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Andromalius

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Hello,

I am currently trying to apply to programs for graduate school. I have tried contacting my clinical psychology professor from undergrad for help in figuring this all out, but I haven't received replies in the last 3 months! Now that it's getting closer to application dates I am starting to panic.

What I want to do; I want to pursue a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, whether it be a Ph.D or Psy.D and specialize in LGBT issues. I can't move out of the area for school, so this is a huge problem. I live in California, in the Bay Area, which would seem like an ideal place for my specialization, however, there aren't many programs here. By this, I mean that all the Psy.D programs are extremely expensive ($60k/per year) and are for-profit with relatively low rates of matching (with the exception os PGSP). Meanwhile, all the public universities only offer Masters in clinical psychology, or they do not offer Ph.Ds in clinical.

Considering I want to continue living in California, I need a degree that will give me an adequate income. Ideally, I want to work for Kaiser Permanente or a similar organization, but Masters level degrees (e.g. MFT, LPCC, LPSW, LPC, etc.) have relatively low income at these organizations. Anywhere between $45k to $60k. In California, I would need, most likely, an $80k to $100k income just to live comfortably, which appears to be the case for Psy.D and Ph.D levels. However, I'm still not completely sure if this is all accurate or what the lowest level degree I need it to be a licensed psychologist/therapist that works one on one with clients. I have looked into doctors at Kaiser and job listings and most have Psy.D or Ph.D, yet some also have MSW or MFT degrees.

I'm just...very lost right now, and I'm worried that my options are so limited because I can't move out of this general area. Anyone that can help I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time. :)
 

Temperance

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Hello,

I am currently trying to apply to programs for graduate school. I have tried contacting my clinical psychology professor from undergrad for help in figuring this all out, but I haven't received replies in the last 3 months! Now that it's getting closer to application dates I am starting to panic.

What I want to do; I want to pursue a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, whether it be a Ph.D or Psy.D and specialize in LGBT issues. I can't move out of the area for school, so this is a huge problem. I live in California, in the Bay Area, which would seem like an ideal place for my specialization, however, there aren't many programs here. By this, I mean that all the Psy.D programs are extremely expensive ($60k/per year) and are for-profit with relatively low rates of matching (with the exception os PGSP). Meanwhile, all the public universities only offer Masters in clinical psychology, or they do not offer Ph.Ds in clinical.

Considering I want to continue living in California, I need a degree that will give me an adequate income. Ideally, I want to work for Kaiser Permanente or a similar organization, but Masters level degrees (e.g. MFT, LPCC, LPSW, LPC, etc.) have relatively low income at these organizations. Anywhere between $45k to $60k. In California, I would need, most likely, an $80k to $100k income just to live comfortably, which appears to be the case for Psy.D and Ph.D levels. However, I'm still not completely sure if this is all accurate or what the lowest level degree I need it to be a licensed psychologist/therapist that works one on one with clients. I have looked into doctors at Kaiser and job listings and most have Psy.D or Ph.D, yet some also have MSW or MFT degrees.

I'm just...very lost right now, and I'm worried that my options are so limited because I can't move out of this general area. Anyone that can help I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time. :)
Not being able to move poses a major problem in clinical psychology, as graduate school will not be the only time that you are asked to relocate. Predoctoral internships are extremely competitive, especially in California, and you'll likely have to move. Relatively speaking, the Bay Area has a lot of clinical psychology programs, and all of those students will be competing for the same California internships. Should you want to get a postdoctoral internship, you'll have to move for that, as well. The other thing to consider is that California, particularly in urban areas, is saturated with therapists right now, so the average pay you're seeing may not necessarily apply to new graduates.

With a master's degree, you'll be paying less in tuition and losing less time that you could be earning money. On the other hand, if you attend a private, unfunded Bay Area doctoral program, you will be looking at least $120,000 in student loans to pay for tuition, which will make a significant dent in your take-home pay even if you did get the higher level of earnings. Don't count on income-based repayment programs being around forever.
 
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erg923

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Hello,

I am currently trying to apply to programs for graduate school. I have tried contacting my clinical psychology professor from undergrad for help in figuring this all out, but I haven't received replies in the last 3 months! Now that it's getting closer to application dates I am starting to panic.

What I want to do; I want to pursue a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, whether it be a Ph.D or Psy.D and specialize in LGBT issues. I can't move out of the area for school, so this is a huge problem. I live in California, in the Bay Area, which would seem like an ideal place for my specialization, however, there aren't many programs here. By this, I mean that all the Psy.D programs are extremely expensive ($60k/per year) and are for-profit with relatively low rates of matching (with the exception os PGSP). Meanwhile, all the public universities only offer Masters in clinical psychology, or they do not offer Ph.Ds in clinical.

Considering I want to continue living in California, I need a degree that will give me an adequate income. Ideally, I want to work for Kaiser Permanente or a similar organization, but Masters level degrees (e.g. MFT, LPCC, LPSW, LPC, etc.) have relatively low income at these organizations. Anywhere between $45k to $60k. In California, I would need, most likely, an $80k to $100k income just to live comfortably, which appears to be the case for Psy.D and Ph.D levels. However, I'm still not completely sure if this is all accurate or what the lowest level degree I need it to be a licensed psychologist/therapist that works one on one with clients. I have looked into doctors at Kaiser and job listings and most have Psy.D or Ph.D, yet some also have MSW or MFT degrees.

I'm just...very lost right now, and I'm worried that my options are so limited because I can't move out of this general area. Anyone that can help I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time. :)

Considering your apparent inflexibility, and the fact that nothing in your post that suggests you really want to become a psychologist, get a masters. It's ridiculous to think that one can't live "comfortably" on $60,000/year.
 
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WisNeuro

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Considering your apparent inflexibility, the fact that nothing in your post that suggests you really want to become a psychologist, get a masters. It's ridiculous to think that one can't live "comfortably" on $60,000/year.

Not in the Bay Area it isn't.
 
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foreverbull

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Considering your apparent inflexibility, and the fact that nothing in your post that suggests you really want to become a psychologist, get a masters. It's ridiculous to think that one can't live "comfortably" on $60,000/year.
You must not be familiar with the cost of living in the Bay Area. That salary won't get you far there.
 
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Kadhir

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Unfortunately, I think you already know all your options with your restrictions. If you want to work with LGBTQ individuals but aren't wedded to direct care, you might consider getting into public health/policy.
 

foreverbull

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OP, you need to really look at expanding your options unless you want to take on a ton of debt in the Bay Area and risk failing to match for internship and postdoc.
The Bay Area is heavily saturated. In fact, one county in the area has the most psychologists per capita in the entire state, I believe.
If you are unwilling to leave for graduate school, then you are going to be up against significant barriers all along the way in your graduate and postgraduate career, whether it be due to competition, very high tuition, or somewhat low-ish salaries for psychologists in many job postings nearSF.
While you may think it's easy to start out at $80-$100k once you get your license, it's more realistic to start out in the mid 60s to low seventies out here with your license until you have a few licensed years under your belt and can apply to VAs or other opportunities that require 2-3 years of licensed experience. This is partly why I went into private practice, but I'm also up against heavy competition from established therapists.

Point being: look at graduate options elsewhere and expand your circle of acceptable places if you can. As I always say, look into Counseling Psychology if you are into multicultural research; my program did qualitative and quantitative research looking at experiences of transgender individuals and other LGBT areas. Two of my colleagues actually left the Bay Area to attend my graduate school in the Midwest with plans to eventually return. It's doable if you're open to it. It will be much harder to try to stay and tough it out.

Feel free to PM me if you want more info.
 
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psych.meout

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Hello,

I am currently trying to apply to programs for graduate school. I have tried contacting my clinical psychology professor from undergrad for help in figuring this all out, but I haven't received replies in the last 3 months! Now that it's getting closer to application dates I am starting to panic.

What I want to do; I want to pursue a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, whether it be a Ph.D or Psy.D and specialize in LGBT issues. I can't move out of the area for school, so this is a huge problem. I live in California, in the Bay Area, which would seem like an ideal place for my specialization, however, there aren't many programs here. By this, I mean that all the Psy.D programs are extremely expensive ($60k/per year) and are for-profit with relatively low rates of matching (with the exception os PGSP). Meanwhile, all the public universities only offer Masters in clinical psychology, or they do not offer Ph.Ds in clinical.

Considering I want to continue living in California, I need a degree that will give me an adequate income. Ideally, I want to work for Kaiser Permanente or a similar organization, but Masters level degrees (e.g. MFT, LPCC, LPSW, LPC, etc.) have relatively low income at these organizations. Anywhere between $45k to $60k. In California, I would need, most likely, an $80k to $100k income just to live comfortably, which appears to be the case for Psy.D and Ph.D levels. However, I'm still not completely sure if this is all accurate or what the lowest level degree I need it to be a licensed psychologist/therapist that works one on one with clients. I have looked into doctors at Kaiser and job listings and most have Psy.D or Ph.D, yet some also have MSW or MFT degrees.

I'm just...very lost right now, and I'm worried that my options are so limited because I can't move out of this general area. Anyone that can help I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time. :)
Your worries are accurate. Your geographic inflexibility is severely limiting your options to masters programs or low quality, high cost doctoral programs.

To add onto what others have written, moving for, during, and after graduate school is necessary, not arbitrary. Moving is about getting the best, not the most convenient, training possible. It's about ensuring that you are fully qualified to provide the best, most scientifically supported assessments and treatments to your patients. If you can't or aren't willing to move to get this training, then doctoral programs probably aren't for you.

And as Erg wrote, you haven't even articulated any reasons why you would to attend a doctoral program. You've given no reasons or justifications beyond remuneration and geographic inflexibility. If these are your prime criteria for further training and education, maybe look into an MBA program or some other type of schooling better fitting your location and financial considerations.
 
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You will not be able to live comfortably in the Bay Area on 60k, unless you have a high-earning partner.

Unless you go to Cal, you will have difficulty staying in the Bay Area for all of your training. You will likely struggle to match for internship in the Bay Area, though you may be able to come back for postdoc. But then you'll probably struggle again to find a permanent, well-paying job. My friends who have worked for Kaiser all left after 1-2 years.

The VA hires a few LCSWs, though they usually do more case management than therapy. I am not sure what those positions pay. But otherwise, your ability to make bank in the Bay Area is going to be either stellar training or stellar business acumen.
 

Andromalius

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Thanks everyone for replying. For those saying that I didn't show or say why I wanted a doctorate, or that I didn't seem like I wanted to be a psychologist, I am passionate about being a psychologist. I've wanted to be one since I was in high school. My ultimate goal would be working at Kaiser Permanente as a gatekeeper therapist for Transgender adults (or similar facility). People keep saying that it's heavily saturated in the bay area, but it isn't. Not with my specialization that I want. I live in Walnut Creek/Concord area, I used to have Kaiser Insurance and I currently am on MediCal. I can tell you that it is NOT saturated for Transgender or LGBT psychologists in this area. When I was with Kaiser there were only 2 at the facility here and now both have retired and the closest one is in Oakland. I'm not talking about living and working _directly_ in San Francisco. Kaiser has at least 20 different hospitals or offices in the Bay Area alone, so there is the opportunity.

My main question is if I even need a phD/Psy.D for what I wish to do. Looking at the job listings and current doctors, I would have to say yes, but who knows, I could just get an LPCC or something. I know an MSW is not what I want, I don't want to do social work and I don't want to work with groups of people all the time, I want to work one-on-one with clients.

I also understand internships are hard to get into and competitive, but again, I am specializing in something that people rarely look at. There are countless LGBT and Transgender clinics around the Bay Area and I don't think obtaining an internship at one would be impossible. Considering my specialization the Bay Area is an ideal place to be, especially since several programs even have LGBT specialization degrees, but unfortunately, they aren't cheap.

As for pay, I know I won't be able to start with $80k right away. Kaiser is $90k, I believe, but that is after 2 years of prior experience. I can scrape by on $50-$60k in the Bay Area, but I can't live on that for long. Those that live in the Bay Area know that this is an extremely expensive place to live, but my family and friends are here, and for my own mental and physical health I can't move across the country for 4-6 years away from everything that keeps me sane. Not even considering medical coverage and obtaining medications. It's just more ideal to stay in the area, or at least in the state.

I'm interested in the USF Psy.D program, it's a very reputable school, they have a transgender clinic, and are currently seeking accreditation from the APA. One of my other top choices is PGSP, but again, they are expensive and also competitive since it's a joint program with Stanford. Alliant has a social justice track and a lgbt certification, but also expensive. One of my psychologists actually graduated from the Write Institute as well and worked at Kaiser for decades doing precisely what I want to do, but it's also expensive.

I just don't understand why none of the state schools offer doctorates in clinical psychology. There are plenty that offer masters in it, but not doctorates.
 

erg923

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Thanks everyone for replying. For those saying that I didn't show or say why I wanted a doctorate, or that I didn't seem like I wanted to be a psychologist, I am passionate about being a psychologist. I've wanted to be one since I was in high school. My ultimate goal would be working at Kaiser Permanente as a gatekeeper therapist for Transgender adults (or similar facility). People keep saying that it's heavily saturated in the bay area, but it isn't. Not with my specialization that I want. I live in Walnut Creek/Concord area, I used to have Kaiser Insurance and I currently am on MediCal. I can tell you that it is NOT saturated for Transgender or LGBT psychologists in this area. When I was with Kaiser there were only 2 at the facility here and now both have retired and the closest one is in Oakland. I'm not talking about living and working _directly_ in San Francisco. Kaiser has at least 20 different hospitals or offices in the Bay Area alone, so there is the opportunity.

My main question is if I even need a phD/Psy.D for what I wish to do. Looking at the job listings and current doctors, I would have to say yes, but who knows, I could just get an LPCC or something. I know an MSW is not what I want, I don't want to do social work and I don't want to work with groups of people all the time, I want to work one-on-one with clients.

I also understand internships are hard to get into and competitive, but again, I am specializing in something that people rarely look at. There are countless LGBT and Transgender clinics around the Bay Area and I don't think obtaining an internship at one would be impossible. Considering my specialization the Bay Area is an ideal place to be, especially since several programs even have LGBT specialization degrees, but unfortunately, they aren't cheap.

As for pay, I know I won't be able to start with $80k right away. Kaiser is $90k, I believe, but that is after 2 years of prior experience. I can scrape by on $50-$60k in the Bay Area, but I can't live on that for long. Those that live in the Bay Area know that this is an extremely expensive place to live, but my family and friends are here, and for my own mental and physical health I can't move across the country for 4-6 years away from everything that keeps me sane. Not even considering medical coverage and obtaining medications. It's just more ideal to stay in the area, or at least in the state.

I'm interested in the USF Psy.D program, it's a very reputable school, they have a transgender clinic, and are currently seeking accreditation from the APA. One of my other top choices is PGSP, but again, they are expensive and also competitive since it's a joint program with Stanford. Alliant has a social justice track and a lgbt certification, but also expensive. One of my psychologists actually graduated from the Write Institute as well and worked at Kaiser for decades doing precisely what I want to do, but it's also expensive.

I just don't understand why none of the state schools offer doctorates in clinical psychology. There are plenty that offer masters in it, but not doctorates.

UC-Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles offer phds in clinical psychology.
 

Andromalius

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UC-Berkeley, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles offer phds in clinical psychology.
UC-Berkeley actually doesn't, unfortunately. It's in Clinical Science and is research based. Thank you, though, I am looking into applying to UCSB and UCLA though, even if they would require me to move far away.
 

psych.meout

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UC-Berkeley actually doesn't, unfortunately. It's in Clinical Science and is research based. Thank you, though, I am looking into applying to UCSB and UCLA though, even if they would require me to move far away.

Clinical science is clinic psychology, it's just a particular orientation, e.g. Scientist practitioner.

Seriously, you don't really seem to have a firm grasp on doctoral training in clinical psychology.
 
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erg923

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UC-Berkeley actually doesn't, unfortunately. It's in Clinical Science and is research based. Thank you, though, I am looking into applying to UCSB and UCLA though, even if they would require me to move far away.

You are coming off as too emotionally fragile to be pursuing this career and the work it will inevitably entail at this time.
 

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You are coming off as too emotionally fragile to be pursuing this career and the work it will inevitably entail at this time.
C'mon, it's not like grad school in and of itself is difficult or anything.

but my family and friends are here, and for my own mental and physical health I can't move across the country for 4-6 years away from everything that keeps me sane. Not even considering medical coverage andobtaining medications. It's just more ideal to stay in the area, or at least in the state.
 

Andromalius

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Clinical science is clinic psychology, it's just a particular orientation, e.g. Scientist practitioner.

Seriously, you don't really seem to have a firm grasp on doctoral training in clinical psychology.
There is no need to be rude. I understand clinical psychology just fine, but if you actually read their website it is very clear that their Clinical Science program is made for research in the clinical field, not for being a clinical psychologist.
 
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There is no need to be rude. I understand clinical psychology just fine, but if you actually read their website it is very clear that their Clinical Science program is made for research in the clinical field, not for being a clinical psychologist.
Their students get great clinical training. They also get stellar research training. They are the cream of the crop in the bay area.
 
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Andromalius

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You are coming off as too emotionally fragile to be pursuing this career and the work it will inevitably entail at this time.
I am not emotionally fragile. And there is zero reason for you to be acting so rude from your very first post. I have been nothing but polite and expanded on why I wish to stay in my general area and why I wish to pursue the degree I am. I do have medical needs that possibly won't be covered if I leave the state. I also need to be relatively close to family and friends so I am able to visit if needed, that isn't because of emotional fragility.
 
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erg923

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for my own mental and physical health I can't move across the country for 4-6 years away from everything that keeps me sane.

A grown man/woman who suggests that will go to pieces if they move away from their home area may not be in ideal place to purse such an emotionally taxing profession. This is not rude to say/postulate. It is sage advice from someone more experienced than you. If a financial adviser told you were too poor to contributing to an college fund for your nephew, would you call him/her "rude", or would you perhaps think about the possible merits of his advice because he's a financial analyst and you aren't?
 
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Andromalius

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Their students get great clinical training. They also get stellar research training. They are the cream of the crop in the bay area.
Do they, though? I have spoken with my previous professors about schools and read through their website on multiple occasions, but this program only seemed to come off as research based, with very little clinical training, but I will be applying there, thank you.
 

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Do they, though? I have spoken with my previous professors about schools and read through their website on multiple occasions, but this program only seemed to come off as research based, with very little clinical training, but I will be applying there, thank you.
Research serves as the foundation for effective psychotherapy. It is one thing to want to provide direct services to gender and sexual minorities, but clinicians should know what works, what doesn't, and how to tell the difference. Having those research skills would make you a stronger clinician.

You still receive clinical training in your practicum placements, as well as your predoctoral and postdoctoral internships.
 
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Andromalius

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Research serves as the foundation for effective psychotherapy. It is one thing to want to provide direct services to gender and sexual minorities, but clinicians should know what works, what doesn't, and how to tell the difference. Having those research skills would make you a stronger clinician.

You still receive clinical training in your practicum placements, as well as your predoctoral and postdoctoral internships.
Thank you for your insight, I was just worried that there wouldn't be enough clinical training if there was too much emphasis in research. I do know how important it is, in fact, I really like research, I just want an adequate amount of clinical training as well, but it sounds like I was wrong when considering their program originally. Thank you, again.
 
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Temperance

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Thanks everyone for replying. For those saying that I didn't show or say why I wanted a doctorate, or that I didn't seem like I wanted to be a psychologist, I am passionate about being a psychologist. I've wanted to be one since I was in high school. My ultimate goal would be working at Kaiser Permanente as a gatekeeper therapist for Transgender adults (or similar facility). People keep saying that it's heavily saturated in the bay area, but it isn't. Not with my specialization that I want. I live in Walnut Creek/Concord area, I used to have Kaiser Insurance and I currently am on MediCal. I can tell you that it is NOT saturated for Transgender or LGBT psychologists in this area. When I was with Kaiser there were only 2 at the facility here and now both have retired and the closest one is in Oakland. I'm not talking about living and working _directly_ in San Francisco. Kaiser has at least 20 different hospitals or offices in the Bay Area alone, so there is the opportunity.

My main question is if I even need a phD/Psy.D for what I wish to do. Looking at the job listings and current doctors, I would have to say yes, but who knows, I could just get an LPCC or something. I know an MSW is not what I want, I don't want to do social work and I don't want to work with groups of people all the time, I want to work one-on-one with clients.

I also understand internships are hard to get into and competitive, but again, I am specializing in something that people rarely look at. There are countless LGBT and Transgender clinics around the Bay Area and I don't think obtaining an internship at one would be impossible. Considering my specialization the Bay Area is an ideal place to be, especially since several programs even have LGBT specialization degrees, but unfortunately, they aren't cheap.

As for pay, I know I won't be able to start with $80k right away. Kaiser is $90k, I believe, but that is after 2 years of prior experience. I can scrape by on $50-$60k in the Bay Area, but I can't live on that for long. Those that live in the Bay Area know that this is an extremely expensive place to live, but my family and friends are here, and for my own mental and physical health I can't move across the country for 4-6 years away from everything that keeps me sane. Not even considering medical coverage and obtaining medications. It's just more ideal to stay in the area, or at least in the state.

I'm interested in the USF Psy.D program, it's a very reputable school, they have a transgender clinic, and are currently seeking accreditation from the APA. One of my other top choices is PGSP, but again, they are expensive and also competitive since it's a joint program with Stanford. Alliant has a social justice track and a lgbt certification, but also expensive. One of my psychologists actually graduated from the Write Institute as well and worked at Kaiser for decades doing precisely what I want to do, but it's also expensive.

I just don't understand why none of the state schools offer doctorates in clinical psychology. There are plenty that offer masters in it, but not doctorates.
The issue with internships is not that there are not enough but that there are too many applications for each site. It's not uncommon to receive several hundred applications per slot, so you will not be the only one applying to clinics specializing in transgender issues. Also, there may be a lot of clinics, but what you will need specifically is an APA-accredited internship site. Some professional school programs will push APPIC or CAPIC internships, especially for students who cannot or will not relocate from California, but those will shoot your career in the foot before it's even started. The same goes for considering the USF program; not going to an APA-accredited program can bar you from employment entirely. I don't know if Kaiser Permanente hires psychologists from non-accredited programs, but you will be competing against graduates from accredited programs even if they did.

You do not need a doctoral degree to conduct individual therapy if that is all you want to do. For clinical careers, the main difference between master's level practice and doctoral is that psychologists can administer assessments. Other than that, you can do therapy with the LCSW, LPCC, or MFT licenses.
 
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Thanks everyone for replying. For those saying that I didn't show or say why I wanted a doctorate, or that I didn't seem like I wanted to be a psychologist, I am passionate about being a psychologist. I've wanted to be one since I was in high school. My ultimate goal would be working at Kaiser Permanente as a gatekeeper therapist for Transgender adults (or similar facility). People keep saying that it's heavily saturated in the bay area, but it isn't. Not with my specialization that I want. I live in Walnut Creek/Concord area, I used to have Kaiser Insurance and I currently am on MediCal. I can tell you that it is NOT saturated for Transgender or LGBT psychologists in this area. When I was with Kaiser there were only 2 at the facility here and now both have retired and the closest one is in Oakland. I'm not talking about living and working _directly_ in San Francisco. Kaiser has at least 20 different hospitals or offices in the Bay Area alone, so there is the opportunity.

My main question is if I even need a phD/Psy.D for what I wish to do. Looking at the job listings and current doctors, I would have to say yes, but who knows, I I could just get an LPCC or something. I know an MSW is not what I want, I don't want to do social work and I don't want to work with groups of people all the time, I want to work one-on-one
Wanting to be one since high school is not a reason to become a psychologist. Therapists do not always equal psychologists. A psychologist gets training in more than just clinical therapy skills. They learn about the science behind mental health issues, the brain, assessment, how to research and understand research in the context of diagnosis and treatment, to name just a few areas. There are others. Masters level therapists do not get the same breadth of training. But both can provide individual therapy. If by "gatekeeper " you are meaning an individual who does a psychological assessment to determine if the individual is emotionally "mature" and understands the process of gender reassignment surgery before insurance pays for it, then you probably need to be a psychologist for that. But not all insurance companies require that and it may be state specific.

In California the LPCC is fairly new and hours towards licensure can be difficult to obtain. The MSW and its leader licensing board has been around longer. Not all social workers work with groups of people. Some LCSW/LICSW see clients for individual therapy.

It might be worth reaching out to an LGBTQ advocacy group to ask who are the people providing the services you want to provide, and what the education and qualifications are, to better inform your decision. The internship in clinical psychology is NOT the same as an undergrad internship. The clinics you refer to may not have an APA or even APPIC/CAPPIC accredited internship which is likely required to become a licensed psychologist in CA. You may need to do more research on your career goals before applying.
 
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Andromalius

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The issue with internships is not that there are not enough but that there are too many applications for each site. It's not uncommon to receive several hundred applications per slot, so you will not be the only one applying to clinics specializing in transgender issues. Also, there may be a lot of clinics, but what you will need specifically is an APA-accredited internship site. Some professional school programs will push APPIC or CAPIC internships, especially for students who cannot or will not relocate from California, but those will shoot your career in the foot before it's even started. The same goes for considering the USF program; not going to an APA-accredited program can bar you from employment entirely. I don't know if Kaiser Permanente hires psychologists from non-accredited programs, but you will be competing against graduates from accredited programs even if they did.

You do not need a doctoral degree to conduct individual therapy if that is all you want to do. For clinical careers, the main difference between master's level practice and doctoral is that psychologists can administer assessments. Other than that, you can do therapy with the LCSW, LPCC, or MFT licenses.
I understand, even in my area there would be limited internships and many people applying, but that would be true of anywhere. I'm not opposed to moving for internships or postdocs, but I don't want to be out of state for 5-7 years. I am fine with 1-3 years. As for the internships that I'm thinking of, they are at universities that are APA accredited, so I would hope that the internships would be. With USF, I'm not going unless it becomes accredited. It is currently being reviewed by the APA and judging by its status it might be accredited soon.

With the job I see for myself, I will need to make assessments, not to mention if I want to work at a facility like Kaiser then I will most likely need to obtain a PhD or PsyD.
 

psych.meout

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I understand, even in my area there would be limited internships and many people applying, but that would be true of anywhere. I'm not opposed to moving for internships or postdocs, but I don't want to be out of state for 5-7 years. I am fine with 1-3 years. As for the internships that I'm thinking of, they are at universities that are APA accredited, so I would hope that the internships would be. With USF, I'm not going unless it becomes accredited. It is currently being reviewed by the APA and judging by its status it might be accredited soon.

With the job I see for myself, I will need to make assessments, not to mention if I want to work at a facility like Kaiser then I will most likely need to obtain a PhD or PsyD.
1. You can't just assume that an accredited clinical program has an accredited internship. You should check the APPIC site.

2. You and everyone else wants to get internships in California. Cali already has tons of students, but you're also competing for these spots with students from across the country. You shouldn't bank in getting any given internship site specifically, because you never know whom you're competing against, how well you match with the site, how much you actually like the site after you interview, etc.

3. Being more specialized, e.g. LGBTQ+ health, makes matching harder, not easier. There are fewer of these kinds of internships, so they are going to be harder to get.

4. Even at a well paying employer, your earnings will be paltry if you're trying to repay hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans from these programs to which you are referring.

5. Some of these programs are not only expensive, but have poor match rates, which endanger your job prospects as well.
 

calimich

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I'm interested in the USF Psy.D program, it's a very reputable school, they have a transgender clinic, and are currently seeking accreditation from the APA. One of my other top choices is PGSP, but again, they are expensive and also competitive since it's a joint program with Stanford. Alliant has a social justice track and a lgbt certification, but also expensive. One of my psychologists actually graduated from the Write Institute as well and worked at Kaiser for decades doing precisely what I want to do, but it's also expensive.

I just don't understand why none of the state schools offer doctorates in clinical psychology. There are plenty that offer masters in it, but not doctorates.

Also a psychologist and professor in the Bay Area. Cal is the top choice in the Bay, by far; PGSP and Wright offer good training and are relatively well respected. I advise my students to steer clear of Alliant, CIIS, & JFK and to strongly consider the MSW degree. It's the most portable and well known of the MA-level license options. Expanding your geographic search area will greatly improve your chances of finding a program. It's common for CA students to leave the state for training and return for internship/postdoc, and then find a career here.

Finally, in CA the "state schools" (CSU system) train MA level people and the University of California (Cal, UCLA, UC Davis, UCSB...) trains the doctoral level folks.
 
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Do they, though? I have spoken with my previous professors about schools and read through their website on multiple occasions, but this program only seemed to come off as research based, with very little clinical training, but I will be applying there, thank you.
We prefer them for all our trainee positions over every other local option. Just because you're good at research doesn't mean you won't have time to be good in clinical work. These often go hand in hand. A lot of skills that make one good at research make one good at clinical work.
 
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MCParent

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I am passionate about being a psychologist. I've wanted to be one since I was in high school. My ultimate goal would be working at Kaiser Permanente as a gatekeeper therapist for Transgender adults (or similar facility).

A. You are misunderstanding what people are telling you. They are not saying, "do not do your dream." They are saying, "Oh, that's your dream. OK, what you actually want to do is..."
This is akin to someone who thinks they want to be a a dentist when they are a kid, and then you hear what they want to do, and you say "oh, what you probably actually want to do is be an ortho/ENT/whatever."

B. You need to update yourself on standards of care for trans folk. "Gatekeeper"? Yikers.
 
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DynamicDidactic

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@Andromalius
A lot of students face similar difficulties as you, a desire for graduate training in clinical psychology but geographical limitations. I think many on SDN would encourage you to make an informed decision when the time comes. Please avoid prohibitive debt from a doctoral degree. If you consider the length of completing a degree and the barriers to getting internship/post doc in your area of interest, you may decide that a different career/degree is more worthwhile. We have seen numerous threads from students that regret attending high-cost, large-cohort programs. Believe the old fogies on this board, passion will only get you so far in doctoral training. At the end, perseverance is what is most important, which is hard to do if you are burdened by debt, have a bleak view on job prospects, and don't feel connected to your training program.

I highly implore that you only apply to programs that provide tuition remission and funding. I also recommend applying to programs outside of the Bay Area, worst case scenario they don't accept you or you decide not to attend those programs. But you may be surprised.
 
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dynamicdog

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@Andromalius

This is not the first time someone on this forum introduced the issue of geographic inflexibility for training. IMHO, it can come off as a bit privileged and very skewed towards a white, Christian-American mentality where picking up and leaving your community is the norm, or at least not a big deal. I am not saying that non-white, non-Christians don't do this. I am also not saying that geographic flexibility (and flexibility in general) is not important. In fact, I would agree that it enables more preferable outcomes most of the time. But for many cultural groups and subcultures in this county, leaving in this way is incredibly difficult and potentially traumatic for the individual and the system. I would imagine for some people, going to a fine program, where you might accrue a little more debt than you would if you went away would be far better for them, both during school and in the long run.
 
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WisNeuro

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It's just statistics, friend, not some bs measure of wokeness or something. Geographic flexibility increases the amount of programs that are a good fit for your interests and career goals. We don't advise flexibility to keep up with sort of judeo-christian nazi secret plan or whatever you are intimating. We advise it because it's a way to increase your chances of admission given that only 2-5% of applicants to any given program will get an offer. Of course, there are always diploma mills if you don't care about actually being a good clinician or respected by colleagues or pretty much anyone who knows how healthcare works.
 
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dynamicdog

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It's just statistics, friend, not some bs measure of wokeness or something. Geographic flexibility increases the amount of programs that are a good fit for your interests and career goals. We don't advise flexibility to keep up with sort of judeo-christian nazi secret plan or whatever you are intimating. We advise it because it's a way to increase your chances of admission given that only 2-5% of applicants to any given program will get an offer. Of course, there are always diploma mills if you don't care about actually being a good clinician or respected by colleagues or pretty much anyone who knows how healthcare works.

I acknowledge that outcomes are better when flexible- but for some people it's not a realistic option to up and leave in that way- and I don't think one should not pursue this profession if that is the case.
 
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foreverbull

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@Andromalius

This is not the first time someone on this forum introduced the issue of geographic inflexibility for training. IMHO, it can come off as a bit privileged and very skewed towards a white, Christian-American mentality where picking up and leaving your community is the norm, or at least not a big deal. I am not saying that non-white, non-Christians don't do this. I am also not saying that geographic flexibility (and flexibility in general) is not important. In fact, I would agree that it enables more preferable outcomes most of the time. But for many cultural groups and subcultures in this county, leaving in this way is incredibly difficult and potentially traumatic for the individual and the system. I would imagine for some people, going to a fine program, where you might accrue a little more debt than you would if you went away would be far better for them, both during school and in the long run.

This is an interesting point; I would broaden it to suggest some folks from individualistic (Western) culture and without a spouse/children may not think twice about moving across the country for school (although there is definitely anxiety about leaving one's support system for everyone), whereas folks from collectivist cultures and/or tightly-linked friends/family networks or with a spouse and children may have a different experience of what it means to leave one's support system.

There are realities either way, one being reducing one's chances of getting into a program of great fit with geographic limitation, but the pro would be maintaining that support system, as you mention. I think the OP and others in similar situations should weigh the risks and benefits carefully and make an educated decision on their own. There are some decent doctoral Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs in the Bay Area, but the latter may come with a lot of debt. It's up to the OP to decide if a Bay Area Psy.D. is worth the debt, not us. Facts can be presented without judgments attached.
 
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JustNoticing

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A. You are misunderstanding what people are telling you. They are not saying, "do not do your dream." They are saying, "Oh, that's your dream. OK, what you actually want to do is..."
This is akin to someone who thinks they want to be a a dentist when they are a kid, and then you hear what they want to do, and you say "oh, what you probably actually want to do is be an ortho/ENT/whatever."

B. You need to update yourself on standards of care for trans folk. "Gatekeeper"? Yikers.

Gatekeeper is actually what many trans folk disparagingly call us (and other professionals) as a result of our role in what they see as playing gatekeeper to their access to medical treatment. But that being said, an ongoing therapist for a trans individual should not be seeing themselves as a gatekeeper to anything, but I can see how working with those who are intending to medically transition might take ownership of their gatekeeper role to acknowledge their power and evaluative role over the patient, which they may actually see as somewhat unjust. I definitely see psychologists wrestle with this role where I work.
 
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psych.meout

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@Andromalius

This is not the first time someone on this forum introduced the issue of geographic inflexibility for training. IMHO, it can come off as a bit privileged and very skewed towards a white, Christian-American mentality where picking up and leaving your community is the norm, or at least not a big deal. I am not saying that non-white, non-Christians don't do this. I am also not saying that geographic flexibility (and flexibility in general) is not important. In fact, I would agree that it enables more preferable outcomes most of the time. But for many cultural groups and subcultures in this county, leaving in this way is incredibly difficult and potentially traumatic for the individual and the system.

Ah yes, how "privileged" of me to leave my entire family and all my friends behind to attend the best graduate program possible. How "privileged" of me to not be "traumatized" by moving away (Do you know nothing about the influence of expectancies, the folly of CISD, etc.?). How "privileged" of me to choose the program where I can get the best training possible to ethically and professionally do right by my future patients.

I thoroughly apologize for not being Judeo-Christian, for being the second person in my entirely extended family to attend college, and for being responsible and saving money while I worked to make myself competitive for a fully funded doctoral program with a 100% match rate.

It really is my stupid fault.

I would imagine for some people, going to a fine program, where you might accrue a little more debt than you would if you went away would be far better for them, both during school and in the long run.
I'm pretty sure that the >$100,000 debt from most PsyD programs is significantly more than "a little" debt compared to the $0 debt many people have from fully-funded programs.
 

erg923

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While I sympathize with some of the "cultural issues" that have been mentioned, it doesn't change the reality. Professional demands and the business market (at least in this country) care little about this, and we shouldn't be changing training standards because one doesn't find it "fitting" with their culture. This is America, not Mexico. Certainly, Indian, Latino, and Hispanic individuals all make the sacrifices necessary if they truly want the (career) outcome.
 
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psych.meout

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While I sympathize with some of the "cultural issues" that have been mentioned, it doesn't change the reality. Professional demands and the business market (at least in this country) care little about this, and we shouldn't be changing training standards because one doesn't find it "fitting" with their culture. This is America, not Mexico. Certainly, Indian, Latino, and Hispanic individuals all make the sacrifices necessary if they truly want the (career) outcome.
And don't forget that it's insulting bordering on bigotry to stereotype individuals based on their racial and ethnic background.
 
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dynamicdog

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Ah yes, how "privileged" of me to leave my entire family and all my friends behind to attend the best graduate program possible. How "privileged" of me to not be "traumatized" by moving away (Do you know nothing about the influence of expectancies, the folly of CISD, etc.?). How "privileged" of me to choose the program where I can get the best training possible to ethically and professionally do right by my future patients.

I thoroughly apologize for not being Judeo-Christian, for being the second person in my entirely extended family to attend college, and for being responsible and saving money while I worked to make myself competitive for a fully funded doctoral program with a 100% match rate.

It really is my stupid fault.


I'm pretty sure that the >$100,000 debt from most PsyD programs is significantly more than "a little" debt compared to the $0 debt many people have from fully-funded programs.

Wow- it is really a fine line between being helpful and being a straight up troll. If you actually read what I wrote, I clearly stated that geographic flexibility leads to the best outcomes- BUT- because of a number of potential reasons, often cultural, it may not be possible/or lead to the "best" outcomes for the individual. Also to call the idea of the barriers certain cultural groups MAY have in relocating bigotry is absurd. You took it as a personal attack- not my intention at all.
 
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dynamicdog

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And don't forget that it's insulting bordering on bigotry to stereotype individuals based on their racial and ethnic background.

You are conflating the consideration of cultural differences/realities with stereotypes. The whole "colorblind" stance is about 30 years old and can get you into a lot of trouble in many settings.
 
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psych.meout

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You are conflating the consideration of cultural differences/realities with stereotypes. The whole "colorblind" stance is about 30 years old and can get you into a lot of trouble in many settings.
Nice reading comprehension.
 

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Ah yes, how "privileged" of me to leave my entire family and all my friends behind to attend the best graduate program possible. How "privileged" of me to not be "traumatized" by moving away (Do you know nothing about the influence of expectancies, the folly of CISD, etc.?). How "privileged" of me to choose the program where I can get the best training possible to ethically and professionally do right by my future patients.

I thoroughly apologize for not being Judeo-Christian, for being the second person in my entirely extended family to attend college, and for being responsible and saving money while I worked to make myself competitive for a fully funded doctoral program with a 100% match rate.

It really is my stupid fault.


I'm pretty sure that the >$100,000 debt from most PsyD programs is significantly more than "a little" debt compared to the $0 debt many people have from fully-funded programs.

Wow what a fascinating misinterpretation of the OP!
 
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cara susanna

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Hello,

I am currently trying to apply to programs for graduate school. I have tried contacting my clinical psychology professor from undergrad for help in figuring this all out, but I haven't received replies in the last 3 months! Now that it's getting closer to application dates I am starting to panic.

What I want to do; I want to pursue a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, whether it be a Ph.D or Psy.D and specialize in LGBT issues. I can't move out of the area for school, so this is a huge problem. I live in California, in the Bay Area, which would seem like an ideal place for my specialization, however, there aren't many programs here. By this, I mean that all the Psy.D programs are extremely expensive ($60k/per year) and are for-profit with relatively low rates of matching (with the exception os PGSP). Meanwhile, all the public universities only offer Masters in clinical psychology, or they do not offer Ph.Ds in clinical.

Considering I want to continue living in California, I need a degree that will give me an adequate income. Ideally, I want to work for Kaiser Permanente or a similar organization, but Masters level degrees (e.g. MFT, LPCC, LPSW, LPC, etc.) have relatively low income at these organizations. Anywhere between $45k to $60k. In California, I would need, most likely, an $80k to $100k income just to live comfortably, which appears to be the case for Psy.D and Ph.D levels. However, I'm still not completely sure if this is all accurate or what the lowest level degree I need it to be a licensed psychologist/therapist that works one on one with clients. I have looked into doctors at Kaiser and job listings and most have Psy.D or Ph.D, yet some also have MSW or MFT degrees.

I'm just...very lost right now, and I'm worried that my options are so limited because I can't move out of this general area. Anyone that can help I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you so much for your time. :)

1. As others have said, it's pretty difficult to get into a good school if you're that limited geographically. Of course, it's your decision, just be aware that you may either have to expand your search or attend a program that doesn't have a good reputation.
2. Even if you get into a school in the Bay Area, you will likely have to move for internship or post doc. It's difficult to stay in one city for all of your training. I know that's a ridiculous expectation for our field to make, yet it does make it and that's definitely something that you have to consider when thinking about your career path.
3. Nothing in your post suggests work exclusive to a psychologist--you could accomplish the same career goals with a Masters degree.
4. Just a warning: I've heard that Kaiser is a nightmare to work for.
 

CatLover&PsychEnthusiast

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There’s lots of posts on here and maybe this is redundant, but wanted to chime in and say that my best friend is transgender and we have talked a lot about their experience trying to find a clinician and it’s hard. They live in the Carolinas. Perhaps you can reframe your thinking on this, think of all the good you could do helping underserved people in areas outside of California? I think many are having a response to your post about feeling like you NEED to stay because there’s a difference between WANT and NEED. Most have made many sacrifices in order to pursue their dream career, it’s not easy but necessary.
 
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