ikibah

MSW student
5+ Year Member
May 6, 2013
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I posted this question in the M.A section as well but I now realize there are probably more PHD's over here so here it is:

Hi. I recently got into an MSW program and my plan for now is to become a psychotherapist. As of late the idea of becoming a professor and doing counseling on the side has been sounding appealing and I wanted to see if anybody here can help me out with a few questions about that.
1. Is it possible to teach at masters level? I know some big universities say a PHD is required but I thought I recalled somebody telling me that they teach with a masters. If a Masters only works for a community colleges and the sort then I'm not interested, part of what appeals to me about teaching is the somewhat lucrative salary that comes with teaching at a big U
2. If a PHD is a requirement I understand that it's basically five years of heavy research oriented course work. I have no research at all and I have absolutely no ides what it entails. Can somebody try to dumb down what research would consist of? Will I need a real understanding of math and statistics in which I am terrible?
3. Is there anything I can do while in my Masters program to help prepare me for a career in teaching (or admissions to a good PHD program)?

Thank you all for your help, I really look forward to hearing from you.
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
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A MSW can teach other social worker classes yes, most likey at community college level, but small colleges often employ mastters level folks as adjuncts as well. Some are faculty too. Big salary comes from big grant money, not teaching.

If you are bad at math/stats then research is no for you.
 

WisNeuro

Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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As to your #2 point OP, that is a fundamentally flawed understanding of PhD programs. I actually did more clinically oriented classwork than research oriented.

That being said, erg is right, if you are terrible at those, probably not for you. You need to be able to understand statistics at a higher level to both properly consume and produce research.
 
Mar 27, 2013
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OP, you might want to consider a PsyD with what you're talking about. While you will have to have at least some statistical and research time in such a program, the focus is generally more geared towards preparing you for practice work. While I am not the perfect person to answer this (hint hint, anyone with a PsyD or seeking a PsyD please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong), I do believe that typical PsyD dissertation work is more aligned with reviewing research currently in place to see how it could be more effectively applied to practice settings as opposed to actually doing a research project.

Quick side note: if big money is what you're looking for, you might be barking up a tree that is not only wrong, but isn't even in the forest. While one can do well enough to comfortably support a family with a PhD, the vast majority of us aren't going to be raking it in. Let's just say that not all of those 1989 Honda Civics parked in university parking lots belong to the students...
 

WisNeuro

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I woudl argue that you need a good understanding of statistics to even be a competent clinician as well. If you can't understand the outcome literature about the treatments you are delivering, you're just a monkey with a toolbox blindly flailing about until you happen upon the right one. And, speak for yourself, I've got a beautiful 2003 Honda Civic out there. Make it rain!
 
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Nov 25, 2013
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This doesn't have to do with your questions, but just wondering: Why are you going to do an MSW to prepare you for admissions to a PhD?
 
Nov 6, 2013
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It sounds like OP wants a doctoral degree for the payoff, and since there is no payoff, there is no point. I honestly thought this was a troll at first. The very few "Big U" schools that pay what I would consider a "somewhat lucrative" salary to professors expect you to do research as your profession, so if research isn't your thing then you are mistaken in thinking this is the job for you; being a professor is not about teaching at most institutions. You also need to conduct an above average level of research even among PhD clinical students to get the type of job the OP is talking about. If math and stats are not a strong point for the OP, it's going to be a tough slog unless you did purely qualitative research, which also would make it extraordinarily difficult to get a full-time position as a professor because very few schools are hiring for experts in qualitative work. A PhD is strongly preferred for full-time positions even at a CC and with the number of PhD's produced each year competition for decent paying full-time positions as a professor (what it sounds like is what OP is interested in) is extraordinarily stiff. Being an adjunct is not in the category of "somewhat lucrative" according to any of the ones I have known, but it is certainly possible to be an adjunct with a master's. It really sounds like a doctoral degree would not be worth it for you, OP, because it would not provide what you are looking for.
 
Dec 16, 2013
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It sounds like OP wants a doctoral degree for the payoff, and since there is no payoff, there is no point. I honestly thought this was a troll at first. The very few "Big U" schools that pay what I would consider a "somewhat lucrative" salary to professors expect you to do research as your profession, so if research isn't your thing then you are mistaken in thinking this is the job for you; being a professor is not about teaching at most institutions. You also need to conduct an above average level of research even among PhD clinical students to get the type of job the OP is talking about. If math and stats are not a strong point for the OP, it's going to be a tough slog unless you did purely qualitative research, which also would make it extraordinarily difficult to get a full-time position as a professor because very few schools are hiring for experts in qualitative work. A PhD is strongly preferred for full-time positions even at a CC and with the number of PhD's produced each year competition for decent paying full-time positions as a professor (what it sounds like is what OP is interested in) is extraordinarily stiff. Being an adjunct is not in the category of "somewhat lucrative" according to any of the ones I have known, but it is certainly possible to be an adjunct with a master's. It really sounds like a doctoral degree would not be worth it for you, OP, because it would not provide what you are looking for.
Hey QAs, can you give a practical definition of qualitative research?
 

erg923

Regional Clinical Officer, Centene Corporation
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Hey QAs, can you give a practical definition of qualitative research?
Im not sure what you mean by practical definition, but qualitative research is examination of data that does not use numbers in order to derive conclusions or speculuations/hypothesis. Case studies, descriptive observations of a phenomena, etc.
 
Nov 6, 2013
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Hey QAs, can you give a practical definition of qualitative research?
Basically what Erg said. The majority of what I have seen in this field has involved lengthy interviews and the analysis of said interviews through well-established methods. It tends to be intensive and time-consuming. And at every doctoral program I know of you still need the math/stats skills to be capable of conducting quantitative research (due to coursework and working on others' projects) even if you personally are using solely qualitative methods.
 

ela

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Feb 23, 2010
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Morrow and Smith (2000) - qualitative methods are particularly appropriate for “the investigation of complex human phenomena and the meanings given by people to their life experiences