Aug 21, 2015
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Hello :)

I am entering my bachelor's program in Fall 2016 with an A.A in Psychology. I have narrowed down my interests and made a decision on three main topics I am interested in: Counseling, Children/Adolescence, and Teaching. The issue I am having is deciding on whether or not I should pursue a PhD in School Psychology or Clinical Child Psychology (or both). I'm more concerned with job opportunity, earning the salary I deserve, and flexibility. I'm not limiting my location as in state locations, so I'm open to relocating. I am extremely interested in working in the education field, varying from elementary to university level and a little bit interested in the research aspect of psychology. I love the counseling part of psychology, and I like the research.. hence the "like".. The only research topics I am into is are depression, suicide, and anxiety but I enjoy counseling people within those ranges.

1) Should I receive a EdS in School Psychology and pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology?
2) Depending on salary and opportunity, Which path is better? (I'm getting a doctorate regardless)
3) The differences and similarities of School Psychology and Child Psychology.
4) Clinical Psychologist make more than School Psychologist but is it a huge gap? Even if I earn a doctorate in both?

Thank you for all responses ♥
 

Chalupacabra

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Mar 9, 2015
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1) Should I receive a EdS in School Psychology and pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology?
I wouldn't recommend this. If you want to get a PhD after the EdS I would get one in either a combined/integrated program (e.g. James Madison) or go to a school psych doctoral program with a history of training people to work in diverse settings . Getting your EdS and then a clinical PhD means you're looking at 12-14 years of school(including your bachelor's, of course), as you're likely not going to be able to transfer many credits over. That is...a lot.

2) Depending on salary and opportunity, Which path is better? (I'm getting a doctorate regardless)
This depends. SP salary varies A LOT from district to district, never mind state to state. I think clinical psychs make more technically, but this is most likely confounded by the fact that some SPs do private practice and others don't, some work summers and others don't, etc. etc. That said, I've known people in both fields making six figures. As for opportunity, as much as I love my field of choice there's no denying that clinical psych generally offers far more opportunities and SPs have to market themselves carefully to get non-school work at times.

3) The differences and similarities of School Psychology and Child Psychology.
This is pretty complicated and will vary a lot depending on the program. Generally, SP programs are going to place more emphasis on consultation and assessment as well as special education law and other relevant topics (e.g. Response to Intervention) and less on the "clinical" aspects, especially counseling. You can get some of the school related skills or some of the clinical related skills through practica and internship, but there will most likely still be some significant differences.
 

MamaPhD

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I am extremely interested in working in the education field, varying from elementary to university level and a little bit interested in the research aspect of psychology. I love the counseling part of psychology, and I like the research.. hence the "like"..
I've read several of your posts and I'm struck by your emphasis on which degree(s) you should obtain, while your career interests are still very broad. You're going about this in the wrong order. You should first have a better idea of what type of career you'd like to pursue so that you can reach some clarity about the type of training you will need. As I and others have mentioned, right now your focus should be on getting the most out of your undergraduate studies, which hopefully will help you shape your career goals. Consider the possibility that it is premature to narrow your graduate school plans at this point in your education. Your outlook is very likely to change over the next couple of years.
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
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I've read several of your posts and I'm struck by your emphasis on which degree(s) you should obtain, while your career interests are still very broad. You're going about this in the wrong order. You should first have a better idea of what type of career you'd like to pursue so that you can reach some clarity about the type of training you will need. As I and others have mentioned, right now your focus should be on getting the most out of your undergraduate studies, which hopefully will help you shape your career goals. Consider the possibility that it is premature to narrow your graduate school plans at this point in your education. Your outlook is very likely to change over the next couple of years.
I like to plan ahead. That's just how I am so I can know which classes to take and what schools I should attend for next year. I want to take the best classes in my bachelors so I could be prepared for my doctorate.

What I want to is be able to teach (eventually), Counsel children & adolescence with problems such as: Depression, Anxiety, Suicidal, Family Issues, School Problems,and also help with life/career goals, and also work in the educational settings and/or clinics. I love the idea of opening up my own practice so clinical would be best but I'm not too fond on the research that comes from clinical phd. Maybe I should participate in one research this year to see how I feel about it.
 
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OP
Aestheticism
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I wouldn't recommend this. If you want to get a PhD after the EdS I would get one in either a combined/integrated program (e.g. James Madison) or go to a school psych doctoral program with a history of training people to work in diverse settings . Getting your EdS and then a clinical PhD means you're looking at 12-14 years of school(including your bachelor's, of course), as you're likely not going to be able to transfer many credits over. That is...a lot.



This depends. SP salary varies A LOT from district to district, never mind state to state. I think clinical psychs make more technically, but this is most likely confounded by the fact that some SPs do private practice and others don't, some work summers and others don't, etc. etc. That said, I've known people in both fields making six figures. As for opportunity, as much as I love my field of choice there's no denying that clinical psych generally offers far more opportunities and SPs have to market themselves carefully to get non-school work at times.



This is pretty complicated and will vary a lot depending on the program. Generally, SP programs are going to place more emphasis on consultation and assessment as well as special education law and other relevant topics (e.g. Response to Intervention) and less on the "clinical" aspects, especially counseling. You can get some of the school related skills or some of the clinical related skills through practica and internship, but there will most likely still be some significant differences.
May I ask, What guided your decision on SP instead of Clinical?

1) Yes! I calculated in my head the years and I was like 13-14 years? No way lol.

2) I truly feel as though School Psychology is the right path for me. I'm just very scared of getting the "wrong" degree and I can not find the right job or flexibility. I enjoy working with kids in the fifth grade level up until college settings but SP seems geared to only little children?

3) I am not that interested in the research part of clinical. I love to research BUT counseling is my passion. Counseling, guiding, changing lives, etc. My research is troll on websites and find what I can. Clinical is like gathering 5 boy & girls and testing on them.. It's very cool but I don't want to focus my career on that.. I get into the clinical program when someone else who is really interested could have taken that spot
 
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Chalupacabra

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May I ask, What guided your decision on SP instead of Clinical?
I had some experience working in schools and the education department at a local non-profit and was interested in finding a way to combine my interests in psychology and education.

I enjoy working with kids in the fifth grade level up until college settings but SP seems geared to only little children?
The majority of SPs are actually hired at the elementary level. Not saying you can't work at a middle or high school, but these jobs are harder to find. That said, your training, especially in a doctoral program, is going to emphasize working with children from pre-k to college and sometimes even older (e.g. there are faculty and students at my program who have done research in Alzheimer's even though we're an SP program). Again, this is going to be all about fit and looking carefully at how the coursework, practica and research being conducted at the program align with your career goals. For example, there's a lot of research going on at Syracuse's SP program with college age students with learning disabilities.

Clinical is like gathering 5 boy & girls and testing on them..
I think you have a lot of incorrect assumptions, based on this statement. School psych is VERY heavy on assessment, arguably moreso than clinical. I highly recommend trying to reach out to local psychologists. Talking to a few practicing psychologists about their work or some faculty at your current school could be a big help in clarifying the differences. I'd echo what MamaPhD said about how you want to worry more about narrowing your interests, getting some research experience and preparing for grad school in general before you worry about what degree to get. You list several very broad interests and doctoral programs are going to expect you to have "drilled down" a bit more.
 

psycscientist

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I like to plan ahead. That's just how I am so I can know which classes to take and what schools I should attend for next year. I want to take the best classes in my bachelors so I could be prepared for my doctorate.

What I want to is be able to teach (eventually), Counsel children & adolescence with problems such as: Depression, Anxiety, Suicidal, Family Issues, School Problems,and also help with life/career goals, and also work in the educational settings and/or clinics. I love the idea of opening up my own practice so clinical would be best but I'm not too fond on the research that comes from clinical phd. Maybe I should participate in one research this year to see how I feel about it.
Quite frankly, if you are not interested in research, then you should not pursue a doctorate degree. Any reputable doctoral degree will have a strong research emphasis, even if you do not plan to go on to become a full-time researcher. Nothing you have said about your goals necessarily requires a doctoral degree. Have you looked into Master's degrees?
 
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gdaly

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Jul 23, 2013
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Have you thought of doing school counseling instead of school psychology? Or even being an MFT for a school district.

With school counseling you would be doing more social, emotional, and life skills instead testing. You can also choose to work with the middle school students instead of elementary kids. With school counseling you can also get a PHD in Counselor Education and Supervision. http://www.cacrep.org/directory/?state=&dl=D&pt_id=&keywords=&submitthis=

School districts also hire therapists for the children, so a MFT or LCSW would be another option.

Pay wise a school psychologist will make more than a school counselor. In Southern CA I see pay for school psychologist around 70-80k starting and school counselor is 40-50k starting. Also, some school psychologists do counseling it would depend on your district though.

One thing I did was go on edjoin.org and look at the job descriptions to see what would fit me more. I also recommend talking to people in the education field to get a better idea of the job. My aunt is a teacher and knows the school counselor so we're trying to set up a time to meet.

Good luck!
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
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Quite frankly, if you are not interested in research, then you should not pursue a doctorate degree. Any reputable doctoral degree will have a strong research emphasis, even if you do not plan to go on to become a full-time researcher. Nothing you have said about your goals necessarily requires a doctoral degree. Have you looked into Master's degrees?
I figured most doctorate degrees have a strong research emphasis. I looked into a master's but I want to earn the highest salary I can in a field I love If I can. I am interested in research, just not laboratory research but If I have to do it to get a PhD, then I would have to.
 
OP
Aestheticism
Aug 21, 2015
105
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Florida
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Psychology Student
Have you thought of doing school counseling instead of school psychology? Or even being an MFT for a school district.

With school counseling you would be doing more social, emotional, and life skills instead testing. You can also choose to work with the middle school students instead of elementary kids. With school counseling you can also get a PHD in Counselor Education and Supervision. http://www.cacrep.org/directory/?state=&dl=D&pt_id=&keywords=&submitthis=

School districts also hire therapists for the children, so a MFT or LCSW would be another option.

Pay wise a school psychologist will make more than a school counselor. In Southern CA I see pay for school psychologist around 70-80k starting and school counselor is 40-50k starting. Also, some school psychologists do counseling it would depend on your district though.

One thing I did was go on edjoin.org and look at the job descriptions to see what would fit me more. I also recommend talking to people in the education field to get a better idea of the job. My aunt is a teacher and knows the school counselor so we're trying to set up a time to meet.

Good luck!
When I researched about the salary difference with school psychology and school counselor, I saw the gap. That's why I'm leaning towards school psychology. I will have more experience working in higher education settings then clinics/hospitals because of my situation now. I have experience in the advising office, campus safety department, and student life department at my college campus so I'm extremely interested in working with older kids like teens and college students.
 
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If you are struggling with narrowing your interests in the field, then look for the degree that provides the most options. That would be a clinical or counseling PhD. As I have stated before, that will enable you to specialize in just about anything down the road.

Also, participating in research is something that I did during my education and not something that I have done since other than to delve in the literature to find answers to clinical questions. I do not regret for one minute the experience I got from the research as it affords me with quite an edge over the competition. Sometimes when I hear undergrads say they don't want to do research, I think that could be translated as "I hate writing research papers". Conducting research in psychology is completely different from writing "research papers" that we had to do in high school and other liberal arts classes. I despised writing those too!
 
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AcronymAllergy

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If you are struggling with narrowing your interests in the field, then look for the degree that provides the most options. That would be a clinical or counseling PhD. As I have stated before, that will enable you to specialize in just about anything down the road.

Also, participating in research is something that I did during my education and not something that I have done since other than to delve in the literature to find answers to clinical questions. I do not regret for one minute the experience I got from the research as it affords me with quite an edge over the competition. Sometimes when I hear undergrads say they don't want to do research, I think that could be translated as "I hate writing research papers". Conducting research in psychology is completely different from writing "research papers" that we had to do in high school and other liberal arts classes. I despised writing those too!
Related to this, it's better to have the tool (i.e., experience conducting research studies) and not use it than the opposite.

One thing I heard while on internship that's turned out to be true (in my experience) is that regardless of how much research you've done, other (non-Ph.D./Psy.D.) providers with whom you work will often assume you're versed in conducting research as a psychologist just by virtue of your degree. Thus, they may come to you for guidance and collaboration if they have a study idea that they'd like to flesh out.
 

MamaPhD

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What I want to is be able to teach (eventually), Counsel children & adolescence with problems such as: Depression, Anxiety, Suicidal, Family Issues, School Problems,and also help with life/career goals, and also work in the educational settings and/or clinics. I love the idea of opening up my own practice so clinical would be best but I'm not too fond on the research that comes from clinical phd. Maybe I should participate in one research this year to see how I feel about it.
If those are your goals, then a clinical psychology or counseling psychology degree would be a good fit, although as others have pointed out you might investigate the pros and cons of a master's in counseling, which would still enable you to do all of the above. It could be a good back-up option anyway. You don't have to decide today.

Now, your next step is to find someone at your college or university who does research on children and adolescents, join their lab as a research assistant, and do everything you can to develop a reputation as a thoughtful, reliable member of their team.
 
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futureapppsy2

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Adding to what others have said, there are some school psych PhD programs that have strong clinical child training components and frequently send students into non-school psych clinical employment--mostly pediatric psych positions but also some other clinical settings. These programs train you in all the school psych stuff (EBD assessment per IDEA, RTI, LD assessment, etc), but also mandate a fair amount of child/adolescent therapy training, both in terms of classes and pracs, and have peds psych and other non-school courses and placements that are strongly suggested or even required and frequently used.

On the flip side, there are also programs that focus a lot on school psych in schools and really don't do much at all with the clinical component (I know a graduate from one of these programs who knows school and educational stuff backwards and forwards but seems almost terrified of therapy or even assessing mood and anxiety disorders from a non-school POV). There are also other programs that emphasize school stuff but can let you carve out a non-school clinical path if you really try. IME, the more child clinically focused a program is, the more it will emphasize and place students into APA-accredited internships; many--but not all--school-heavy programs will send a lot of students to non-APA CDSPP internships.

Last time I checked--several years ago--a school psych PhD/PsyD could be licensed as a psychologist in every state but Wyoming.
 
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AcronymAllergy

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Adding to what others have said, there are some school psych PhD programs that have strong clinical child training components and frequently send students into non-school psych clinical employment--mostly pediatric psych positions but also some other clinical settings. These programs train you in all the school psych stuff (EBD assessment per IDEA, RTI, LD assessment, etc), but also mandate a fair amount of child/adolescent therapy training, both in terms of classes and pracs, and have peds psych and other non-school courses and placements that are strongly suggested or even required and frequently used.

On the flip side, there are also programs that focus a lot on school psych in schools and really don't do much at all with the clinical component (I know a graduate from one of these programs who knows school and educational stuff backwards and forwards but seems almost terrified of therapy or even assessing mood and anxiety disorders from a non-school POV). There are also other programs that emphasize school stuff but can let you carve out a non-school clinical path if you really try. IME, the more child clinically focused a program is, the more it will emphasize and place students into APA-accredited internships; many--but not all--school-heavy programs will send a lot of students to non-APA CDSPP internships.

Last time I checked--several years ago--a school psych PhD/PsyD could be licensed as a psychologist in every state but Wyoming.
The only caveat I'd add is that you'd need a psych internship to be license-eligible, and some internship programs don't accept applications from school psych students. However, some do, so if you have particular geographic areas or even specific potential internship sites in mind, it'd be best to check those out ahead of time if you go the school psych route to be sure you'd be eligible to apply.
 

futureapppsy2

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The only caveat I'd add is that you'd need a psych internship to be license-eligible, and some internship programs don't accept applications from school psych students. However, some do, so if you have particular geographic areas or even specific potential internship sites in mind, it'd be best to check those out ahead of time if you go the school psych route to be sure you'd be eligible to apply.
I'm not sure what you mean by "psych internship," AA. Could you expand?
 

futureapppsy2

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Nothing fancy, just the standard internship via APPIC (or something equivalent that would meet licensing standards).
Just wondering, because I'd also like to throw in that there a few nice APA-accredited internships with a school component, both school districts (Cyfair, Houston) and consortia (Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska), that will definitely meet the requirements for psych licensure, as well as a good number of peds internships that take clinically-focused school psych people (off the top of my head--Colorado Children's, CHOP, Kennedy Krieger). I'd be more focused on if a program supports and has a track-record with getting their school psych students to APA internships than I would about school psych itself barring you from these internships. If you're coming out of a program that sends 70%+ of its students to APA internships, you're probably good if you want that and work towards it. If you're coming out of a program that sends 80% of its students to CDSPP internships, that also tells you something about their focus as program (not necessarily a bad one, just a pure "school" one).
 
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AcronymAllergy

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Just wondering, because I'd also like to throw in that there a few nice APA-accredited internships with a school component, both school districts (Cyfair, Houston) and consortia (Illinois, Louisiana, Nebraska), that will definitely meet the requirements for psych licensure, as well as a good number of peds internships that take clinically-focused school psych people (off the top of my head--Colorado Children's, CHOP, Kennedy Krieger). I'd be mo0re focused on if a program supports and has a track-record with getting their school psych students to APA internships than I would about school psych itself barring you from these internships. If you're coming out of a program that sends 70%+ of its students to APA internships, you're probably good if you want that and work towards it. If you're coming out of a program that sends 80% of its students to CDSPP internships, that also tells you something about their focus as program (not necessarily a bad one, just a pure "school" one).
Agreed. I was more calling attention to the fact that some internships don't accept applications from school psych students, so it's simply one additional thing to keep in mind. I saw a few in my own searches back when I was applying, although admittedly I also only looked at adult-oriented sites.
 
OP
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Thank you all for your responses. It's just so many options and I really want to choose the right path for me.