There's always the PhD option with zero debt. But, as for doctoral vs masters, if licensed, it opens up the door for certain assessment training and opportunities. Presumably, if a reputable PsyD, it would also train you in research to an adequate degree, so research and teaching opportunities would be better. Though, teaching opportunities are becoming more and more like earning minimum wage.
Everyone has to do what is right for them, but I don't recommend taking out loans for a psych degree more than 50k. Looking at median salaries, and crunching numbers of loan repayments, interest, etc, it just doesn't look like a great return on investment. And that's even before our field takes a hit on reimbursements next year.
As with anything, whether it be the cost of education, or accepting a job, I'd strongly urge spending a day to really crunch some numbers on what this all would look like. Debt, likely salary, monthly loan payments, other projected living expenses, etc. It helps to see the numbers and what they would look like at different debt levels. Sometimes it's doable, other times it's crushing.
If you search for loan calculators, then you can get an idea of what monthly payments would look like on a 10- or 25-year repayment schedule. Even on a loan of $50,000, the monthly payments will set you back in terms of quality of life and milestones (e.g., home ownership).But I'd have to take out loans for cost of living as well, in addition to cost of schooling. To put it blatantly, I'm hella poor. My family can't help and I know that if I do take out these kinds of massive loans, I'll be working to pay them off for a really long time.
Thanks so much for your replies. I really appreciate it. I'll definitely have to take your advice and sit down and dig into the numbers a bit more to see if what I want is even doable.
thanks for the thread and advice, I will definitely check that outIf you search for loan calculators, then you can get an idea of what monthly payments would look like on a 10- or 25-year repayment schedule. Even on a loan of $50,000, the monthly payments will set you back in terms of quality of life and milestones (e.g., home ownership).
This thread about financial considerations of attending an unfunded program is worth reading, as well.
if something goes wrong and you default on the loans that's a bigger problem for the in-debted PsyD than it would be for the LMHC who (theoretically) just has to reduce spending. Others thoughts?
about the average salary of an LMHC (~$75k).
You're right. I did a quick google and didn't notice that it had corrected for my locality. The mean is 75k where I am, but 50k nationally. Thanks for the correction. I'll edit my post to not mislead others...Substance Abuse, Behavioral Disorder, and Mental Health Counselors : Occupational Outlook Handbook: : U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
You're off by about 25-30k. From a debt to income perspective, both are terrible options though the LMHC will incur less overall debt. The low salary makes it difficult to pay your bills, do adult milestones, and pay back your debt all at the same time. LPCs tend to do better in rural communities than in the city IME, but you cap out around the average early. I faced the choice the OP is thinking about a number of years ago and told myself that I'm either doing a Ph.D. program or managing a Starbucks.
Dang, thanks for calculating this lol. Very helpful.I just did the math on a 10-year term loan for the average PsyD graduate debt ($200k). Yikes. 2300/mo =$27,600/year for 10 years. That's more than 25% of the average PsyD annual salary. Interestingly, that puts the annual salary of the PsyD paying off their loan at about the average salary of an LMHC (~$50k). If the choice is between the two, it might make the most sense both in terms of training and finances to go with a PsyD. Of course, it also requires a tolerance for risk -- if something goes wrong and you default on the loans that's a bigger problem for the in-debted PsyD than it would be for the LMHC who (theoretically) just has to reduce spending. Others thoughts?
EDIT: The correct national mean for LMHC annual salary is $50k, which is significantly lower than a PsyD even after accounting for loan repayment.
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