foreverbull

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Hey all, I've been scouring the threads here to find anything relevant to my situation, which is:

Completed internship in another state, got my Ph.D., and interviewed for several "formal" postdocs in California. Was not offered a position. Applied for Psych assistant jobs at Kaiser. Told that my experience doesn't match what they're looking for. Applied for other jobs at nonprofits and was told that there was no psychologist to supervise my postdoc hours so they couldn't take me on. I'm essentially overqualified for many jobs online and also underqualified for licensed psychologist positions, which puts me in a difficult position when I'm trying to get the 1500 postdoc hours for licensure.

I think the biggest issue I have at the moment is that I have zero network connections, and am relying heavily on what's available online. Is there anyone who has names or connections in California who can point a finger in a direction that would be helpful other than listservs and some of the main job websites I've already been scouring?

I've heard of people cold contacting random psychologists to try to set up an psychological assistant position, but there are so many psychologists that I'm not sure where to start.

Does anyone have any more specific information to provide for my situation or places to contact? It's been a frustrating process thus far and any help would be appreciated!
 
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OneNeuroDoctor

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Have you looked for postdocs in other states? In some states, Arizona, Washington, Alabama and others you will not need a postdoc. California is saturated with psychologists and people trying to do postdoc so you may need to do your postdoc in another state.
 
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foreverbull

foreverbull

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Unfortunately, that isn't a realistic option given that my partner lives in CA and I moved there after graduating because we both decided we wanted to settle in CA for good after years of distance (we both have family and/or friends here). I know that the market is saturated, but given that less than 1 in 10 psychology graduates gets a formal postdoc, there must be other options for the rest of us to find employment!
 

erg923

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Unfortunately, that isn't a realistic option given that my partner lives in CA and I moved there after graduating because we both decided we wanted to settle in CA for good after years of distance (we both have family and/or friends here). I know that the market is saturated, but given that less than 1 in 10 psychology graduates gets a formal postdoc, there must be other options for the rest of us to find employment!
So you did apply for formal post-docs during the cycle last winter/spring...but got nada? Is that correct? Beyond cold calling, i would suggest holding out for the next cycle. It will start in the next 4 months.
 

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If you haven't already you might consider contacting the places you interviewed with and ask for feedback as to why you were not offered a position. Sounds like you were qualified on paper and something held you back at interview stage.

Also might consider attending the Northern California Training Directors' Conference, not sure if it's really open to the "public" but you could crash it and I imagine would be received well. Most if not all Bay Area UCCs will be represented and they bring their pre & post docs. It could be an opportunity to network. It's 9/25 at SF State. Another event to consider is San Jose St's Multicultural Training Day where most Bay Area UCC folks will again be represented. It's sometime in Oct/Nov, I think.
 

PsyDr

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...but given that less than 1 in 10 psychology graduates gets a formal postdoc, there must be other options for the rest of us to find employment!
That's not how market forces work. When labor supply exceeds demand, and turnover is minimal, unemployment will be a cold hard fact.

The only reason I bring this up, is that this type of thinking does exactly nothing for you. If you come across as entitled, employers will drop you from consideration in a heart beat.

Advice: start networking. Go to local conferences. Be humble. Be friendly. Let it be known you are looking for work. Expect lower salaries.
 

erg923

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"Told that my experience doesn't match what they're looking for."

This sounds like a generic HR line to me. If you went to a decent program, why/how would this be so? I hope you were trained in more than just direct clinical service? I have, for example, have had multiple offers to work in some non traditional areas less than 3 years out of clinical phd. I AM licensed, albeit.
 
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foreverbull

foreverbull

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I came from a solid APA-accredited scientist-practitioner program at public school in a different state, with practica at 3 colleges/universities, a community clinic, and a VA for outpatient mental health. As to how I interviewed, I was told I was a "strong candidate" and one of the top choices at one of the sites I interviewed at, but that site had only one postdoc position with a highly specialized/competitive track, so I'm not sure that interview style was so much of a factor as the sheer number of applicants/interviewees.

Thanks for the advice about the training director conferences, but because the next round of postdocs don't start for another year, I am seeking jobs outside the "formal" postdocs to start accruing hours ASAP.

I'm not sure how being entitled came into this conversation, I was simply saying that I've heard about other people finding other jobs without doing a "formal" postdoc in California (psychological assistants, jobs at community mental health centers), and was asking if anyone knew more specific insider information about sites or contacts, or even just further information about how to negotiate terms with regard to becoming a psychological assistant. I have no qualms about taking lower pay while I'm accruing those hours, the issue is that the jobs I am qualified for are jobs in which employers won't provide postdoctoral level supervision (but will provide master's level licensure supervision from an LMFT, etc.). Regardless, I just wanted to see if anyone out there had any information specific to finding jobs to accrue postdoc hours in CA, so if anyone does have more specific info, please let me know!
 
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AcronymAllergy

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This goes along with the above networking rec--if you haven't already, consider joining the state (and city/area, if available) psych associations, attending their events, and emailing your availability via listserves.

It sounds like this may not be applicable as you've already tried, but if you haven't already, reach out to folks you know from grad school to see if any of them have any contacts in CA. Even if the folks aren't in your neck of the woods, they may know people who are.

And as erg mentioned, cold-calling/emailining local private practices is always an option. Sometimes people may not realize they could use a postdoc until one comes along and offers.

Those are the only recommendations I can come up with off-hand.
 
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Therapist4Chnge

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I believe "psych assistant" is used in a few different states, I believe it is akin to a psychometrician. I wish states used standardized titles and regulated them similarly, as it seems like the Wild West in many states (still!).

*insert People's Republic of California joke here*
 
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Down here hospitals use "mental health technician" and "behavioral health technician" Don't know what so technical about it, much less why they would post the term "technician" But its most likely similar to psychiatry assistant and behavior therapist respectively I'm assuming.
 
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foreverbull

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A "psychological assistant" in CA can mean you have your doctoral psychology degree but are currently unlicensed or that you have a master's degree in psychology and are unlicensed and you are being employed by someone who will supervise your hours for licensure in a clinical setting.
 

erg923

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A "psychological assistant" in CA can mean you have your doctoral psychology degree but are currently unlicensed or that you have a master's degree in psychology and are unlicensed and you are being employed by someone who will supervise your hours for licensure in a clinical setting.
So...a post-doc?
 

cara susanna

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Or a resident, which I think is the term my post-doc program (in CA) uses.
 

bmedclinic

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Down here hospitals use "mental health technician" and "behavioral health technician" Don't know what so technical about it, much less why they would post the term "technician" But its most likely similar to psychiatry assistant and behavior therapist respectively I'm assuming.
I always thought mental health technician was the grunt who was more akin to an hourly babysitter (aka "Direct Service Agent", that didnt even require a HS degree) in an inpatient type setting more than a psychometrician. Interesting.
 
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In California a person who has their clinical degree and is working on their postdoctoral supervised hours requirement should apply for and become a certified psychologist through the board of psychology. At least that was my understanding from a few years ago. Each state has completely different terminology and process for this. The APA needs to keep working on getting more standardization. If we are confused about our own processes, no wonder the public is confused. :rolleyes:
In the state I am in now they call it a psychological resident. Then when you finish your hours and are waiting for the oral exam, they call you a "temporary permit practitioner in psychology". Seriously. And to provide informed consent, you get to try to explain your status to your patients. Most just say, "yeah. yeah. whatever. I'll sign it." :)
 
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I'm in a similar position as OP -- completed education and internship in another state, now looking for psych assistant position in So. Cal. Here's some information that may (or may not) be helpful based on my own experience:
  • Cold contacting random psychologists sucks; most won't respond to your email. I use a discreet mail checker extension that notifies me when the original email has been opened. This reduces uncertainty about whether or not the recipient actually received the message. I typically send a followup email a week later and then move on.
  • That said, for those psychologists who respond to your inquiry and say they aren't hiring, I always ask if they know of others who might be hiring that might be suitable for my postdoc objective (stated in attached CV + cover letter). Responses are typically very positive and you will get referred to another organization. If that organization isn't hiring, they'll probably refer you as well. People like to help others, even if they are personally unable to.
  • APPIC postdoc listserv is helpful; same with PICC (although the fall semester has likely already started at many universities). I have also searched for people with the psych assistant job title on Linkedin and then contacted their listed organization. Unsure whether joining paid organizations that have listservs (e.g., CPA, SFPA) would be fruitful. Personally, the cost for membership has been a barrier, but since you have already invested this much in your education, what's a little more $$$?
  • Stay positive. Discouragement is temporary and will be quickly forgotten after you secure the postdoc. Then you get to look forward to working 40 years before you retire and die. So live it up now.
Good luck. Will pass along any pertinent information as it emerges.
 
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foreverbull

foreverbull

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I'm in a similar position as OP -- completed education and internship in another state, now looking for psych assistant position in So. Cal. Here's some information that may (or may not) be helpful based on my own experience:
  • Cold contacting random psychologists sucks; most won't respond to your email. I use a discreet mail checker extension that notifies me when the original email has been opened. This reduces uncertainty about whether or not the recipient actually received the message. I typically send a followup email a week later and then move on.
  • Stay positive. Discouragement is temporary and will be quickly forgotten after you secure the postdoc. Then you get to look forward to working 40 years before you retire and die. So live it up now.
Good luck. Will pass along any pertinent information as it emerges.
Thanks, Method, this was helpful. I am going to go ahead and begin cold contacting psychologists anyway. I have heard mixed results...another person in this forum 3 or 4 years ago said he got multiple offers that way, but clearly you've had a different experience.

I'm looking into county psychology memberships at the moment, but as you said, they are pricey if you apply to multiple ones, and CPA (state psych association) is the priciest of them all and they stated that they don't post job offers in their listservs that aren't already available publicly when I contacted them to ask.

Thanks for your insights and keep me posted! :)
 
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Sep 11, 2015
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Other thoughts:
  • I've heard (but not verified) that with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, there is increased funding for mental health services at the county level. I've also seen job postings soliciting pre-licensed clinicians for San Bernardino and Santa Barbara counties. A fair ways south from where you are, but something to investigate.
  • Corrections settings are hiring and can provide supervised hours. The pay is also better (relative to internship, at least). I have deferred applying for these positions due to the setting, but if you happen to be living the "beggars can't be choosers" adage, it might be an option.
Let me know if you find joining the county psychological associations to be of any use. If the membership list is public, you might also consider googling the member name, researching their practice, and then contacting them if you feel you would be a good fit.

And again, if you get discouraged, try to think optimistically; perhaps the withering heat or prolonged drought will render the search for employment a moot point =)
 

Loansforlife

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Hey all, I've been scouring the threads here to find anything relevant to my situation, which is:

Completed internship in another state, got my Counseling Psychology Ph.D., and interviewed for several "formal" postdocs in the Bay Area and other areas in California. Was not offered a position. Applied for Psychological Assistant jobs at Kaiser (the ones that strangely seem to keep being posted over and over on Indeed.com and LInkedin). Told that my experience doesn't match what they're looking for. Applied for other jobs at nonprofits and was told that there was no psychologist to supervise my postdoc hours so they couldn't take me on. I'm essentially overqualified for many jobs online and also underqualified for licensed psychologist positions, which puts me in a difficult position when I'm trying to find a job ASAP to get the 1500 postdoc hours for licensure.

I think the biggest issue I have at the moment is that I have zero network connections in California, and am relying heavily on what's available online. Is there anyone who has names or connections in California who can point a finger in a direction that would be helpful other than listservs and some of the main job websites I've already been scouring?

I've heard of people cold contacting random psychologists to try to set up an psychological assistant position, but there are so many psychologists in the Bay Area that I'm not sure where to start or the terms to offer to the therapists in the email, since I don't know much about what's standard for psychological assistants.

Does anyone have any more specific information to provide for my situation or places to contact? It's been a frustrating process thus far and any help would be appreciated!
I lucked out and turned a pre-doctoral psychology assistant position into a post-doc for a bit and accrued 650 hours before I moved. I did cold call some old faculty that I knew had practices, but ended up transitioning into a spot that an old colleague had just finished. FYI new BOP rules state you must have prior approval from the board prior to accruing hours in a Psychological Assistant setting. Don't make the mistake of thinking you can submit hours later.

I did end up moving to Washington for a post-doc because I wanted better pay and benefits when student loans kicked in. I had also looked at Arizona. Good luck, CA is completely saturated.

Oh P.S> Look at Pacific Clinics, they will employ psychology assistants and use a health/rehabilitation psychology model.
 
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foreverbull

foreverbull

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Thanks, Loansforlife. I looked into rules and regulations of the BOP awhile ago, especially after reading horror stories about other postdocs losing their postdoc hours due to not getting prior approval. How frustrating!

As a general update, joined 2 county psych associations (still waiting to hear back on a third at the moment) and sent out a request on LISTSERVs for anyone seeking a psych assistant and no replies yet. Will update if I have better luck with the LISTSERVs of the county psych associations...that seemed to be one of the better options available rather than cold calling individual psychologists. Someone on this forum a few years back said he/she received multiple offers for psychological assistant positions via the county LISTSERVs.
 
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CApsych

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I'm in your position next year (on internship now but looking for psych assistantships for next year). My plan is to look at jobs at Stanford, UCSF and
VAs in clinical research. I worked in clinical research and almost all my locations were supervised by a psychologist. Crossing my fingers someone is willing to supervise me for post doc hours. Remember also that a psychiatrist can supervise you for 50% so maybe consider expanding your search that way. People have also said incredibly discouraging things about my plan but trust that you will get those hours! Good for you for making what I consider a brave choice to prioritize being with your partner. I'm looking for a less formal post docs for family reasons and people keep looking at me like I have two heads when I tell them that. I now have met many many people who have not done a formal post doc and who managed to be psychologists. Keep your head up. Check out CPMC in SF which has an unpaid post doc and UCSF staff counseling program which has multiple application cycles as well.
 
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I'm in your position next year (on internship now but looking for psych assistantships for next year). My plan is to look at jobs at Stanford, UCSF and
VAs in clinical research. I worked in clinical research and almost all my locations were supervised by a psychologist. Crossing my fingers someone is willing to supervise me for post doc hours. Remember also that a psychiatrist can supervise you for 50% so maybe consider expanding your search that way. People have also said incredibly discouraging things about my plan but trust that you will get those hours! Good for you for making what I consider a brave choice to prioritize being with your partner. I'm looking for a less formal post docs for family reasons and people keep looking at me like I have two heads when I tell them that. I now have met many many people who have not done a formal post doc and who managed to be psychologists. Keep your head up. Check out CPMC in SF which has an unpaid post doc and UCSF staff counseling program which has multiple application cycles as well.
Unpaid post doc? That doesn't sound good at all. Almost like being on a street corner with a cardboard sign saying "will work for supervised hours". Makes me really glad that I left California.
 
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Unpaid post doc? That doesn't sound good at all. Almost like being on a street corner with a cardboard sign saying "will work for supervised hours". Makes me really glad that I left California.
Unpaid postdoc or postdoc paying 50k a year? I'll take the 50k a year please.
 

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Just to add some perspective- as I too am appalled at the thought of working for free yet another year. There are a few situations in which working for free may make sense. If you've already missed the call for formal post docs for the year (as it seemed the OP had) and you really really want to knock out hours ASAP to get to licensure, and you have a partner who can support you, it might make sense. If, like me, you are paying 30k+ per year for childcare in San Francisco while on internship that has a stipend less than that, and you can find someone to supervise you on off hours the next year so that you can reduce your childcare costs, it might make sense to work for free. Generally, I think it a horrible idea, but some of us may not fit that 50k full time post doc model.
I have always appreciated the respondents here who can think a little more flexibly, as based on many responses to other discussions here over the years, here my graduate school choices may seem nuts. Im doing a PsyD at a not exclusively university based program, applied to internships within an extremely restricted geographical range with exactly zero first author publications , had a kid part way who I talk about all the time in professional settings and am not planning to do a formal post doc but have grand plans of working at a VA. Believe it or not, things seem to be working out pretty OK. I'm more of the mindset that if you really want to make it happen, you will, and I appreciate others who offer encouragement to those of us a little off the beaten path.
 

OneNeuroDoctor

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A number of States are moving towards eliminating the postdoctoral year of training. Washington, Arizona, and Alabama don't require the postdoctoral year. I believe the VA accepts licensure from any State so you could apply for licensure in those States and work in the VA.

I am hearing that some Psychology Boards will not accept a postdoctoral year of training where your supervisor does not work in the same agency and you are paying them for supervision or the agency is paying them to supervise you. When a supervisor is being paid $150 to $200 per hour to supervise a postdoctoral trainee they may be less objective and write good recommendations and quarterly reports due to monetary reasons.

The LPC and LMSW model allows for provisional licensure during post degree supervision for two-three years where the provisionally licensed LPC/LMSW pays for the supervision.

I know it is a question of quality and standards of training and it is much more difficult to become licensed as a psychologist without having APA accredited programs, APA accredited predoc internship and postdoc fellowship.

Some people take a break after finishing their doctorate and wait 3-6 years before applying for licensure and I have known that some have difficulty with obtaining provisional licensure due to delay of applying.
 

cara susanna

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For what it's worth, I'm doing a formal post doc in California right now and I am amazed by how many of the post docs I've met either managed to stay in California or come back for post doc, and want to stay. And these are the people who got formal post docs here, I bet there are plenty who didn't and want to come back for jobs someday. There are soooo many, and they will be competition for anyone else who wants to stay or come back to CA for work.

Obviously things can work out in the end, but if I knew I wanted a job in CA (especially in the VA) personally I would want to maximize my chances of that in any way possible.
 
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foreverbull

foreverbull

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Just to add some perspective- as I too am appalled at the thought of working for free yet another year. There are a few situations in which working for free may make sense. If you've already missed the call for formal post docs for the year (as it seemed the OP had) and you really really want to knock out hours ASAP to get to licensure, and you have a partner who can support you, it might make sense. If, like me, you are paying 30k+ per year for childcare in San Francisco while on internship that has a stipend less than that, and you can find someone to supervise you on off hours the next year so that you can reduce your childcare costs, it might make sense to work for free. Generally, I think it a horrible idea, but some of us may not fit that 50k full time post doc model.
I have always appreciated the respondents here who can think a little more flexibly, as based on many responses to other discussions here over the years, here my graduate school choices may seem nuts. Im doing a PsyD at a not exclusively university based program, applied to internships within an extremely restricted geographical range with exactly zero first author publications , had a kid part way who I talk about all the time in professional settings and am not planning to do a formal post doc but have grand plans of working at a VA. Believe it or not, things seem to be working out pretty OK. I'm more of the mindset that if you really want to make it happen, you will, and I appreciate others who offer encouragement to those of us a little off the beaten path.

I concur that the more flexible we can be in general with options, the better. I feel like this experience has been a lesson in creativity, and for every person who says "look outside of CA because it's saturated," there's another who says "try joining this organization," or try this, etc. I know I've had to expand my mind and options to seek out new ways to connect professionally since I've been here to take the "non-traditional" path. It's been fascinating to watch this process unfold and fascinating to see what people have to say...
 
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foreverbull

foreverbull

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UPDATE:
the psychological assistant request postings in 3 different county psych associations didn't result in any true leads, and neither did cold contacting a few psychologists in private practice. I've focused on continuing to apply for everything I possibly qualify for and traveling for interviews in the area. It looks like the best luck I've had so far has just been to keep churning out cover letters and apps for jobs.
Best of luck to anyone in a similar position in California. There are definitely slumps where no jobs are listed for people needing postdoc supervision, but job listings seem to come in waves at times. Here's to finding success through the nontraditional route when the "official" postdoc path doesn't work for whatever reason!
 
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