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Getting a bachelor's degree in psychology... now what?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by cmd0618, Jul 24, 2011.

  1. cmd0618

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    So I'm about to start what will (hopefully) be my last year of college. I'm at a pretty good state university, which I guess looks good, but as we all know... you can't do squat with a bachelor's in psychology. Thus, I plan on applying to a PsyD program, since I want to ultimately be able to have my own practice. Just to be able to be my own boss, you know?

    However, I realize there is a very real possibility that I won't get into such a program. Although I plan on improving my grades as much as I can this year, I've never been a top student... and not gonna lie, I'm really not that bright. But I've come to realize that at least a master's degree will be necessary to have some sort of meaningful career in the mental health field. So I figure I should consider a few backup options incase I don't get into a PsyD program.

    I've thought about an MSW, but I'm not quite sure - when you say you are a "social worker", people usually think that means you work for a state agency. But you can also work independently, right? And I imagine that would mean you make more money than for the government. Is this true?

    Also, there's the MEd - I know you can get one in Marriage and Family Therapy. But I read somewhere that MFT's make an average of around $44,000 a year, whereas clinical psychologists make around $64,000 (both are WAY underpaid in my opinion!) Is this true as well?

    I hope you realize I'm not one of those people who is "in it for the money" (believe me, if I was, I would have picked a COMPLETELY different career!) But I want to be able to provide for my family when I have one - and honestly, I can't see myself doing anything else. But in terms of both the money spent on education, as well as the money which you ultimately make, which is the best option - PsyD, MSW, MEd, or something entirely different? Or is it all up to the individual?

    Thanks!
     
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  3. chris majdi

    chris majdi Medical, Optometry Practice Sales and Valuations
    Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

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    PsyD is a fine degree if you know that all you want to do is working with clients. In counseling centers, PsyD's and PhD's (as well as MFT's and related degrees) perform the same work for the most part. With a PsyD, you will never get a job as a professor at a well-respected research institution, however. There is a great deal of overlap. If you get a MSW, you should get licensed as a LCSW, which allows you to perform clinical psychology work (and your pay increases significantly). Perhaps you may wish to take a year off to reflect and decide more. Best wishes.
     
  4. cmd0618

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    Ah, someone read this! I kind of gave up hope a while ago. Yeah I'm pretty sure I won't be teaching but I did have a professor who had a PsyD (the worst psych professor I've ever had, coincidence?) And I think I now understand how some social workers do clinical stuff, as opposed to working for state agencies.

    But I want to know, how much is the pay difference if you are a LCSW/LICSW (I've seen it written both ways?), vs. being a PsyD? The thing is, I want to make the most amount of money possible (not because I'm greedy, I just want my family to be able to live hopefully better than I do.) What route do you think I should take?
     
  5. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    This is not true; please don't proport sweeping generalizations as fact.

    Yes, it is called an attribution bias.

    One is a mid-level degree, and one is a doctoral degree. The money would be comparable if the person with a doctoral degree chose to take a job that was designated for a mid-level position, or if the mid-level person worked in private practice and could charge doctoral level fees. This does happen, but both instances are the exception and not the rule.
     
  6. paramour

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    You beat me to it! :p

    Interestingly, all of the presenters at seminars/workshops that I have attended the past few months have been PsyD's with the exception of one. All of them (save one, who thankfully had 2 other presenters with her) were considerably better, more interesting, and engaging than the majority of any PhD speakers/lecturers/presenters seminar that I have attended in the past.

    My program would probably disown me for admitting that ^^ :smuggrin:
     

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