1. The SDN iPhone App is back and free through November! Get it today and please post a review on the App Store!
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Dismiss Notice

Glut of Psychologists - Fact or fiction?

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by psychwhy, Mar 6, 2007.

  1. psychwhy

    psychwhy Simply disillusioned
    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Post Doc
    OK, especially at this time of year, there is a lot of hand wringing about acceptance rates of doctoral programs and success rates in the internship match.

    In those discussion, there is an oft repeated perception that the employment prospects for doctoral psychologists is bleak and there is a "glut" of psychologists.

    Leaving alone, for a moment, the cognitive disconnect of why people are here seeking advice on how to break into a field with such an apparently dismal future, where does this "gloom and doom" perception arise?

    The US Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (http://stats.bls.gov/oco/ocos056.htm#outlook) lists employment of psychologists as "growing faster than average through 2014, because of increased demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, social service agencies, mental health centers, substance abuse treatment clinics, consulting firms, and private companies."

    According to the APA's 2003 Doctoral Employment Survey (http://research.apa.org/des03.html#status - apparently the most recent): "About a third of respondents rated the job market as "fair", while 48% rated it "good" or "excellent". This represents a healthy increase over responses from ten years before, when only 27% of respondents gave a "good" or "excellent" rating."

    Just curious -- why the perception that we're all barreling into a black hole of unemployability?
     
  2. Note: SDN Members do not see this ad.

  3. 50960

    50960 Guest

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,628
    Likes Received:
    3
    There are too many psychs especially in places like the Ca bay area etc... However, if you specialize you will not have to worry. I am a medical psych, and 90% of psychs would not want to, or could not do my job, so I am well sought after; make your niche.
     
  4. Ollie123

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,662
    Likes Received:
    1,067
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    I think at least part of the issue is location.
    Areas with professional schools, and certain states may have a "glut" while the outlook around the country may be more optimistic.

    The outlook in academia definitely seems bleaker than those who want to practice (from what I have seen) but that is true of academia in general, not just psychology. One of the reasons I picked clinical was knowing that I have practice as a fallback option if I can't find a decent academic job. I've heard from a lot of people that its relatively easy to find clinical work (at least when compared to tenure-track faculty jobs), so the degree DOES afford me some sort of fallback position if it comes down to that.
     
  5. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Messages:
    21,371
    Likes Received:
    2,277
    Status:
    Psychologist
    I think the field is SHIFTING not because of the increased number of graduates, but by the change in demand. The traditional jobs are still available to graduates, but it is much different than 20 years ago (I think for better, but many may disagree)

    I think the assumption that people can walk out of grad school and have a plethora of $100k+ opportunities thrust at them is a dangerous one, yet some people still believe this. I think people do not fully understand the market (or industry) of psychology, and think just because they are 'great' people.....that will get them 'great' jobs. I did a pretty thorough market analysis of the areas I was looking to go into before applying to clinical programs (i'll always be a businessman first)....and there are growth areas, but they aren't in the traditional areas. Tenure is becoming less available (uni's are hiring more adjunct and non-tenured faculty), private practice is getting glutted with MS's, reimbursements are shrinking. Scary huh?

    This doesn't mean an end to our profession...it just means that we need to embrace the shifts such as: diversified careers (part time at a facility, private practice, and maybe some adjunct teaching) a more supervisory role for MS therapists in MH settings, maybe some work outside of our area, etc.

    I'll expound upon this later today/tomorrow...because this is one of my favorite areas to talk about....and a large part of why i'm doing what i'm doing.

    The grill is taunting me...and I need to go pick up some red meat. :laugh:

    -t
     
  6. positivepsych

    positivepsych Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2005
    Messages:
    331
    Likes Received:
    1
    Status:
    Psychologist
    http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/38/7/13

    Too Many Psychologists?

    Yet despite the projected overall shortage of mental health practitioners, the center predicts that there may actually be too many psychologists in the future.

    There were about 11,000 licensed psychologists in California in 2001, more than 30 per 100,000 residents (it's actually 40 per 100K now).

    And even more than psychiatrists, psychologists are clustered predominantly in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles. Ratios of psychologists to population varied widely, from 0 in Glenn, Sierra, and Alpine counties to 144.2 in Marin County.

    Between 1990 and 2001, there was an increase in the number of psychologists practicing in California of nearly 30 percent. And the center cites studies showing that psychologists "may be experiencing competitive pressures on their income and productivity due to the expansion of the psychologist labor force over the past few decades."

    The center also cites federal government labor statistics showing that more than 4 out of 10 psychologists in the United States were in independent practice in 2000, but that job growth for psychologists through the year 2008 will be moderate, with almost no growth in independent practice.

    "Occupational indicators such as low projected job growth and declining salaries and productivity levels suggest that California may be facing an oversupply of psychologists," the report states.
     
  7. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Messages:
    21,371
    Likes Received:
    2,277
    Status:
    Psychologist
    pscisi is right about finding your niche...though CA might be one of the places that there are too many.

    -t
     
  8. doctorpsych

    doctorpsych Junior Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    4
    I'm not sure if I posted this earlier, if I did, so sorry... but this article has a table that lists # of mental health providers (psychologists, psychiatrists, sw) per state (per 100,000)... it's pretty interesting....

    http://content.healthaffairs.org/cgi/reprint/22/5/177
     
  9. toby jones

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Messages:
    548
    Likes Received:
    1
    Maybe different factors come into play. I would guess (that similarly to medicine) there are places where quite a few people would love to live and work and there are places where not many people would love to live and work. I'd imagine that some of the more popular locations might be harder to find a job in than some of the less popular locations. If you don't want to live in a popular city then that might make things easier.

    I'd also imagine that there would be a difference between getting a job with some kind of public health service and having a private practice. It might be the case that there are lots of jobs (in some areas anyway) with some kind of public health service (where you fairly much need to work with whoever is allocated to you and where there are pressures for you to evidence progress and pressures for you to terminate clients after x amount of sessions) and working in private practice, being more selective about which patients you see and being able to see them in a more open ended fashion.

    I guess that with respect to private practice clinical psychologists are 'competing' for patients with pscyhiatrists who offer therapy, social workers who offer therapy, people with training in education / councelling who offer therapy. That means that working in private practice you aren't just competing with other clinical psychologists for patients you are competing with those people from other (related) professions too. That could impact significantly.
     
  10. Ollie123

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,662
    Likes Received:
    1,067
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    Pardon my ignorance on the matter, but would some of you mind explaining exactly what you mean by your "niche" when referring to clinical work?

    Perhaps this is because I came from a heavily research focused undergrad and plan on going to a heavily research focused grad school, but I have not had exposure to I guess clinical "specialties" beyond BROAD demographic variables (child, prisoners, etc.). I know some researchers (especially those doing treatment outcomes) specialize in treating specific disorders. Is this what you mean? Or am I way off base?

    It concerns me how little familiarity I have with the clinical world, given I will be attending grad school in just a few months. I want to make sure I am marketable in every way possible, so perhaps its time to start thinking about what my clinical "niche" could be as well. I will probably have limited involvement in clinical work in my eventual career (at least in my ideal career) but more information never hurts and if it makes me more marketable than so much the better. I'd love to do consulting work later on (did an undergrad business degree and was contemplating industrial psych for quite awhile), and it seems like a clinical niche would lend itself well to this to some extent. Previously I had planned on doing some economic impact work, which would potentially lead to consulting jobs, but it sounds like there may be another path.
     
  11. docjohng

    docjohng Founder & CEO, PsychCentral.com
    Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    21
    Status:
    Psychologist
    No offense, but what would you be researching if not something that will eventually help the applied world? If you want to become more "marketable," yes, learn a little bit about the "clinical world" and how people actually take research findings and apply them.

    But honestly, this is all BS. There is a "glut" of any field in almost any geographic region at any given time. That is a silly thing to base your life or career objectives on, since these things come and go with the blowing of the wind. If you want to become a psychologist, you should do so because you believe you have something of value to bring to the field. Folks who believe so, do. Regardless of whether there is a "glut" or not.

    Psychology 101 -- Believe in yourself.

    $1,000 worth of advice there for you for free. Enjoy.

    John
     
  12. Ollie123

    10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2007
    Messages:
    4,662
    Likes Received:
    1,067
    Status:
    Psychology Student
    Well, I'm primarily interested in psychophysiological measures of mood and emotion, and how these measures predict onset of depression.

    I'm aware it ties into clinical work, in ways that are actually pretty obvious. However I have not heard of many psych practices incorporating blood tests and EKG into their therapy sessions;) So it may not be as DIRECTLY tied into clinical work as say, someone doing treatment outcome research. Hence my reason for asking the question.
     
  13. docjohng

    docjohng Founder & CEO, PsychCentral.com
    Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2006
    Messages:
    178
    Likes Received:
    21
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Just because blood tests don't test for something today don't mean they won't become commonplace for testing for something 10 years from now.

    Think beyond the box.
     
  14. NeuroPsyStudent

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    Focusing in a certain area can be helpful, but ultimately what seems to matter the most is a continual enthusiasm for the process of helping others. Clinical psychology is real labor and a big part of it is the ability to be with suffering people every day. I am especially impressed by the number of folks interested in neuropsychology until they realize that the life of a neuropsychologist is really hard. Testing, writing reports, working with families who have experienced loss of a relative's faculties....these are demanding activities. It is not so easy to say that one will fall back on clinical practice if academic appointments fail. The two disciplines are very different, and most academics make really bad clinicians. From my experience, many PhD programs are poor preparation for clinical work. I just recently heard a 4th year clinical student in a celebrated program lament her ill-preparedness for clinical work, noting that she felt her program got in the way of learning clinical craft.
     
  15. 50960

    50960 Guest

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Messages:
    1,628
    Likes Received:
    3
    DocJohn, you rock!!!
     
  16. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
    Faculty Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Messages:
    21,371
    Likes Received:
    2,277
    Status:
    Psychologist
    Neuro is definitely a different animal in clinical. I have a much greater appreciation for it now (that i've worked with it and around it). It isn't something I will do directly, but I definitely the strong contribution it makes.

    -t
     
  17. cammie790

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Pre-Health (Field Undecided)
    Psisci,
    Thanks for the advice.
     
  18. perfektspace

    perfektspace Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the good advice. Something all those early in their career should take to heart (myself included). It's important to be aware of the demographics but even more important not to get wrapped up in the nay saying which is present in any field if you look for it. I have typically found when you have a goal and work your butt off to achieve it things work out for the better. You can't coast if you want to be successful and make a good living.

    Regardless of your profession, having a niche in the market is one of the best ways to increase your value and is a dilemma I am facing when choosing between programs to attend (i.e., a more broad area of focus verus a more specialized one). Personally, I think a "glut" of psychologists in the LA/Bay area is needed.
     
  19. NeuroPsyStudent

    2+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2007
    Messages:
    82
    Likes Received:
    0
    Status:
    Other Health Professions Student
    LOL. Why is a glut needed there? Because Californians are insight-seeking, or they really need help?
     
  20. perfektspace

    perfektspace Member
    7+ Year Member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2006
    Messages:
    251
    Likes Received:
    0
    Absolutely a joke! But I was inferring they need extra help.
     

Share This Page