MS in Psychology/Counseling is not enough

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Sara in Richmond Hill, Ontario

44 months ago

Pat Conway in Cumberland, Maryland said: It is very frustrating to try to find a job now that most of Cumberland's institutions, where counselors are needed, demand a license. I was halfway through my supervision when I and several other counselors and Social Workers got laid off due to Medicaid non-reimbursements. I took a job as a Waiver Service Coordinator, but do not get supervised hours for counseling, obviously. Anyone out there as frustrated as myself, or on a positive wave, are there any suggestions to those who have been able to continue counseling in some way? Thank you for letting me vent.
PC

Hi,

I read somewhere that with an MSW you can work for yourself as a counselor. If this is true, then I would not have to worry about getting someone else to give me a job, right? But I see here many people frustrated about the difficulty of getting hired. Is there something I don't know about working for yourself as a counselor? I just want to set up my own office and counsel people a few days a week. Are there obstacles to this?

Thanks!

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DadMike in Maryland

44 months ago

Sara in Richmond Hill, Ontario said: Hi,

I read somewhere that with an MSW you can work for yourself as a counselor. If this is true, then I would not have to worry about getting someone else to give me a job, right? But I see here many people frustrated about the difficulty of getting hired. Is there something I don't know about working for yourself as a counselor? I just want to set up my own office and counsel people a few days a week. Are there obstacles to this?

Thanks!

In US (in Canada I have no idea!!!) alot varies state by state.
In Maryland, you can be an indepent therapist with an MSW and an LCSW-C level license. But independent therapists can have a hard go at it, from the folks I know that have done it- insurances tend to dicker and reject payments over little things, bombard you with paper work for minor bills, etc.; in Canada, with a different healthcare system-- maybe it's not so bad? And if it is a solo practice, they often run into challenges of crisis coverage, being ill when a client needs to see them and they don't have a back-up, etc.
I would do a great deal of research on your local small business and social work laws in Ontario, and consult with a local NASW-type organization in Canada before you decide what to do.

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Bria in Lithonia, Georgia

44 months ago

For the past 3 days i have been reading forums about nursing and anything within the health proffession to get an inside scoop of how people really feel about Nursing and the health field. I have been nothing but discouarged hearing about peoples financial situations, and how bad the economy is. and now am confused as what direction i want to take in my life and career. I am only 19 years old and is my 2nd yr of college. I dont want to wait till ive done all 4 years in college to realize i wasted my time and money sticking to something i may not like. I NEED GUIDANCE. i need people to tell me the truth and NOT what i wanna hear. I DONT wana hear how the money is GOOD .i want the truth . IS nursing a avenue i wana take? i want to do something in the health field but dont know exactly WHAT . i thought nursing would be cool. but i guess not :( i jus dont wana waste time and money.

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

44 months ago

I still believe that nursing is a calling not just a job. You have to really care about people and want to help them at some of the worse times in their life. You will have difficulties like any other job.....the administration who feel you can do "one more thing" or a "policy" that sounds nuts to everyone but the one who came up with it. Remember, we are dealing with "sick" people who don't understand what is happening and why and you often will see the worse sides of their personalities as well as family members. There will be aggrogant, ego swollen doctors cross your path. You will perhaps have to work a shift other then "days" and you will be working holidays......hospitals are a 24/7 operation. But you will have rewards....holding a brand new life in your arms/saving someone from death/or being the person holding some one's hand as they die when they have no one else. It's not an easy profession but can be rewarding. The pay is decent/there are so many areas to work so that if you find one is not for you, there are others that may be a better fit. It's easier to get a job within your own community or if you move to another state. I would like to see you do some volunteer work at a hospital or nursing home and observe what is going on around you to see if you like what you see and whether you are comfortable with "our world".......R.N. for over 40 years

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Bria in Lithonia, Georgia

44 months ago

Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida said: I still believe that nursing is a calling not just a job. You have to really care about people and want to help them at some of the worse times in their life. You will have difficulties like any other job.....the administration who feel you can do "one more thing" or a "policy" that sounds nuts to everyone but the one who came up with it. Remember, we are dealing with "sick" people who don't understand what is happening and why and you often will see the worse sides of their personalities as well as family members. There will be aggrogant, ego swollen doctors cross your path. You will perhaps have to work a shift other then "days" and you will be working holidays......hospitals are a 24/7 operation. But you will have rewards....holding a brand new life in your arms/saving someone from death/or being the person holding some one's hand as they die when they have no one else. It's not an easy profession but can be rewarding. The pay is decent/there are so many areas to work so that if you find one is not for you, there are others that may be a better fit. It's easier to get a job within your own community or if you move to another state. I would like to see you do some volunteer work at a hospital or nursing home and observe what is going on around you to see if you like what you see and whether you are comfortable with "our world".......R.N. for over 40 years

thank you for your opinion. I have been looking into doing some internships. But you jus dont understand. some people probably arent as mentally strong as you deal with the nursing proffession for over 40 years. i think ive been discouraged about the stories of people getting lawsuits against them and people financially struggling from grad school and etc etc etc. Nursing SOUNDS like a rewarding job BUT lets face it. DOES the good outweigh the bad things when it comes to nursing?

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

44 months ago

The nurses usually aren't the ones "sued". In my time in nursing....I have never known a nurse or of a nurse that has been "sued". I feel the good in nursing outweighs the bad BUT I come from a different era and mentality on nursing. Some of the ones coming into nursing today just don't have that "core" to be a nurse.....just looking for a decent paying job and if that's it, you probably should think of something else. Might be wise to take to the school's counselor to see what is out there that may be a match for you and then talk to people in that field. In any job'profession, you only get out of it what you put in. There is no utopian job out there......every job has it's problems. Good luck to you in whatever you deceide to do.

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Bria in Lithonia, Georgia

44 months ago

Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida said: The nurses usually aren't the ones "sued". In my time in nursing....I have never known a nurse or of a nurse that has been "sued". I feel the good in nursing outweighs the bad BUT I come from a different era and mentality on nursing. Some of the ones coming into nursing today just don't have that "core" to be a nurse.....just looking for a decent paying job and if that's it, you probably should think of something else. Might be wise to take to the school's counselor to see what is out there that may be a match for you and then talk to people in that field. In any job'profession, you only get out of it what you put in. There is no utopian job out there......every job has it's problems. Good luck to you in whatever you deceide to do.

thank you very much.

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2 in Rockford, Illinois

44 months ago

Talisa in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania said: Hi Pat,
My name is Talisa. Frustration is not the word! I have had my Master's since Dec. 2001. Two months prior to graduation, I found out that PA along with many other states required us to take the Praxis Exams. I have taken the math 12 times, failing within 2-4 points of passing. I am now working in the Mental Health areana. All I can say is to keep plugging at it and if you really like counseling, the pay will not really matter! I am planning to go after my Ph.D. What can I loose?

your spelling and grammar!

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DadMike in Maryland

44 months ago

Bria in Lithonia, Georgia said: thank you for your opinion. I have been looking into doing some internships. But you jus dont understand. some people probably arent as mentally strong as you deal with the nursing proffession for over 40 years. i think ive been discouraged about the stories of people getting lawsuits against them and people financially struggling from grad school and etc etc etc. Nursing SOUNDS like a rewarding job BUT lets face it. DOES the good outweigh the bad things when it comes to nursing?

Something else to keep in mind- if you are writing from the nation of Georgia, American postings may not be the best comparison. Nursing may be a great field in Europe right now- could be worse!- but the American medical system is unique to itself. If you're interested in becoming an American nurse or social worker or counselor, you're in the right forum! If not, check out some European forums before you make up your mind.

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MJes in Madison, New Hampshire

44 months ago

Hey guys. Not sure if any of you could help me, but I've seen some people from GA on here and would love your advice. I live in NH, and am graduating next month with my Masters in Mental Health Counseling. I completed a year long internship with 45 hours of supervision.

My family lives in GA, and I am considering moving there. However, the licensure process looks very intense! I have the opportunity to work at the place where I did my internship and become licensed in NH.

I am wondering if I should move to GA after graduating, try to find a job, and try to go through the licensure process there, of if it would be easier for me to become licensed here in NH and then try to become an LPC in GA. It does not seem that easy to transfer a license from another state into GA.

Any advice much appreciated! :)

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

44 months ago

You got a job offer where you are at...take it. Get your license in that state and get some work experience under your belt. You can see later if you want to move back home.
Don't give up a sure for a "maybe".

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Sara in Richmond Hill, Ontario

43 months ago

boo in Hopkinsville, Kentucky said: First you have to learn how to spell. And, seriously, you want to go from that degree to this degree, and with anxiety in speaking to people? Be real. That's all we counselors do is talk and interact with people. My suggestion is stick to a profession where less interaction is more.

Boo,

First you have to retire from the counseling profession. You have a harsh and immature way of communicating. Second, you need to know that some of the world's most famous geniuses have been very bad at spelling. Spelling ability is not a reflection of intelligence, and on internet forums, it is a non-issue.

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DadMike in Maryland

43 months ago

Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida said: I agree with you Sara.
Perhaps Boo needs to think of another line of work. He is interacting with people with difficulties?!
Way too harsh with his response with someone needing to vent and gain some insight from others as to professional choices.

My personal observation over the last two decades in social work-- there are 2 predominate groups of people that come into the helping profession- one group that genuinely cares and wants to help people, the other group that uses the guise of "helping" as a vehicle for criticism and control.
My gut is "Boo" is in group two.

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hameednelson in Charlotte, North Carolina

43 months ago

Amen!

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futurepsychologist in Atlanta, Georgia

43 months ago

I'm 30 credits from completing my Bachelors in Psychology and I'm not completely sure what type of psychologist I would like to be. The hard part is that there are no opportunities for undergraduates to intern or get any experience. I feel as though I'm wasting my time because every job I see states you must at least have a masters degree to apply. I'm great at counseling and listening to others but it looks at though only my friends will benefit from it. I have contacted hospitals and mental hospitals only to receive rejection after rejection.

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DadMike in Maryland

43 months ago

futurepsychologist in Atlanta, Georgia said: I'm 30 credits from completing my Bachelors in Psychology and I'm not completely sure what type of psychologist I would like to be. The hard part is that there are no opportunities for undergraduates to intern or get any experience. I feel as though I'm wasting my time because every job I see states you must at least have a masters degree to apply. I'm great at counseling and listening to others but it looks at though only my friends will benefit from it. I have contacted hospitals and mental hospitals only to receive rejection after rejection.

I interned on a sucide hotline- best training and experience I could have possibley had. Sadly, the job market for a BA in psych in the mental health field is NOT good-- you may be able to get a state social services job or a an orderly's position at a mental health hospital, but a straight counseling job that pays anything decent with even a Master's in pysch is near impossible, if not completely impossible, to find. You're also far, far better off with an MSW vs. a Master's in Psych, and you can still work in counseling- in fact, MOST therapists are MSWs.

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Hopey in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

43 months ago

I'm finishing my last class in Community Counseling (M.S.) with 700 supervised hours under my belt. I went across the border to get the degree (in Alabama) and it's disheartening to realize that I will have to take four more classes in order to meet just one of the Mississippi licensure requirements.

So I have 2500 supervised hours to go, no NCC yet because I haven't graduated and I can't take the exam, 700 hours already done. I'm networking like mad locally and scanning usajobs as if it's a religion. Using all my contacts with people and yet, no one here wants to hire someone with 10 years' experience in hospice and stage IV cancer, plus a year in academic counseling and career counseling. Why not? It forces all of us to apply for bachelor's-degree positions, thus forcing someone else out on the street, which I feel terrible about. Not to mention, bachelor's degree positions don't pay squat.

Single mom since marriage disintegrated while I was commuting three hours a day to get the counseling M.S.

Would welcome any suggestions. I'm pretty discouraged and would welcome any encouragement or helpful ideas. I've sent out 150 resumes, had four interviews, rejected one job that required relocation (my son's graduating high school this year, I can't leave him and he can't leave his school after all we've been through). The job I rejected offered $18,000 (ouch, can't pay my school loans and eat on that), 40 hours/wk (I didn't mind that at all) plus four nights a week on call, which is why they wanted me to relocate since I live 45 minutes away. I don't regret turning it down but I know some of my cohort have landed jobs making anywhere from $31 - $35,000/yr across the border in AL. It's frustrating! Is it my age? I'm 52 and female. I may end up letting my ex stay with my son while I relocate out of state to another place I know has openings. I just don't want to do that right now.

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bjvicemiller in Jackson, Mississippi

43 months ago

I decided that I wanted to be a drug and alcohol counselor after going through many drug treatments myself. I was actually kicked out of the last one, and I am still clean. I will have 10 years in December. I went through a state and national licensing program on weekend for a year, and I did 6,000 intern hours. I also had to take a written test, which I passed top of the class I sit in; although I was in the top 5% nationally. I had to type a portofolio, which was approximately 45-65 pages long, and I had to develope my own case (not using a patient I had when I was interning). I then had to present that case study orally for the state board, which consisted of 5 people. The best part of the story is: the day I took the written test a lady that's working at the facility I interned at failed it, another counselor there had to start filling out PGA's; because he can't hear, another one as far as I know may not even have a high school diploma. The head counselor doesn't even have the license that I have. I have 2-3 semesters to have my BS in psych, but for almost 2 years I haven't been able to find a job; and even worse it's damaging my marriage.

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cassandra in Midland, Texas

42 months ago

I have 2 years left in my sonography program at my local college and one of my courses is psych. I have lately been so very interested in psychology and was seriously thinking of changing my major. I would ideally want to work with addicts and people with disorders. However im 24 ... will i really need a masters in psych in order to have a fulfilling job? any kind of input would really be helpful!!

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DrSnipes

42 months ago

You can get certified by your state addiction certification board without a masters usually. allceus.com/Approvals lists many of the state substance abuse boards

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Anthony in Brooklyn, New York

42 months ago

Taking into account the length of this post, I can clearly see like the counselors provide counseling to other counselors. Does it require any additional education?

I strongly believe that the entire Idea to certify the person who has spiritual strength, mental skills, experience and abilities to teach others hot to live through, and learn from, hard situations in life is absurd.

If you love helping other, can see and feel the fruitful results of your help as well as receive deep emotional satisfaction by doing this, MS in Psychology/Counseling is not necessary.

May the force be with you ;-)

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canuck in the south in Nicholasville, Kentucky

42 months ago

I am so fortunate to have found this website. Your comments really help solidify some of the frustration that I have been experiencing. I moved from Canada with an independent license with a BSW and MEd degrees. I have continued to pursue my doctorate and almost completed my doctorate in counseling psychology in order to satisfy the licensing boards. However, each time I reach a goal (ie) passing the NCC, and I feel like Dorothy bringing the broom to the wizard, that I am sent out to get 'something' else. It appears that the rules constantly change depending on board members, philosophies etc. My recommendation for your MSc in Psych is to not lose hope. Have you taken a look at Alberta, they license psychologists at the masters level? Also, consider www.ccacc.ca/en/ for licensing as well. Let's say I am not sure where my next move will be, but at this point of trying to figure out all the rhetoric on licensing, I will definately need therapy afterwards!

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moberlyhealth in Moberly, Missouri

42 months ago

Each state has different requirements for almost all professions. Including nurse practitioners, physician’s assistants and yes, there is even some disparity for physicians. Uniformity does not exist as of yet for LCSWs, LMFTs, LPCs nor for Licensed Psychologists. Though attending accredited programs, following the road map of national certification, documentation of clinical supervision and taking the licensure exams will definitely enhance portability.

Professional Counseling is a profession with many opportunities. We can now work for the Veterans Administration, School Systems, Social Service Agencies, Corrections, and the list goes on. A Licensed Professional counselor can bill insurance and even bill Medicaid, though we cannot bill Medicare. We do have many wonderful lobbyists working hard on the issue. Keep in mind Clinical social workers do have restrictions on the Medicare services they can bill for at this time and where they can provide those services at. Furthermore, it has only been within the last few years that Licensed Psychologists obtained their right to access all forms of insurance and their ability to fully access Medicare benefits. The key is not which field you choose but obtaining Clinical Licensure.

Be open minded about forensic work, (work in the legal arena) whether that means providing testimony as a vocational expert in disability hearings, receiving referrals from corrections or providing information to the court regarding family matters, the opportunities are there. Though forensic work (work in the legal arena) can be more demanding it typically pays much better.

Once you have earned your license you can begin applying to insurance panels, Medicaid, EAP programs, and community agencies that need providers. As a professional clinical counselor you are extremely marketable. www.bls.gov/oco/ocos067.htm#earnings

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moberlyhealth in Moberly, Missouri

42 months ago

bjvicemiller in Jackson, Mississippi said: I decided that I wanted to be a drug and alcohol counselor after going through many drug treatments myself. I was actually kicked out of the last one, and I am still clean. I will have 10 years in December. I went through a state and national licensing program on weekend for a year, and I did 6,000 intern hours. I also had to take a written test, which I passed top of the class I sit in; although I was in the top 5% nationally. I had to type a portofolio, which was approximately 45-65 pages long, and I had to develope my own case (not using a patient I had when I was interning). I then had to present that case study orally for the state board, which consisted of 5 people. The best part of the story is: the day I took the written test a lady that's working at the facility I interned at failed it, another counselor there had to start filling out PGA's; because he can't hear, another one as far as I know may not even have a high school diploma. The head counselor doesn't even have the license that I have. I have 2-3 semesters to have my BS in psych, but for almost 2 years I haven't been able to find a job; and even worse it's damaging my marriage.

Keep your head up! If you have already secured your license and degree, you will want to find a job that pays while as you accumulate your post-graduate supervision hours. Also, I would highly recommend reading “What Color is your Parachute”.
If you have not yet found your career in drug and alcohol counseling, try another field of counseling or allied health. You can do it!

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BGates0804 in Charleston, South Carolina

42 months ago

Lisa in Alpharetta, Georgia said: Hi, RN/Counselor from North Carolina, I'm interested in your blog because I've been a RN for 13 years and I'm done with the profession. I have been researching going back to get my Masters degree in some type of Counseling field or a Masters degree in Psychiatric Nursing. What are your thoughts? What about getting a Masters in Social Work or School Psychologist? What is your advice. Oh also, I'm 51 years old living in Atlanta, Ga.
Thanks,
Lisa

Lisa...saw your quote as I was researching being an RN and becoming an LPC. I graduate from an accelerated BSN program this December, and I plan to start my DNP degree next year part time while working as an RN full time. I will be studying for my DNP to become a FNP. I would also like to explore the possibility of becoming a LPC at the same time to give me further versatility in my practice. Please let me know your thoughts. My email is BGates.0804@gmail.com

Thanks....Brandon

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Debbie in Miami, Florida

42 months ago

FrustratedCounselor in Charlotte, North Carolina said: You are absolutely right, Lisa. I have both a nursing license and a MA in counseling. Since moving to GA and not being licensed here in counseling, I have worked as a nurse and I am so unhappy with it although the money is excellent. I cannot wait to go back to NC where I am licensed as a counselor and can work in that field. Nothing makes me happier than sitting next to someone and asking, "How can I help you today?" I think you have to look beyond a regular job to make money in counseling. If you have the proper license (LPC), you can get your NPI number and become a provider for various insurance companies (Cigna, BCBS, Aetna,etc) and also become a Medicaid/Medicare provider by submitting an application with your state. Once you save some money, you can look into retaining a marketing agent and a PR person. It may also help to offer coaching. To do all of this requires that you establish a niche, so decide what areas of counseling you want to do and learn all you can about that or those area(s). For instance, I am interested in working with women in the areas of grief and forgiveness. I also I plan to coach women who are experiencing blocks in their growth to having a more joyous life.

I too share your frustration. I am an LPN in Florida working full-time as a hospice nurse. I recently graduated with my MA in counseling and due to my job, have not yet figured out how I am going to keep the stability of my nursing paycheck and work on the side as a counselor. I am a registered intern going after licensure.

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riosmom1 in Corvallis, Oregon

42 months ago

[QUFurthermore, it has only been within the last few years that Licensed Psychologists obtained their right to access all forms of insurance and their ability to fully access Medicare benefits. The key is not which field you choose but obtaining Clinical Licensure.

Be open minded about forensic work, (work in the legal arena) whether that means providing testimony as a vocational expert in disability hearings, receiving referrals from corrections or providing information to the court regarding family matters, the opportunities are there. Though forensic work (work in the legal arena) can be more demanding it typically pays much better.

Once you have earned your license you can begin applying to insurance panels, Medicaid, EAP programs, and community agencies that need providers. As a professional clinical counselor you are extremely marketable. www.bls.gov/oco/ocos067.ht

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riosmom1 in Corvallis, Oregon

42 months ago

Hello. I am new to this site. I am an LPC with 13 years experience, and recently laid off from school district of 7 years due to budget cuts... frustrated by lack of agency/hospitals/VA's, etc that DO NOT hire LPC, BUT hire MSW.. so thinking to take this time and go back to pick up that MSW.....

Thoughts?

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DadMike in Maryland

42 months ago

riosmom1 in Corvallis, Oregon said: Hello. I am new to this site. I am an LPC with 13 years experience, and recently laid off from school district of 7 years due to budget cuts... frustrated by lack of agency/hospitals/VA's, etc that DO NOT hire LPC, BUT hire MSW.. so thinking to take this time and go back to pick up that MSW.....

Thoughts?

MSW is much, much more versatile than LCPC in most states (Maryland's licens for MS in Psych); alot does depend on individual states.
Licensed counselors at the MS level in Maryland are getting hired in addictions (if the have dual certification in Addictions) as well as in out-patient mental health; Dept. of Social Services hires them as well- but they are paid as caseworkers, a Bachelor's level position.
MSW is still far more marketable in Maryland.
A big reason it's so hard for MS in Psych is that Phd's in Psych don't want the competition- in Maryland it was Phd's in Psych that fought against the LCPC harder than MSWs.

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

42 months ago

I have a friend who first had his Master in psychology...he is from CT. and has also practiced in FL. As he said....he really couldn't get any where with just the Masters. Had to go for a Phd. or PsyD. With this education, he has his own practice that does very well. He has various sub-specialties that make him marketable icluding but not exclusive to working with the impaired professional from the state boards/doing the psychological tests for various police depts/working with those with medical conditions that are life threatening to cope during the illness and the treatments.
And to the PhD's lobbying to prevent a lower educated person from doing things that a higher educated person does.....your point is what. The Phd or PsyD has the further education to do those things where the other perhaps, does not so why wouldn't they want to keep it at their level. Same holds true for the R.N./L.P.N. status.

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DadMike in Maryland

42 months ago

Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida said: I have a friend who first had his Master in psychology...he is from CT. and has also practiced in FL. As he said....he really couldn't get any where with just the Masters. Had to go for a Phd. or PsyD. With this education, he has his own practice that does very well. He has various sub-specialties that make him marketable icluding but not exclusive to working with the impaired professional from the state boards/doing the psychological tests for various police depts/working with those with medical conditions that are life threatening to cope during the illness and the treatments.
And to the PhD's lobbying to prevent a lower educated person from doing things that a higher educated person does.....your point is what. The Phd or PsyD has the further education to do those things where the other perhaps, does not so why wouldn't they want to keep it at their level. Same holds true for the R.N./L.P.N. status.

Phd/PsyD can do very well, and on average make more than social workers. If one has the funds and qualifies for a program, and likes psyhcology, it is an excellent way to go.
As for why I mentioned it-- this thread is about MS in Psych, and how difficult it is to work with an MS in psych. And repression of credentials for MS-level psychs within the field of psyhcology is a definte factor worthy of note. The Phd motive makes perfect sense to me- but it is still a factor.
The MSW is still a far more marketable and affordable degree than an MS in psych, and there are far more openings for MSWs than even Phds in Psych.
However, the Phd in pysch will make more money if the are able to find employment. It is harder and more expensive to obtain that credential- which is one of the reasons they make more money.
I agree with your points- I geuss where we differ is that I felt this dynamic was worth discussion.

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

42 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Phd/PsyD can do very well, and on average make more than social workers. If one has the funds and qualifies for a program, and likes psyhcology, it is an excellent way to go.
As for why I mentioned it-- this thread is about MS in Psych, and how difficult it is to work with an MS in psych. And repression of credentials for MS-level psychs within the field of psyhcology is a definte factor worthy of note. The Phd motive makes perfect sense to me- but it is still a factor.
The MSW is still a far more marketable and affordable degree than an MS in psych, and there are far more openings for MSWs than even Phds in Psych.
However, the Phd in pysch will make more money if the are able to find employment. It is harder and more expensive to obtain that credential- which is one of the reasons they make more money.
I agree with your points- I geuss where we differ is that I felt this dynamic was worth discussion.

The dynamic was worth discussing.
From my perception of the folks who write into this forum, many don't appear to have done a lot of research into the various pros and cons of the professional levels of the field.
Sometimes it's like....why didn't you check these things out before you started the education trail for the profession.
Any and all info. given is good.

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DadMike in Maryland

42 months ago

Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida said: The dynamic was worth discussing.
From my perception of the folks who write into this forum, many don't appear to have done a lot of research into the various pros and cons of the professional levels of the field.
Sometimes it's like....why didn't you check these things out before you started the education trail for the profession.
Any and all info. given is good.

Yep- it's a shame. Too many people go to school thinking any degree means a good job. I know- I was one. And schools do NOTHING to discourage that type of thinking...they need folks to sign up for the classes!!
But with sites like Indeed, research is so easy there is no excuse not to do it.
I wish I had it back when I was in school, pre-Internet, Apple II+ era.
I LOVE social work, but I may not have gotten my BA in Psych. Had several years of 8 bucks an hour psych tech jobs and crisis hotline, with restaurant work (even 7-11) on side to pay bills....before I went and got my MSW. (never occupied anything that whole time....)
I hope all these folks can get a good job doing what they want!

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mm in Cannock, United Kingdom

41 months ago

I am UK based where counsellors are being trained up at an alarming rate, it seems everyone wants to be a counsellor. I just think that there are not enough jobs out there to keep running the courses at this rate. A diploma is nowhere near good enough in most cases and I feel that there is a great counselling myth. The only people who seem to do well are the people running the courses and counsellors who supervise the students who attend them.

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Freshly Minted Counselor in Lansing, Michigan

41 months ago

Wow, what a discussion! With all my extensive experience in the five months since I obtained my master's degree in counseling (haha!) I'll go ahead and share my observations and recommendations.

First, this is how I decided to pursue a degree in counseling. I knew I wanted to work as a therapist. Here in Michigan, there are basically four ways to go about it: psychiatry, psychology, social work and counseling.

Psychiatry is a medical degree so I ruled that out.

To have many opportunities as a psychologist, it seemed I would need a doctorate - and doctoral-level programs in psychology are intensely competitive and time demanding for someone like me working full-time, so that was ruled out.

Social work seemed to require spreading yourself a mile wide and an inch deep with an overstuffed client load, and I wasn't all that interested in the kind of social work that involves ... oh, forgive me ... nannying people into what they (or the state) thinks they need to do. So that was out.

I was left with counseling. While in Michigan licensed counselors can work in social-work type jobs, the philosophy behind counseling seemed more geared toward the one-on-one or group therapy that I yearned to do. I went into it realizing that Licensed Professional Counselors don't have nearly the same recognition as social workers or psychologists in this state, but it seemed an acceptable trade-off to do what I really wanted to do.

There are some other avenues, of course: life coaching, pastoral counseling and the like. To be honest, I didn't explore those options. (to be continued...)

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Freshly Minted Counselor in Lansing, Michigan

41 months ago

(... part 2)

Next, where to get the education. I strongly, and I mean STRONGLY advise against online education. Why? Think about it - we're learning how to work with people. How are you going to do that sitting at home ... in your pajamas ... looking at a computer. No! You need to be interacting with people, watching them react, seeing how people relate and how they respond to things you say. Just as importantly, brick-and-mortar schools provide access to networking that aren't possible online. So, make an effort to find out what kinds of in-person education is available in your area. And as a strictly personal preference, I would strongly warn against going to for-profit schools.

Now, school accreditation. I imagine it would be a lot easier picking a CACREP-accredited program. My state seems to prefer them, and they bring something of a national standard to counselor education. But my school wasn't CACREP-accredited. What this means was that I had to jump through a few more hoops in getting my state license. So far, that's all it's meant, but I can't lie - I wish my program had been.

I just mentioned licensing, and that's the next big thing. I personally can't conceive of how you would go about starting a career in this without having a state license. Not only do employers demand it, but I believe (and someone tell me if I'm wrong) that you can't get liability insurance without it? I do know that if I were a client, I would have serious misgivings about going to someone who wasn't licensed by the state.

Now, that all-important job. I don't have one. It doesn't take a genius to know the economy is HORRIBLE. Opportunities are few and when they arise, I'm competing against people with 5, 10 or more years of experience. I hate to say it's impossible to find a job, but it's starting to feel that way.

But I'm not despairing. More on that in a minute...

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adamkins in Mumbai, United Kingdom

41 months ago

its good...

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Freshly Minted Counselor in Lansing, Michigan

41 months ago

(hopefully the last part)

I don't know about other states, but in Michigan, holding a limited license professional counselor qualifies you to start your own practice. I know that starting a business should be something that one enters into cautiously and with a lump of capital, but seriously - I'm collecting unemployment now and I don't have much left to lose.

Here's my plan. As a "freshly minted counselor," insurance panels won't deal with me. So what! There are tens of millions of people in this country that insurance companies don't deal with, either. The uninsured are screaming for access to mental health care. This is an opportunity. I plan on offering low-cost counseling to the uninsured on a sliding-scale basis. Depending on household size and income, my rates will start at $5 and top out at $50. I know I'm not going to get rich quick - or even at a turtle's pace - at this rate. Doesn't matter. I'll be working, helping others and doing what I wanted to do when I decided to become a counselor in the first place. And after a few years when I'm fully licensed, I can revisit getting on insurance panels.

So, to sum it up:

1. Decide carefully what flavor of "helper" you want to be.
2. Carefully choose your school
3. License! Why wouldn't you?
4. Don't be afraid to strike out on your own.

A big caveat here. Like I said, I'm all of five months out of school, so the chances that I'm ridiculously naive are astronomical. But I'm willing to take a chance. Because what's my other option? Sitting around hoping someone gives me a chance? Doing something for equally low pay that I'll hate doing?

We all learned about locus of control, didn't we? Work it!

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DadMike in Maryland

41 months ago

Freshly Minted Counselor in Lansing, Michigan said: (hopefully the last part)
We all learned about locus of control, didn't we? Work it!

I wish you the best of luck! Please keep in mind many states don't recognize or license the degree of "Counselor"- Maryland being one- you have to be an MSW, MS/Phd in Psych, or Psychiatrist. Is there a professional counselor's (non-MSW, non-psych) organization you can tap into?
If you're of a religious bent, the pastoral route may be a good bet with a counseling degree. Other option- Life coaching is vague enough that could be a go-- check your state for rules and regs. What is life coaching? Who the heck really knows- it's defined in all sorts of ways-- but many people are making money at it w/o any related degree at all!! Addictions may be another treatment option... Sadly, standard mental health-type therapy is not very lucrative any more-- insurance industry has strangled it, esp. HMOs. You can still earn OK money at it-- but it's far from what it used to be, and there are alot less jobs.
One advantage the MSW has, at least in Maryland, is that you can be licensed with only an MSW, no experience. It's a lower tier license, but it's a license. It's a tremendous advantage over those with other mental-health related degrees.

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

41 months ago

Wow! I like your thought processes and assessments. The one thing good about being on insurance panels is your name is listed in their provider book and it's a way to get referrels but the insurance route can be a killer with all the paperwork to be filed and the small amount of money they pay. I know quite a few folks who do the sliding scale and it's worked for them but don't undercut yourself, find out what is usual and customary. I know that if I were looking for a counselor, I'm looking for a license connected with that person....it shows they took the board and knew the information/to me it gives credibility. I wish you loads of luck and best wishes....you will do well.

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Rebi in Gaithersburg, Maryland

41 months ago

I received my M.S. in Clinical Community Counseling from Johns Hopkins in 2001. At the time and subsequently, I had to work full time so I wasn't able to get any supervision. Now I am retired from my job and sincerely want to do something with my degree. Is it too late to get supervision and try to get certified/licensed? The only supervision I had was a few hundred hours in my last year at a child/adolescent facility? Thanks.

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DadMike in Maryland

41 months ago

Rebi in Gaithersburg, Maryland said: I received my M.S. in Clinical Community Counseling from Johns Hopkins in 2001. At the time and subsequently, I had to work full time so I wasn't able to get any supervision. Now I am retired from my job and sincerely want to do something with my degree. Is it too late to get supervision and try to get certified/licensed? The only supervision I had was a few hundred hours in my last year at a child/adolescent facility? Thanks.

You're best bet-- hook up with Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene website and check out rules and regs for LCPC licensure. I doubt it's too late- but read up on the rules and regs there, or give them a call, to be sure.

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Rebi in Gaithersburg, Maryland

41 months ago

Thanks. I think I will call them because the website seemed to be very confusing and disappointing. If I could only turn back the hands of time and do things differently.

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Al in Tarrytown, New York

41 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: I wish you the best of luck! Please keep in mind many states don't recognize or license the degree of "Counselor"- Maryland being one- you have to be an MSW, MS/Phd in Psych, or Psychiatrist. Is there a professional counselor's (non-MSW, non-psych) organization you can tap into?
If you're of a religious bent, the pastoral route may be a good bet with a counseling degree. Other option- Life coaching is vague enough that could be a go-- check your state for rules and regs. What is life coaching? Who the heck really knows- it's defined in all sorts of ways-- but many people are making money at it w/o any related degree at all!! Addictions may be another treatment option... Sadly, standard mental health-type therapy is not very lucrative any more-- insurance industry has strangled it, esp. HMOs. You can still earn OK money at it-- but it's far from what it used to be, and there are alot less jobs.
One advantage the MSW has, at least in Maryland, is that you can be licensed with only an MSW, no experience. It's a lower tier license, but it's a license. It's a tremendous advantage over those with other mental-health related degrees.

Your information is a bit outdated, all 50 states now license counselors (though the titles vary). Here is the link for the state board that governs licensure in Maryland

dhmh.maryland.gov/bopc/html/licenseeinfo.html

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Al in Tarrytown, New York

41 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: You're best bet-- hook up with Maryland Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene website and check out rules and regs for LCPC licensure. I doubt it's too late- but read up on the rules and regs there, or give them a call, to be sure.

Oops! Spoke to soon! But if you know about the LCPC in Maryland, what did you mean when you said they don't license counselors?

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DadMike in Maryland

41 months ago

Al in Tarrytown, New York said: Oops! Spoke to soon! But if you know about the LCPC in Maryland, what did you mean when you said they don't license counselors?

I'm here to help people- not one up them. That's why I provided a link, and didn't stand on my statements alone.
Intelligent, wise people acknowledge-- things change.
It used to be only an MS in Psyhocology. However, per THE LINK THAT I SHARED an you referenced it is now broader, based more on specific coursework.
So thank you for the correction.
Hopefully you're one-upmanship is as helpful to folks as my link. :)

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Rochelle in Lawrenceville, Georgia

41 months ago

Master in Counseling without a License in Duluth, Georgia said: I can't figure out the exact process to getting my license in Georgia. I have tried to contact the boards but no one is willing to sit and talk to me to tell me the exact process. I've had my Masters in Counseling since 2006 but without a license its so hard to find a decent job.
All of the Human Resource jobs that I see require years of experience and the only experience I have is in mental health.

Hi. Check out this website. www.lpcaga.org/. Click on licensure questions.

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B in Watertown, Massachusetts

40 months ago

I graduated recently with a Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling: School & Community from a university in Massachusetts. I hold an initial Guidance Counselor certification. I am LMHC eligible and seek to accrue the required post-graduate work and supervision. Since my clinical and guidance internships were in schools, I was hoping to find a Guidance position at a school. However, I have not been able to land a Guidance job as I'd hoped. I did not want to substitute teach for two years, so I began looking for clinical positions and found an in-home therapy job, only to be let go at my three-month evaluation for mysterious reasons. I think the clinical director wanted a licensed clinician, as a less experienced individual had originally hired me. So, I'm stuck unemployed looking for 35k-45k range jobs and have found that I do not qualify for most positions without LMHC. I am frustrating considering how hard I have worked and the load of debt that I must pay off while not being able to find a job with a living wage. I do love the field and feel I have a great future as a counselor. I know eventually I'll find something, but the system feels so out of whack. Salaries just don't line up with the barriers to entry into the field. Master's level individuals should not have to work two and half years post-masters after two years of internship in $20K fee-for-service bust your ** extremely high-pressure positions. It is what it is. I have to keep telling myself "shoulds" do not matter in this cutthroat world. I'm better off than a lot of folks right now, even if I am unemployed. Many of us may just have to take fee-for-service jobs and get licensed.

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Ana in Durham, North Carolina

40 months ago

so why is it so hard to be licensed in GA? I'm currently considering applying for colleges in GA to get my MA or MS in Mental Health Counseling or Psychology. Is the licensing the same for both or different? From these posts it almost sounds like I should really consider another state for licensure.

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Lanell in Riverdale, Georgia

39 months ago

I have a Bachelor and Masters in psychology but my masters program was not licensure ready. Does anyone know what you would need to do in oreder to get a LAPC or LPC in the Atlanta Area? Or has anyone gone through a simular situation and was able to get their license another way? Please share...

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