Quantcast
This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

rubyredphd

New Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
0

Members don't see this ad.
Good morning all. My first post on here, and let me preface that with my painstaking review of current posts to find an answer to my question. I'm in need of some advice as I apply to various Doctorate in Psychology Programs.

I'm in my early 40s, have a MBA and decent GPA in both undergrad and grad, and have spent the majority of my career in Human Resources (and I'm also a mother of two and entrepreneur that started a pet care biz). Needless to say, I'm not a traditional applicant! I started my undergrad studies in psychology, talked myself into pursuing a more practical career in business, but can't shake the desire to pursue psychology and a doctorate. I feel like its 'now or never'.

Having said this, I know that I have zero chance for admission in a Tier 1, 2, or 3 school. However, I would still like to apply to an APA accredited program, even at schools such as Fielding and AUNE. Many of you that are established in your careers have provided extremely valuable feedback on well-regarded and subpar programs, how they impact your ability to place in an internship, etc. What is especially impactful is the feedback on ROI and advice given to more traditional students (i.e. why would you spend $100K+ for an education that isn't accredited by the APA, leading to massive debt and limited internship/employment prospects?). I unequivocally agree with this stance, but know that my only shot to pursue this is likely applying (and being accepted to) a subpar program that is, at the very least, APA accredited.

For someone like me that is looking to pursue this as a late passion and late career prospect (knowing full well that I may not actually enter the field until 50+ years old), does this make sense? I'm just trying to gauge whether it makes more sense to instead pursue the MA degree. Just to add more specifics, I reside in CT so am limited to New England/New York and/or distance learning programs. I am also interested in a concentration in forensic psychology.

Any insight that anyone could provide would be extremely helpful. Please note that, with a very decent collective income (both hubby and me) and having been pretty frugal throughout my life, I'm not averse to dealing with some significant debt and having to struggle a bit to find an internships and employment. Also, not pursuing this for a big salary as my end goal. This is truly a passion that I can't shake and don't want to spend the rest of my life regretting that I didn't act on this desire. Thank you for reading :) Feedback, Advice, Criticism, and Downright Disbelief are all welcome. No sugarcoating needed. I'm really seeking direct and honest feedback here!
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2006
Messages
22,104
Reaction score
3,634
1. Online education is not a feasible option for doctoral training in clinical psychology. There have been a plethora of threads about the concerns and limitations related to online training programs.

2. Forensic work is the deep end of the pool. Credentials matter, and attending a weak program can make securing work very difficult. The jobs that are more easily available tend to be high turnover and much less desirable work.
 

smalltownpsych

Psychologist
7+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2014
Messages
4,778
Reaction score
4,726
My big question is why do you want to be a psychologist? Related to this although this might be harder to answer at this point is what do you see yourself doing as a psychologist?

Also, if you are passionate about the field of psychology enough to consider the highest degree in the field, then money should be a factor for a number of reasons. I sometimes think that for every psychologist there are maybe five to ten people who would like to be one.
 

pediatric_psydoc

Child and Adolescent Psychologist
5+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 2, 2017
Messages
229
Reaction score
203
I am in an APA accredited PsyD program and I will be starting at an APA accredited internship in August. So I am in no way an expert :) but maybe I can give a few helpful suggestions since I have been through the internship match process.

It is absolutely essential that you attend an APA accredited doctoral program. No doubt about that. Most internship sites that are APA accredited will not consider applicants from doctoral programs that are not APA accredited. In addition, it is difficult to become licensed in some states if your program was not accredited. If you want to have the option of board certification by ABPP, then you should have attended an APA accredited doctoral program and an APA accredited internship. If you look at postings for post docs, most also want graduates of APA accredited doctoral programs and internships. So you don't want a bunch of doors closed before your training begins by attending a program that is not accredited by the APA.

I can understand not being averse to having debt, but you don't want to have to struggle to match for an internship or find employment. Your life will be smoother to go the APA route. Often times, PsyD schools are interested in having applicants from nontraditional backgrounds such as yours. That is assuming you are okay with focusing your career on clinical practice rather than research. It is not impossible to do research as a PsyD student, and I sought opportunities to do so and was able to get publications that way.

I don't have information on forensics, as my focus is child clinical psychology, but I do hope to shift my training to pediatric starting at post doc. If you are interested in these areas, you can PM me if you have questions.

Hope this is helpful.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 

rubyredphd

New Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
My big question is why do you want to be a psychologist? Related to this although this might be harder to answer at this point is what do you see yourself doing as a psychologist?

Also, if you are passionate about the field of psychology enough to consider the highest degree in the field, then money should be a factor for a number of reasons. I sometimes think that for every psychologist there are maybe five to ten people who would like to be one.

smalltownpsych - Great questions and, being totally honest here, not sure that I have great, clear-cut answers. I wanted to be a psychologist from a young age with a more clinical focus. Given my years of experience in HR (and dealing with criminal and unethical behavior, being a counselor of sorts, and delving into legal matters), I find forensic psychology incredibly appealing. When I research different career paths in this area, there are a number that sound compelling to me - working in the prison system or a mental health facility, consulting as an expert and assisting law enforcement. I also find forensic assessment particular appealing - assessing psychopathology, criminal behavior, likelihood of repeat offense, improving outcomes, etc. Another avenue I've considered is social work within the same realm. I just find myself wanting to further study, connect with, and assist those with psychopathic tendencies/mood disorders. I feel 'empty' in my current career and want to make a greater impact in some fashion.

Honestly, I'm not dead-set on pursuing a PsyD or PhD. Just doing my due diligence at this point and seeing what graduate programs are out there that might be a good fit or make more sense for someone in my situation. Maybe a MSW (Master's Social Work) is worth pursuing as well. This forum is extremely helpful in this aspect. I appreciate your feedback!
 

rubyredphd

New Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
I am in an APA accredited PsyD program and I will be starting at an APA accredited internship in August. So I am in no way an expert :) but maybe I can give a few helpful suggestions since I have been through the internship match process.

Hope this is helpful.

Thank you, Sabine. Yes, this was incredibly helpful and affirming :)

Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 

Fan_of_Meehl

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 22, 2014
Messages
1,476
Reaction score
2,709
Good morning all. My first post on here, and let me preface that with my painstaking review of current posts to find an answer to my question. I'm in need of some advice as I apply to various Doctorate in Psychology Programs.

I'm in my early 40s, have a MBA and decent GPA in both undergrad and grad, and have spent the majority of my career in Human Resources (and I'm also a mother of two and entrepreneur that started a pet care biz). Needless to say, I'm not a traditional applicant! I started my undergrad studies in psychology, talked myself into pursuing a more practical career in business, but can't shake the desire to pursue psychology and a doctorate. I feel like its 'now or never'.

Having said this, I know that I have zero chance for admission in a Tier 1, 2, or 3 school. However, I would still like to apply to an APA accredited program, even at schools such as Fielding and AUNE. Many of you that are established in your careers have provided extremely valuable feedback on well-regarded and subpar programs, how they impact your ability to place in an internship, etc. What is especially impactful is the feedback on ROI and advice given to more traditional students (i.e. why would you spend $100K+ for an education that isn't accredited by the APA, leading to massive debt and limited internship/employment prospects?). I unequivocally agree with this stance, but know that my only shot to pursue this is likely applying (and being accepted to) a subpar program that is, at the very least, APA accredited.

For someone like me that is looking to pursue this as a late passion and late career prospect (knowing full well that I may not actually enter the field until 50+ years old), does this make sense? I'm just trying to gauge whether it makes more sense to instead pursue the MA degree. Just to add more specifics, I reside in CT so am limited to New England/New York and/or distance learning programs. I am also interested in a concentration in forensic psychology.

Any insight that anyone could provide would be extremely helpful. Please note that, with a very decent collective income (both hubby and me) and having been pretty frugal throughout my life, I'm not averse to dealing with some significant debt and having to struggle a bit to find an internships and employment. Also, not pursuing this for a big salary as my end goal. This is truly a passion that I can't shake and don't want to spend the rest of my life regretting that I didn't act on this desire. Thank you for reading :) Feedback, Advice, Criticism, and Downright Disbelief are all welcome. No sugarcoating needed. I'm really seeking direct and honest feedback here!

Anecdotally, there were two grad students in their late 40's/ early 50's in my cohort when I went through a university-based PhD clinical psych program in the 90's. Both were engineers before jumping careers and, with full tuition remission, I suppose it worked out okay for them financially. Still anecdotal, but possible.
 

smalltownpsych

Psychologist
7+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 24, 2014
Messages
4,778
Reaction score
4,726
smalltownpsych - Great questions and, being totally honest here, not sure that I have great, clear-cut answers. I wanted to be a psychologist from a young age with a more clinical focus. Given my years of experience in HR (and dealing with criminal and unethical behavior, being a counselor of sorts, and delving into legal matters), I find forensic psychology incredibly appealing. When I research different career paths in this area, there are a number that sound compelling to me - working in the prison system or a mental health facility, consulting as an expert and assisting law enforcement. I also find forensic assessment particular appealing - assessing psychopathology, criminal behavior, likelihood of repeat offense, improving outcomes, etc. Another avenue I've considered is social work within the same realm. I just find myself wanting to further study, connect with, and assist those with psychopathic tendencies/mood disorders. I feel 'empty' in my current career and want to make a greater impact in some fashion.

Honestly, I'm not dead-set on pursuing a PsyD or PhD. Just doing my due diligence at this point and seeing what graduate programs are out there that might be a good fit or make more sense for someone in my situation. Maybe a MSW (Master's Social Work) is worth pursuing as well. This forum is extremely helpful in this aspect. I appreciate your feedback!
Appreciate the homest answer and from what you are saying, it does sound like an MSW might be the better fit. It is extremely difficult to become a forensic psychologist and it requires a level of dedication that might be more than what you want to devote at this point. Much of what you describe is available to a MSW and some of what you describe requires more specialization and training than the average clinical psychologist which is a lot to start with.
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2014
Messages
1,005
Reaction score
835
I agree that a MSW would likely meet your interests/needs at this point and allow you to do the type of work you want to do. And you'll have better chances of getting into a decent quality brick and mortar MSW program than a PhD program given your background and location restrictions. Also if you did pursue the doctoral path you would almost certainly have to entertain the idea of uprooting for internship - your current geographical location is pretty competitive I think. Plus a doctoral program (even a PsyD) would require some research and doesn't sound like that's an interest, so I'd def look into the master's route if I were in your position. Well-trained social workers do a really wide range of really cool clinical work. And maybe getting involved in some advocacy programs or working with a prison population would help scratch the forensic itch without the extra training beyond the PhD to pursue the forensic psychologist route.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Sendtrees

Full Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2010
Messages
113
Reaction score
56
It wasn't clear at first whether your passion was for getting a doctorate or the work, but it seems more like the latter--that's good. But if that's the case, would it feel all right to you going into a third-tier program? Do you not think your training would suffer? You may not be as uncompetitive as you think for a decent PsyD program (I would think twice about taking on that debt, though).

If you find that your prospects come down to a choice between a highly regarded MSW program or a 3rd or 4th tier doctoral program, choose the MSW in a hot second.
 

rubyredphd

New Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2017
Messages
5
Reaction score
0
Thank you smalltownpsych / singasongofjoy / Sendtrees. That puts a lot in perspective for me. I appreciate it deeply!
 

PsyDr

Psychologist
Lifetime Donor
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 18, 2005
Messages
4,263
Reaction score
5,892
smalltownpsych - Great questions and, being totally honest here, not sure that I have great, clear-cut answers. I wanted to be a psychologist from a young age with a more clinical focus. Given my years of experience in HR (and dealing with criminal and unethical behavior, being a counselor of sorts, and delving into legal matters), I find forensic psychology incredibly appealing. When I research different career paths in this area, there are a number that sound compelling to me - working in the prison system or a mental health facility, consulting as an expert and assisting law enforcement. I also find forensic assessment particular appealing - assessing psychopathology, criminal behavior, likelihood of repeat offense, improving outcomes, etc. Another avenue I've considered is social work within the same realm. I just find myself wanting to further study, connect with, and assist those with psychopathic tendencies/mood disorders. I feel 'empty' in my current career and want to make a greater impact in some fashion.

Honestly, I'm not dead-set on pursuing a PsyD or PhD. Just doing my due diligence at this point and seeing what graduate programs are out there that might be a good fit or make more sense for someone in my situation. Maybe a MSW (Master's Social Work) is worth pursuing as well. This forum is extremely helpful in this aspect. I appreciate your feedback!


1) you're talking about the most competitive field in the most competitive market in the USA. Credentials matter a great deal in forensics. In the past there was less of an emphasis, but as the field develops this is becoming more of a thing. Even resnick lives in New Mexico, so moving to a backwoods place to make up for lesser credentials is less of a thing. In Ivy country, there's no reason to hire an expert with lesser cred. An online school would be meaningless.

2) I don't think you really understand what the daybto day business of forensics is. Almost no one consults law enforcement. Go ahead and call them up. They swear they know what they are doing better than a psychologist because they went to a conference (true story). Most criminals and the resulting behaviors are very simple. When incarcerated, it's no surprise that a such a person experiences negative emotional responses.

3) usually when people say psychopath, they are referring to the Hannibal lecter trope. Doesn't happen.
 
Top