Aug 21, 2015
105
10
Florida
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Psychology Student
I'm back again :)
For right now, I have decided on achieving my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology for Child & Adolescence.
(I am an undergraduate student. Graduating with my A.A in Psychology next summer then during my bachelor's I will be majoring in psychology and minoring in early childhood ed.).

My questions are:
1) Should I pursue a master's degree, and if so, in what?

2) Should I receive a PhD from a program that is targeted for children & teens (FIU)? or Is it better to get a general clinical psychology PhD and get experience/internships/etc in the field I want to work in?

3) *Might be a stupid question* Are there exams I need to take to specialize in more than one audience? For example: Veterans, Depression, LGBT, Children, Geriatric.

Thank you! I love this website and the people involved ♥
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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Aug 2, 2010
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Should I pursue a master's degree, and if so, in what?
Not if you can avoid it. Be a star as an undergraduate and try to go straight into a doctoral program. In order to do this you need very good grades and research experience. As soon as you start your bachelor's degree, knock on doors to get into a research lab as a volunteer (or for course credit). Find mentors. Go to office hours. Get and take advice from people with successful careers in the field. Work hard.

Should I receive a PhD from a program that is targeted for children & teens (FIU)? or Is it better to get a general clinical psychology PhD and get experience/internships/etc in the field I want to work in?
Not necessarily. Your primary mentor should specialize in the population you want to work with, and you should have practicum opportunities with children and adolescents. Otherwise, go to the very best doctoral program that will accept you. You can specialize further at the internship and fellowship level.

Are there exams I need to take to specialize in more than one audience? For example: Veterans, Depression, LGBT, Children, Geriatric.
No. If you are seeking licensure in a state that requires an oral examination you can usually indicate that you work mainly with children and they will tailor your questions accordingly. There is post-licensure board certification for child and adolescent psychology, but don't worry about that now. That would be years and years away for you.
 

bmedclinic

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
May 9, 2008
901
241
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Psychologist
I'm back again :)
For right now, I have decided on achieving my Doctorate in Clinical Psychology for Child & Adolescence.
(I am an undergraduate student. Graduating with my A.A in Psychology next summer then during my bachelor's I will be majoring in psychology and minoring in early childhood ed.).

My questions are:
1) Should I pursue a master's degree, and if so, in what?

2) Should I receive a PhD from a program that is targeted for children & teens (FIU)? or Is it better to get a general clinical psychology PhD and get experience/internships/etc in the field I want to work in?

3) *Might be a stupid question* Are there exams I need to take to specialize in more than one audience? For example: Veterans, Depression, LGBT, Children, Geriatric.

Thank you! I love this website and the people involved ♥
1. If you can make the cut right into a good (not alliant, argrosy, rip off, etc) phd program, I would do that. Masters programs are good for people to prove they're good enough to get a Phd, if that's your plan.

2. If you're in a quality program, this is a wash. That's because they might let you focus on one population, but wont let you miss getting a good general base of knowledge for clinical psychology. Good programs do that. Terrible, ehem, not great programs sell you on tracks and other stupid things that wont pan out to be worth anything.

3. No. This is just bmed's opinion, and not based on stats, so forewarning: there are tons of people that want to work with kids, vets, and LGBT population, in my experience. It is very hard to find a qualified geriatric psychologist*. If you're looking for the path of least resistance, that's the one. I wouldnt form your career in that. Also, everyone and their dog should be able to adequately treat depression, so specializing in depression (unless you're doing depression research) strikes me as being amiss. It's part of the foundational knowledge of being a psychologist (at least a clinical psychologist).

* I know it's OT, but you want a niche practice, being a gero-specific psychologist that does capacity evals (med capacity decision making, etc) can pay your bills. Most people dont do that, and smart people who arent competent in that area wont touch it with a stick.
 

AcronymAllergy

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Quick note: While there aren't separate exams for different populations, per se, there are established training programs in different types of treatments. The VA, for example, certifies people in a variety of evidence-based therapies (e.g., PE, CPT, ACT), which requires seeing a certain number of patients for a certain number of sessions and receive certain amounts of supervision from an approved trainer.

But as the other folks have already mentioned, in general, much of the niche training and expertise will come from experiences with your advisor/supervisors in grad school, internship, and fellowship.
 
Jul 30, 2015
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MD/PhD Student
3. No. This is just bmed's opinion, and not based on stats, so forewarning: there are tons of people that want to work with kids
I would say it's easy to have a strong career with kids IF you find a niche. I know one person with a thriving practice who primarily does evenings and all weekends, and working parents take their kids to him for this reason. It led to his divorce as he was never home, but. I also know at least in one state I was in where the business of psychology was autism that if you were a child psychologist who wanted to write evals all day long you would get snatched up, and calls from other agencies when you were already employed. Both of these sound like death to me, but there is money to be made if one is so inclined
 
Mar 24, 2014
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1) No. Work on getting maximum research experience in the next few years while getting your undergrad and a little clinical exposure if you can, too.
2) I recommend broad training at this point. When you get to the doctoral program, your focus will likely begin to narrow and if your have a specific specialty like forensics, neuro, kids, eating disorders, addiction, etc., you will start to get more and more experience in that area and can do a post-doc in that specific area.
3) No. As a psychologist you are charged with determining your competency to work with specific disorders and populations based on your experience and training. We are starting to move in the direction of having more formal specializations as we do with neuropsychology, but not really there yet.
 

Doctor Eliza

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Jul 30, 2010
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I think 1 and 3 have been answered, but I wanted to weigh in on 2.

I would strongly caution against going to a program which is totally geared toward work with children and adolescents. You would be much better off going to a program with a more balanced focus. The flexibility will serve you well in your career. I am a psychologist in private practice seeing about 30-40% kids and the rest adults. I can't tell you how many psychologists that I have met who tell me, "You work with kids? That's great. I USED TO work with kids." There are some things that are uniquely challenging about child work and cause people to burn out on it. For me, it is hard to have patients who have limited control over their lives. If the adults in their lives continue to make bad choices for them, there is only so much you can do. At least with adults, they have much more control over their choices. Additionally, child work tends to involve a lot more uncompensated time (e.g., calls to schools, noncustodial parents, etc). There are other things too, but those two are big ones for many psychologists.

Good luck to you!
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
105
10
Florida
Status
Psychology Student
Thank you for all the responses! I do not think I will get a master's because it really is not a point and I will focus on doing research and gaining more experience in the psychology field.

On another post, someone said to narrow down my research interests for psychology. I'm looking around on google but can't really seem to find like a list of different ones. Can anyone give me some examples of research interests?
 

AcronymAllergy

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Thank you for all the responses! I do not think I will get a master's because it really is not a point and I will focus on doing research and gaining more experience in the psychology field.

On another post, someone said to narrow down my research interests for psychology. I'm looking around on google but can't really seem to find like a list of different ones. Can anyone give me some examples of research interests?
There aren't necessarily canned lists of research interests to be found anywhere. Rather, getting into the literature yourself, reading around, and see the types of topics that interest you is perhaps the best way to decide what your research interests actually are (at least at this point, short of conducting research yourself).

So for example, head to your library, grab the couple most recent issues of a few child psychology journals, and start scanning through the articles for things that catch your interest. If you find any, use that article as a spring board to find other interesting articles (both by topic searches in something like Google Scholar, and by the article's own references section).

As an undergrad, most doctoral programs aren't going to expect that you know exactly what it is you'd like to research, and that may even change a bit while working toward your doctorate. However, they will expect that you'll have a general idea of the types of topics and general themes that interest you.
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
105
10
Florida
Status
Psychology Student
There aren't necessarily canned lists of research interests to be found anywhere. Rather, getting into the literature yourself, reading around, and see the types of topics that interest you is perhaps the best way to decide what your research interests actually are (at least at this point, short of conducting research yourself).

So for example, head to your library, grab the couple most recent issues of a few child psychology journals, and start scanning through the articles for things that catch your interest. If you find any, use that article as a spring board to find other interesting articles (both by topic searches in something like Google Scholar, and by the article's own references section).

As an undergrad, most doctoral programs aren't going to expect that you know exactly what it is you'd like to research, and that may even change a bit while working toward your doctorate. However, they will expect that you'll have a general idea of the types of topics and general themes that interest you.
I searched on the APA website and they gave a list of some great research topics. Now I have a better understanding of what to do and look. ADHD in children and teens caught my attention so I might start conducting a research project with my psychology mentor now. (I'm an officer in the psychology club)
 

WisNeuro

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I searched on the APA website and they gave a list of some great research topics. Now I have a better understanding of what to do and look. ADHD in children and teens caught my attention so I might start conducting a research project with my psychology mentor now. (I'm an officer in the psychology club)
Well, if you're planning on more than a lit review project (e.g., collecting data from actual participants) you'll first become very well acquainted with the IRB process. One of the more fun parts of the research process. :)

Research is a wide umbrella term. First people need to know how to do basic lit review research. This is gathering information, digging through journal articles, integrating the supporting and conflicting information, and writing in up coherently. Then, you have to learn how to design and implement original data collection. The latter is more learned in grad school. Hopefully you get exposure to it as an undergrad, but you really learn the ins and outs in grad programs through masters and dissertation projects where you learn the most from the stuff you screwed up on. That is, if you go to a real grad program, anyway. Too many programs/diploma mills out there that don't teach these things at all, or just very inadequately.
 

PsychMajorUndergrad18

Future School Psychologist
Jan 27, 2015
292
56
Status
Pre-Psychology
Aestheticism,

Another good option to find possible research interests would be to look at potential graduate schools you want to apply to in the future and check out the faculty research interests. Once you find a couple of topics that interest you research then further or find a topic that you know a little about or you have experience with. For example, since I want to possibly apply for I/O psychology I am looking at research interests in leadership, training and development and work-family conflict. Even though I am not going to go for a doctorate in the immediate future, I want to be able to study these topics and possibly get experience in these topics (for example, after college I plan to work in human resources for awhile to get experience in being a leader/manager and training or developing employees). So basically what I am trying to say is to start looking at faculty interests at potential graduate schools and see if they fit with what you want to do and then try to get research or work experience in theses fields of interests.
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
105
10
Florida
Status
Psychology Student
Aestheticism,

Another good option to find possible research interests would be to look at potential graduate schools you want to apply to in the future and check out the faculty research interests. Once you find a couple of topics that interest you research then further or find a topic that you know a little about or you have experience with. For example, since I want to possibly apply for I/O psychology I am looking at research interests in leadership, training and development and work-family conflict. Even though I am not going to go for a doctorate in the immediate future, I want to be able to study these topics and possibly get experience in these topics (for example, after college I plan to work in human resources for awhile to get experience in being a leader/manager and training or developing employees). So basically what I am trying to say is to start looking at faculty interests at potential graduate schools and see if they fit with what you want to do and then try to get research or work experience in theses fields of interests.
Thank you! I have started to look at faculty staff at some universities and found some topics that caught my attention. I have a psychology sponsor now so I'll try and accomplish at least two research projects by the end of this school year :)

I looked at I/O Psychology and it is a great field as well so good luck to you! I would love to keep in contact with you over our psychology journey since we're both on the same path right now as undergraduates. So don't stay a stranger!♥
 

PsychMajorUndergrad18

Future School Psychologist
Jan 27, 2015
292
56
Status
Pre-Psychology
Ok I will make sure of it haha. Its hard because I am just starting to get deeper into my psychology courseload now and I have just declared a business minor so I am all over the place right now.
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
105
10
Florida
Status
Psychology Student
Ok I will make sure of it haha. Its hard because I am just starting to get deeper into my psychology courseload now and I have just declared a business minor so I am all over the place right now.
Sorry for the late reply! I am an officer for a psych club and have been super busy. I think it's a great idea to minor in business :) I'm going to minor in early childhood next year. I'm really interested in Child Psychology. Are you in your bachelor's degree now?
 

PsychMajorUndergrad18

Future School Psychologist
Jan 27, 2015
292
56
Status
Pre-Psychology
Yea I'm in my second year. Its kinda hard since I just transferred to a new school that is close to home. BUt other than that I love my school's psych department and the faculty are awesome.
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
105
10
Florida
Status
Psychology Student
Yea I'm in my second year. Its kinda hard since I just transferred to a new school that is close to home. BUt other than that I love my school's psych department and the faculty are awesome.
That's great honestly. I'm trying to research other universities for my PhD program in other states (besides Florida) and there are so many schools! Lawd.
I have no idea what state to even begin in.
 

PsychMajorUndergrad18

Future School Psychologist
Jan 27, 2015
292
56
Status
Pre-Psychology
I'd say for your PhD to look at schools in the Midwest and also schools that aren't really famous. That's what I am doing for grad school.
 

WisNeuro

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Some Midwest schools are just as competitive, if not more, than big name coast schools. Especially if you want to work with certain people. Think Abrahamson or Curtin at UW-Madison, Shankman at UIC, etc. These are situations where the mentor that you are interested in changes the admission stats somewhat. The more well known professors may get a ton of applications for the program alone, where a newer faculty may have a relatively small percentage of that total.
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
105
10
Florida
Status
Psychology Student
So much to think about. I have to research on schools and staff that matched my interest.. Sigh

I live in Florida right now, and majority of the schools are competitive. What about Ohio, Georgia, California, Texas?
 

AcronymAllergy

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Funded programs anywhere are going to be competitive, although areas that are very geographically-desirable (e.g., California, NY) may be more so due to the sheer numbers of applications received. Each of the sates you've mentioned has one or more great programs; it's a matter of whether or not you have a research and clinical interest fit with any of the faculty there. If not, then regardless of how competitive an application might be, that person isn't likely to land an interview or admissions offer.
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
105
10
Florida
Status
Psychology Student
Thanks and yes I figured that out. I'm just going to hope and pray when the time comes, I'll get accepted to a school of my dreams