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Masters in Social Work, MFT, Education, Counseling, or School Psychology?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by danxthexman, 04.07.08.

  1. danxthexman

    danxthexman

    Joined:
    02.29.08
    Messages:
    8
    Status:
    Psychology Student

    SDN Members don't see this ad. (About Ads)
    So, I'm at the point where I need to assess my future options. I'll try to make it short...

    I'm from California and I just took my GREs:1240 (540 V - 700 Q), 2.969 gpa. I want to apply to a master's program that can allow me to work with children, adolescents, and young adults in terms of emotional, drug, educational, or abuse problems. I simply want the degree that will give me the most freedom...and the $$ wouldn't hurt either.

    I know with my GPA, i would have a better chance with getting into an MSW program...I've told people I'm thinking about getting a MSW and they give me funny and almost degrading looks, but I've heard you have more freedom with an LCSW than any other psych Masters. Is this true???

    I wouldn't mind working close with students in a school setting, but I don't want to administer IQ tests. Which leads me to the next question: Is there a difference between Educational Psych and School Psych?

    What can you do with a Masters in counseling psych? Can I do what I want with a Masters in Counseling Psych? What about MFT?


    So to sum it up:

    1. With my GPA and GRE, can I get into mid-tier Masters programs? (school, educ, couseling, sw, or MFT)

    2. What is the best matching Masters program for me? (most freedom, working with children-young adults with emotional, drug, school problems)

    3. What is the difference between Educational and School Psychology?

    4. Can I do what I want with Masters in Counseling and MFT?


    If you need more info from me please ask!! Thanks for your time everyone! :)
  2. WestIndiPsych

    WestIndiPsych

    Joined:
    04.08.08
    Messages:
    26
    Location:
    New York, NY
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    . With my GPA and GRE, can I get into mid-tier Masters programs? (school, educ, couseling, sw, or MFT)

    Of course your GRE is on point!.. GPA? Not too much so. Without a doubt though, that GRE score will override your GPA so I would still apply to even top tier Masters programs as many programs will look upon your GRE score with much weight.

    2. What is the best matching Masters program for me? (most freedom, working with children-young adults with emotional, drug, school problems)

    I would say School Psychology. You will not be doing therapy in the schools, more so psychological assessments, evaluations and consulting with teachers and parents.. The basic job description can be as simply as this.
    1. Assess Student
    2. Do some direct observations
    2. Write IEP Report
    3. Attend IEP Meeting (team meeting)
    This is basically the cycle that goes on with most school psychologists. I would enjoy this believe it or not and that is why I am studying to be an SP, but at the doctoral level.
    There is a lot of change happening in school psychology with response to intervention, more prevention and they are making SP's do some counseling work (depending on your school district.) Sp's in alternative and charter schools do more counseling..
    If you do your research online, you can see what more SP's are even doing now.. With your doctorate you have more options and could even do more (private practice, hospitals and academia.) Even though as an SP you may be working with more than one school, you can set your own hours and will have many of the breaks teachers and students have. But chances are you WILL be taking work home, (IEP's), if you do more than assessments in the schools.

    3. What is the difference between Educational and School Psychology?

    Educational Psychology is the study how humans learn in educational settings. It is VERY broad and based on theory. You would only go this route if you want to eventually go for your doctorate and do research. This is not a terminal degree to prepare you to do anything at the masters level.
    School Psychology is
    a field that applies principles of clinical psychology and educational psychology for the diagnosis and treatment of children's and adolescents in schools. It is more applied and you would need at least Masters degree and a one year internship (Ed.S.)
    4. Can I do what I want with Masters in Counseling and MFT?
    Yes you can but in terms of job security and being able to even land a position with those degrees, it can be tough. If you want to get paid well, SP's are not a bad gig.. Ed.S (starting $50,000) PhD (not much of a diff $70,000) This all varies depending on the district, where you're from, etc. Im from NY, salary is higher because of price of living. Social Work is good too in terms of job security, actually even better than SP, but you obviously will not be paid as much.

    Hope this helps. :)


    If you need more info from me please ask!! Thanks for your time everyone!
  3. WannaBeDrMe

    WannaBeDrMe

    Joined:
    04.14.08
    Messages:
    304
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    ^ answered the question very well

    I wanted to chime in that I understand about the dirty looks. Only one of my professors approved of me applying for the MSW program after my BA Psych.

    However, you have to do what is right for you.

    I had a 3.0 GPA and was still wait listed @ a mid-level doctoral program. So it is possible that you could make the cut even where I fell off the boat.

    Yes, you have FAR more freedom with an MSW than the other degrees. If you decide you don't like therapizing, you can go work in policy, or at a nonprofit, or pretty much anything else you want to do... the degree is flexible and accepted by many different fields.

    Also, if you have your MA/MS Psych, even after you are licensed, you will ALWAYS have to be supervised by a doctoral psychologist.

    Once you obtain your social work license, you are your own boss. The Code of Ethics mandates you impose a schedule of peer supervision... but other than that, you don't pay anyone to look over your shoulder.

    Additionally, for the trade off of supervising newly bred MSW students in their internships, you can charge your hourly rate for supervising fresh MSW graduates for the 2+ years it takes them to get their credentials.

    I want to say that the school psychology pay does VARY GREATLY depending on where you live. NASP will make it sound awesome but in some states, a lot of states, it starts out in the mid 30's. The pay differential between masters/doctoral school psych in this state is LITERALLY only $2000/year in the school district. Where you'd make your money (in this area) off the doctoral is private practice or consulting.

    The mid 30s is about the same starting pay you'd earn with your social work, counseling, or psychology masters degrees AND the school psych program is 3 years instead of the 2 required by the other programs. The diff is that you are licensed after graduation (I think... I haven't looked in a while...)

    Also, not to be rude, but don't count yourself as a shoe-in for MSW programs. A lot are quite competitive these days and their application numbers are increasing according to NASW.

    It sounds to me like you would be best suited for school social work or school counseling. School psychologists administer a lot of tests. Roles vary based on school district but typically... school social workers handle social work issues, abuse/neglect/truancy/social resources for the kids/family such as food/clothing, etc and school counselors do educational type things for the kids such as self esteem workshops, some counseling, referrals to either the school social worker or school psychologist, and in higher grades, course planning/college planning/career planning... and test proctoring/preparation

    School social workers can have either BSW/MSW but most are switching to MSW with special certification. It's about a 2-3 year investment. You have to earn your license.

    School counselors just need the school counseling degree. UNC has a program that is 15 months from June to August straight through... Most others are 2 years... They have a smaller internship requirement. You have to pass the Praxis II in counseling to be able to obtain your certification.

    Good luck with your decision, I know it's a hard one... I struggled for years on the school counseling/social workering/psychologizing decision.
  4. danxthexman

    danxthexman

    Joined:
    02.29.08
    Messages:
    8
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    Thank you for your help WannaBeDrMe and WestIndiPsych. Yea, I'm really hoping I get into MSW programs, and I know theyre getting more competitive. Would it matter all that much which school I get my degree from? Because for a lot of schools, my GPA does not cut it at all.

    So I was wondering if you have any ideas on getting some experience under my belt. I've applying to jobs in the psych/social work field pretty much everyday, but I never get a call back probably because of my lack of experience. I started a new thread about this so you might want to go there if you have any ideas. A lot of other BA psychs might be asking similar questions...or maybe it's only me.

    I hope that with some good experience, grad schools will weigh that in with my gpa and gre.

    THANKS!!:)
  5. WannaBeDrMe

    WannaBeDrMe

    Joined:
    04.14.08
    Messages:
    304
    SDN 2+ Year Member
    you know what, i'm gonna pm this...

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