Jul 25, 2016
3
1
Hello all!

I have a BA in psychology and now I'm hit with the graduate school bug for a later career when I'm ready to leave the classroom. I'm currently an elementary teacher.

I just never pursued/looked into graduate work in psychology because as an undergrad I hated statistics so that in turn made me assume I'd hate research. The idea of a thesis and dissertation makes my stomach churn but I haven't really done any research so my worries could be for naught. I might actually like it (I thought the idea of being with children all day sounded like the worst job ever but surprise surprise I spend my days with children and I really like it and just kind of fell into it).

What should I do as a good starting point to even see if I actually like research. I know of Psy.D programs but I absolutely need an online program. Again, I'm a teacher so quitting for school isn't feasible.

I'm interested in Clinical psychology with a specialty in behavior neuroscience. Before teaching I worked with children with autism and a variety of cognitive disabilities and injuries so the brain is definitely my interest. I want to work in a clinical setting.

I think I have misguided notions about what research entails (I'm probably painting it all in more biological/chemical/sterile environment and computer glares all day rather than what is really is in psychology).

So I say I should get a better understanding of it before taking on graduate school. Paying for it is a whole different stomach churning ball of wax I'm not ready to think about. First, I need to see research in action, help with it, do it so I


I seem to have a jackpot of resources with the Texas Medical Center in town but where to start? With my summer's free this is something I want to look into this year to do some volunteer research/shadowing/etc summer 2017 because I'm free all day, every day.

Ideas?

Thank you!
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,075
1,944
Status
Psychologist
I seem to have a jackpot of resources with the Texas Medical Center in town but where to start?
Online programs are a non-starter. Really. This is a one-way ticket to high debt and poor job prospects.

If your plans become more flexible, PM me. I am familiar with the TMC.
 
OP
P
Jul 25, 2016
3
1
So, my only options are to stalk the energy corridor in hopes of landing a 6 figure engineer and get him to marry me so I can take on graduate school? I'm about 70/30 kidding. Unless I get married and he makes enough for us to not be over 30 broke couple my options so y'all say are hopeless.

Taking out loans to live seems like added debt and worst than an online program. A girl went to high school with just gradated from UNT but she found her unicorn in her high school love and they lived together then married last year so he financed her straight from college masters/Ph.D life.

No prospects here on love and I guess none for graduate school so pipe dream it is.

Thanks
 
  • Like
Reactions: JoePianist

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
10,167
8,857
Somewhere
Status
Psychologist
Plenty of over 30 year olds get into fully funded graduate schools with a stipend. There are avenues, the online only option just doesn't happen to be a very viable one.
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,797
1,357
Status
Psychology Student
Just to make sure you know this...the "standard" for PhD programs is that you actually pay nothing or next-to-nothing for school and they actually pay you a salary. Its not GOOD pay by any means (I think typical is 15k-25k). Many take out additional loans to supplement that, especially those with families. However, that is usually more on the order of 10k/year. Financially, that is usually a much better scenario than taking out 40k/year in tuition alone (not counting living expenses) for some of those other programs. Can't say that I know how well Texas pays teachers, but at least in my state the salary for most teachers is (sadly) so low that the difference in lifestyle would not be all that substantial.

Agree with others...I would not even consider online programs. Especially if you lean towards being a clinician because the odds of successfully getting licensed after going through an online program are not that great and the odds of finding a good job are even lower.
 

Harry3990

5+ Year Member
Oct 8, 2014
109
45
Status
Psychology Student
Ollie has given some good suggestions. Definitely good info to be aware of.

If you are still at the beginning stages of investigating this new life path, I would encourage you to ask yourself what your career goals in fact are. If, like you said, you mainly want to work in a clinical setting (e.g., not be a professor and do research), then you should definitely consider the master's level options as well. While master's programs are not typically funded (like PhD programs are), they are only 1.5-2 years long (compared to 5-6 years). Masters in Counseling degrees that make you eligible for LPC licensure or Masters in Social Work degrees that make you eligible for LCSW licensure are what you'd want to look for.

There are plenty of reasons to want to go into clinical psychology over the masters-level options, but wanting to work in a clinical setting is really not a good one by itself.
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,075
1,944
Status
Psychologist
So, my only options are to stalk the energy corridor in hopes of landing a 6 figure engineer and get him to marry me so I can take on graduate school? I'm about 70/30 kidding. Unless I get married and he makes enough for us to not be over 30 broke couple my options so y'all say are hopeless.
In a funded program you would not pay tuition and you'd have enough of a stipend to live on (though very frugally, and it's common to take on some debt along the way). When I went through my training program a handful of the other students were in their early 30s and transitioning from other careers, so it can be done. You really have to want it, though, of course. It's a long road.

If you want to do clinical work but don't want to be in school for such a long time, you might look at applied behavior analysis if you want to work with developmental disorders. Pediatric occupational therapy is worth a look too.
 
OP
P
Jul 25, 2016
3
1
Just to make sure you know this...the "standard" for PhD programs is that you actually pay nothing or next-to-nothing for school and they actually pay you a salary. Its not GOOD pay by any means (I think typical is 15k-25k). Many take out additional loans to supplement that, especially those with families. However, that is usually more on the order of 10k/year. Financially, that is usually a much better scenario than taking out 40k/year in tuition alone (not counting living expenses) for some of those other programs. Can't say that I know how well Texas pays teachers, but at least in my state the salary for most teachers is (sadly) so low that the difference in lifestyle would not be all that substantial.

Agree with others...I would not even consider online programs. Especially if you lean towards being a clinician because the odds of successfully getting licensed after going through an online program are not that great and the odds of finding a good job are even lower.
That standard commonly known at least to me at all. I know it depends on the program but what exactly does that entail? Signing away yourself in school for 20-50 hours in research on top of school to get that free ride? I'm single so it's doable but my fear is quitting my job that pays well with complete security in hopes that after some 8 years I do get a job and not just a "I'll take the position for a few years until something better comes around". I'd rather juggle and that's why I said online programs.

Depending on if you live in a major city Texas it pays well. I'm at over $54k and as a single woman, no kids, low COL I'm doing quite well.

Ollie has given some good suggestions. Definitely good info to be aware of.

If you are still at the beginning stages of investigating this new life path, I would encourage you to ask yourself what your career goals in fact are. If, like you said, you mainly want to work in a clinical setting (e.g., not be a professor and do research), then you should definitely consider the master's level options as well. While master's programs are not typically funded (like PhD programs are), they are only 1.5-2 years long (compared to 5-6 years). Masters in Counseling degrees that make you eligible for LPC licensure or Masters in Social Work degrees that make you eligible for LCSW licensure are what you'd want to look for.

There are plenty of reasons to want to go into clinical psychology over the masters-level options, but wanting to work in a clinical setting is really not a good one by itself.
I'm not opposed to academia at all. The idea of teaching at a graduate level is a option I definitely want to have. I just don't want 60% of time being research but again, on the neuropsychology area I've never actually seen research so it might be something I like. Stranger things have happened. Again, I thought being with other people's kids would be hell on earth and it's actually not too bad at all.

I've thought about master-level right out of college but LPCs seem to be as oversaturated as teachers here. With nearly everyone I know working in drug rehabilitation or sole counseling and that is definitely not a career I want. I meant clinical as in the Texas Medical Center, one of many on a multidiscplinary team for the assessment, evaluation and treatment of cognitive disabilities, strokes, TBI, etc. Not just clinical, forgive me if I offend anyone "on the couch, in the chair" therapy.

A Ph.D opens of a wide range of avenues.


In a funded program you would not pay tuition and you'd have enough of a stipend to live on (though very frugally, and it's common to take on some debt along the way). When I went through my training program a handful of the other students were in their early 30s and transitioning from other careers, so it can be done. You really have to want it, though, of course. It's a long road.

If you want to do clinical work but don't want to be in school for such a long time, you might look at applied behavior analysis if you want to work with developmental disorders. Pediatric occupational therapy is worth a look too.
This is what I did right out of college and at the time I wish I'd liked it because the field of really opening up now but perhaps it was just my experience but the BCBAs was the only not wanting to drink job at the clinics i worked at. I was a behavior therapist and rarely saw the BCBAs until it was to the 'Johnny is TKO'ing psychteach" for $12/hr. It was great outside of that but I was 'good' with the severe behavior issues so Johnnys and Susies were my main kiddos. I left that fast after the knockout. I couldn't go back to that even as a BCBA.

I can't complain though because after that, it got me a teaching job so I'm definitely grateful. I just know I'd never go back.
 

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
10,167
8,857
Somewhere
Status
Psychologist
That standard commonly known at least to me at all. I know it depends on the program but what exactly does that entail? Signing away yourself in school for 20-50 hours in research on top of school to get that free ride? I'm single so it's doable but my fear is quitting my job that pays well with complete security in hopes that after some 8 years I do get a job and not just a "I'll take the position for a few years until something better comes around". I'd rather juggle and that's why I said online programs.
Teh cost tradeoff is that by choosing an online route, you are likely paying a ton of money for the program, and you will have slim chances of getting an accredited internship and subsequently a 2 year postdoc that adheres to HCG (if you are looking at neuro). Honestly, at the sites I've trained and/or worked at, we don't even consider the applications from online applicants when reviewing internship and postdoc applicants.
 
Last edited:

Harry3990

5+ Year Member
Oct 8, 2014
109
45
Status
Psychology Student
It has been mentioned on here before, but maybe bears reiterating. It might be helpful to think of going to grad school for a phd in clinical psychology as being similar (time/energy-wise at least) to medical school. You don't hear (or I don't ever at least) hear of people wanting to go to med school part-time while still working a full-time day job. Sure, there are online med schools probably, but even lay people do not take these doctors seriously. To get adequate training, you should really consider reputable schools. There are no online reputable schools.

It's a risk maybe, and yes you'll probably have to give up your secure job to do it. But the people here are trying to caution you against taking what you seem to see as a way to "have your cake and eat it too" by going to an online school. It'd be wise to listen to them.


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile app
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: MamaPhD and PsyDr

PsyDr

Psychologist
Lifetime Donor
10+ Year Member
Dec 18, 2005
2,897
2,614
Status
Psychologist
I know it depends on the program but what exactly does that entail? Signing away yourself in school for 20-50 hours in research on top of school to get that free ride? I'm single so it's doable but my fear is quitting my job that pays well with complete security in hopes that after some 8 years I do get a job and not just a "I'll take the position for a few years until something better comes around"
That's what everyone had to do. Well, the successful ones at least.
 

Doctor-S

Grand Rounds
Lifetime Donor
2+ Year Member
Jun 9, 2016
2,033
4,364
You Posted:

I'm interested in Clinical psychology with a specialty in behavior neuroscience. Before teaching I worked with children with autism and a variety of cognitive disabilities and injuries so the brain is definitely my interest. I want to work in a clinical setting.


Response:

Please read the Texas Psychology Licensure Requirements concerning clinical psychology (click on link below):

http://www.psychologydegree411.com/licensure/texas/

Behavior neuroscience requires additional post-doctoral training (e.g., fellowship), etc.

Thank you.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Apramana

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
10,167
8,857
Somewhere
Status
Psychologist
I'd encourage you to shadow a pediatric neurologist at TMC. I have similar interests (behavioral neuroscience) and decided to go the medical school path instead of clinical psych. I was very disappointed by the lack of neuroscientific courses offered at clinical psych programs. Although there are a few neuroscience oriented labs in clinical phd programs across the country, you will find that many of the lab members are pre-med or medical/fellow students.

A few may disagree with me, but I am not convinced that people can be 50-50 clinicians and researchers in the real world (i.e., students should choose to be clinicians OR researchers). If it's the former, med school is the better option (in my biased opinion) bc it offers more flexibility and career options. If you want to conduct therapy, then clinical psych would be a better route (although you wouldn't need a phd)
Going to vary depending on the program and if it has neuropsychology/neuroscience departments. My department had about 10 possible neuropsych/neuroscience classes available. I can name several other programs off the top of my head that have similar offerings. I imagine a perusal through the guidebook would net a couple dozen more.
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,797
1,357
Status
Psychology Student
I'd encourage you to shadow a pediatric neurologist at TMC. I have similar interests (behavioral neuroscience) and decided to go the medical school path instead of clinical psych. I was very disappointed by the lack of neuroscientific courses offered at clinical psych programs. Although there are a few neuroscience oriented labs in clinical phd programs across the country, you will find that many of the lab members are pre-med or medical/fellow students.

A few may disagree with me, but I am not convinced that people can be 50-50 clinicians and researchers in the real world (i.e., students should choose to be clinicians OR researchers). If it's the former, med school is the better option (in my biased opinion) bc it offers more flexibility and career options. If you want to conduct therapy, then clinical psych would be a better route (although you wouldn't need a phd)
I agree 50-50 is extremely tough, but 80-20 or 90-10 on either side is quite doable. Allowing people to pick "I want to be clinician and not touch any of the icky research stuff" is how we have ended up with such a wide range of idiots practicing moonbeam therapy and doctors who think their gut reaction trumps any/all other factors. I know very few folks I consider competent clinicians who aren't also at least peripherally involved in research.
 

ClinicalABA

7+ Year Member
Aug 31, 2011
1,064
1,157
New England
Status
Psychologist
Signing away yourself in school for 20-50 hours in research on top of school to get that free ride?
Yeah, that's pretty much the gist of it. It's not a "free ride"- you are expected to contribute to the work of whoever is "sponsoring" that free ride, as well as RA and/or TA (for which you will get a stipend). All together it's a full time (plus) gig. That's why non-full time online programs are viewed differently by licensing boards, as well as those of us who did full-time, in-person programs. While there were parts of my training that, in retrospect, could've been left out without any real impact on my clinical or research abilities, what would be left is still MUCH greater that what would be gotten in a primarily online program.

I'm single so it's doable but my fear is quitting my job that pays well with complete security in hopes that after some 8 years I do get a job and not just a "I'll take the position for a few years until something better comes around". I'd rather juggle and that's why I said online programs.
Depending on if you live in a major city Texas it pays well. I'm at over $54k and as a single woman, no kids, low COL I'm doing quite well.
I, and many others, were/aren't single, and it's still doable ;) In fact, in can be very nice to have a non-program-affiliated person to come home to at the end of the day. Having a partner can cause some difficulties come time for internship, post-doc, etc, as you will almost certainly have to move, perhaps far away, so the partners ties to an are can make things a little more complicated.

You have a good paying job. If you are happy with it and it offers some security, you should definitely think long and hard about giving it up. Do some research and math- blalance the increased earning potential of the doctorate degree agains the costs of said degree (using you current position, with anticipated pay increases as a comparison). Depending on your age, where you want to live, etc, there may be no (or negative) lifetime financial impact of getting a doctorate (This all assumes a full-time, traditional program. I wouldn't even consider an online program).


A Ph.D opens of a wide range of avenues.
Not all Ph.D.'s do. Depends on the type and content of the program. An online ph.d. may not offer beyond what you currently are able to do.

This is what I did right out of college and at the time I wish I'd liked it because the field of really opening up now but perhaps it was just my experience but the BCBAs was the only not wanting to drink job at the clinics i worked at. I was a behavior therapist and rarely saw the BCBAs until it was to the 'Johnny is TKO'ing psychteach" for $12/hr. It was great outside of that but I was 'good' with the severe behavior issues so Johnnys and Susies were my main kiddos. I left that fast after the knockout. I couldn't go back to that even as a BCBA. I can't complain though because after that, it got me a teaching job so I'm definitely grateful. I just know I'd never go back.
Adult and/or residential behaivoral programs can be a very tough gig. For the BCBA work I do now (home based young kids with ASD) where there are non-BCBA "behavior therapists," we provide direct, face-to-face, on-site supervision at a ratio of 2 hours supervision per 10 hours behavior therapist hours. We spend most of our time on skill building programs, with relatively little time on behavior reduction (though skill building often = problem behaivor reduction). If you want to work with young kids with ASD and live in a state with a good autism insurance mandate, a BCBA can be a very attractive masters level credential (especially as compared to an LMHC/LPC).
 
  • Like
Reactions: futureapppsy2

str63

2+ Year Member
Dec 16, 2014
92
251
Status
Psychologist
I have to agree with all of the others. If you're able to work full time and complete a PhD program, I can guarantee it's NOT a good program. I would suggest that you do more research to see what's involved in getting a PhD in Clinical Psychology because it is much more than coursework. The coursework is probably the least time consuming part. You need to be very active in clinical work/practicums. If you kept your full time teaching job, there's no way you'd be able to complete enough practicum hours to be considered for internship. It's also impossible to have a full time teaching job and complete an internship, even if you're lucky enough to match in the same area. Also, I wanted to echo that there are not any good, legitimate online programs out there, so if that's your only option, I'd suggest to keep your current job rather than do that. As an internship director, we do not even look at the applications from students from online programs for internship or for a practicum position, let alone a career. You would end up paying for a degree you likely could not use.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Harry3990

entitlement

7+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2011
101
52
Status
Psychologist
MDs go on to research careers with having little to no foundation in research methodology/statistics at the time they graduate, yet many still go on to have productive careers in research (i.e., this is of course not counting those folks in MD/PhD programs which are relatively rare anyway).
 

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
10+ Year Member
Feb 15, 2009
10,167
8,857
Somewhere
Status
Psychologist
Yes, but w/o learning hard sciences first, the foundation is not there. If the mentioned programs do select students with science prereqs, then it need to be a spoken prereq for those programs. Then again, this would be the same foundation for premed students or researchers interested in neuroscience (round and round we go).
There were pre-reqs, for the few who sisn't have it, there was a pre-req type of accelerated graduate class. Point is, there are many programs with these foci, with lab members who are spread out in clinical/experimental/neuroscience. They are not rare.
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,075
1,944
Status
Psychologist
MDs go on to research careers with having little to no foundation in research methodology/statistics at the time they graduate, yet many still go on to have productive careers in research (i.e., this is of course not counting those folks in MD/PhD programs which are relatively rare anyway).
Most successful physician scientists at least get fellowship training and have access to PhDs and statistical collaborators at their institutions. It is the rare physician who flies solo as an independently funded PI.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dissonance_

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,075
1,944
Status
Psychologist
With nearly everyone I know working in drug rehabilitation or sole counseling and that is definitely not a career I want. I meant clinical as in the Texas Medical Center, one of many on a multidiscplinary team for the assessment, evaluation and treatment of cognitive disabilities, strokes, TBI, etc. Not just clinical, forgive me if I offend anyone "on the couch, in the chair" therapy.
With the University of Houston right down the road, and several other good clinical training programs in Texas, the TMC institutions have access to a healthy supply of well-trained psychologists. Someone with an online/convenience degree would not get serious consideration for these kinds of jobs. I appreciate your dilemma. There are trade-offs and risks to leaving an established career, but taking shortcuts adds to those risks in the long run. Only you can decide whether it's worth it.
 

entitlement

7+ Year Member
Apr 16, 2011
101
52
Status
Psychologist
Most successful physician scientists at least get fellowship training and have access to PhDs and statistical collaborators at their institutions. It is the rare physician who flies solo as an independently funded PI.
Looks like dissonance deleted their post so I just realized it makes my post make less sense now. I made the statement in response to dissonance's post alluding to clinical psychologists not being as well trained for neuroscience research relative to MDs because of the lack of fundamental molecular/cellular/biology courses. Just made the comment to show you can say the same about MDs regarding their fundamentals in research design and statistical training. I mean, neither is going to be as well trained as scientists coming from "pure" neuroscience PhD programs but then again, many of those (at least in my experience) do more bench science than applied/clinical work anyway. So "training" in the end is relative.
 

MamaPhD

Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
7+ Year Member
Aug 2, 2010
2,075
1,944
Status
Psychologist
Looks like dissonance deleted their post so I just realized it makes my post make less sense now. I made the statement in response to dissonance's post alluding to clinical psychologists not being as well trained for neuroscience research relative to MDs because of the lack of fundamental molecular/cellular/biology courses.
Got it.

Most physicians and clinical psychologists would be out of their depth doing neuroscience research. That's what neuroscience PhDs are for.