4givr

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 6, 2008
31
34
Status
Psychology Student
Currently I am a first year PsyD at Alliant in San Diego.....

Lets just say....i hate it like Ive never hated school before. The professors seem to not care at all about what they are teaching (one actually admitted it, my stats professor no less) and to basically teach yourself. I mean I understand the concept of being able to be independent, but this is ridiculous.

In any case, I was accepted to John F Kennedy in the bay area last year and though I loved the school and faculty when I went for the open house and interview, I had change my plans of going there and go to Alliant instead (personal stuff).

Now, I know JFK is also a professional school...and the rep is not that great either, but when I interviewed there the professors seemed to love what they did, they encouraged the students to go to APA meetings and gave many instances when they took them to meetings and stuff.

However, Im extremely weary of the whole professional school thing, given my current experience. So my question is....is JFK any better than Alliant? Rep wise or actual experience from students?

Im debating on whether to stick it up/suffer through the program or quit after this semester and go to JFKU.

Im also toying with the idea of applying to schools like Pepperdine etc. I graduated with an MFT from there and loooooved it. It was hard work, but oh so much better than Alliant. The problem is the subject gre, which is only given a couple of times per year. The last one is coming up and I would have to go as stand by tester, as its already filled up.
I also reapplied to University of Denver, which offered me an interview last year hoping I get an offer again this year.

I am also wondering if I should, in case I dont get into any of these schools right now, drop Alliant this coming semester, work on my MFT hours, do research, work on applications for better schools, and then apply next year (I would hate that given the waste of a year and a half.....thus my consideration of JFK, which i could start next fall...)

I dont know....please help!
 
Feb 24, 2010
64
1
Status
Psychology Student
Only you can decide what's best for you, but here are some things I think are important to consider.

First, consider what you are investing (i.e. time and money) into a program you're not happy with. Your time and money are precious, precious resources, so spend it on something worthwhile. It's always tempting to blow money on something of lower quality, but immediate.

Second, if you're having to do extra work to avoid the stigma and negative consequences of professional schools... just don't go! If what you want is a tier 1, state/private, not-for-profit experience, don't settle for anything less! What is waiting one or two years going to do if it means getting what you really want? (Delayed gratification is a MUST for successful doctoral students)

What would I do?
I would drop out of your current school (I'm not getting the bang for my buck!). I would take a look at my finances and make decisions around that. Am I in a lot of debt? Since you have a masters degree, taking 2 years to work- ameliorating as much debt as possible-, and getting everything in line for a STRONG application to the schools I really wanted. I wouldn't settle for less.
 
OP
4givr

4givr

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
May 6, 2008
31
34
Status
Psychology Student
Wow, after going through a lot of past posts regarding schools etc, its pretty clear that this forum for the most part is against ANY PsyD programs in general so its going to be hard to get an objective view on what PsyD school is best.
I can't believe someone actually said Pepperdine University is the same as CSPP LA....thats just plain ridiculous and ignorant! its like saying Phoenix university is the same as USC.
And with that! this forum has officially lost its credibility for me.

Thanks for your reply by the way.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,855
3,587
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
The presence of inaccurate and/or sometimes biased opinions is inevitable on any internet forum. If you do not like this forum, or feel it lacks "credibility," or otherwise doesn't conform to your view of this discipline, the you are free to start your own.

There is alot of skepticism regarding the manner in which the vale model is currently being implemented at many institutions. This transfers to a bias against professional schools on this board...that is generally true. However, these biased don't come out of thin air and do indeed exist (often less vocally though) in the real world. Training in psychology is a hot-button issue, and I appreciate the debate on SDN regarding it. Even if sometimes, people make statements that are inaccurate or somewhat over-the-top
 
Last edited:

Jon Snow

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 5, 2005
3,308
497
Status
I can't believe someone actually said Pepperdine University is the same as CSPP LA
Sounds like something I might say, what was the context?
 

edieb

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2004
1,349
74
Status
I am personally not against the programs you have mentioned. However, I can tell you:

1 - Professors at my program really thought that students from any professional school were students who could not get into university-based programs. Many of these professors are very, very famous in the applied and research worlds (one that i am thinking of worked and published with Alan Kazdin, appeared as a expert on 20/20 a couple of times, was the head editor of several journals, etc. ), so their opinions have quite a bit of influence on others in the field

2 - The professors and clnicians at my internship (a medical school) also thought professional school graduates were inferior to ones from university-based programs. In fact, the head of training said that if he saw an application from a prof school it would go into the shredder before it was even opened.

3 - I am now at a non-academic V.A. medical center and the same sentiment against prof school gradutes is shared there.

In fact, where I work we get a lot of students from CSPP calling the Chief of Mental Health begging her to let them do an unfunded internship because they have not been able to match after a couple of tries.

Honestly, if I were to give you any advice, I would say go to medical school and don't enter this field. It's not worth it. If you don't want to listen to this, I would tell you to wait and try again next year. From your writing, you seem very bright and I am sure you could get into a funded program.

The field is already very competitive and, in many cases, having a professional school degree is a strike against you.
 
Apr 30, 2010
447
3
cheyenne, wyoming
Status
Psychologist
I have said this a million times, but it bears repeating. If you plan to be a clinician nobody will care where you went to school, what big name prof you knew, your GPA or the topic of your research once you have a license. I have been licensed in 3 states over 10 years and have been asked where I went to school about 5 times, and always for small-talk. Pepperdine, USC, Alliant, Walden...it is all the same to licensing boards, insurance panels, etc.. as long as your degree is accredited. School prestige is for academics and it is quite flimsy and false anyhow.
 
Jul 7, 2010
531
0
Status
Psychology Student
If I were you, I would wait. And this is all just my opinion...but since you're asking for people's opinions, I'll give you mine! I would drop out of Alliant, take a year or two off to get some solid research and/or clinical experience, and then apply to university-based programs. I just think there is absolutely no need to go to a professional school unless a. you didn't know any better or b. you can't get into a university based program.

Before I joined this forum, I had 12 schools on my list for Fall 2011 admission. This was a few months ago. The majority of them were university based PsyD programs, a couple PhD programs, and a few professional schools (in my mind, these were my safety schools). This seemed like a fine list to me, and I figured if I got rejected from all of my top choices (the university programs), I would just go to a professional school. What's the big deal right? Sure, it may cost a bit more, but I would still get my doctorate. I am very grateful that I joined this forum....just in time, it seems. I have now learned that there is absolutely no reason for me to shell out $150,000 for a professional school degree (for reasons that have already been discussed to death on this forum). Furthermore, I have become much more involved in research in the last year, and I believe that a PsyD from a professional school may completely ruin my chances of being involved in research in the future. It seemed that the only positive of going to this type of program is easy admission.

As someone with a near perfect GPA in my clinical masters program, good GRE scores, amazing LOR, and research experience from an enormously well respected site, I just see no reason to lower my standards. My list is now only 9 schools, with 4 PhD, and 5 PsyD: all university based, and a couple of them funded. If I don't get in this year, I will do more research for a year, and try again. Everyone complains that this forum is biased and anti-psyd, but I really disagree. It is here to provide information to students such as myself, and I will now make a better informed decision. So whether or not you should wait is up to you. But those are my two cents.
 
Sep 14, 2010
266
1
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
Honestly, if I were to give you any advice, I would say go to medical school and don't enter this field. It's not worth it. If you don't want to listen to this, I would tell you to wait and try again next year. From your writing, you seem very bright and I am sure you could get into a funded program.

The field is already very competitive and, in many cases, having a professional school degree is a strike against you.
So is that tidbit of advice for this specific case, or for all prospective doctoral students as a whole? You've suddenly just given me some second thoughts... and this is after I'm near finished with my application packages.

If you're not just speaking in jest I'm a little curious as to why (I was a biology double major and some physics credits short of a pre-med courseload). And are you speaking more from a practice or research standpoint?
 

edieb

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2004
1,349
74
Status
So is that tidbit of advice for this specific case, or for all prospective doctoral students as a whole? You've suddenly just given me some second thoughts... and this is after I'm near finished with my application packages.

If you're not just speaking in jest I'm a little curious as to why (I was a biology double major and some physics credits short of a pre-med courseload). And are you speaking more from a practice or research standpoint?

No trouble:

1 - The average salary for a clinical psychologist has fallen from around $65K to $51 in the past 10 years. This is documented fact from the APA. The link is somewhere on here. You're going to hear people on here say that they make tons of money or that there is money to be made. However, these are people who are still in training and are speaking from their gut or these are the rare exceptions to the rule. I went to a top program, have tons of publications in very good journals, book chapters, etc. I got offered a post-doc with Linehan that paid $28K in Seattle. After licensure, employment of UW School of Medicine paid $45K -- with an M.D., employment paid over $100K. So as much as I wanted to do the post-doc, I had to choose employment at a V.A. medical center, a job that pays a whopping $57K and maxes out at around $80K. Not much if you want kids, a nice house, etc.
2 - WIth a psychiatrist's salary, you can easily seek extra training to do psychotherapy or research and pretty much function as a clinical psychlogist. Matter of fact, if you really want to do therapy or research, you could make enough as a psychiatrist to work half days doing med management and then follow your passion in the afternoon. As a PhD, you cannot generate as much money as a psychiatrist. In other words, because of the money generate, a psychiatrist can seek the extra training a psychologist can do and have the time to do it.
3 - Psychiatrists are in demand. At the V.A. where I work, we pay psychiatrists to fly in from out of town. They make literally $6,000/Week + great bonuses, etc. As a psychologist, you will find that you're not typically in demand. This is because people would rather pay a social worker or LPC. Even the federal government recently passed a mandate to hire LPCs as a pilot program to maybe evetually replace psychologists. In sum, if you're a psychiatrist, employers are BEGGING you to work for them. If you're a psychologist, you're begging employers to hire you. Which position would you rather be in?
4 - People say you need to specialize. Great idea -- however, when you do a formal post-doc you cannot bill insurance anymore for your services; thus, you really won't make any more money. Look at the wanted ads. you will see that only a few places (academic med centers, which aren't big employers) care if you have these post-docs.
5 - When I was offered the post doc in seattle, a psychiatrist frend put it to me this way: If you want to be the best educated poor person, take the post doc in Seattle. If you want to make $ while being able to do what you want, take the psychopharm classes. In other words, you cannot bill more for sevices if you're psychologist with a formal post-doc. however, with the psychopharm classes you can bill more. Although I am very grateful to be given the opportunity to take the psychopharm classes, they are very dificult, esp in conjunction with I studying for licensure and working full time. All this after 11 years in school, a very bad quality of life.. I could have cut to the chase and gotten my M.D. instead
6 - Clinical psych is fascinating. However, fascinating does not pay the bills. During internship and grad school, I was fascinated with theory and applying it in clincal practice. Matter of fact, I was probably too into it. However, when you realize that few people care what you know. Most employers just want to know who can do the job, no matter how poor quality execution of the job is. As my internship supervisor (a Ph.D.) said, why hier a psychologist when I can hire a social worker. A psychologist cant bill enough to justify the higher salary...
7 - I was warned before I pursued my Ph.D. My aunt is a community/clinical psychologist at U.T. Austin and warned me of how the field is spiraling downward. I wish I had listened. I am trying to make the best of it but I wish I would have listened to to others. THe programs are so hard to get into that you think it must be a good paying field. However, this is social proof happening. You fail to realize that just because something is sought after doesn't make it good
 
Last edited:

justme08

10+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2008
151
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
edieb, I really appreciated this candid post. Thank you.
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,782
1,312
Status
Psychology Student
edeib, if you don't mind my asking - did you look into academic jobs at all, or were you focused on clinical ones?

I'm just curious because with 12 publications, I would typically expect someone to be entering academia - and to be quite competitive for finding an academic job, even with the market as tough as it currently is. I'm just curious if you made a choice not to go into academia, or if you were considering those jobs too when you were searching. This is all assuming you have a clinical position at the VA (which I'm assuming is the case, given your posting history) and not a research one.

As an aside - that post-doc pay is miserable! I'm surprised to hear it. Especially with Linehan, who I'm sure has grant money and I think a post-doc hired off an NIH grant has to make a minimum of 38k. We have typically paid > 40k in my lab (and its not a high-cost area) and the faculty are usually concerned that they won't be able to find anyone qualified to fill the position.
 

justme08

10+ Year Member
Aug 24, 2008
151
0
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
From what I've gathered 45k is assistant professor salary in my neck of the woods as well.
 

edieb

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2004
1,349
74
Status
I decided not to do academia because I saw how low the pay is for PhDs. Most of my classmates, and most of those who graduated before me, are on-staff at very prestigious medical schools: two are at Brown Med, some are at John's Hopkins/Kennedy Krieger, two are at Semel, one at Yale Med, some are at Mayo. However, they all eventually leave because the pay is so bad andm according to them, PhDs always have to work twice as hard as the MDs. Many of my friends tell me they have to write entire manuscripts just to have psychiatrists tag their names on the publication. All this while they are making a fraction of the MD. My advisor in grad school was a former full prof at Western Psychiatric and said the same thing No thanks!

I figured my best chance to make a decent living was to work at a V.A. near New Mexico State so I would be within striking distance of the psychopharm classes. Once I pass the psychopharm exam, I will quit the V.A. and open up a practice in Louisiana. It's funny because out of 4 psychologists where I work, 3 are taking the psychopharm classes and all for the same reason: when you have a family and loans, $80K (the amount you max out at) just isn't very much, especially if you're single or don't want to have to depend on your sig. other.







edeib, if you don't mind my asking - did you look into academic jobs at all, or were you focused on clinical ones?

I'm just curious because with 12 publications, I would typically expect someone to be entering academia - and to be quite competitive for finding an academic job, even with the market as tough as it currently is. I'm just curious if you made a choice not to go into academia, or if you were considering those jobs too when you were searching. This is all assuming you have a clinical position at the VA (which I'm assuming is the case, given your posting history) and not a research one.

As an aside - that post-doc pay is miserable! I'm surprised to hear it. Especially with Linehan, who I'm sure has grant money and I think a post-doc hired off an NIH grant has to make a minimum of 38k. We have typically paid > 40k in my lab (and its not a high-cost area) and the faculty are usually concerned that they won't be able to find anyone qualified to fill the position.
 
Sep 14, 2010
266
1
Status
Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
I was looking at Neuropsychologist salaries and noticed they tend to be a bit higher, but that could be due to a small minority doing very well off forensic work. Has anyone in that specialization had similar issues with regard to salary and physician interactions?

I apologize for drifting off topic. I'm suddenly filled with doubt now that my applications are finished.
 

Existenz

Clinical Neuropsychologist
5+ Year Member
Nov 6, 2010
248
10
I was looking at Neuropsychologist salaries and noticed they tend to be a bit higher, but that could be due to a small minority doing very well off forensic work. Has anyone in that specialization had similar issues with regard to salary and physician interactions?

I apologize for drifting off topic. I'm suddenly filled with doubt now that my applications are finished.

I know for a fact that the NPs I train with in the SF bay area and Stanford make more than the numbers cited in this post.
 
Jul 7, 2010
531
0
Status
Psychology Student
Sorry if this is a silly question, but I haven't looked into this at all, and now I'm curious. How does a Psychologist get into psychopharm? Are you referring to prescription privileges? I was under the impression that in most states, Psychologists cannot prescribe. Is it a matter of taking extra courses?
 

edieb

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2004
1,349
74
Status
Myself and my business parter both net six figures quite easily doing a mix of assessment, consulting and psychopharm. This is in Wyoming!
I have difficulty understanding why anybody would refer to a PhD/PsyD for medication issues when you can't even write the script. It would be much easier to hire a psychiatric NP who could actually write the scripts...
 

edieb

Senior Member
10+ Year Member
Aug 27, 2004
1,349
74
Status
Sorry if this is a silly question, but I haven't looked into this at all, and now I'm curious. How does a Psychologist get into psychopharm? Are you referring to prescription privileges? I was under the impression that in most states, Psychologists cannot prescribe. Is it a matter of taking extra courses?
'

You're correct. In LA, NM, and Guam psychologist can prescribe. In addition, in the DOD and IHS we can Rx. More bills are on their way this year to allow us to Rx. IMO, if we, as a profession, can pass these bills, the profession would be galvanized again. However, psychology hasn't passed an Rx bill in a long time.
 
Apr 30, 2010
447
3
cheyenne, wyoming
Status
Psychologist
I have difficulty understanding why anybody would refer to a PhD/PsyD for medication issues when you can't even write the script. It would be much easier to hire a psychiatric NP who could actually write the scripts...

It is called collaborative care, and primary care providers love it. I have all the referrals I want and have for years.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,855
3,587
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
Who all refers to you? I have never met a fam med doc or PCP who is shy about writing scripts for benzos, antidepressants, anxiolytics, etc. Do they really defer to your authority on the topic? If so, you must have a progressive group of physicians in your area?
 
Apr 30, 2010
447
3
cheyenne, wyoming
Status
Psychologist
Wyoming is many things, but not progressive. I have done this in Colorado, California and now Wyoming very successfully. I get most of my referrals from family docs, peds and OB/GYNs, but also a fair bit from neurologists and other specialists. I even get a good chunk of referrals from a local psychiatrist who works inpatient only and refers to me when a patient is discharged from the hospital (psych).
 
Nov 21, 2011
9
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
I am a bit confused. what advantage would a psychologist with psychopharm classes have?
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
10+ Year Member
Apr 6, 2007
9,855
3,587
Louisville, KY
Status
Psychologist
I am a bit confused. what advantage would a psychologist with psychopharm classes have?
Many of your patients will be on meds. Thus, its probably a good idea to know about what they are, how they work, and what their side effects are. In a more broad context, knowledge of psychopharmancology is essential for any psychologist who works in interdiciplinary settings...(which basically everyone does, to some degree) for the reason mentioned above, but also so you can communicate with docs about meds and med options and not look like a uneducated goon when you do.

Formal post-doc masters programs in psychopharm that can eventually lead to obtaining Rx privileges in the states that allow is a battle that has been going on in psychology for many years now. There is a sticky thread on the topic should you want to learn about it further.
 
Last edited:

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,550
2,537
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
In a more broad context, knowledge of psychopharmancology is essential for any psychologist who works in interdisciplinary settings...(which basically everyone does, to some degree) for the reason mentioned above, but also so you can communicate with docs about meds and med options and not look like a uneducated goon when you do.
This is when I've found it most useful.
 

aequitasveritas

PhD
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Mar 30, 2008
643
9
NY
Status
Psychologist
I think we suffer from medical model-penis envy as a profession at times.

we of course need to know about bio and med issues.

Yet if you offer medical/medication advice to a client, you are putting yourself in extreme liability for malpractice and board reviews.