Jul 20, 2009
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I'm a 30-year-old female; I have a MSW and have been on the field for three years now. I work with Severely Mentally Ill adult outpatient population, I love what I do but I am eager to learn more about people's behavior, personality, testing etc... which is why I'm applying for the PsyD program. My main concerns are:
Money; Is the PsyD program going to cost me about 200K (tuition and cost of living, since I'm applying out of state)?
GRE; I have not started studying yet, how long will it take for me to get 1000 and up score ( English is my second language)
MSW vs PsyD; I know there is no comparison when it comes between knowledge you get through MSW vs PsyD, but is the time, money and personal plans (marriage and kids put on hold)worth it?
Thank-you in advance
:)
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Oct 7, 2006
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You need to look at the practical gains of a doctoral degree vs. an MA/MS level degree.

What are your career goals?
Can you do everything you want to do with your MSW, or is more education required?
What sacrafices/changes would addition education require?

There are probably another half dozen questions, but you get the idea. If you are looking to do strictly private practice, I'd probably stick with the MSW, as a doctoral degree requires dedication to a number of different areas in addition to therapy.
 

Markp

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Nov 19, 2007
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I'm a 30-year-old female; I have a MSW and have been on the field for three years now. I work with Severely Mentally Ill adult outpatient population, I love what I do but I am eager to learn more about people's behavior, personality, testing etc... which is why I'm applying for the PsyD program. My main concerns are:
Money; Is the PsyD program going to cost me about 200K (tuition and cost of living, since I'm applying out of state)?
GRE; I have not started studying yet, how long will it take for me to get 1000 and up score ( English is my second language)
MSW vs PsyD; I know there is no comparison when it comes between knowledge you get through MSW vs PsyD, but is the time, money and personal plans (marriage and kids put on hold)worth it?
Thank-you in advance
:)
I think if you look carefully at the opportunity costs, it may be difficult to justify. $200k is a LOT of debt, so you better be able to either have it paid off for you, or have a plan to recoup the difference relatively quickly. We are talking about a lot of money each month, as much as $1500-2000/month. If you do get one of the loan repayment deals that you will be contributing at least 10% of your income to debt, and if you get married, it will be 10% of your household income. You are almost guaranteeing a life of relatively low income by pursuing this path, money isn't everything, but it is sure nice to have.

To put this in perspective for you, you could take the same money, attend Georgetown law and graduate from a program where the AVERAGE salary is $160k per year to start and it would only take 3 years!

When you finish your Psy.D. you will be lucky to find an internship that pays more than $40k per year and post internship you will be lucky to make in excess of $70-$80k per year in even the most generous settings. There are ways to pay your debt down, but they require compromises and commitments that you may or may not want to lock yourself into. The deal with the devil I made was committing to 11 years of military service in order to have no debt and a high (by comparison to other early career psychologists) salary. So it is possible to set yourself up... My path is full of "compromises" that most people would find untenable, for you, you might find working for a non-profit or other government entity satisfying and through that pay your loans. Be very careful at this point and plan for your future, because the decisions you make today will have long term implications that you will be forced to acknowledge many years down the road.

With that, I wish you the best of luck finding the path that suits you best.

Mark
 

LMK

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The PsyD is going to cost you a lot of money, regardless of if you're applying in-state or out of state, unless you are looking at state schools (as opposed to professional schools). $200k depends on if you're taking grad PLUS loans - you can take $33,500 - $37.5K (depending on the school) in sub/unsub loans per year, and most people don't usually take loans for the fifth year because that's your internship year and that's paid - though not usually really well. You may also be able to transfer some of your MSW credits and accelerate any program you're in and do it in 4 instead of 5 years.

As to if you should do the doctorate or not, that's a very personal decision and depends on what your goals are, etc. The extra letters give you more respect and open a few more doors than the MSW does, but it's up to you if the gain is worth the costs (financial, time, and emotional). Good luck.
 

Neuropsych2be

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I think you should ask yourself what this degree means to you. A doctorate in clinical psychology will give you the highest level of training of any of the mental health disciplines. MSW level training is qualitatively and qualitatively different than that of a clinical psychologist. Social workers have a great deal of training in public advocacy and helping clients navigate their way through social services and/or the legal system etc.. Social workers can make very good therapists. But the two professions are not really comparable and LCSW training is not equal to that of a clinical psychologist. Also, being a clinical psychologist is vastly more than simply being a psychotherapist. I think you should ask yourself what you wish to do with a Psy.D. or Ph.D. I chose clinical psychology because I don't identify with the profession of social work and because the things I wish to do with my degree are different.
 
OP
S
Jul 20, 2009
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Thank you very much about your opinions. I'm single and I have no financial support but loans I'll take for school plus $30K I already have from my MSW. I'm also going to Adler school in Chicago which is very expensive, I think working towards the PsyD program is worth my time, and effort; I'm still debating the money part since it will be a lot of money. Am I going to be able to pay the monthly student loans and have a comfortable life? Is this a smart decision? Should I go part time? I have so many questions and I'm very confused about the decision I need to take.
 

thewesternsky

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Am I going to be able to pay the monthly student loans and have a comfortable life?
You're the only one who can make this decision... But let me walk you through some numbers.

The current cost of Adler's PsyD program, in tuition and fees, is currently about $94 000 (according to their website). Tuition is increasing at a rate of 6% a year, so let's say the program ends up costing you $100 000 by the time you're done. We'll add your $30 000 in existing student loans, and we have $130 000 in student loan debt.

Average time to completion for Adler's program (full-time) is 4-5 years. Let's be optimistic and say you finish in 4. Since your income while you're attending school full-time will be essentially 0, we need to add four years of cost-of-living to your loans. If you're renting an apartment, average rent will be about $1000/month. Add food, clothing, transit, etc. Let's lowball this and say you can do it for $20 000 a year. Times 4, that's $80 000. Add your tuition loans and we have a grand total of $210 000 in debt, minimally.

While salaries for practicing clinicians can be high, they generally start low. The APA puts median salary for private-practice doctoral-level clinicians in their first 5 years out of school at $57,500. (There are settings where it is higher, but the first five years will be rough in a lot of employment settings). Remember, your debt load at this point is $210 000. You do the math.

Best of luck in your decision. I know learning more is exciting, and this PsyD program sounds interesting... but based on your current financial circumstances, it may not be the best move for you.
 
Jul 13, 2009
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Psychology Student
I think what you are looking into is a wonderful idea!

I did a BSW as one of my degrees in undergrad - I think my previous education helps me more critically examine many practices within psychology (which I think is helpful).

As for funding, make sure to check out the public loan forgiveness program and the income-based repayment (IBR) plan at

http://www.ibrinfo.org/what.vp.html#pslf

Rutgers has a strong PSYD program (and a strong MSW program too, so you could pull a social work faculty onto your dissertation committee).

Good luck!

Thank you very much about your opinions. I'm single and I have no financial support but loans I'll take for school plus $30K I already have from my MSW. I'm also going to Adler school in Chicago which is very expensive, I think working towards the PsyD program is worth my time, and effort; I'm still debating the money part since it will be a lot of money. Am I going to be able to pay the monthly student loans and have a comfortable life? Is this a smart decision? Should I go part time? I have so many questions and I'm very confused about the decision I need to take.