Dec 17, 2014
11
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
I've been looking into Master's degrees in Counseling and have been struggling to find ones that are affordable. However, I've found one university that has a CACREP accredited online master's degree in counseling. The university is nationally ranked. It's cheaper than most universities in my area and my dad's VA benefits would cover the bulk of my tuition. I'd also be eligible for benefits (i.e scholarships, grants) . If I do this program, I could also continue working either full or part time in research so that I've had lots of experience when it's time to apply for Ph.D programs in Counseling Psychology. Does this seem like a good idea? I wouldn't consider an online program if it weren't so affordable and accredited. Would the fact that the bulk of it is online hurt my chances of finding a job or getting into a good Ph.D program afterwards? All of my other stats are good (undergraduate senior honors thesis, 3.6 GPA, good amount of paid research experience with posters and talks, etc.)
 
Dec 17, 2014
11
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
Also the program includes a thesis, internship, and practicum so that I would get legitimate clinical experience.
 
About the Ads

Justanothergrad

Counseling Psychologist
7+ Year Member
Mar 2, 2013
2,066
2,273
A few thoughts:
1. I'm not sure that will make you substantially more competitive than other experiences (research, higher scores, etc) and, as smalltown said, why you would not just apply to a phd program now especially with your research and everything else.

2. I would wonder about the type of practicum and supervision you would get since it is online. I'm always skeptical about how well vetted the sites you would practice at would be because building bad skills early doesn't do you any favors.

Also, keep in mind that the emphasis on CACREP has some skeptics that such an accreditation is meaningful. I'm yet to see data to suggest accredited programs produce better results than unaccredited and the APA (div17) is pushing back against this claim actively at the present.
 
Dec 17, 2014
11
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
I appreciate your replies. Various reasons: I haven't been published yet, I don't have very much clinical experience, and I'm not entirely sure of what factors I want to focus my research on in a doctoral program. It just seems like until I get all of this squared away, I shouldn't commit to a 4-5 year program. Getting my masters would allow me time to find the programs that are best well matched for my interests, while still furthering my education.

The program gives you a choice of entirely all face to face classes or a majority of online classes, so technically it's not an "online" program, but it gives you the option.
 
Mar 24, 2014
4,402
3,909
Rural Area Medical Facilty
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychologist
I believe that most undergrads who are applying to PhD clinical programs are not published. Even by the time of internship, I think that the stat is about 50/50. Also, clinical experience is what you will get in the doctoral program. They don't expect much at all going in and you could volunteer for a help line or senior center or homeless shelter for a period of time and that would probably suffice. The rationale about committing to 4 or 5 year program without being clear does make a bit more sense. However, a CACREP program is more of a path to becoming a mid-level counselor as opposed to preparation to become a psychologist so it wouldn't really serve to narrow your research focus, I would think. There are more research focused master's programs out there if that is what is needed. What is the research that you have been involved in so far and what kinds of directions are you thinking of heading? The truth of psychology is that it is almost all interconnected so shifting research focus is usually not hard to manage as your career evolves and at this stage varied interests and uncertainty of next steps is the norm.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Dec 17, 2014
11
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
That is true. My research experiences range from Psychiatric (Bipolar Disorder as it co-occurs with substance abuse), to Clinical (Suicidal Ideation in adolescents), to Cognitive (Non verbal social cues and autism spectrum disorder). I would like my work to focus on developing treatment programs to for adolescent exposed to repeated traumatic stressors. Another thing is that since I ultimately would like to focus on providing counseling and not research, I may find that i'm comfortable with just having a masters degree in counseling for a while. What i'm thinking is, that if it won't hurt my chances (because I good stats right now), then I don't see why I shouldn't just get a degree while i'm working. If anything, isn't it possible that it might help me to have that extra experience? In the mean time, I could save some money, try to get some research published, and nail down my research objectives. Instead of applying to Ph.d right now, and not being entirely sure of what I want. Especially if this will be mostly covered under my Dad. My educations benefits expire under him in 2 years, so I'd like to find a way to just use them now.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
13,438
14,885
Somewhere
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychologist
Some in the field are very much against online only schooling in the clinical realm. Going to vary a bit, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it would never hurt your chances.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users
Dec 17, 2014
11
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
Some in the field are very much against online only schooling in the clinical realm. Going to vary a bit, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it would never hurt your chances.

Yes, my main concern was the credibility of the program. However, I was able to contact the university yesterday and they informed me that the online route is a new option that they've only recently introduced. They also have a face-to-face option, so technically if I wanted to do the courses in person I could. I feel like this might also be a good sign that the program is legitimate, as the same professors who teach the face-to-face courses, also teach the online ones.

Becoming a licensed counselor and getting researched published at the same time. That is a pretty tall order. A PhD program would be more feasible.

That's fair, however the Program Coordinator informed me that the online option is designed for people who have to work full time, so if it's worked for others I feel like this could be a feasible option for me as well. Besides, if i'm able to work and get a masters degree at the same time, I feel this would only further prove that i'm ready for an intensive PhD program.
 
Mar 24, 2014
4,402
3,909
Rural Area Medical Facilty
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychologist
Let me get this straight. Your job is in research that can lead to you getting published and the master's in counseling is secondary? I guess I just have problems with the whole part-time on-line mental health counselor part. If you are going to treat people, then you need to be able to commit. Also, I don't agree that one should start with the fall-back plan. Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth. Also, of course the people from that program will tell you it's a great idea. They have a financial interest. We are a little less biased other than the fact that we think psychologists are the best. :)
 
Dec 17, 2014
11
1
Status (Visible)
  1. Psychology Student
No, I wouldn't call it secondary. I'm not pursuing a masters simply because I can. I just think this experience would be beneficial for me in a lot of ways. I'd like to continue my education within the field that i'm interested in pursuing and I know that a masters degree could help me to do that. However, I also realize that research experience is important for doctoral programs as well and therefore I would like to continue to gain as much research experience as I can.

Let me get this straight. Your job is in research that can lead to you getting published and the master's in counseling is secondary? I guess I just have problems with the whole part-time on-line mental health counselor part. If you are going to treat people, then you need to be able to commit. Also, I don't agree that one should start with the fall-back plan. Just my opinion, take it for what it's worth. Also, of course the people from that program will tell you it's a great idea. They have a financial interest. We are a little less biased other than the fact that we think psychologists are the best. :)

I could definitely see how it could come off that way. However, a lot of people are in positions where they have to work while pursuing their masters degrees, because unfortunately graduate assistantships are often hard to come by in masters programs. If I could find a part time research position that could support me financially than I would take it, but those also aren't very easy to come by.

I guess i'm just trying to make the best of my current situation. I truly appreciate all of your honest advice!
 
About the Ads
This thread is more than 4 years old.

Your message may be considered spam for the following reasons:

  1. Your new thread title is very short, and likely is unhelpful.
  2. Your reply is very short and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  3. Your reply is very long and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  4. It is very likely that it does not need any further discussion and thus bumping it serves no purpose.
  5. Your message is mostly quotes or spoilers.
  6. Your reply has occurred very quickly after a previous reply and likely does not add anything to the thread.
  7. This thread is locked.