Hi all! I am new to this forum. In fact, this is the first forum I have ever joined or posted on, so please, bear with me. The thing is, I cannot decide if I want to earn a Master's in mental health counseling or if I want to earn a doctorate in psychology. The former would enable me to become a LMHC, while I would become a clinical psychologist with the latter. I do worry about job prospects and future earnings, particularly in respect to the cost of obtaining each degree. I know that the Master's programs are not generally funded, but are psychology PhD or PsyD programs funded? In fact, how does paying for a doctorate work? I am currently living in NY, which is also where I hope to stay, if that makes it easier to conceptualize my situation. I also love school, the academic environment, research, and the like, so that is not the issue (in fact, it may be part of the problem! ). Unfortunately, I also have plenty of student debt so far (upwards of $85,000), due to an unfortunate decision earlier in my 20's (I'm 25) to embark on an impractical and poor career path. I am now settled and confident in my decision to enter the mental health field, but I am also uncertain of the pros and cons of being a LMHC (in NYS) vs. being a clinical psychologist--on top of the other aforementioned practical worries in regards to the education needed for each. I was hoping people on here might be able to give me some advice or insight. Also, has anyone gotten a Master's in mental health counseling (or similar degree) and then gone back to school for a doctorate? Was it hard? Is it even possible? I hope this post was not too hopelessly convoluted or asking too much. Did I mentioned I was new at this? Thanks in advance for your assistance!