mindbrain

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Hi all,
I am applying to several doctoral programs ( a mix of Ph.D. and Psy.D. options) this year. PGSP-Stanford is really appealing to me as a program, but the cost is ridiculous. I am wondering if any current students would mind sharing the situation with fellowships/scholarships.

I am wondering if I should give up hope on affording this program, or if people somewhow manage it without incurring an exorbitant amount of debt. If it weren't for cost it would be my first choice!
 

erg923

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I know several people in the program. They do offer some fellowships, but its my understanding that its simply like a 5k (some 10k) "discounts" on the tuition. But when its 30k per year, you're still paying like 25k per year even if you got a fellowship. Alot of students get paid RA and/or paid practicum placements to help offeset cost while in school. However, at the end of the day, these grads are just buried in loans that are burdensome to pay pack, especially during the beggining years of your career. If your married, and your spouse makes good money, I would think it would be a pain the ass, but doable, asuming you were making above the mean. However, If your single, and only have 1 income, I think it would be significantly more frustrating.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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Definitely be careful. While they look like a promising program (I still think it is WAAAAAAAAY too early to consider them a top Psy.D. program, they need to show solid placement numbers, etc), the cost really needs to be a consideration. Interest can cause a heavy burden, so make sure to factor in these things when looking for graduate programs.
 
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edieb

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A fellow psychology intern at my internship is from PGSP. She liked the school but is kicking herself because she owes >$300K in loans for grad school.
 

Cosmo75

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A fellow psychology intern at my internship is from PGSP. She liked the school but is kicking herself because she owes >$300K in loans for grad school.
Holy shiz! :eek::eek::eek:
 

Jon Snow

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Good gracious, that's a life sentence of financial hardship.


Think before you leap, people.

30 year loan

$300,000
6.8% (I'm sure many of her loans are higher than this)

= $2,000 a month payment

total repaid = $704,000

Average clinical psychologist salary ~ $60,000

That means after taxes, this person is effectively living on a $22,000 a year income.

You could litterally make more working really hard at Burger King.

This is why the student loan system sucks.

A bank should evaluate if this is a reasonable risk. It's not!! The earning potential is not there.

She better be really hot. Maybe she can marry a nice surgeon.
 
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JockNerd

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That means after taxes, this person is effectively living on a $22,000 a year income.
$22000 if she plans to live in a box and grow her own food.

We got into a recession how? Foreclosures are happening everywhere why?

Duh-uuuuuur.:rolleyes:
 

edieb

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Out of the 4 PhD interns at my site, 2 are from professional schools (Pacific Graduate School and Fielding Institute) and 2 of us are from university-based programss. Both PhD interns from the professional schools owe >$150K (with one owing >$300K) . Now that the reality of low salaries is coming to light, the interns are massively stressed out . One actually said her standard of living will actually go DOWN during post-PhD because the monthly paymentsof for her student loans will eat all her income. Unfortunatley, she isn't married to a surgeon but a HVAC repairman...lol is because their student loans will be coming due....

It is nuts that people at these schools owe so much money. I didn't even have access to these amounts of loans during graduate school...
 

Jon Snow

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That is horrible.

They would probably both be poster children for declaring bankruptcy except student loans are exempt. The student loan system is a horrible thing. They take advantage of naive people that don't have a good understanding of money and the implications over the long term. E.g., I could see how a 19 year old could see $100,000 debt for school as being fine.

19 year old - $100,000? No biggie. I'll pay it off in 2 years.

older person - how?

19 year old - Well, I heard that psychologists can make $100,000 a year. I'll just live on $50,000 and pay $50,000. Done. What's the big deal?

older person - uh. . . taxes?


Since there is very little hope of actually paying back said $300,000 loan and affording a house, etc. . . , she'd probably be better off just to default until they legally garnish her wages. 10% is the maximum garnishment. That's a lot less than any loan repayment would be.
 
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bellecalle

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IF your career plans include conducting research, there is some hope. My boss who is an MD PhD has loans in excess of 300K yet she is able to stay afloat because she applied for a program in which NIH pays all of your loans if you spend at least 20 hours a week conducting research..

Here's the excerpt from the email they distributed at my workplace:

The NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) allow scientific investigators to remain in the research workforce, achieve research independence, and focus their efforts on advancing the health of the nation without regard to student loan debt. Each year, some 1,600 research scientists benefit from the more than $70 million NIH invests in their careers through the LRPs. The extramural LRPs include Clinical Research, Pediatric Research, Health Disparities Research, Contraception and Infertility Research, and Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds.

BENEFITS: New LRP contracts are awarded for a two-year period and repay up to $35,000 of qualified educational debt annually. Participants may apply for competitive renewals, which are issued for one or two years. Undergraduate, graduate, medical school and other health professional school loans qualify for repayment. An NIH grant or other NIH funding is not required to apply for or participate in the LRPs.

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must possess a doctoral-level degree (except for the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP); be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident; devote 20 hours or more per week to conducting qualified research funded by a university, domestic nonprofit organization, or federal, state, or local government entity; and have qualified educational loan debt equal to or exceeding 20 percent of their institutional base salary (New applicants only).
 

Jon Snow

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The NIH LRP doesn't pay all of your loans. It's capped. Further, they determine a set contribution level based on a few factors from the applicant. Moreover, it's competitive. PGSP is a professional school. This lowers the competitiveness of its students for this purpose. Moreover, they'd have to choose a research career and the LRP would have to be convinced of that choice.

Better options might be going to areas with underserved populations. There are loan repayment programs for that. I'd be surprised if they'd cover 300K though.
 

Great Satchmo

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I will never go that deep in debt for a psychology degree, not because I don't think its worth it, but because the earning potential seems to be pretty low overall.

The PGSP-Stanford program seems interesting, but why not try to find a good clinical Ph.D. program that at least a balance of clinical skills and research and will actually fund you?
 

Great Satchmo

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The NIH LRP doesn't pay all of your loans. It's capped. Further, they determine a set contribution level based on a few factors from the applicant. Moreover, it's competitive. PGSP is a professional school. This lowers the competitiveness of its students for this purpose. Moreover, they'd have to choose a research career and the LRP would have to be convinced of that choice.

Better options might be going to areas with underserved populations. There are loan repayment programs for that. I'd be surprised if they'd cover 300K though.
Its completely baffling to me that a Psy.D. program can expect people to go $200-300k in debt. How do they expect their students to repay these loans, this isn't medical school...
 

hkandm4s

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I'm applying to PGSP's PhD program...I'm curious if the cost is still as horrific in the PhD program versus the PsyD program considering the heavier research focus and increased opportunity for funding. Anyone know if there is a big difference?
 

erg923

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No. There is no difference in cost. The Ph.D. program is not a traditonal mentor model and you are not automatically funded. Although, from the people I know, that 300K is totally that persons choosing. Why you would need to take out that much money is beyond me.
 

psybee

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No. There is no difference in cost. The Ph.D. program is not a traditonal mentor model and you are not automatically funded. Although, from the people I know, that 300K is totally that persons choosing. Why you would need to take out that much money is beyond me.
i agree-that's 60k a year for 5 years--that's crazy. even with tuition @ 30-35, you can live in 15k (i do it in NYC) and by your 4th year you can likely get a part time job or even full time if you plan your classes right, so you can bring in some money and reduce your loans. and internship isn't a lot of money, but it is money, still, and while there's a fee, it's not like there's full tuitition, right?
 

RayneeDeigh

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The PhD program carries just as much cost as the PsyD program does.

Plus, you'd be living in the Bay Area. Not cheap... unless you wanna grab a park bench and call it a day.

(as an aside when I applied and was accepted I found them to be extremely disorganized and unhelpful... they lost my acceptance letter 3 times and weren't able to tell me over the phone whether or not I had been chosen to receive funding)

So I went somewhere else... debt-free.
 
J

Janey

Unless you come from an extremely wealthy family or have a rich spouse, i would avoid even thinking of entering into an unfunded PsyD program. Try to get into a funded program and if not, a state school that has an MSW program (this way, you will only take out loans for 2 years as opposed to 5-7 years of loans)

Like other people have mentioned earlier, if your income is about the average for a clinical psychologist at $60,000 after taxes you will be left with about 3,500 per month (assuming you are taxed at about 30%, but its usually higher). You may be paying 1,000 to 2,000 per month in student loans, depending on how expensive your school was. This leaves you with barely any income to even pay your rent or bills.
 

dd123

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What are these programs? Is there a difference between schools that can offer full funding (17-25k/year is the range I've come across) and those that people in this thread are discussing?

It seems that for the cost of one extra undergrad year, one could spend the time studying for the gre, volunteering in a few labs, and publishing a few papers. That should open up a lot of options at good (at least) programs with full funding.

Thanks for filling me in...
 

SFPsyd

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Like other people have mentioned earlier, if your income is about the average for a clinical psychologist at $60,000 after taxes you will be left with about 3,500 per month (assuming you are taxed at about 30%, but its usually higher).
60k? LOL. It's almost like if people repeat this enough times it'll turn true or something.

Look, it depends on what type of setting you work in, how much you work, etc. If you are in independent practice for 5+ years, the APA salary survey pegs you between 90-100k/year. And, that's not taking into account the fact that many of these "full-time" independent practitioners are clocking 20 hours/week. I'd even say that 90-100k is a conservative estimate if you choose to really invest yourself in the work and diligently focus on marketing, diversifying one's practice, etc. Most the the true "full-time" independent practitioners I know earn well into 6 figures.

This post is not intended to chime in on the debate regarding this program in particular, since that is an individual decision. I agree that one should do their due diligence prior to committing the time and energy necessary to complete any doctoral program, particularly one carrying these costs. However, I do think it is grossly inaccurate to continue throwing around this "60k" figure, when the truth is far less simple. There are clinical psychologists earning 40k per year, and ones earning 200. As outlined above, those in private practice can earn significantly more, particularly once you filter out the more part-time variety of practitioners. Hope that helps.
 

JockNerd

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[...]
Look, it depends on what type of setting you work in, how much you work, etc. If you are in independent practice for 5+ years, the APA salary survey pegs you between 90-100k/year. And, that's not taking into account the fact that many of these "full-time" independent practitioners are clocking 20 hours/week. I'd even say that 90-100k is a conservative estimate if you choose to really invest yourself in the work and diligently focus on marketing, diversifying one's practice, etc. Most the the true "full-time" independent practitioners I know earn well into 6 figures.

This post is not intended to chime in on the debate regarding this program in particular, since that is an individual decision. I agree that one should do their due diligence prior to committing the time and energy necessary to complete any doctoral program, particularly one carrying these costs. However, I do think it is grossly inaccurate to continue throwing around this "60k" figure, when the truth is far less simple. There are clinical psychologists earning 40k per year, and ones earning 200. As outlined above, those in private practice can earn significantly more, particularly once you filter out the more part-time variety of practitioners. Hope that helps.
...are you seriously suggesting that a clinical psychologist can work 20 hours a week and pull in $100k net? What color is the sky in the world that happens in?

I'd be less concerned with my salary 10 years in than my salary and debt immediately upon leaving school. Managing $100k+ in debt while trying to live and build a practice wouldn't be fun.

Sure, there are psychologists who make $40k and ones who make $200k. That's not very important. What's important is how many there are of one, and how many of the other.
 

erg923

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60k? LOL. It's almost like if people repeat this enough times it'll turn true or something.

Look, it depends on what type of setting you work in, how much you work, etc. If you are in independent practice for 5+ years, the APA salary survey pegs you between 90-100k/year. And, that's not taking into account the fact that many of these "full-time" independent practitioners are clocking 20 hours/week. I'd even say that 90-100k is a conservative estimate if you choose to really invest yourself in the work and diligently focus on marketing, diversifying one's practice, etc. Most the the true "full-time" independent practitioners I know earn well into 6 figures.

This post is not intended to chime in on the debate regarding this program in particular, since that is an individual decision. I agree that one should do their due diligence prior to committing the time and energy necessary to complete any doctoral program, particularly one carrying these costs. However, I do think it is grossly inaccurate to continue throwing around this "60k" figure, when the truth is far less simple. There are clinical psychologists earning 40k per year, and ones earning 200. As outlined above, those in private practice can earn significantly more, particularly once you filter out the more part-time variety of practitioners. Hope that helps.
Yes but which one is the most likley. The mode. Thats the point here.
 

SFPsyd

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...are you seriously suggesting that a clinical psychologist can work 20 hours a week and pull in $100k net? What color is the sky in the world that happens in?
I'd suggest re-reading what I wrote...I did not suggest that psychologists working 20 hrs/week pull in 100k. I wrote that the salary surveys often include those psychologists among the "full-time independent practice" portion of their data-set. Meaning, if the mean for those in private practice after 5 years is 90k, and that pool includes a subset working relatively low hours, it stands to reason that for those working a true full-time independent practice schedule (i.e. ~30 hours/week) should be looking at 6 figures, since that is a small leap from the average.

Even if you're shooting very low in hourly rate (i.e. 100/hr.), multiply that by even 20 clients and you're at 100k for the year. See a few more clients, work a few more hours...the math isn't too complicated. What I don't like to see is psychologists who settle for pittance, and act like 60k/year is what they are destined the earn. 60k, as I've outlined above, is a very misleading figure for those working in independent practice. I can't speak to research-oriented or academic positions, but clinically-oriented folks should be making a LOT more than that.
 

SFPsyd

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Yes but which one is the most likley. The mode. Thats the point here.
As discussed in my other posts, the mode is very misleading in this case. Look at it this way, if you were examining salaries for any field, but were including people who worked low #'s of hours in diverse settings, it would be hard to find a "true" indication of expected earnings. The APA reports that the average in private practice is around 100k after 5 years out in the field...I contend that's a low figure. However, even if I were wrong, it would still dwarf the estimates that are thrown around in this forum.
 

Orbitofrontal

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As discussed in my other posts, the mode is very misleading in this case. Look at it this way, if you were examining salaries for any field, but were including people who worked low #'s of hours in diverse settings, it would be hard to find a "true" indication of expected earnings. The APA reports that the average in private practice is around 100k after 5 years out in the field...I contend that's a low figure. However, even if I were wrong, it would still dwarf the estimates that are thrown around in this forum.
I agree with SFPsyd, it really all depends. My initial impression after reading this thread is that things have been blown way out of proportion. Yes, there is debt for most people. And yes, it's substantial. But if someone took out over $300k in loans, that was definitely a choice. I'm a second year in the PGSP-Stanford Consortium, and I can't say enough good about it. By the end of my time here I will have taken out a MUCH much smaller amount. Sure, it will still be large, but I've made it a priority to apply for scholarships/fellowships and work part time. Now, not everyone can handle working while going to school. I get that. I guess my point is that everyone's situation is very different, and I don't think it's necessary to take out anywhere near $300k. In fact, I believe the max loans a person even can take out is around $60k/year, and if you multiply that times 4 then you get $240k. And that's the MAX. Also consider that 5th year you're in paid internship, so the loans are much less. And 4th year tuition decreases because you're on dissertation, so it's less. So it in theory should be less than $240k even if you don't work. UNLESS you require more to live off of month per month. Those people who want nice apartments or to live alone might have to get a job in order to not go into more debt. That's what I have done.

Bottom line, being in the program I'm not too freaked out about this subject. It's a big decision, but I'm glad I'm doing it. Also, keep in mind that some of the nay-sayers on this forum, especially individuals who have been on here for years saying the same thing, have an agenda. Before you take what someone has to say too seriously (who isn't in the program you're wanting to know about), learn about them, who they are, what they tend to post, and what their agenda might be. Some people here vehemently oppose the idea of Psy.D. programs, period. This colors their view of all topics Psy.D.-related, and if you go look at previous posts over the course of years you'll see this.

As for me, I too am colored, and I too have an agenda. It's just a bit different. To know more please feel free to message me and I'd be happy to tell you whatever you want to know!
 

Markp

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The PhD program carries just as much cost as the PsyD program does.

So I went somewhere else... debt-free.
RD,

And you'll learn to appreciate all the more everyday the wisdom in that decision.

Others,

I understand that many of us are passionate about wanting to be Psychologists, and that's a great thing. Don't make bad financial decisions to pursue this as a career. Either hold out for something better or have a damn good plan to pay for it other than incurring debt.

Marry Rich <- good enough
Inherit Money <- can't take it with you
Government LRP <- sure, someone else is footing the bill
Scholarships/Grants <- no debt, sure, that's good

However when we are talking about people incurring $100k - $200k in debt, all for a job that pays $20k during a first year in internship and maybe $60-$80K in the early years, these people need to re-think that. My wife made more money than that in 1995 with a HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION!!! Seriously.

I am not saying don't do what you love, by all means, pursue your dream. Just don't be stupid about it... the sooner people stop paying $30k a year and filling all the seats in these professional programs, the sooner this nonsense will stop.

Mark
 

Markp

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IF your career plans include conducting research, there is some hope. My boss who is an MD PhD has loans in excess of 300K yet she is able to stay afloat because she applied for a program in which NIH pays all of your loans if you spend at least 20 hours a week conducting research..

Here's the excerpt from the email they distributed at my workplace:

The NIH Loan Repayment Programs (LRPs) allow scientific investigators to remain in the research workforce, achieve research independence, and focus their efforts on advancing the health of the nation without regard to student loan debt. Each year, some 1,600 research scientists benefit from the more than $70 million NIH invests in their careers through the LRPs. The extramural LRPs include Clinical Research, Pediatric Research, Health Disparities Research, Contraception and Infertility Research, and Clinical Research for Individuals from Disadvantaged Backgrounds.

BENEFITS: New LRP contracts are awarded for a two-year period and repay up to $35,000 of qualified educational debt annually. Participants may apply for competitive renewals, which are issued for one or two years. Undergraduate, graduate, medical school and other health professional school loans qualify for repayment. An NIH grant or other NIH funding is not required to apply for or participate in the LRPs.

ELIGIBILITY: Applicants must possess a doctoral-level degree (except for the Contraception and Infertility Research LRP); be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident; devote 20 hours or more per week to conducting qualified research funded by a university, domestic nonprofit organization, or federal, state, or local government entity; and have qualified educational loan debt equal to or exceeding 20 percent of their institutional base salary (New applicants only).
How many professional school students go into research? Most Psy.D.'s are not competitive in securing research positions.

Mark
 

Eruca

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Seems to be a lot of argument here for earning potential of a private practice clinician. I think we may need to update our expectations, as building a private practice takes years and was hard BEFORE the recession. If you work with insurance co's (as most do) then you are NOT pulling in $100/hr after overhead, billing, and what insurance is willing to reimburse for. How many people are able to pay $100+/hr out of pocket in the current economy anyway? Recessions do not turn around overnight, we will bounce back but we're talking a handful of years.

You may have seen my argument on here before, but prof schools are graduating sometimes 50-70 students per year in an economy and field that currently cannot support or accommodate that many graduates successfully. There are definitely some who navigate the system well, and those are the ones we tend to hear from on this board. There are some reputable prof schools, so I'm not blanket stating they are bad. What gets me is these are for-profit businesses, that leave their students with very large financial burdens. In my program, I have had faculty go out of their way to find sources of money to support my trips to conferences, clinical workshops, etc. I have full tuition remission and 2 paid departmental externships (and in all honesty, I'm not even that special or accomplished!) It makes me wonder why more prof school students don't seem to understand why so many of us find the for-profit system baffling.
 

Eruca

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Sorry to add on to my previous tirade, but also wanted to mention that some of my favorite clinical supervisors have been prof school grads. I have greatly valued these clinicians & by default the training they received...

The thing is, they were prof school grads in the 1980s, which bears little relevance now considering a vastly different economy, a much more saturated market, and an exponential increase in # of prof schools. So my curiosities lie with the hard numbers and trends in regard to more recent grads.
 

psychmama

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Not everybody has the luxury of a fully-funded Phd program. Some don't have good enough credentials. Others, like myself, are in life circumstances where we cannot relocate, uproot our families, etc. for that option. Personally, I was darn lucky to get into my program, and I know that. My tuition is in-state, and I've gotten some grants, assistantships, etc along the way. Still, the money I've laid out for my education is worth it to me. Sure, I was able to pay back my student loans from law school within just a couple of years working as an attorney. That's the deal with lawyers -- the financial upside is great. But I didn't like law the way I like psychology. So I paid a price financially, and that was my decision to make. What I don't get is why some individuals think this is so terrible. If I don't mind, why should you?

I'm not trying to start a fight about this. I just don't see why it's such a big deal. The money is an important consideration, and for some it may be a dealbreaker. For others (myself included) it was less important, and I'm okay with the sacrifices I've made. I feel well trained and well-suited to being a professional psychologist. Isn't that really the bottom line?:)
 

Eruca

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Hmm, I don't know. I nodded through much of your post psychmama (and often appreciate what you have to say). But the simple fact is, if the question was posted on the board, then it's a solicitation for opinion, which we all have plenty of :)

The bottom line is, I don't actually 'mind' what anyone else decides to do. But to me, that is not mutually exclusive from having an opinion about it. It sounds like you have not had to go the graduate school route alone. I, also, have a spouse and so have not had to go the graduate school thing alone either. I feel quite privileged for that reason. Though I am in a funded program, I have made sacrifices and orchestrated things such that I would have the opportunity to gain the education I want at a price tag much less than the $100k loan tag often accumulated during a prof school education. This was a series of decisions that began a handful of years ago. I was not impulsive, I was very patient. Things worked out for me, and I'm thankful for that. The info I provide in my opinions here are hopefully to serve for that purpose also. A mindful decision of the options, and an educated view of the potential future consequences. There are MANY choices, and if we don't weigh in about how these choices have impacted us, I don't think others will learn very much. So I talk from my perspective only. But don't mistake that for intolerance of the choices of others. It is not easy, no matter what the circumstances.

If someone (in most cases, much younger than us) can sacrifice 1-2 yrs to save themselves $100k or more.. would you not promote that? Or would you say, go for it now! I do believe that's how our economy has gotten itself in such a bind. Borrow now, and pay back later. I have faith that the persons writing these posts deserve more. (don't even get me started on the fact that some countries PAY for students to go to med school, grad school, etc) Sometimes restrictions limit the options (as you nicely stated above). But sometimes I get the feeling that these are folks in their early to mid-20s, they have the time and flexbility to do things in a way that might impact their career and financial futures. It may turn out not to be the way I have chosen. I'm not here to convert anyone. But I will voice that nevertheless. I appreciate your voice too.. we both represent different ways of achieving very similar goals.
 
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Jon Snow

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So I paid a price financially, and that was my decision to make. What I don't get is why some individuals think this is so terrible. If I don't mind, why should you?
It impacts the field in a qualitative way for everyone, not just those that made that decision. These days, more than 50% of new clinical psychologists come from big-debt professional schools. This has to affect practice trends (e.g., more people going into specialties). Further, it greatly impacts supply. We have lots of desperate debt-laden graduates out there. It degrades the overall quality of the field. That filter that exists/existed for entry continues to broaden. So, do I care? Yep, I care. I want the field to be as healthy as it can be, something that I can be proud of and recommend to students as a good career. Making the modal standard for education in the field a professional school with 6 figure debt doesn't contribute positively to the health of the field.
 

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It degrades the overall quality of the field.
This may be true if:

a. we are talking about a single field. While the influx of PsyDs could have an influence on those in practice, it shouldn't have an effect on those in an academic field (except to the extent that they are also in practice).

b. the PsyD practitioners aren't as good as the PhD practitioners. I have no reason to believe that's true. The PhD programs select more for research skills than skills as a clinician, so we have no reason to believe that those entering their programs (PsyD or PhD) vary in clinical skills. Even if we believe that the clinical training in a PhD program is better than that in a PsyD program (a matter of opinion, without substantive research (which would be difficult since there is little consensus about what makes for great clinical training)), the fact is that a PhD program will have its students spending more time doing research than a comparable PsyD program. Does research make for a better practitioner? Being aware of research does, but does conducting the research? How do you know?

There is no doubt that more psychologists in practice changes the economics of being a psychologist, but that doesn't necessarily mean that either the average payment received will go down or that the skills of the average person in practice will be lower than with a smaller pool.

The economics of more practitioners is complicated, indeed. What happened when the numbers of lawyers surged in the last 15-20 years? Clearly it didn't hurt the top end, but did it produce lower salaries for the modal lawyer?

That wasn't a rhetorical question; I really don't know.

It shouldn't matter, but for the record, all the programs to which I applied were PhD programs. Why? Because I see my career as more research/teach/practice than practice/teach/research.
 

Jon Snow

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a. we are talking about a single field. While the influx of PsyDs could have an influence on those in practice, it shouldn't have an effect on those in an academic field (except to the extent that they are also in practice).
Those in practice comprise most clinical psychologists including academics.


b. the PsyD practitioners aren't as good as the PhD practitioners. I have no reason to believe that's true. The PhD programs select more for research skills than skills as a clinician, so we have no reason to believe that those entering their programs (PsyD or PhD) vary in clinical skills. Even if we believe that the clinical training in a PhD program is better than that in a PsyD program (a matter of opinion, without substantive research (which would be difficult since there is little consensus about what makes for great clinical training)), the fact is that a PhD program will have its students spending more time doing research than a comparable PsyD program. Does research make for a better practitioner? Being aware of research does, but does conducting the research? How do you know?
. . . still affects the field regardless of comparative quality. Supply + debt factors. PhD programs select for academic skills. No one can really select for skills as a clinician. We do know that the programs differ in academic credentials. PhD students spend m0ore time doing research and more time in clinic according to the recent APPIC numbers. Perhaps, the PhD students just have to work harder (i.e., the programs are more demanding).

There is no doubt that more psychologists in practice changes the economics of being a psychologist, but that doesn't necessarily mean that either the average payment received will go down or that the skills of the average person in practice will be lower than with a smaller pool.
No, not necessarily. But, it does change the dynamic in the work force with respect to other professions. Compare our numbers of fringe (in terms of academic institutions) graduates to other professions (lawyers and physicians) and see what it looks like in terms of distribution. More than half of clinical psych now comes from these schools. I think it's unlikely that more than half of physicians come from say carribean medical schools. There are certainly no online medical schools. That does affect respect and status within a department. As the field lowers in general perception, it affects everyone.


The economics of more practitioners is complicated, indeed. What happened when the numbers of lawyers surged in the last 15-20 years? Clearly it didn't hurt the top end, but did it produce lower salaries for the modal lawyer?

Me either.

It shouldn't matter, but for the record, all the programs to which I applied were PhD programs. Why? Because I see my career as more research/teach/practice than practice/teach/research.
I'm with you. Though, I think practice/teach/research should also go the PhD route or at least avoid the DeVry style schools (e.g., Argosy, CSPP, Alliant, etc. . ).
 

Therapist4Chnge

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I understand where Jon is coming from (we've had this discussion for the last few years :D ), though I think we differ in the "resolution" to the issues.

1. There are too many graduate coming out; check out the most recent Match numbers (included below).

2. The range of training / quality of students needs to be tightened up.

3. For-profit places have NO place in the education arena.

I think many of the problems of over-saturation, training variance, and the well-being of the profession would benefit from a reduction in the # of students allowed to enter into the field. I proposed awhile ago that a program should only be allowed as many admitted people as they can place into APA/CPA accredited internship spots (averaged over maybe the 3-4 previous years).

Right now there are 846 students who did not match, and 299 spots left for them to fight over. The problem is that only 80 of them are American Psych Assoc/Canadian Psych Assoc accredited, with the vast majority (219 & 73.2%) being APPIC or less. A large % of students will be faced with taking a lesser / unaccredited site (which can lead to licensure issues/limitations), or will be forced to re-apply next year.

Further complicating matters is the fact some of the internships left are UNPAID. My personal opinion is that those sites shouldn't be allowed because it is about a half a step away from slave labor, but they still exist. It is easy to say that you wouldn't take a placement like that, but in CH it can be REALLY stressful and it could seem like an option. In my program they don't allow unpaid, and waivers are needed for any APPIC site...and I *still* think they are a long way from what they should be doing.

All and all our system is broken, and we need to be more proactive in fixing it.
 

Ollie123

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I agree that deciding to take a certain amount of debt is up to the individual, I don't begrudge anyone that decision. In general, I think its a bad idea but there are certainly exceptions (spouse has a great paying job and can't move, etc.). I find it hard to believe that the majority of folks attending professional schools are in this situation given the number of people we see applying there who don't appear to have geographic restrictions.

That said, I absolutely think everyone else has the right to be upset about its effect on the field as a whole. Like it or not, thanks to profit-driven "schools", you can essentially buy an admission. Note that I'm not equating this to buying a DEGREE from some ill-reputed website. However, if admission has served as a gatekeeper, and one can get around that by being willing to pay way more money than anyone else...that doesn't look good. Yet we have schools that are willing to let virtually anyone in as long as they pay 100-200 grand more than everyone else does. Frankly, its embarrassing to be a part of a field that seems to have accepted that.

So my issues are really on two major points:
1) Motivation for tuition profit means the school has little incentive to screen out applicants
2) In my eyes, schools are meant to set the minimum level of achievement for entrance into the profession, in addition to providing opportunity to reach the maximum. All too often we hear "Well I did x, y and z and it was great". That's fine, these folks aren't my concern. I don't doubt that the top of the class at a professional school will do well for themselves. My concern is the bottom of the class at those schools compared to the bottom of the class at other schools. I'm talking on average, because there's always someone who slips through the crack, but that doesn't mean its a good idea to make a habit of it.
 

Therapist4Chnge

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My concern is the bottom of the class at those schools compared to the bottom of the class at other schools. I'm talking on average, because there's always someone who slips through the crack, but that doesn't mean its a good idea to make a habit of it.
Absolutely.

I think if there was a way to cut the bottom 30% (through more stringent entrance requirements/less spots), that many of these issues would lessen.
 

FranklinR

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Like it or not, thanks to profit-driven "schools", you can essentially buy an admission.
Even the 'loosest' of schools still have rejection rates that are higher than all but the toughest of non-psychology programs. So the people getting in aren't the 'dregs' in any sense, and suggesting that those who go to professional programs aren't qualified to be psychologists (either when they start their program or when they finish it) just isn't supported by evidence.

The criteria used to select students is (at its most functional) predictive of performance as a researcher, and it really shouldn't be interpreted as meaning anything else.
 

Ollie123

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Even the 'loosest' of schools still have rejection rates that are higher than all but the toughest of non-psychology programs. So the people getting in aren't the 'dregs' in any sense, and suggesting that those who go to professional programs aren't qualified to be psychologists (either when they start their program or when they finish it) just isn't supported by evidence.

The criteria used to select students is (at its most functional) predictive of performance as a researcher, and it really shouldn't be interpreted as meaning anything else.
The schools I am referring to are those in the > 40% acceptance range (with some extending well beyond that). I can think of few other programs with acceptance rates that high, and fewer still with averages so low.

That said, I don't doubt that its tough to find significant outcome differences across groups given such a huge percentage of the variance in therapeutic outcomes is driven by soft factors like "How much you like your therapist". I think part of the issue is a fundamental difference in what a psychologist actually is. I don't see research and practice as completely separate. Obviously I don't think everyone needs to engage in research, but given the crap that goes on in the private practice community...having the research base and that capacity is what I see as the vital core to the profession that separates us from the rest of the pack. One can be an adequate "clinician", but I don't see that the same as a "psychologist".
 

FranklinR

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One can be an adequate "clinician", but I don't see that the same as a "psychologist".
The profession could, as a group, decide that you're right, and that the term psychologist should refer to only those who research, teach and practice. Or perhaps only research and practice, since nobody ever talks about teaching as its own, separate skill.

But at the moment, that's not what the word means, in the legal, ethical or casual senses. And my bet is that there aren't differences in clinical skills between professional programs and PhD programs, not just that those differences would be hard to find.

In terms of acceptance rates in the 40% and above... look at law schools (not just the top tier), medical schools... what else do you consider a profession?

And Jon: Your points are good ones - I think we largely agree on the facts, just disagree on whether or not this is a problem. I do think, though, that the medical school comparison one is interesting, since virtually everyone pays to go to medical schools, and their acceptance rates are, even at the top tier schools, much higher than psychology programs. A way of controlling the number of psychologists would actually be to make all programs pay-your-own-way, PhD or otherwise. Not that I'm suggesting that, at least not until I graduate.

Interestingly, this discussion seems to suggest that the school you went to doesn't matter that much in terms of jobs/payment after graduation - after all, if everyone knows which schools are good schools, we don't need a different title to distinguish between an Argosy PsyD and a UC Berkley PhD, since everyone would know who was the intrinsically better qualified.
 

Jon Snow

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"Interestingly, this discussion seems to suggest that the school you went to doesn't matter that much in terms of jobs/payment after graduation - after all, if everyone knows which schools are good schools, we don't need a different title to distinguish between an Argosy PsyD and a UC Berkley PhD, since everyone would know who was the intrinsically better qualified."

No, I think it's more complicated than that. I don't think, even clinically, an Argosy grad is going to be hired before a Berkley grad. Though, in private practice that becomes more murky, because the public doesn't know the difference. But, the numbers of Argosy grads do impact the Berkley grad, indirectly.


I also think you're missing Ollie's point. He isn't saying term psychologist should be reserved for researchers. He's saying that psychologists need to have a firm understanding of their science to differentiate themselves from a sympathetic ear (i.e, a social worker) and in order to contribute a reasonable level of expertise to the discussion.
 

Ollie123

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The profession could, as a group, decide that you're right, and that the term psychologist should refer to only those who research, teach and practice. Or perhaps only research and practice, since nobody ever talks about teaching as its own, separate skill.

But at the moment, that's not what the word means, in the legal, ethical or casual senses. And my bet is that there aren't differences in clinical skills between professional programs and PhD programs, not just that those differences would be hard to find.

In terms of acceptance rates in the 40% and above... look at law schools (not just the top tier), medical schools... what else do you consider a profession?
Didn't mean to imply that one had to actively engage in research/clinical work/teaching. My point is just that the capacity to engage in these, to understand them (regardless of what path we end up choosing) is what defines us as a profession. Just as I think it would be wrong for someone who clearly does not belong anywhere near a clinical setting to get a clinical PhD, I think the same holds true for folks who don't seem to hold some promise in grasping research. Again, its a matter of setting the minimum standard in each - something we seem to be afraid to do. I make no claims to be a great clinician, but I think I'm on my way to being decent at it given I'm early in my training. If I didn't think I was capable of it I'd have gone for an experimental degree rather than a clinical one. If someone doesn't demonstrate they can make it to "decent" on the research-o-meter, I don't have any problem saying I don't think they should be able to get a clinical PhD. There are alternatives. Clinical Psychology is one that requires a certain level of promise in both.

As for what the word means, it appears we clearly are in very different psychology circles. Among nearly everyone I've come into contact with in the field...its pretty much universally accepted that clinical psychologists are supposed to have a deep understanding of both.

This may not be the legal definition, but I'm relatively unconcerned with the legal definition since our legal system is all about distorting the truth anyways;) And it actually IS a part of our ethical code. See section 2.04. Short, but key.

My > 40% acceptance rate was based off other PhD programs, which I maintain is relatively high. Regardless, I think a glance at the acceptance stats clears things up for med schools...the acceptance rate may be higher, but the variance in entrance stats doesn't seem to be as high. I think law actually suffers from a similar problem as psychology, so I'll concede the acceptance rates on that one.
 
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FranklinR

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Jon: I oversimplified my statement about the Berkley vs Argosy comparison - I was thinking in terms of private practice, since, as you said, most people don't have any idea what a good school is. For a first job, school will likely matter a fair bit. Each job after that, though, will rely less on school and more on personal reputation and history. So school choice can 'echo' through a career, but it's never again so important as in that first job.

And I agree that section 2.04 is important. It says: "Psychologists' work is based upon established scientific and professional knowledge of the discipline."

It does not say you have to be able to conduct research. It speaks to being able to understand research, but doesn't say anything about being able to do it. If your argument is that you have to be able to do research to read it (and Ollie specifically says that it's not) - I simply disagree, and see no evidence to suggest otherwise. If your argument is that a professional program doesn't teach you how to read and understand research - again, I disagree and see no evidence to suggest otherwise.

About med schools: I suspect that the difference there is that med school has some specific (and challenging) prerequisites. I would be all for doing that for psychology programs - make an advanced psychopathology class, advanced stats, & a neuroanatomy class required before you can even apply. That would reduce the number of applicants significantly, without unduly restricting access to only those who want to be researchers.
 

Jon Snow

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If your argument is that a professional program doesn't teach you how to read and understand research - again, I disagree and see no evidence to suggest otherwise.
If your argument is that a professional program does teach you how to read and understand research adequately, I disagree and see no evidence to suggest otherwise.



Would you agree that better academic credentials on a meta-level suggest higher intelligence, higher motivation, and better understanding?

This is an abstract from a CSPP survey of theoretical orientation.

Graduate students in clinical psychology at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology (N = 141) were surveyed regarding their reasons for the selection of their theoretical orientations. For the purpose of this study, theoretical orientation was defined as the conceptual framework which a therapist uses as his or her guide in treatment formulation and diagnosis, selection of techniques, strategies and settings, and in general, relating to the client. A short questionnaire was given to the students in the following classes: Personality Assessment classes, Assessment Practicum Seminars, Therapy Practicum Seminars, and Advanced Practicum Seminars. The questionnaire asked students to rate (on a scale from 1 to 5) the degree to which each of 14 variables influenced the selection of their theoretical orientation. Some of these variables included: clinical experience, outcome research, graduate training, and orientation of clinical supervisors. The study found that students at the Chicago School were reluctant to limit themselves to one orientation. Many students chose two or even three orientations as their predominant theoretical model. For those who did mark just one orientation, Eclectic and Psychodynamic/Psychoanalytic were the most popular choices. The results indicate that theoretical orientation develops over time (as seen by the Year in School variable), while students with Masters degrees have a head start on their non-Masters colleagues. A factor analysis of the 14 variables produced four main factors influencing orientation. Life Experiences emerged as one of the most influential factors in choosing a theoretical orientation. It appears that a student's choice of theoretical orientation is almost "predetermined." That is, variables that are outside of the student's graduate school influence the adoption of theoretical orientation
Life experiences!! That's the decision process? Obviously, there is no comparison here to other programs, but geez.
 

cara susanna

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Ah, CSPP. They kept sending me brochures in the mail.
 

FranklinR

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If your argument is that a professional program does teach you how to read and understand research adequately, I disagree and see no evidence to suggest otherwise.
Yes, that was kind of my point. We disagree. There is no evidence either way. Kind of nowhere to go with this point.

Would you agree that better academic credentials on a meta-level suggest higher intelligence, higher motivation, and better understanding?
Of the three, the best argument could be made for higher academic motivation. I'm not sure (really) what you mean when you say 'better understanding.' Understanding of what? Academic issues? Issues that come up in therapy? Research issues? I would suggest (and this again refers to point one) that it is possible to have good understanding in one area and not in another. At this point we seem to be re-hashing the arguments surrounding measurement of intelligence. That hasn't made all that much progress either.

Life experiences!! That's the decision process? Obviously, there is no comparison here to other programs, but geez.
Predictably, I'm not as appalled by this as you are. I would expect a therapist to view the world through their own life experiences (and to recognize the ways those life experiences color his or her perceptions of the world), so it's not surprising that they would say life experience is important in coming to a point of view about theoretical orientation.

If it was solely a matter of impersonally reading the literature and selecting the one with the most support, wouldn't we all have the same orientation (since we'd all be reading the same literature - if we were reading different literature, it would be because of differing life experiences)? Doesn't the fact that we don't all have the same orientation suggest that life experiences play a role? I think what this really says is that nobody told them not to admit that it played a role, which I admit does say something negative about Chicago training. An academic program would have trained them to say "I was moved by Lacan's analysis" or "I find CBT to be the most productive, given limited healthcare resources." That's not a criticism of those academic programs - they're teaching us the language that academics use, something the Chicago folks clearly don't get.

OK, nobody would say they were moved by Lacan.
 

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If your argument is that a professional program does teach you how to read and understand research adequately, I disagree and see no evidence to suggest otherwise.



Would you agree that better academic credentials on a meta-level suggest higher intelligence, higher motivation, and better understanding?

This is an abstract from a CSPP survey of theoretical orientation.



Life experiences!! That's the decision process? Obviously, there is no comparison here to other programs, but geez.
I'm a little confused. As, I'm not sure what that excerpt has to do with the argument at hand (to which I mostly agree with you about). I've heard over and over that theoretical orientation is influenced by many things, and that oftentimes the least of these things (when the option is provided) is graduate training. My supervisor noticed me doing existential & psychodynamic work early on, even though I didn't even know that was what I was doing! Since we're more effective as therapists if we're utilizing tools & strategies (caveat, I consider myself an evidence-based clinician for the most part) that genuinely resonate with our world view, then I'm not sure I see the problem.

More importantly though, I'm not sure I see how this applies to the argument? Not trying to be provocative, just feel that I might be missing your point...
 

Ollie123

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It does not say you have to be able to conduct research. It speaks to being able to understand research, but doesn't say anything about being able to do it. If your argument is that you have to be able to do research to read it (and Ollie specifically says that it's not) - I simply disagree, and see no evidence to suggest otherwise. If your argument is that a professional program doesn't teach you how to read and understand research - again, I disagree and see no evidence to suggest otherwise.
Jon made most of my points for me, but I want to clarify..."reading" and "understanding" are very different things. I'd hope anyone in this field feels comfortable reading research articles. Even when research is the focus, I think its all too easy to fall into the pattern of reading but not understanding.

I'd argue that yes, you have to be able to do research to understand it. I never said that wasn't true, I said one doesn't have to be actively pursuing a research as a career. There is a difference between what you CAN do and what you ARE doing.

I don't see us coming to terms on this so I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree here.