in Counsleing Psych programs) or in the field, which mostly those who get an EdD are not able to do. You can see this on the APPIC internship website where many internships will not accept EdD candiates.

    Also, there is a huge problem with getting APA accredited internships, but that is regardless of egree (PhD, PsyD) or field (Clinical, Counseling). If you're desire is to get an internship in a counsleing center a CP program would be better for you because you'll get more experience in them.

    There is a HUGE difference between Counselor Ed and CP, someone who is from a Counselor Ed program would likely not be able to teach in a CP program either. Neither one is necessarily more qualitative.
  20. rachelw

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    Thank you so much. What you said makes a lot of sense. Now if I go by the CP route, I have the option to (1) complete my Master's in Counseling degree before I apply to CP, or (2) complete only the first year of my MA degree before entering the doctoral program (enter with no MA in hand).

    I am only doing my MA because I was not a psych major and don't have enough psych coursework. Since PhD in CP don't necessarily require an MA (and I heard that having an MA does not really shorten the PhD length), I am thinking of: getting prerequisites done (Developmental Psych; Abnormal; Learning; Statistics; Personality, etc...) PLUS 1-year of graduate-level work, some experience.. then enter a PhD CP program --> 5 years from that point on.

    Would the above route be recommended, as compared to completing the entire MA (2-2.5 years), and then apply to the CP program?

    So when you said there's a HUGE difference between the two, I take it that one big difference is CE trains teachers/supervisors while CP trains high level clinicians. Am I right to say that? What might explain the lack of academic rigor in CACREP PhD? Its "applied" nature?
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2012
  21. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychology Fellow Moderator

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    You're likely going to get different opinions on this, but I'd imagine the prevailing theme will be that unless the master's program you enter is horrible, you should finish before entering doctoral training. The reason being that applying while you're still enrolled/during a time which would obviously imply you'd leave your program before finishing wouldn't cast a positive light on your graduate-level "stick-tuitiveness." Some doctoral programs might not care, while others might look at the situation and say, "well, he/she will have left one grad program already, what's to stop him/her from leaving here after a year or two?"

    Also, while master's degrees generally don't shorten the doctoral training timeline much, they do provide the option of transferring your master's thesis (assuming it's quantitative and meets your future department's standards). Again, this may not save you time per se, but it could save you boatloads of aggravation and open up the opportunity to participate in non-thesis and non-dissertation research early in your doctoral career (i.e., pump out a few quality publications that other students may not be able to fit in due to having to complete a thesis).
  22. Pragma

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    Oh no Acronym, consult your WAIS-IV! "Stick-to-it-iveness" :smuggrin:

    :D
  23. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychology Fellow Moderator

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    Haha this is going to betray how much of a dork I am, but I actually debated with myself for a solid minute before finally settling on -tuitiveness rather than -to-it-iveness just for the sake of consistency with other "-tuitive" words.
  24. Pragma

    Pragma

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    I actually didn't think it was a real word until I noticed it was an acceptable WAIS answer. It always bothered me...
  25. zensouth

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    This is true, you graduate from CACREP Counselor Ed programs as a Counselor Educator, not a psychologist, and often cannot be licensed as a psychologist but rather as an LPC, the equivalent license of someone from a Master's level program. I am not sure but I think this varies by state. While not implicitly stated the general feeling I got when looking over the Counselor Ed programs was that they teach you how to teach clinicians, not necessarily to be a clinician.

    Additionally, during my CACREP accredited M.Ed. program I learned that as part of the 'turf war' that Counselor Ed was going to be touted as the preferred doctoral level degree and that in the subsequent years students would likely be influenced (via faculty, professional publications, newsletters, etc.) to attend CACREP Counselor Ed programs rather than Counseling Psychology or Clinical Psychology programs.

    In my opinion it seems like the Counselor Eduction degree only prepares you to teach at a university/Master's level program and maybe consultation. That, to me, seems like a very limiting degree, when compared to other PhD programs that allow you to do those things plus private practice, community practice, VA's, etc.
  26. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Ed Psych PhD student Moderator Gold Donor

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    To be fair, people licensed at the masters level can do private and community practice as well,
  27. js1221

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    zensouth: I want to respond about your comments about Counseling Ed programs, then make some general comments regarding all the posts, which I think are great! It is a good discussion! Let's keep it going.

    Okay, the truth is there are doctoral graduates from CACREP Counseling programs who are teaching as counselor educators and doing research, teaching both master's and doctoral level students, while other graduates are in clinical practice (e.g. doing therapy, or hold a director position, for example). With a degree from a CACREP program and LPC or LMHC a graduate has the ability to teach in a CACREP program, do research, clinical work, or private practice. {Similarly, Rehab Counseling programs accredited by CORE will allow doctoral graduated with a CRC to teach in CORE accredited programs, do research, clinical work, or private practice.} My understanidng though is a lot of CORE programs are converting to CACREP.) The options are wide open.

    However -- my understanding is that big difference is that Counseling programs tend to focus more on prevention, positive life outcomes, adjustment, rather than on pathology, and it is doubtful that one is going to find a Counselor Ed program that trains in psychodymanic therapy for example - though they may exist. I think to learn in-depth psychotherapy an MSW, psychoanalytic institute, or psych program is the way to go. Psychology (clinical) I would think would give the most training regarding pathology, and for counseling psych I'm actually fuzzy.........

    As for Counseling Psychology to me, it seems still to have more depth in therapy training than Counseling Ed, though I'm still quite fuzzy about Counseling Psych. In some ways the Couns. Ed. and Couns. Psych. programs are starting to seem similar?

    I am trying to nagivate this whole thing too, as I have a master's in counseling with 48 credits in rehab counseling, and 12 in community counseling, I have a CRC, but do not yet have LPC - I would need 3000+ supervised hours for that. I have 4 years in as a state voc rehab counselor and want to transition to do therapy, so I am debating whether to find a way to work on hours for LPC in conjunction with further training in psychotherapy, or to do a doctorate in Counseling, Counseling Psych, or Clin. Psych. This whole thread is a very helpful discussion.

    What I can speak clearly of is labor market info. as I have done the research: The U.S. Dept. of Labor projects through 2018, the most job openings for social workers, then in the middle is psychologists, and at the lowest end of the spectrum, counselors - however, though mental health counseling falls at the low end for projected job openings, the DOL still predicts there will be good job growth for the counseling field and the job of mental health counseling is listed by the DOL as a "bright outlook" occupation. Regarding projected job growth (to clarify, a different factor than predicted openings), the percent change from 2008-2018 for mental health counseling is predicted to have the greatest positive change, and psychology is predicted to have the least positive percentage jump, and social work is scattered through the job growth percentage range depending on the type of social work. Third aspect, salary: According to the DOL psychology still has the biggest earning potential, then the next highest is social work and MFT, then substance abuse counseling, then sunstance abuse social work, then mental health couneling, and the lowest salary potential for rehab. counselors. A fourth factor: the current job market - a one galnce look during one day via a job search site, searching by career title, revealed to me, the most jobs for social workers were posted, then actually counselors next, then psychologists, then rehab counselors, then neuropsychologists - keep in mind this was a one time observation on one day on one site - but I think it is important to consider as when we job search what is listed is what we can see, and based on the words we type in - for a web job search. A review of federal jobs showed the most jobs for counseling psychologists, some for clinical psychologists, few for mental health counselors, and sadly only three for rehab counselors<--- I could get in to a huge political discussion about that one! ...So, some ideas to play with along with the whole discussion....intent is not to veer off the topic but hopefully add to it. :)

    -Jason
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  28. GeorgeRamosJr

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    I'm not sure if everyone knows this but Walden University is currently the process of obtaining the CACREP accreditation for their PhD program.
    http://www.cacrep.org/template/page.cfm?id=36

    Currently, the only online school that has that accreditation for Counselor Education and Supervision is Regent University. It's pretty competitive to get into. Wondering if Walden University gets this accreditation what would be the views on the program.

    Would getting the accreditation help legitimize this program?
  29. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    I would view CACREP in a more negative light than Walden in a more positive one.
  30. FreudianSlipper

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    Yea, that's my feeling too, and I've even been considering applying to some CACREP PhD programs that have faculty in my area of interest.

    Also, GeorgeRamos Jr., try not to post the same thing in multiple threads in the future, as it clogs up the boards.
  31. GeorgeRamosJr

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    Thanks for the reply, would anyone recommend me getting into the program as it looks like they will be getting the accreditation. I would like to teach in the future, maybe be a supervisor or director. Thanks.
  32. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychology Fellow Moderator

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    I don't remember--is Walden an online/distance learning program? If so, I personally would avoid it at all costs. Online programs have a relatively horrid reputation, and that would definitely affect your chances of finding a supervisory/directory/teaching role.

    I agree with the others in that if CACRED grants accreditation to an online program, I'd be more likely to lose respect for the accrediting body/standard than I would be to gain respect for the online program.
  33. GeorgeRamosJr

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  34. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty Moderator Emeritus

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    Online programs are not viewed positively by the vast majority of people in the field, and I think in the best case scenario the quality of an online program is viewed with moderate to significant skepticism. Given that many of these people are in charge of hiring new clinicians, that is not a good combo for a prospective student who would eventually want to teach, supervise, etc.
  35. futureapppsy2

    futureapppsy2 Ed Psych PhD student Moderator Gold Donor

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    Yes, it is an online school/program. I agree as well.

    I think it is important to note that even if online Counseling/Social Work/Psychology programs are accredited, those hiring are likely to look at graduates of online programs with a much, much more wary eye (and justly so, IMO).
  36. GeorgeRamosJr

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    I wonder again what does that mean for CACREP.
  37. Counselor1701

    Counselor1701 CounselorJ

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    I'm currently exploring Graduate School. I have a Master's in General Psychology and completed a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Mental Health Counseling. I had always wanted to focus on Clinical Psychology. The waters, however, have been mired as I've boiled down what I want to do with my life: teach others, conduct research, and continue doing therapy. My clinical supervisor has a Ph.D in Counselor Education and has opened up the field more to me. I'm thinking of applying to both Clinical Psychology and Counselor Education doctorate programs. There was one Counseling Psychology program I considered; however, they are not yet APA accredited and that concerns me. I might apply to it anyway.

    At any rate, I wanted to say that this thread has really helped me weight pros and cons and look at what my goals are. Though I might still be applying to different programs, the field of Counselor Education has really opened up more opportunities for me for graduate programs.

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