MA-level counseling

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by tears for susan, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. tears for susan

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    I have this problem where i change mind about what i want to do every passing day.

    Two months ago, I was going to do a psy.d
    Then I decided I/O psych was interesting
    Last week I decided to pursue teaching at a CC via a general psych/research MS degree
    But after sitting in a couple of counseling sessions (I am experiencing a stressful quarter-life crisis right now) I am so motivated to go into counseling! This may be initial excitement bound to dissipate however.

    I obviously still have alot of thinking to do, but I think I would very much enjoy counseling college-age students, as well as others. I am experiencing this quarter life crisis right now, and I would love to help others through it as well! Also, I cant imagine myself doing full time desk work like i may end up doing with another type psych degree.

    My question is, how realistic is it that I can have a good job with an MA degree in counseling (MFT)? I have heard of rumors that short-term MA level counseling is being trumped by those at the doctoral level; that MA counselors are less likely to have viable careers in the future. Although I have also heard that because of the lesser cost to the client and usefullness of short term counseling, there is still going to be strong future opportunity for MA level counselors. I would appreciate some opinions on the matter.

    Short term counseling, commonly found in places such as univeristy clinics, seems to be the most ideal for me right now. However, I am also interested in exploring more specific options such as substance use/abuse and career counseling.
     
  2. WannaBeDrMe

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    There are at least a half dozen threads on this topic that have been updated within the last 24 hrs.

    That being said, I think it's natural to go through phases of exploration when deciding what it is that's a good fit for a career. I think very few people know what it is they want to do in a steadfast and certain kind of way. Still, you have to make sure you know yourself well enough to know if there's a point where you will ever settle on just one career path or if you are a person who seeks constant change.

    There are places for both kinds of people in the world and knowing which one you are now will save you a lot of stress in the long run.

    For example, small town America is a bad place for those who like to change a lot. Most of those people will have the same job or at least work in the same field right out of school as they do in retirement. DC, however, is a totally different animal. Almost everyone's resume is built out of short stints in one position. Legislative assistant, staff assistant, non-profit development coordinator, intern, legislative assistant again, etc.

    I think right now is a great time for you to addres that topic since you are already in therapy with a counselor. Just talk it out and see what your preferences are for the long term. I'm the kind of person who would definitely fit in better in a DC, short-term atmosphere. As much as I might love my coworkers at any given time, I can't imagine staying somewhere forever... but maybe I just haven't found that place yet.

    Also, a straight counseling degree will not get you an MFT. Only a degree in marriage and family therapy will get you a LMFT credential. The programs around me for MFT are very specific curriculum-wise and have nearly twice as many credit hours as counseling. I'm pretty sure the MFT program @ my undergrad school had more credit hours than my MSW program (over 60) while the counseling programs I know of in my state have between 36-48.

    As for the other questions, those answers are present within the other threads. Good luck with your decision.
     
  3. WannaBeDrMe

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    PS, not that you asked, but my advice for the jobs thing... why not just do all of those things?

    I plan on providing outpatient services, doing some administrative work/community trainings at non-profits, still publishing, doing some advocacy/legislative stuff, and teaching.

    You don't have to choose just one path!
     
  4. tears for susan

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    This is very true, and i think i am the guy who is going to need to change careers many times. My is concern the money investment i need to put in. Master's degrees or any other type of vocational training is expensive, particularly if you are going to end up not liking the job outcome. So I guess its all about money. I dont want to invest if i think the job outcome will make me miserable.
     
  5. WannaBeDrMe

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    I don't see how you need different degrees to do all of those things. Choose a clinical program and focus your research in the field of organizational/behavioral concepts and work in whatever else you want to do...
     
  6. Charva

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    Not to rain on your parade, but if you are really concerned with your marketability, why not become a psychiatric nurse practitioner?

    I am interested in grief counseling (IADC) and struggled with the question of whether to abandon my nursing studies for psychology or try to find a niche in nursing and stick with it. After talking to some people in the "bidness" I found a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) to be the right fit for me. I was told psychology as we know it is a dying profession. As a psychNP, not only are you qualified to give counseling, but you can diagnose mentall illnesses and prescribe medications. You may have a strong aversion to any kind of psychotropic medication, and I agree these meds. can be overprescribed and abused, but they can also be a life saver for those suffering with mental illness...anyway, I know this isn't a debate about meds., but when you can diagnose, prescribe and treat you will be much more employable in a larger variety of settings than with just a degree in psychology or counseling, and you will be able to offer counseling services.

    I don't know what the pay for a counselor is, but the specialty of a psychiatricNP can be very lucrative. No, it shouldn't be all about money but if you are having trouble finding a job as a mental health counselor you may have to settle for processing food stamp applications down at the social services office and you will get stuck in a rut. At the nursing home where I work (I'm currently a registered nurse) we have a psychNP who makes rounds at the nursing home a couple of times a month (he travels the area) and his salary is over 100k, and that's in a rural area.

    It is a rich field that integrates nursing/psychology/medicine and one which will continue to grow.
     
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  7. tears for susan

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    It seems like a highly valued and versatile field, but I am not interested in all of those duties. Counselors have a different place. For instance, I am aiming to do short term counseling in a university clinic... the psychiatricNP would not be appropriate for that position.

    BTW psychology as we know it is not dying as a profession, but merely evolving.
     
  8. tears for susan

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    Does anyone know the requirements for becoming a career counselor? I dont believe licensure is involved... how many provisional/supervised hours do I need to complete after earning an MA in counseling?
     
  9. Therapist4Chnge

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    It seems that these jobs are filled by clinical psychologists (as it is a popular place for training and early psychologists).
     
  10. xenobart

    xenobart MSW 2010
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    I don't know the specifics, but I'm pretty sure you can get a certificate in career counseling after getting your masters in a mental health field.
     
  11. biogirl215

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    Mostly true but most university counseling centers have a good number of LPCs/MSWs as well.
     
  12. alleycatpsych

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    does anyone know the requirements to be a psychiatric nurse practitioner?
     
  13. WannaBeDrMe

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    Depends, I was a career counselor in SC with no official certification and only my bachelor's degree. I worked in public and private settings.

    In NC, however, you could work @ Voc Rehab, in a college career center, in the public schools, or with private agencies and ALL would have different requirements.

    All require master's degrees... voc rehab prefers master's in rehabilitation counseling... college career center prefers masters in adult counseling, general counseling, or student affairs, public schools want school counseling with the vocational/tech add on licensure or just a masters in vocational/tech/career and private agencies, i don't think it matters... just company specific.

    I'm sure it varies but these are the most recent ads I can remember seeing as I've been perusing the job sites over the last year.
     
  14. WannaBeDrMe

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    Actually, the psychiatric NP IS highly appropriate for that population and probably more likely to get hired than a counselor.

    The psychiatric NP can do therapy and medication... a counselor, psychologist, or social worker can not.

    With budgets decreasing by the milisecond... why wouldn't they hire someone who can cover 2 areas of need for the same amount of pay or slightly more?

    I'm not knocking the others, b/c obviously, I'm a social worker... but it is not easy to get positions at the state level or even in private university clinics. T4C is correct in that a lot of those positions are filled with doctoral level clinicians.

    There are some master's level clinicians hired but go to any college's site and read the bios if available... you'll see that these are very experienced, typically, and have a specialized niche...

    A good clinician is a good clinician...so I'm of thre mindset that if you have something to offer, you'll get the job regardless of your degree... then again, I'm unemployed.
     
  15. tears for susan

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    That is so interesting because I spoke with the career counselor at my university and she said she has a BA in political science, and an MA in education.
    It may be a job I want to consider doing but am planning on getting my masters in general/research psych to teach at a CC. Picking a type of degree frustrates me because I am worried i will be stuck in one area dependent on my degree type (and I really dont want to do an office or research job).

     
  16. WannaBeDrMe

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    yeah, I guess it just depends. I've applied for several because I thought that with my former years of experience as a professional job counselor that I'd have a leg up on the competition... but, I didn't, ha.

    I've applied at state universities, private college, and community colleges... all for career center positions. I thought they would be easier to get than clinical positions but I guess I just didn't have what they were looking for at that time.
     

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