I am officially now a licensed Professional Counselor -- now what?

Discussion in 'Mental Health and Social Welfare' started by ChiLPC, Jun 12, 2017.

  1. ChiLPC

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    First time poster here ---


    Happy to announce that after finishing my master's program, passing the National Counselors' Examination, Becoming a National Certified Counselor, and navigating the vague bureaucracies of the Illinois Professional Licensing Dept, I have wrapped up all of the particulars needed to finally start work at a capacity directly related to my education. Now what?

    The anonymity of the internet has emboldened me to ask something that I assume many of my cohort already know. Furthermore, my question is intentionally vague in order to net the widest responses, so I can glean some insight into my next move.

    Ideally, I know that I want to work at a private practice and that I want to work with adults. I would be equally happy with either a person-centered model or working with anxiety treatment using a CBT model. In reality, I am not married to any distinct path and I am just super pumped to start work.

    I would be greatly appreciative of anyone who is willing to provide me the benefit of their experience with "just starting out". It would be wonderful to hear your experience regarding regarding setting, direction, words of encouragement, or just tips in general of any variety. Any widely held assumptions that I should disabuse myself of? What kind of setting did you find satisfaction in? How long did it take you to find work? Is there any specific approach you used to find leads? Websites?

    More specifically, I would love to hear If anyone has any tips regarding leads or first hand accounts/reviews of employers that they are familiar with in the Chicago area.


    Lots of questions! Thanks ahead of time!
     
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  3. HesitantPsyD

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  4. HesitantPsyD

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  5. foreverbull

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    HesitantPsyD paints a pretty bleak picture of the state of LPCs in Chicago, and whoever you are, I sympathize with you and I'd be pretty bitter if I got my degree and came out with bleak job prospects.

    Having obtained my master's in the midwest prior to getting my doctorate, I weighed my options and was very concerned about the non-transferability of each state's license at the master's level, because I knew I was planning to move to the West Coast eventually. Having said that, I went to graduate school alongside several folks in a master's program who have ended up counseling in several settings, including community mental health, private practice, and non-profits. Some went into academic advising at universities instead of pursuing counseling per se, and appear to be moving up the ranks, so academic advising, career advising, and/or student services positions that are closely-related might be an option as well. Another person I know became a sexual assault outreach coordinator at a college. This is in a medium midwestern city...around 1 million people if you include suburbs. I'm not sure if relocating would ever be an option for you, but it sounds like Chicago is much more saturated than where I went to graduate school, where the market doesn't seem quite as bleak. If you stay, I'd suggest marketing yourself creatively to go after some of the positions I mentioned, if the traditional paths are taken.

    Best of luck to you!
     
  6. cybertsiren

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    Yes I also must share bad news. There are no jobs in Illinois. The schools are graduating more counselors than there are jobs. As a result wages are ridiculously low. One private practice offered me the chance to work for free. There are programs like Cathedral Counseling that actually charge you for the chance to volunteer! Luckily I went to a cheap school. I feel sorry for those who went to expensive schools. I worked for a clinic which was a front to bilk medicaid. Then I worked for a private practice but never got more than 5 clients. At that rate it would take 10 years to get the required hours. The other issue is that due to immigration one must be at least spanish/english bilingual and bicultural which means only DACA or children of immigrants will qualify for available jobs. I have submitted 330 applications in the past year. I am now applying for Bachelor's level jobs. Of course none of these jobs involve psychotherapy...most require you to have a car so you can transport clients to court or medical appointments. Really they just want use of a free car. If I ever get my hours I'll relocate. Sorry I can't provide a rosy picture.
     
  7. HesitantPsyD

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    As desperate as it sounds to be asking this, what can you tell me about Cathedral Counseling. I know the idea of "paying" for supervision and the opportunity to see clients is borderline ridiculous but I'm at a loss otherwise due to not being willing to do case management anymore. I love doing therapy and might be open to something like this.
     
  8. cybertsiren

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    Just go to their site. It's around 2,000 dollars a year and you have to take 10 to 15 clients in their clinic for free. Let me ask you if you have tried getting a few clients at a private practice? I have 5 clients which would require 10 years to get my clinical hours but I do get a little money. I can at least say I am doing something. Keep in mind these "training" schemes are to make money not help you get your hours. Good luck. Let me know.

    I like you am desperate. I need a job so I may have to take an administrative job.
     
  9. HesitantPsyD

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    If it's truly 10-15 clients a week it's almost tempting to me. If the "fee" includes supervision it seems like almost a potentially "good" deal as it amounts to about $200 a month. Also they claim to be psychodynamic on their website which is right up my peculiar alley. I'm in the process of looking into this avenue as a way to get hours/supervision towards the LCPC. I know this potential arrangement isn't for most people but I'm in the unique position that money isn't nearly as important as getting the hours and supervision. Of course I never would have dreamed that I'd be entertaining such an arrangement when getting out of grad school, yet here we are. The sad thing about all of this is I don't think Illinois is unique regarding the problem of getting hours/decent money for counselor interns. Texas isn't much better I've found. I just got back from there getting some hours via private practice, as I'm licensed as an intern there too.The issue is that counseling programs are unfortunately cash cows for schools, and they make a lot of tuition money from people who "want to help people". This results in a ridiculous glut of people entering the field with little experience and no clear way towards full licensure. It's a really bad situation!!!
     
  10. jmiah717

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    Paying for supervision is common and an accepted practice in the field.


    Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
     
  11. cybertsiren

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    Clinical supervision is often paid for but some supervision even administrative under a clinical director is provided because these starter jobs are so poorly paid. Again its a grey area because working under supervision in Illinois implies your employer is your supervisor. However work is so hard to find that most states accept volunteer work. Naturally a whole new industry crops up that offers training with paid supervision and volunteer counseling service. Again this is changing the field as fewer paid jobs will ne replaced by these programs. This is the result of regulation inflation.
     
  12. jmiah717

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    I guess I'm glad I'm not in Illinois then. I never had any issues in PA getting supervision or getting a job. Best of luck!
     
  13. NJCounselorGirl

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    Wow, I have never heard of this before. I am 45 credits into my master's program in addictions counseling in NJ. Is this state by state? I did my practicum with no issues and I anticipate not having an issue finding at the very minimum free work! I had to do some shadowing at a methadone clinic and they were eager to want to bring me onboard when I take Internship. I hope it works out for everyone as these degrees are not cheap and the students put so much work into them that its a shame there would be this surplus of counselors and not enough jobs.. though I did see that concerning school counseling here in NJ.
     

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