Mar 15, 2010
9
0
Status
Non-Student
Hi all,

I need some advice from you.

I am 24, graduated from Smith College, majored in Economics, and am dead-set on entering the field of clinical psychology. Unfortunately, I have no clinical experience and have taken only a few classes in undergrad. I have an unlimited supply of interest in this field.

I applied this year to Yeshiva's PsyD program and was not offered admission. I was, however, offered admission to their MA in Mental Health Counseling. I'm desperate to get out of my current receptionist job and back to school so I can be on my way towards my career. I'm tempted to accept the MA so I can at least get some experience and be a little closer to being a competitive candidate for the PsyD program.

Any thoughts on this being a practical choice? My eventual goal is to obtain a PsyD, perform research in a few focused areas, and then establish a private practice.

Thanks in advance for your input.
 
OP
A
Mar 15, 2010
9
0
Status
Non-Student
Hi all,

I need some advice from you.

I am 24, graduated from Smith College, majored in Economics, and am dead-set on entering the field of clinical psychology. Unfortunately, I have no clinical experience and have taken only a few classes in undergrad. I have an unlimited supply of interest in this field.

I applied this year to Yeshiva's PsyD program and was not offered admission. I was, however, offered admission to their MA in Mental Health Counseling. I'm desperate to get out of my current receptionist job and back to school so I can be on my way towards my career. I'm tempted to accept the MA so I can at least get some experience and be a little closer to being a competitive candidate for the PsyD program.

Any thoughts on this being a practical choice? My eventual goal is to obtain a PsyD, perform research in a few focused areas, and then establish a private practice.

Thanks in advance for your input.
 

psich

10+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
292
0
Status
Hi all,

I need some advice from you.

I am 24, graduated from Smith College, majored in Economics, and am dead-set on entering the field of clinical psychology. Unfortunately, I have no clinical experience and have taken only a few classes in undergrad. I have an unlimited supply of interest in this field.

I applied this year to Yeshiva's PsyD program and was not offered admission. I was, however, offered admission to their MA in Mental Health Counseling. I'm desperate to get out of my current receptionist job and back to school so I can be on my way towards my career. I'm tempted to accept the MA so I can at least get some experience and be a little closer to being a competitive candidate for the PsyD program.

Any thoughts on this being a practical choice? My eventual goal is to obtain a PsyD, perform research in a few focused areas, and then establish a private practice.

Thanks in advance for your input.
You have to show them your “unlimited supply of interest in the field” by doing some research or clinical work. After looking at the program curriculum for the MA in Mental Health Counseling, I see opportunities for clinical experience but not research experience. Can you do research on the side with some faculty? Do you have any research experience from undergrad? If you want to do research, why not go for a PhD?
 
OP
A
Mar 15, 2010
9
0
Status
Non-Student
Hi psich,

Thanks for replying. I'm completely on-board with the understanding that I need clinical work experience or research experience (of which I have very little in the field of psychology, to answer your question). Where do you think is a good place to start for looking for these opportunities? Remember I have an economics background and have not done anything "notable" in the psychology field since I graduated in 2008.

The reason I am not shooting for a PhD is because I value the emphasis on clinical work in the PsyD program and don't want to feel pressured to do research beyond my immediate interests.

The MA in MHC would be a 2.5 year program, $33k each year. I'm questioning whether it would be worth the time and money since I would be using the program to bolster my candidacy for future applications to a PsyD program. I can hardly see myself wanting to stop my education after being licensed as a Mental Health Counselor. It doesn't quite hit my personal standards of fulfillment.

Thoughts?
 

psich

10+ Year Member
Mar 27, 2009
292
0
Status
Hi psich,

Thanks for replying. I'm completely on-board with the understanding that I need clinical work experience or research experience (of which I have very little in the field of psychology, to answer your question). Where do you think is a good place to start for looking for these opportunities? Remember I have an economics background and have not done anything "notable" in the psychology field since I graduated in 2008.

The reason I am not shooting for a PhD is because I value the emphasis on clinical work in the PsyD program and don't want to feel pressured to do research beyond my immediate interests.

The MA in MHC would be a 2.5 year program, $33k each year. I'm questioning whether it would be worth the time and money since I would be using the program to bolster my candidacy for future applications to a PsyD program. I can hardly see myself wanting to stop my education after being licensed as a Mental Health Counselor. It doesn't quite hit my personal standards of fulfillment.

Thoughts?
There are positions available for students with a bachelor’s in psychology, but I’m not sure if there are many jobs available for people with a non-psychology background for entry-level positions. Hopefully if you hard enough at job opportunities in your area you might be able to find a place that will accept you.

If you want to get clinical experience, I think the best thing to do would be to define your interests and find opportunities in this area in practical work and research. For example, what do you want to study? What population do you want to work with? What are your long-term research goals? (Remember, research is still important in PsyD programs and rest assured that many applicants will have it.)

You can find opportunities for research and clinical work by contacting faculty at Yeshiva, or even other universities in New York. Research their interests and contact those whose interests closely match yours. It is possible to get clinical experience and research experience without having to pay over 60k. With the master’s program, it sounds like you might have an easier time securing placement in the field because if the field placement opportunity integrated in the curriculum and because the university might have connections with sites in the area. You might also have a better shot of getting research experience with faculty there if you’re already a student in the program. Again, this all weighs against the debt. The program is pretty expensive. Are there any cheaper master’s programs you can still apply to if you are really intent on getting a terminal degree?

Since your ultimate goal is the PsyD, it isn’t necessary to get a master’s first. It might be a better choice to find a job in the field and work there for a year or two while doing some research so you can improve your application. You will be able to save up money and apply instead of getting yourself into over 60k+ debt.
 

Annakei

Therapist
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2005
328
1
Status
Go straight for the PsyD.

Volunteer consistently for a year or so at a hotline, women's shelter, children's behavioral program etc.

I did the LPC-Licensed Professional Counselor and while I dont regret it there are times I wish I would have went straight, avoided the MA loans and then let my interests fall where they may.

Aside: I have a great job now and it helped refined my interests as opposed to going straight and having no sense of a theoretical basis and identified interests.
 
OP
A
Mar 15, 2010
9
0
Status
Non-Student
There are positions available for students with a bachelor’s in psychology, but I’m not sure if there are many jobs available for people with a non-psychology background for entry-level positions. Hopefully if you hard enough at job opportunities in your area you might be able to find a place that will accept you.

If you want to get clinical experience, I think the best thing to do would be to define your interests and find opportunities in this area in practical work and research. For example, what do you want to study? What population do you want to work with? What are your long-term research goals? (Remember, research is still important in PsyD programs and rest assured that many applicants will have it.)

You can find opportunities for research and clinical work by contacting faculty at Yeshiva, or even other universities in New York. Research their interests and contact those whose interests closely match yours. It is possible to get clinical experience and research experience without having to pay over 60k. With the master’s program, it sounds like you might have an easier time securing placement in the field because if the field placement opportunity integrated in the curriculum and because the university might have connections with sites in the area. You might also have a better shot of getting research experience with faculty there if you’re already a student in the program. Again, this all weighs against the debt. The program is pretty expensive. Are there any cheaper master’s programs you can still apply to if you are really intent on getting a terminal degree?

Since your ultimate goal is the PsyD, it isn’t necessary to get a master’s first. It might be a better choice to find a job in the field and work there for a year or two while doing some research so you can improve your application. You will be able to save up money and apply instead of getting yourself into over 60k+ debt.
I think you're right - I'll have to really focus my search efforts on places where I can volunteer my time and hope that it will be worth something to the next admissions committee that reviews my application.

I've tried contacting professors directly whose work I am interested in, but should probably revisit this. Thanks for the reminder.

If I could find a job in the field, I'd be even better off. Ideas on where to look? Is there a website for jobs in this field, or would that just be too easy?
 
OP
A
Mar 15, 2010
9
0
Status
Non-Student
Go straight for the PsyD.

Volunteer consistently for a year or so at a hotline, women's shelter, children's behavioral program etc.

I did the LPC-Licensed Professional Counselor and while I dont regret it there are times I wish I would have went straight, avoided the MA loans and then let my interests fall where they may.

Aside: I have a great job now and it helped refined my interests as opposed to going straight and having no sense of a theoretical basis and identified interests.
Thanks for the insight on your experience Annakei. Any ideas on where to find volunteer opportunities?
 

Annakei

Therapist
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Mar 20, 2005
328
1
Status
Thanks for the insight on your experience Annakei. Any ideas on where to find volunteer opportunities?
Depends on where you live. Try local nonprofits, city agencies, community mental health centers, suicide hotlines etc.
 

6SAnthony

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 15, 2008
30
0
Washington, DC
Status
Pre-Medical
I would say if you are definite on your desire to go into clinical psych, take the MA offer. It should give you some clinical (and maybe research, I don't know that particular program) experience which should help when you apply again to PsyDs. You said that you wanted to perform research, one thought would be to look at some PhD programs (particularly balanced or more clinical oriented ones) or to look to make sure that the PsyD program has professors researching in that area and some decent research training.
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,518
2,489
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
The challenge with a clinically focused MA is that it won't get you the research experience that you would need, particularly as a non-psych major. Taking on $60k in debt is a lot considering even fully funded programs can require some loans if you are in a high cost area like NYC. I would look for volunteer opportunities and try and strengthen your application that way.

Generally a terminal degree (one that was designed for licensure after completion) is not a great fit for someone looking to go for a doctorate because its focus will be different and less applicable to what you need to be competitive for doctoral training. The money aside, the time spent in the program is also a consideration.

If you are looking at an MA/MS that has more of a research focus, that may be worth the investment. The reason I bring up research is any decent acred. doctoral program will have research requirements, and you'll want some experience so you will be more competitive and you will not drown in the required stats/research of a program.
 

jnine

5+ Year Member
Dec 17, 2009
192
0
Status
Psychology Student
my 2 cents says skip the master's degree. if you live close to NYC, mabye you could contact profs at Yeshiva, explaining your situation and your goals, and asking if it's possible for you to jump on board as a voluenteer research assistant. perhaps you could take one or two courses there per semester nonmatriculated?

im envisioning some kind of ideal situation is where you find out who you'd like to work with at yeshiva- take a class they teach next fall along with mabye one other while you work in their lab as a volunteer. impress the heck out of them by working hard and next year re-apply with these expereinces under your belt.

edit: a professor at U Washington suggested I do something like this prior to officially applying to his program, as a way to address some "deficencies" :rolleyes: in my application.
 
Last edited:
OP
A
Mar 15, 2010
9
0
Status
Non-Student
The challenge with a clinically focused MA is that it won't get you the research experience that you would need, particularly as a non-psych major. Taking on $60k in debt is a lot considering even fully funded programs can require some loans if you are in a high cost area like NYC. I would look for volunteer opportunities and try and strengthen your application that way.

Generally a terminal degree (one that was designed for licensure after completion) is not a great fit for someone looking to go for a doctorate because its focus will be different and less applicable to what you need to be competitive for doctoral training. The money aside, the time spent in the program is also a consideration.

If you are looking at an MA/MS that has more of a research focus, that may be worth the investment. The reason I bring up research is any decent acred. doctoral program will have research requirements, and you'll want some experience so you will be more competitive and you will not drown in the required stats/research of a program.
Thanks for the great advice, Therapist4Chnge. I think you're right about the MA in MHC - it won't ultimately serve my purpose. I've just spent some time on Idealist.org and have already found a multitude of opportunities: a suicide-prevention hotline, community friend, etc. I appreciate the point in the right direction.
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,518
2,489
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
edit: a professor at U Washington suggested I do this when I contacted him about coming to study there, as a way to address some deficencies :rolleyes: in my application.
UW is a legit research university. I'd be happy they thought enough of my application to make some recommendations. I wonder if I could get them to offer my a job after my fellowship (Psy.D. outlier!)...I love the Pacific Northwest! :laugh:
 
Last edited:
OP
A
Mar 15, 2010
9
0
Status
Non-Student
my 2 cents says skip the master's degree. if you live close to NYC, mabye you could contact profs at Yeshiva, explaining your situation and your goals, and asking if it's possible for you to jump on board as a voluenteer research assistant. perhaps you could take one or two courses there per semester nonmatriculated?

im envisioning some kind of ideal situation is where you find out who you'd like to work with at yeshiva- take a class they teach next fall along with mabye one other while you work in their lab as a volunteer. impress the heck out of them by working hard and next year re-apply with these expereinces under your belt.

edit: a professor at U Washington suggested I do this prior to officially applying to his program, as a way to address some "deficencies" :rolleyes: in my application.
Wow, JNine, what great ideas. Maybe in the fall I could take a class or two that they would require a PsyD first-year student to take, make friends with a professor, and offer my volunteer services.

You're right - I need to impress the hell out of these people. Great idea. Thanks for empowering me.
 
Feb 21, 2010
54
0
Status
Psychologist
Hi all,

I need some advice from you.

I am 24, graduated from Smith College, majored in Economics, and am dead-set on entering the field of clinical psychology. Unfortunately, I have no clinical experience and have taken only a few classes in undergrad. I have an unlimited supply of interest in this field.

I applied this year to Yeshiva's PsyD program and was not offered admission. I was, however, offered admission to their MA in Mental Health Counseling. I'm desperate to get out of my current receptionist job and back to school so I can be on my way towards my career. I'm tempted to accept the MA so I can at least get some experience and be a little closer to being a competitive candidate for the PsyD program.

Any thoughts on this being a practical choice? My eventual goal is to obtain a PsyD, perform research in a few focused areas, and then establish a private practice.

Thanks in advance for your input.
I received 30 credits from my masters program for my Psy.D. It is possible to find a non-terminal MA at some schools which will apply for a Psy.D. I do not know your geographic area well, but you can explore your area.
 
OP
A
Mar 15, 2010
9
0
Status
Non-Student
I received 30 credits from my masters program for my Psy.D. It is possible to find a non-terminal MA at some schools which will apply for a Psy.D. I do not know your geographic area well, but you can explore your area.
What type of MA was it? I'm in New York City, and have considered a MA in Psychology, but that seems even more useless (plus, I'd have to wait until next year to apply for that program; and by next year, I plan to reapply for the PsyD program).
 
Feb 21, 2010
54
0
Status
Psychologist
What type of MA was it? I'm in New York City, and have considered a MA in Psychology, but that seems even more useless (plus, I'd have to wait until next year to apply for that program; and by next year, I plan to reapply for the PsyD program).
Actually in some programs a non terminal masters degree can qualify for a masters level license such as LPC. I do not know if they exist in New York. I know that Argosy in Washington DC has a masters in clinical psych that can qualify for licensure as an LPC or LCPC in Maryland. I did a masters in counseling and transferred 30 units. I still lost money and credits. Many APA programs will transfer up to 45 credits from one APA accredited program to another. You may want to find out if you could attend the masters in MHC (Yeshiva) and re apply to their PsyD the next year, transferring your credits in.
 
OP
A
Mar 15, 2010
9
0
Status
Non-Student
Actually in some programs a non terminal masters degree can qualify for a masters level license such as LPC. I do not know if they exist in New York. I know that Argosy in Washington DC has a masters in clinical psych that can qualify for licensure as an LPC or LCPC in Maryland. I did a masters in counseling and transferred 30 units. I still lost money and credits. Many APA programs will transfer up to 45 credits from one APA accredited program to another. You may want to find out if you could attend the masters in MHC (Yeshiva) and re apply to their PsyD the next year, transferring your credits in.
Hi JD,

Good idea to see if credits will transfer from MHC to PsyD at Yeshiva. I know several people reapply after one year and are guaranteed an interview - might be worth looking into. I'm also considering taking one class next semester as a non-matriculating student - but only if it will transfer and is considered to be equal in value and challenge. Thoughts?
 
Feb 21, 2010
54
0
Status
Psychologist
Hi JD,

Good idea to see if credits will transfer from MHC to PsyD at Yeshiva. I know several people reapply after one year and are guaranteed an interview - might be worth looking into. I'm also considering taking one class next semester as a non-matriculating student - but only if it will transfer and is considered to be equal in value and challenge. Thoughts?
I think that you can make sure to take courses that the program says they will transfer in to the PsyD. They probably will tell you courses that they never give transfer credit for, so avoid a similar class in the MHC program. Show them what a great student you are and you should get in the next year. Check other local PsyD programs for transfer options as well, to keep your options open next year. Good luck
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,518
2,489
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
I think that you can make sure to take courses that the program says they will transfer in to the PsyD. They probably will tell you courses that they never give transfer credit for, so avoid a similar class in the MHC program. Show them what a great student you are and you should get in the next year. Check other local PsyD programs for transfer options as well, to keep your options open next year. Good luck
Agreed.

Many MHC classes don't match up well with clinical classes, so definitely compare classes and syllabi at possible programs before taking the classes. I've seen more success transferring classes in from MA/MS programs in Clinical or Experimental psychology.
 
Apr 2, 2010
13
0
Status
I am in a similar situation. I did not apply to Yeshiva's doctorate, but did get into their MHC program. I am now trying to decide between this, Immaculata PsyD, Alliant San Diego PsyD, and New School MA. Here is what the Yeshiva website says about credit transfers.

"If I come to the MA program and then get into one of the doctoral programs do all of the credits transfer?

A. Yes, all graduate credits taken at Ferkauf will transfer to a doctoral program here at Ferkauf, however, it is critical to note that this does not guarantee that you would subsequently then finish the doctoral program earlier or quicker than others entering the doctoral program. The sequencing of the courses for each of the doctoral programs is very lock-step, so you can only take certain classes after you have completed previous coursework so the program would still require 5 years for completion."

"Qualified graduates of the MHC program receive an interview when appropriate for consideration of admission to Ph.D. and Psy.D. specialty programs in Clinical, Clinical Health, and School/Clinical Child Psychology at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology."
 
Sep 14, 2010
3
0
Status
MD/PhD Student
I just graduated with a BA in Psychology in 2010 and have been trying to come to a decision between applying to MHC, MSW, and PsyD programs. My GPA was 3.9 and I have field related undergrad research experience I did in a CNS (cognitive, neurological, and sensory) lab as well. I'm not entirely sure how competitive of an applicant I am seeing as how everyone is going back to school, and I'm also not sure which program would benefit me or my personal goals long-term. I ended up taking a slot in a MHC (mental health counseling) program where I currently live, here in Florida, as a result of my overwhelming confusion! Not to say that this is not the right place for me as it very well may be but I did feel pressured to choose something, anything in the related field as not to remain idle!? I cannot seem to get the straight forward answers to the following questions:
How, other than becoming an educator, would a PhD benefit someone in the counseling profession?
Is a MA in clinical psychology better than a MA in MHC when it comes to job oppertunity?
Is a PsyD program well suited for someone who is not exceedingly research driven?

I'm ultimately looking to become a therapist/counselor in a private practice (and hopefully someday my own practice). I've searched many websites and found a mix of LPC, PhD, PsyD, and LCSWs holding this position. I realize this is a competitive field, so I expect to hold other jobs prior to attaining this goal. I'm most interested in marriage and family and couples therapy, possibly school counseling and mental health issues as well. While I'm certainly not going into this field for the money, I would like to be able to search out a degree that will meet the expense of a comfortable lifestyle.

I prefer the “clinical” based coursework found in most PsyD programs and I feel that these programs may better prepare me for individualized counseling which is my passion, but are the additional years in academia worth it? Can I really do what I want to do as an LPC or MHC? Will I feel limited by this degree? Will an MA program equip me to “successfully“open a private practice? I plan on living in Florida, Hawaii¸ California, or Washington D.C., and cannot make sense of all this alphabet soup i.e., LPC, PhD, PsyD, LCSW, MHC!!!!!!!
I realize the licensure is relative to the individual state laws however, any feedback on the clout and reciprocity behind the individual degrees would be so greatly appreciated, truly.