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How do Canadians feel about their system...

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by psych844, 04.27.12.

  1. psych844

    psych844

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    compared to the Americans.

    As a Canadian psychology student, who is a bit older, and not looking to go past the Masters, I'm curious how people feel about how licensing works from province to province. The fact that in some provinces a person can use the title of "psychologist" with a Masters (among other qualifications) while only a doctorate is sufficient in other provinces.

    Should it be dealt with province by province? Does it make us look bad compared to the Americans? Do you think we are heading in the direction of only allowing individuals with doctorates to use the title of "Psychologist"? or as one recent thread pointed out..with so many phd's heading towards research, assesment, other specializations, do we need Master Psychologists because someone has to actually provide the therapy?
     
    Last edited: 04.27.12
  2. RGirl

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    I was just involved in a meeting about this a few days ago, actually. There is a big move amongst psychologists in Alberta-- which, although there are still some provinces/territories which allow Masters-level registration, is responsible for by far the largest number of remaining Masters-level psychologists-- to advocate for PhD level licensing. There is a major vote taking place shortly amongst the Psychologist's Association of Alberta regarding whether to "officially" take a position on this, and the general opinion is that it will pass. Of course, this doesn't mean that actual legislation level changes will happen anytime soon (the PAA has no actual official pull in this regard), and the current MA-level psychologists will be grandfathered in if there is a change. There is also a lot of concern regarding for-profit professional schools taking hold in Alberta. We don't have the same for-profit PsyD programs in Canada (the few PsyD programs are university based), but I just found out yesterday that there are a bunch of unaccredited for-profit schools specifically in Alberta that focus on getting Masters in Counselling or Clinical Psych.

    Honestly, while I think that there is a place for Masters level clinicians in professions such as Registered Clinical Counsellors, I strongly believe that the term psychologist should be reserved for people with PhDs or PsyDs. I'm running low on time to finish my argument, but I think that the few remaining provinces with MA-level registration have actually done a great deal of harm to the reputation of psychologists as a whole in Canada. One example of this is the fact that we have far fewer rights in terms of things like certifying people under the Mental Health Act-- several people have argued this has occurred because the government is reluctant to give such responsibilities to Masters level clinicians, so all psychologists are thus not legally able to do this.
     
    Last edited: 04.28.12
  3. psych844

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    Do you know if Athabasca University would be considered a part of this group? (don't think so as they are accredited, as a Uni anyway, not sure about their masters psychology program)
     
  4. psych844

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    Any idea how this would work?
     
  5. Pragma

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    ...Who cares?

    J/K :laugh:
     
  6. MCParent

    MCParent SDN Bronze Donor Bronze Donor

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    That's pretty rude, frankly.

    Think about it. If this were a post about the state of psychology in, say, Korea, Japan, South Africa, etc., you'd be interested or at least curious. And, a "joke" like the above would be deemed offensive or ethnocentric. But because it's Canada it's ok to be insulting?

    As a Canadian, I notice this in my training. Another example is that I've been told I'm "basically an American." Imagine what would happen if someone said a Korean person is "basically Chinese."

    Americans who make those kinds of comments should probably take a look at what that's about for them.
     
  7. BlackSkirtTetra

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    If you don't mind my asking, in which provinces are psychologists MA-level?
     
  8. psych844

    psych844

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  9. Pragma

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    Sorry sir. No offense intended. It was truly a joke, and I thought it was a jab at people who do have a negative bias regarding Canada.
     
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  10. RGirl

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    Their MA program is not CPA accredited, as CPA doesn't accredit any programs that stop at the Masters level. I don't necessarily think that Athabasca itself is looked down on as an institution as a whole, I can't see their Counselling MA program as being very good, considering they are a distance education university!
     
  11. psych844

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    Their program is designed to meet the requirements to register as psychologist in Alberta.

    They do require face time...that is a requirement. So the program is not totally through distance. I think the summers are used for seminars, etc

     
  12. RGirl

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    Anyone who is registered as a psychologist before the legislation (theoretically) passes will be allowed to still call themselves a psychologist, no matter whether they have a master's or doctorate, but a doctorate will be required at any point afterwards to be registered.
     
  13. RGirl

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    I don't really know much about the program, to be honest-- I don't think it is necessarily the same money grab as say, City University in Edmonton (http://www.cityu.edu/locations/americas/edmonton.aspx), which basically only exists to take advantage of the fact that you can practice with an MA/MEd in Alberta, and that there are only a few CPA accredited Counselling/Clinical programs in Alberta. I know nothing about their requirements in terms of direct hours. However, I would be hesitant to get a Counselling degree from any non-accredited program, quite frankly.
     
  14. BlackSkirtTetra

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  15. psych844

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    I would not take a Phd program that is not accredited but I'm probably only doing my Masters.

    So my options become places like Alberta or "psychological associate" in the rest of the country. To be honest, I'm not even sure what this title means. What is the future of the PA? If the designation of "psychological associate" is there to highlight the difference in education, then why do both of these groups have the same rights/roles. I know PA's have to be supervised for longer but aside from that, nothing.





     
  16. RGirl

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    Not trying to come across as judgmental, but why would you be willing to do an unaccredited master's program, but not an unaccredited PhD program?

    You're right, the psychological associate title doesn't mean a lot. It isn't something that gets a lot of recognition-- I don't think a lot of people go to a "psychological associate" in private practice, you won't be able to be hired in any psychologist hospital positions, and (I believe- I could be wrong) your services won't be covered in by insurance. And, from what I was told in our meeting this week, Canada is definitely moving away from registration at the master's level, so it is extremely unlikely PAs will be moving up in status.

    There are also options to get registered as a counsellor with your master's (http://bc-counsellors.org/apply-for-membership/membership-criteria).
     
  17. psych844

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    Is there such a thing as an accredited Masters program when it comes to CPA? What if you do your Masters program at one school and Phd at another?
     
  18. psych844

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    The other thing is, the college for psychotherapists and mental health therapists in Ontario (which is still at transitional stage) has said pretty strongly that Master's degree would not be an educational requirement to register. So it leaves people with a Master's in a tough spot. Some will think they have enough training to be a Psychologist (and some provinces agree) and that registering with psychotherapist/mental health therapists college would be a step down in some ways. ($, status, etc)

    In this scenario, why would not all Master trained individuals go to Alberta etc to practice as Psychologists? or are you finding that Clinical Counselors are doing well for themselves in BC? (is this the equivalent of psychoterapist college in ontario?)
     
    Last edited: 04.28.12
  19. BlackSkirtTetra

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    Are you sure that Canadians won't go to a psychologist with "only" a Master's degree?

    I know a lot of Americans who see LPCs/LMHCs/LMFTs/LCSWs, and all of those are "only" Master's degree-level positions. I can't imagine that the Canadian populace is very different from the American in that regard...
     
  20. psych844

    psych844

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    Are you talking to me?

    I think people see psychologists as equal, no matter if they are Master level or Phd.
    It's very much a fight for that title which brings with it better status, more money, and generally more respect. The Phd's obv don't want Master-level Psychologists anywhere in Canada.

    My opinion going into this is that Master-level Psychologists are not a problem but when the poster brought up "City University", which I have never heard of before, it started troubling me. By looking at their admission requirements, it didn't help. Does the College of Psychologists in Alberta not consider where the Masters comes from? Does City University actually fulfill all the requirements set by the college? If City Uni does fulfill some requirement, does it prevent you in some other way?





     
    Last edited: 04.28.12
  21. RGirl

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    Hmmm, I don't know if there is technically an accredited master's program, to be honest, but you can get a master's from an accredited PhD program, which until now, I assume would be considered equivalent. I was involved in my clinical program's accreditation renewal, and they certainly look at both the master's and PhD coursework, practica, etc-- but, then again, that is a province with only doctoral level registration. You can certainly do your master's at one school and your PhD at another, but you would have a real challenge getting into an accredited PhD program with a master's from an unaccredited program.
     
  22. RGirl

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    The tricky thing that a lot of master's level psychologists have done is gotten registered in Alberta, and then, under the Mutual Recognition Agreement, they move to another province, and have to have their "registration" recognized by that province. This understandably leaves the people who live in that province and who have the same education qualifications (e.g., a master's) as these MA/MEd-level psychologists from Alberta pretty pissed off, as they cannot call themselves psychologists without moving to Alberta, getting registered there, and moving back. It is a bit of a messed up system.

    And the truth is, a lot of MA/MEd level psychologists do just move to Alberta... which is why they have one of the highest number of psychologists per capita in Canada.

    I don't know about the psychotherapist's college in ON, honestly, but from what I hear, RCCs in BC don't do too bad. They are just recognized as being something different from psychologists-- so, in principle, they may be hired for less complex populations, for instance. A lot seem to work in private practice-- I've seen it listed a lot more than psychological associate, though that is purely anecdotal.
     
  23. RGirl

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    I agree-- I don't think the issue is that people won't go see someone with a master's. The issue is whether people with a master's can call themselves a psychologist, versus a psychological associate or a registered counsellor or a RMFT.

    We obviously can agree to disagree on the master's level registration (and I like being able to talk about it without it needing to get ugly :) ), while agreeing that these programs are pretty nasty. From what I've heard, these programs like City University are just like for profit PsyD programs in the US (except w/o accreditation!), in that, yes, you can get registered with the College, but it probably isn't a good career move. For one, it will be really hard to get practicum/supervised hours at good training sites. Also, people from these programs are not getting considered for a lot of the good hospital psychologist jobs-- at my internship sites, there are a *lot* of complaints about the poor quality of applicants in Alberta, and they are having to post positions multiple times to get people from accredited programs.

    Another thing worth noting in Alberta is that, at least in Alberta Health, the positions available to MA/MEd vs. Doctoral level psychologists are very different-- you'll see it in job postings for Psychologist I (master's) vs. II (doctorate). A lot of the time, Psych I jobs are ones that may not actually be formally called "psychologist", like the generic "mental health therapist" job postings, which are for social works, Psych I's, OTs, psychiatric nurses, etc.
     
  24. psych844

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    Looking at these info though, doesn't seem like people are staying there....

    http://alis.alberta.ca/occinfo/Cont...GetHTMLProfile&format=html&occPro_ID=71002221

    Job openings: turnover plus new jobs due to below average growth in occupation in Alberta 2011-2015

     
  25. psych844

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    Heard some really relevant info from Athabasca Uni today.

    So to get into their Counselling Psychology program you need at least 3.0GPA and you can actually get in based on a 3yr BA (if you do some additional courses). They don't tell you though that if you don't have an Honours Psychology degree with thesis..you can't register with the Psychologists of Alberta.

    So, I wouldn't be worried about some of these degree mill Uni's. (not that I count Athabasca as one of those)
     
  26. BlackSkirtTetra

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    Forgive this dumb American (me) for asking, but I want to be clear that I read something right:

    A person with an MA who is licensed as a "Psychologist" in Alberta can move to Ontario, transfer credentials, and practice as a "Psychologist" even though in Ontario that title is given only to PhD-level folks?

    Right?
     
  27. psych844

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    Yep. I actually got a confirmation for that yesterday.

     
  28. BlackSkirtTetra

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    That's kind of crazy. In the US, if you're a Masters-level Psychologist in a state (like Kansas) that recognizes them, and move to a state that doesn't (like New York), you have to practice as a "Psychological Associate" or the equivalent.

    I think that's how it should be, because it basically allows any state (or province) to set their own rules within their own state. When a Masters-level Psychologist moves from Alberta to Ontario, it looks as though Ontario has to play by Alberta's rules.
     
  29. psych844

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    Well you def couldn't do this in medicine. "oh yeah, I did something similar to medical school in another province..now give me that scalpel". In fact, rules in Canada are really tough on American med school system if someone wanted to practice up here, almost like we don't consider the training down South as equivalent. In general, our regulations are tough.

    I think this was a case of allowing professionals to move all across Canada without there being barriers..."oh now I have to do a phd if I want to live in Ontario." At the same time, some provinces which are maybe not seeing much growth in psychology work force, (which is maybe why their standard is Masters level to begin with) get the help they need.



     
    Last edited: 05.01.12
  30. BlackSkirtTetra

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    So what's the deal with the people who live in the Yukon?

    Wikipedia says there are 35,000 people who live there, but the practice of psychology is not regulated according to the link above. What does that mean, in everyday practical terms?

    (Sorry to pick your brains! I find this regulation/licensing difference really interesting...)
     
  31. RGirl

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    I'm a little confused. I'm actually in the process of getting registered in Alberta right now, and as far as I know, there is nothing on the College's website about needing to have an Honours degree in Psychology.

    In the criteria for evaluating academic credentials (http://cap.ab.ca/pdfs/criteriaforevaluatingacademiccredentials.pdf), they state that a graduate degree in psychology (or "with content substantially equivalent to a degree with a major in psychology") is necessary, but nothing is stated about undergraduate degree requirements.

    Granted, in order to get registered, you need to prove you have a certain number of credits, some of which must be from your graduate program (and meet certain requirements, like 3 credits of ethics, intervention, etc), and some which can be from either your undergrad or your graduate program. But that doesn't not require an Honours degree, by any stretch. In fact, the document even notes that you can be registered without completing a master's thesis (you just need more course credits).

    Where did you get this info?
     
  32. RGirl

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    We were actually just joking in our recent presentation on registration about the Yukon. I honestly have no idea how it works up there, whether it is just a free for all, or people are perhaps registered in another province, or what! There are no sites to becoming trained in the Yukon, as far as I know, and there is definitely a chronic shortage of mental health professionals in the North.
     
  33. BlackSkirtTetra

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    It kind of makes me sad to think about. All those people living with 20-hour nights and zero psychologists. I think I'd go mad. :confused:
     
  34. psych844

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    I got that info from whoever is in charge of answering emails for the Master of Counselling program at Athabasca. I stated that it is common practive in North America that an Honours is needed to get into Master/phd programs, so how come they don't require it for admission? The individual answered saying "Not all students apply to license as a psychologist in the province of Alberta." So to confirm I said "so you must have an Honours in Psychology to eventually register as a psychologist in Alberta?" She answered "Correct".

    I have emailed her back stating exactly what you said since I read the credentials on that website too, and like you, it doesn't say anything about needing an Honours.

    I should probably get a reply back today and I'll share.


     
  35. RGirl

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    Please think long and hard about going this route. Of course, it is ultimately your choice, but there's a lot about this that is concerning me more and more. For instance, they have very reduced standards compared to accredited program (a 3.0 is also very reduced standards, along with a 3-year BA and no need for research experience) because people don't bother getting registered? What are people doing this degree for, then, if not to practice?

    Also, because this program only takes on the Core Areas you need for registration (see the link I posted earlier), you need to be absolutely sure that your undergraduate degree covers all the requirements for the substantive content areas listed. My graduate program covered all of these, but because they aren't covered in Athabasca, you will need to make sure you had a senior undergraduate course that fits their requirements in biological bases of behaviour, cognitive/affective bases of behaviour, social bases of behaviour and psychology of the individual.

    Additionally, a single practicum is not a lot of experience at all. That really will reduce the areas you can consider yourself competent to treat. You might want to check about support for additional experiences and the practicalities of this.
     
  36. psych844

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    Oh believe me, while an extra year is not a huge huge deal (I am 27, so you can see my slight worry) I got back into school last year after many years away from it so I'm kind of wanting to finish sooner than later.

    Where are you? U of Alberta?
    At Athabasca you take the core courses then you take basically 2 courses for a specialization (ie Counselling Psychology) There is a thesis exit for the top students.

    Like you, I am really paying close attention to what courses I need.





     
  37. RGirl

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    I'm glad you are seeking as much information as possible, as a lot of people go into this whole process unaware of the implications. I've stated my concerns, as someone working in the health care system in Alberta, but it is obviously your choice in the end :).

    My graduate training is from another province, one of the ones that requires doctorate level training, so I've been learning a lot about master's level registration this year. I'm currently doing my internship in Alberta.
     
  38. psych844

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    But you got into a CPA accredited program without an Honours?


     
  39. deadmau5

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    There's probably very few people who are willing to go up there. I mean, I wouldn't want to... it's sad because there are a lot of problems in the arctic areas.
     
  40. RGirl

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    No... I have an Honours degree.

    It isn't "officially" required my my graduate program (which is clinical, btw, I don't know if I ever clarified), but is strongly recommended, and I don't know anyone who got in without one.

    (Did I imply somewhere that I didn't?)
     
  41. RGirl

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    Even the Northern areas of the western provinces are so short on mental health care. I've heard a lot of cases of the government paying to have specialists flown up for things like forensic assessments, since there's no one there to do them, or families driving for a day to get their child assessed/treated.
     
  42. psych844

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    Boy, this should be getting clearer but seems more confusing.
    The person answered saying
    You will have to contact CPA for that information. After she seemed quite sure.
     
    Last edited: 05.02.12
  43. RGirl

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    Yikes. CPA has nothing do with registration. It also scares me that she doesn't know when she's claiming to represent a program that meets the criteria for registration. Red flag :(
     
  44. psych844

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    Ended up correcting herself, not CPA but CAP. Looking back she also stated that the only program in Canada accredited by the CPA is U of BC.

    If I only wanted to do the Masters (so I can practice in Alberta) which Uni's would you suggest?

     
    Last edited: 05.02.12
  45. RGirl

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    Yeah... and we both know that isn't true (re: CPA accreditation).

    Are you looking to go more into clinical or counselling?

    The University of Alberta's counselling psychology program is really great. I've supervised a couple of their students and have been really impressed. It is CPA accredited. They also have a school psychology program, but no clinical program.

    The University of Calgary also has accredited counselling and clinical programs.
    However, from what I can tell, the clinical program is designed for people who want to get their PhD... so you would have to be a little quiet about wanting to leave with just a master's, as you are pretty much expected to stay for the PhD. The clinical program is also very CBT-- great training if that is what you are looking for, but not so great if that isn't your orientation.
    I think it is more standard for people to leave their counselling program with their master's, so that may be worth looking into!

    Are you looking to stay in AB for grad school?
     
  46. psych844

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    I'm def more interested in counselling psychology.
    How hard is it get into U of A or U of C for Counselling Psychology? Is an honours 4yr expected? You did say you don't know many people who got in without Honours.

    Any idea on email for U of A? They don't seem to have it listed.

     
    Last edited: 05.02.12
  47. RGirl

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    I'm in a pretty competitive clinical program, so my observations about needing an Honours degree may not generalize to counselling programs, especially since these two are not as research heavy as some others. U of A offers a course-based master's, as well as a thesis based one, for instance. However, a 4-year degree will definitely be expected (I wasn't even really aware of the idea of a 3 year psych degree, honestly!).

    You can find the stats for successful applicants on their websites. The GPAs tend to be pretty high, and U of A requires some sort of external counselling experience, though volunteer work (like at a crisis center) does the trick. The numbers are still competitive (last year, 6 of 67 applicants came to U of A, and 10 of 55 to U of C), but are much better than a lot of the clinical programs. I don't have a phone number, I'm afraid.
     
  48. psych844

    psych844

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    It's actually three year General Social Science that I'm taking. It was a good choice because it allowed me to see what I was passionate about. (I'm done next summer) So I'm now trying to get some advice from Calgary and will see about Alberta. I basically want to ask would an upgrade to a 4yr General (with sufficient psychology courses) meet requirements/ be a good idea. Or finish the 3 and do a 2nd degree in psychology with honours? (which I could get done in 2/2.5hrs by transferring credits most probably) Pretty sure the suggestion will be the 2nd one.

    If Athabasca is a choice (though I'm not sure at this time), I'd have to do six extra courses (to be eligible with my three year).

    The thing that makes me somewhat comfortable is that by reading the academic credentials it becomes pretty clear that Athabasca does fit the standards. And that the credentials needed (when I compare it to the Ontario college) are quite lenient and easier. A person just has to be smart in terms of making sure they take all the neccesary courses. The main deal seems to be that you have to your degree at an accredited University (doesn't mean an accredited master/phd program) and that the graduate program has to an equivalent of a major in psychology. The rest seems very lenient. (ie that you can make up credits outside of the masters) etc

    What I will probably end up doing is possibly applying to Athabasca late next year but continuing (rather upgrading my 3yr or starting a 2nd degree) because I'd be late for 2013 Sept anyway. If I get in, I'd consider stopping. If I don't, that makes it an easy decision.



     
  49. RGirl

    RGirl

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    Yeah, you would definitely need to do a lot more specialization to get into any accredited master's program. If you want more specific details about areas to improve, I would suggest the WAMC thread at the top of the main Psychology page here.

    I don't really know what more to tell you about Athabasca. I think there are a lot of red flags so far based on your communication with the program director, and, while you seem to be pretty organized and self-aware (which will obviously help you in the long-term, especially re: registration), I don't really trust a program with such low requirements for admission compared to the well-respected programs in Alberta. Yeah, you can meet the registration requirements, but you will not be getting as good of an education, straight up. And I hope that part of the reason people go to grad school is because they want to have the best learning experience they can, not simply because they only care about the end goal. I hope that doesn't sound harsh-- I'm not trying to be mean, just honest. Also, be really careful about where you want to work and whether being from an unaccredited program will negatively affect your chances, and make sure you start building bridges for supervised practice right away, because you won't have the same networks available to you as those in the accredited programs. Some jobs don't care, especially if you just go the Mental Health Therapist route, but I do know that some Alberta Health Services jobs will be much harder for you to get.

    That's my two cents. I'll stop harping now and let you make your own decision :)
     
  50. psych844

    psych844

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    No issue, I appreciate your advice. I'd love to hear more about your situation and how you are finding the whole experience. What is your plan down the road, etc

    I am getting more information in regards to Athabasca. The person I was communicating with is apparently an Admin assistant. I found the email of the Curriculum chair and I asked them on advice.

    All the people involved in the Athabasca Master's program are Phd, mostly from U of Alberta and Calgary.

    btw..U of Calgary;s admission requirements are exactly the same as Athabasca.
    (a) A four-year undergraduate degree in Psychology, or a 2-year After-Degree in Psychology , with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (equivalent to a B or 72% in many universities) over the courses taken during the last two years of study.

    And this 3.0GPA seems a standard in a lot of places.

    Of course, most students have a much better mark then that.


    btw, CPA have only 5 accredited conselling psychology programs. I very much doubt the majority of registered psychologists go to any one of these Uni's. It is not possible.
     
    Last edited: 05.03.12

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