Dec 3, 2020
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I apologize in advance if this is a repetitive question. I did some searching on the forums and didnt see anything specifically relevant to what I am asking, and google search just turns up a bunch of fake blogs and grad school sites that are clearly advertisements for Alliant.

I graduated with a BA in writing in 2013 and have kind of strayed from the path due to some struggles of my own with depression and drug addiction. The result is, I have a writing degree, but am want to go into clinical psych and find meaningful work. And I feel it is an area where I can really provide some skill and expertise.

I want to help others, but I also want to be able to afford my own apartment as I am 30 years old at this point. I see median salary reports for MSW and MFT that say 45k and am nervous... I make 60k at my current sales job and that barely enough to be comfy with a 1br in california. I am trying to do research and determine the best course of action, as I keep seeing conflicting things telling me to do MFT, or MSW, or PSYD. I feel I may have waited too long, as the prospect of spending 3 years on psych masters and then doing psyd for 4+ is a lot of time to get things going. I want to be working with individuals or in a challenging and rewarding environment. Most interesting to me is substance abuse counseling/case management, psychology for prison populations or forensic psych, private practice therapy. I know this is a wide variance... but I would like to get a quality education that opens the most doors for me while losing the least amount of years. Tuition costs may not be an issue as I will get some family support.

I am curious if there are any good schools that I can go into Psyd with my BA? If it even worthwhile for what I want to do? Over the course of the 7 years after grad I have taken a handful of college psych classes, one statistics class, and about 5-10 community college psych classes so I at least have those on my transcripts.

I am far less interested in a research environment and want to be more engaged and involved... but also want more financial and job opportunities. What do you suggest and do you know of any programs that may fit well? I try and do research and all i get back is pages of chicago school or alliant ads... thanks in advance.
 
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WisNeuro

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If you have zero interest in research, the alliant and chicago schools are pretty much the way to go. But at that point, you are simply a mid level provider paying six figures for a "doctorate," so caveat emptor. Seriously, if you do not want to do any meaningful research, stick with masters and resign yourself to a median salary that is pretty much what you are currently making.
 
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Fascinating that I asked a bunch of different questions, and you zero in on the one thing you thought you could be elitist about and then leave it at that. But it may be good advice nonetheless. All I said is that the prospect of working with people excites me more than spending my day alone in a lab, however that may look.
 
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WisNeuro

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Take it however you want, it's simply the fact of the matter. The main thing that separates mid levels from real psychologists is an in-depth understanding of how to conduct and evaluate research and how that informs your clinical decisions. You get the choice of which path you'd like to take. But, if it's the no meaningful research path, you are best served going the masters route. It's quicker and won't saddle you with debt that you''ll carry until retirement age. The majority of people that go to fully funded programs, balance and research focused, are in primarily or solely clinical careers.
 
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PsyDuck90

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To piggyback off of WisNeuro, any of the quality, university-based PsyD programs will also require research. If you strictly want to do 0 research, professional schools or master's programs would be your best bet. However, professional school PsyDs have a host of issues which you can see from several posts on here. Even the professional schools have some semblance of a dissertation requirement.

Additionally, based on your statement, "spending my day alone in a lab," I'm going to assume you haven't done much psych research. Unless you're analyzing data or writing, psych research isn't usually done sitting alone in a room for hours on end. If you are serious about this career path, I would recommend getting a better understanding of what's involved before discounting it completely.
 
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summerbabe

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I want to be working with individuals or in a challenging and rewarding environment. Most interesting to me is substance abuse counseling/case management, psychology for prison populations or forensic psych, private practice therapy. I know this is a wide variance.
For part of grad school, I had an assistantship where I advised undergrad psych majors for class registration but also career options. A lot of students expressed similar sentiments about populations or settings that sounded interesting, which is a great starting point. But interest alone doesn't make a PhD or PsyD a good option for everybody.

A doctorate in psychology recognizes one as an 'expert' in the field and as such, a baseline level of commitment to research should be required. I haven't made any contributions to psychology literature since finishing graduate school (and most PhDs and PsyDs work full-time clinically) but I entered my PhD with a strong interest in the academic side of psychology/behavioral health and left with a much greater appreciation for and ability to utilize this knowledge in providing the best possible clinical care for my patients.

And I feel it is an area where I can really provide some skill and expertise.
If you are truly committed to developing your skills and expertise for clinical practice, there really aren't any shortcuts. While there's an 'art' to clinical work and some people possess better innate interpersonal skills useful for therapy, clinical expertise requires quality training and appreciation for relevant literature, which takes time, effort, and commitment.
 
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R. Matey

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I think it's important to not be caught up in believing that a median income is your income if you were to pursue a given career option or that a national median is the same as the median salary in CA. That being said, if you don't want to do research, there's no reason to waste your time and money on a Psy.D. You can accomplish your career goals as a social worker.
 
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ClinicalABA

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...

Additionally, based on your statement, "spending my day alone in a lab," I'm going to assume you haven't done much psych research. Unless you're analyzing data or writing, psych research isn't usually done sitting alone in a room for hours on end. If you are serious about this career path, I would recommend getting a better understanding of what's involved before discounting it completely.
This is such a valid and important point. I think people think "research" and immediately picture white coats, labs, and statistics. That is not the mode for clinical research. Just using myself as an example, when doing my grad school research (thesis and dissertation), I spent my day with others in nursing homes, interacting with residents and nursing staff. I also spent time getting to know undergraduate research assistants. After graduate school, my research has involved spending the day in schools or homes interacting with children, parents, teachers, and other educators and caregivers. Not a physical laboratory in sight! In fact, my research activities involved some of the most sustained and in depth client contact I've had in my career.
When we referred to our "lab," we weren't referring to physical space, but to the collective group of grad students and assistants who worked with our specific mentor. This work took place in applied settings, coffee shops, and people's living rooms.

I should also mention that, other than maybe a correlation coefficient in my thesis, as well as some measures central tendency (means/medians), there were no statistics involved in any of my research activities (including the smattering of published articles).
 
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