Feb 26, 2020
1
0
Status
Pre-Psychology
Hello everyone, I am excited to be a part of this forum. I am in my early 40's and have worked in social services and mental health most of my life. I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. My plan was to go to graduate school after that but life and other responsibilities happened. I started off in case management at a state agency but then decided I wanted to work in mental health, assisting young adults with dual diagnoses. I went through IC&RC to become a substance abuse counselor. This required 4000 (approximately 2 years full time) hours of direct work experience and 300 hours of clinical supervision before I could sit for my exam to become a CADC III. I enjoy the work but am considering if I should pursue my graduate degree to become a licensed addiction counselor or even an LPC eventually. My only hesitation is my age, and the fact that I know graduate school is a different animal that undergraduate work. I also need to weigh the pros and cons of remaining an addiction counselor as is or going farther. Costs, realistic expected pay difference, and time are all considerations. I also want to be realistic about the work and time involved, especially as I work full time and have teens still at home. I would of course want a brick and mortar school as I believe there is a difference between having Auburn University on a transcript vs some online school(sorry). My new place of employment also offers tuition reimbursement. For those of you that waited a few years or more after getting your undergrad to pursue a graduate degree, how was it. Were you able to keep working full time?
 

counselor2b

Masters Level Clinician
7+ Year Member
Jun 2, 2010
51
34
Status
Pre-Psychology
Hello everyone, I am excited to be a part of this forum. I am in my early 40's and have worked in social services and mental health most of my life. I graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor's degree in Psychology. My plan was to go to graduate school after that but life and other responsibilities happened. I started off in case management at a state agency but then decided I wanted to work in mental health, assisting young adults with dual diagnoses. I went through IC&RC to become a substance abuse counselor. This required 4000 (approximately 2 years full time) hours of direct work experience and 300 hours of clinical supervision before I could sit for my exam to become a CADC III. I enjoy the work but am considering if I should pursue my graduate degree to become a licensed addiction counselor or even an LPC eventually. My only hesitation is my age, and the fact that I know graduate school is a different animal that undergraduate work. I also need to weigh the pros and cons of remaining an addiction counselor as is or going farther. Costs, realistic expected pay difference, and time are all considerations. I also want to be realistic about the work and time involved, especially as I work full time and have teens still at home. I would of course want a brick and mortar school as I believe there is a difference between having Auburn University on a transcript vs some online school(sorry). My new place of employment also offers tuition reimbursement. For those of you that waited a few years or more after getting your undergrad to pursue a graduate degree, how was it. Were you able to keep working full time?
Honestly, waiting a couple of years of being in the workforce was one of the best decisions I could have made. It gave me the opportunity to mature more and also to get a better understanding of what I wanted and what path I wanted to take to get there. My program could be completed part-time or full-time. As a newly minted parent at that time, it was nice to have some flexibility, especially since all classes were offered in the evening. it made for some long days a couple days a week, but ultimately did not disrupt my life too badly. The only really hard part for me was juggling practicum and internship while also working full time. My employee was flexible in allowing me the ability to work 3,12 hour shifts and my internship afforded me the opportunity to work 2 ten hour shifts each week. It was hard being away from family so much during this period but I tried to make up for it on weekends. Luckily I had the support of my wife to carry some of the load at home. My employer also paid for my grad school with the understanding that I would commit 3 years of service after graduation, which was also alright as they provided free supervision. Good luck with whatever you choose.
 
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