IAmNonTraditional

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I would love to be a clinical psychologist who works in a private practice. I have a BA from a liberal arts school that's (non-psych degree), however, I have several (5) psychology courses on my transcripts. I am sure this question is often asked, but, I was hoping that someone could point me in the direction of how best to proceed, do I need to take more undergrad courses? Do I need to get my Masters? Can I do it online without hamstringing myself? s a PsyD inferior to a PhD when it pretains to clinical psych, or is the only real difference in research (I prefer to work with people in a clinical psych setting).
 
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summerbabe

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This is a great resource which will likely answer many of your questions:
http://mitch.web.unc.edu/files/2017/02/MitchGradSchoolAdvice.pdf

do I need to take more undergrad courses?
Probably not. Everybody is required to take foundational psych courses in any PhD program. Your biggest gap will be not having a research background that would suggest that you'll be successful in completing a thesis and a dissertation on a typical PhD timeline. While you will continue to develop research skills throughout a PhD, having a a strong foundation is a must for a funded PhD.
Do I need to get my Masters? Can I do it online without hamstringing myself?
There are also postbac research opportunities, some full-time paid, some part-time paid, and some volunteer where you can become involved in a lab and hopefully contribute to journal articles and poster submissions. If you do a Master's, make sure there's a strong research component involved, such as a required original thesis.

I'd avoid an online degree. Every reputable clinical psych PhD programs is a brick and mortar operation so why diverge from this model? It would also be really hard to get the type of research mentoring in an online program that would set you up for future success.
I would love to be a clinical psychologist who works in a private practice.
If you're not aware, Master's degrees such as LCSW, MFT, LMHC, etc will also allow you to provide private practice therapy. Good luck!
 
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IAmNonTraditional

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Thank you so so much! Regarding online, I meant my masters only, I think I will have to maintain my job, and I was curious if I could still work, get my masters and then get leave work to get my PhD, as I would have a stipend. After reading this, it sounds as if getting my PhD is probably better as I may not have to face debt.
 
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summerbabe

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Regarding online, I meant my masters only, I think I will have to maintain my job, and I was curious if I could still work, get my masters and then get leave work to get my PhD
Sorry I wasn't more clear originally but no, an online Master's is not likely to get you any further because you're in need of research mentoring and research collaboration, which fully online programs aren't well-suited to address.

A clinical psychology PhD is a major endeavor. A lot of undergrad psych majors entertain thoughts about grad school at some point and only a tiny fraction end up pursuing this path due to the legwork necessary to be successful.

Having a few psych undergrad courses on your transcript doesn't differentiate you from the literally 100,000+ students who graduate with a psych BA/BS every year. If you're serious about pursuing this path, you've got a lot of ground to cover. The good news is that there are many pathways moving forward but they all likely will involve some significant effort and likely personal sacrifices.
 
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IAmNonTraditional

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Thank you again! These links were really helpful, but, I have more questions... I work a job that was listed as something that may be beneficial to me, working (in a residential group home setting), I also have 200+ hours volunteering in an in-patient psych setting, what you are saying, I think, is that I do not need a masters, so, I guess in the meantime, I should look up how to work as a research assistant and ALSO take some more classes? I guess I am asking on how to make my resume more attractive to schools. I will do some more looking.
 

summerbabe

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I guess I am asking on how to make my resume more attractive to schools.
Ask yourself, how ready are you to identify an original research question, pick an appropriate statistical analysis plan that will answer that question, execute the project (IRB, collecting data, etc), interpret the data, and write it up in a professional manner?

You won't learn these skills via coursework but could if you were part of an active research lab. The more foreign this process is, the larger your learning curve and process to becoming a competitive candidate.

Hands-on experience, paid or unpaid, is good and could give a boost to a CV but it won't substitute for other deficits.
 
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Spydra

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If you already know you are less interested in research and prefer a clinical career in a private practice setting then the PhD route may not be ideal given the focus on research. Yes there are reputable PsyD programs and yes there is the debt burden to consider. But a clinical master's may also get you where you desire to go and give you the flexibility to work your way through. And yes there is still the concern of cost as these programs are not usually funded due to the options to work your way through and they are shorter. Your employer may offer some tuition assistance benefits if you work in a setting related to mental health. This type of degree would still be best done in person, but there are many programs aimed at nontraditional students by offering courses at night and/or on weekends. If you still desired a doctorate you could pursue one after, but you'll still need to be clear on how much or how little research interests you.
 
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IAmNonTraditional

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If you already know you are less interested in research and prefer a clinical career in a private practice setting then the PhD route may not be ideal given the focus on research. Yes there are reputable PsyD programs and yes there is the debt burden to consider. But a clinical master's may also get you where you desire to go and give you the flexibility to work your way through. And yes there is still the concern of cost as these programs are not usually funded due to the options to work your way through and they are shorter. Your employer may offer some tuition assistance benefits if you work in a setting related to mental health. This type of degree would still be best done in person, but there are many programs aimed at nontraditional students by offering courses at night and/or on weekends. If you still desired a doctorate you could pursue one after, but you'll still need to be clear on how much or how little research interests you.
Thanks, this was really what I was seeking, would you mind if I DM’ed you to ask some more?
 

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