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MSW or Masters in Counseling Psychology?


New Member
May 20, 2009
    I am trying to decide what would be the best career path for me to take...I will soon be graduating with a BA in Psychology, and would like to get my masters (after taking 1 year off to do service). I am hoping that some grad schools will allow you to defer your acceptance for a year so that I can apply and be all set before doing my year of service...Any thoughts on this?

    The main decision that I need to make here is between going for my MSW or a masters in counseling psychology. I hear mixed messages about which is better/more prestigious, more marketable, and which is an overall better degree. Personally, I am not positive about what area of counseling I would like to go into. I have always been interested in perhaps high school guidance counseling or working in a college counseling center. I have a passion for making others feel better about themselves, see things in perspective, and learn stress-relieving techniques etc so that they can achieve true happiness. One day, I may like to have a private practice. I'm also very interested in mindfulness and cognitive-behavioral therapy...The reason I am unsure about which path to take, is because I often think of social work jobs as less of a 1 on 1 or group counseling role...but I hear there are more options and flexibility with social work?

    Lastly, I would love to go to grad school in either the San Diego, CA area (I've considered programs at San Diego State University, UCLA, and CA State University at Long Beach) or in the Massachusetts area (perhaps Boston University, Boston College, Bridgewater state, Smith etc).

    So, that's my story...sorry for it to be so long! I truly appreciate any help, advice, or tips on any of the topics that I have mentioned. Thanks so much!


    Full Member
    10+ Year Member
    Apr 28, 2008
    1. Psychology Student
      You can do one-on-one work with an MSW (if you're licensed as an LCSW/LISW). In fact, my college counseling center has several MSWs working there, so it's definitely a possibility (it's common for LCSWs to work in that kind of environment). HS counseling is a little bit different, but you can also do so (I know an MSW that moved from an agency setting to working as a high school GC). You'd have to look at particular programs to determine if they teach mindfulness and CBT (CBT is more common).

      As for where you want to go to school... why not do Smith's MSW program if you can afford it? Classes in MA, get a placement in CA!

      I do find your term "true happiness" to be interesting, but I think it's just because I'm old and cynical.
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