MS in Psychology/Counseling is not enough

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Abby in Mchenry, Illinois

57 months ago

RL in Brooklyn, New York said: I wrote this in another forum, but felt that this forum was better.

I have a Mental Health Counseling Degree and honestly that is one of the biggest mistake of my life. As of right now I am trying find a job. Everywhere I look, they are looking for people with paid experiences. In addition, they are looking for people with a license. The way that Mental Health Counseling work is that I need to complete 3000 hours at a "qualified" job and take the test to have a license. Right now, my future is not looking to bright with that degree. I wished I could go back in time, and instead of studying psychology, I would have studied science.

Advice to those thinking about getting that degree, make sure that you will have a job available

I went for my Master's in COunseling and I too feel this was one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

57 months ago

The biggest thing I see not happening is checking out all the pros and cons before entering an educational program as well as what the standards are that need to be met to actually work in the field. There would be a lot less disappoinment if some research was done.

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Squids in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

57 months ago

It's the same old story - reality versus expectations. I don't think anyone on the street could have predicted the economy a few years ago and the effect it's had but here it is - graduates unable to get experience without licensure and unable to get licensure without experience. All the more reason to make very thoroughly researched decisions on what's best for ourselves from this point on, even if that means not using the graduate degree in the counseling field. There are other fields it could be used in. It's a tough world out there. Either we adapt or our careers die.

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Squids in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

57 months ago

It's the same old story - reality versus expectations. I don't think anyone on the street could have predicted the economy a few years ago and the effect it's had but here it is - graduates unable to get experience without licensure and unable to get licensure without experience. All the more reason to make very thoroughly researched decisions on what's best for ourselves from this point on, even if that means not using the graduate degree in the counseling field. There are other fields it could be used in. It's a tough world out there. Either we adapt or our careers die.

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Squids in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

57 months ago

My apologies! Not sure why this posted three times. :(

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

57 months ago

No one could have predicted the economy but to complain you need "X" number of supervised hours/and this requirement or that to get licensed.....you need to know these fine points before you enter the field. The boards of licensing don't often change the rules that frquently so you should have a clue of the requirements for the profession you chose to pursue.

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Squids in Pearl, Mississippi

57 months ago

I wasn't really talking about licensure requirements but I know my graduate program was very clear about the backend burden. The occupational handbook listed counseling as onew fields that sgowed cont'd growth over the next 10 years.

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Squids in Pearl, Mississippi

57 months ago

Sorry, my texting isn't that great. : p

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shaquitafanning in Columbus, Georgia

57 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.

Were you able to find out the process for getting licensed in GA? I will be completing my MA in Forensic Psychology and I would like to know what the next step is from there.

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Rbass1 in Atlanta, Georgia

56 months ago

Melody in Macon, Georgia said: Seems like we both are in the same situation. Graduated in November still haven't found the job I want. I currently have a job that pays less than what I was making with only a BA. I often wonder if I made the wong choice. i am considering any option at this point, thinking hard about just becoming a teacher.

Me too! So ridiculous!

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CindyP1234 in Round Rock, Texas

56 months ago

How is the job market for LPCs in the Atlanta Metro area? Are licensed counselors are having difficulties finding employment.

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Sue in Grand Rapids, Michigan

56 months ago

counselor intern in Marietta, Georgia said: I'm in the last stages of completing my MA in community counseling and will get my license when I'm done. Based on what Ive been reading, is the MSW the way to go? If so, how do I transition w/o breaking my account again? Thanks!

Well, I tried this route in Michigan. None of the classes here transfer into the MSW program . . . it's a start from the ground up, 2 years Master's level to get an MSW! It seems like many of the classes overlap but the advisor had a big ego about "his program". Good luck

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Sue in Grand Rapids, Michigan

56 months ago

silent_buttlerfly said: Hi everyone! I was just accepted into a Masters in Counseling program at my local state university, and I am very worried. My BA in Anthropology served useless to me. Now, I am worried not only for future job prospects, but social anxiety. I have had social anxiety since I was in the 7th grade, and I'm not sure if I would get used to talking to people.

Can anyone tell me what it's like to really work in that profession? Is the one-on-one couseling a mellow environment? Do most counselors have their own office? Also, are there any resources that would explain the nature of the job a little better? Thank you! I would really appreciate a responce.

Look carefully at the posts on this site. You may want to reconsider and go for your MSW. Good luck

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Tebra in Trenton, New Jersey

56 months ago

Melody in Macon, Georgia said: Seems like we both are in the same situation. Graduated in November still haven't found the job I want. I currently have a job that pays less than what I was making with only a BA. I often wonder if I made the wong choice. i am considering any option at this point, thinking hard about just becoming a teacher.

"thinking hard about just becoming a teacher" Same thing withthe teaching profession AND never thing teaching is "just teaching" you are in for a ruder awakening than with counseling.

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Lanell in Riverdale, Georgia

56 months ago

Well from what I have learned (the hard way) is that if you want to go into the psychology field do the research first. Get on the web and look at all the current job postings for the positions that you're interested in or even just to get an idea of what types of positions that is available in your area. Then look at the education/licensure/and experience requirements of the positions (it can be complicated). That would give you a better idea of where you are and what you need to accomplish to get there. Take a look at your state's (or whatever state you plan to work in) composite board website to figure what the requirements are to get the license you need because these schools will tell you anything to get you enrolled (and majority don’t even know themselves) and make sure your school offers what you need to attain all the key elements in the program to get the licensure. I wish I was told this before I jump into the field I would have been more prepared, but I don't regret my decision because I love what I do. Helping people.

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Lanell in Riverdale, Georgia

56 months ago

Sue in Grand Rapids, Michigan said: Look carefully at the posts on this site. You may want to reconsider and go for your MSW. Good luck

Well from what I have learned (the hard way) is that if you want to go into the psychology field do the research first. Get on the web and look at all the current job postings for the positions that you're interested in or even just to get an idea of what types of positions that is available in your area. Then look at the education/licensure/and experience requirements of the positions (it can be complicated). That would give you a better idea of where you are and what you need to accomplish to get there. Take a look at your state's (or whatever state you plan to work in) composite board website to figure what the requirements are to get the license you need because these schools will tell you anything to get you enrolled (and majority don’t even know themselves) and make sure your school offers what you need to attain all the key elements in the program to get the licensure. I wish I was told this before I jump into the field I would have been more prepared, but I don't regret my decision because I love what I do. Helping people.

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Rebi in Gaithersburg, Maryland

56 months ago

I couldn't agree with you more. Great advice for those thinking about psych/soc fields as well as counseling.

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1st year online grad student in Baltimore, Maryland

56 months ago

Lisa H. in Augusta, Georgia said: I just wanted to comment on this--I am currently an RN and a part-time student in a community counseling program. My advice is this--the money is good, but only YOU can know what is important to you. For some, it is job satisfaction, for others, making money is the main satisfaction. I have been an RN for over 11 years and although the pay is good, the morale is horrible. The work is back-breaking and the hospitals cause their own shortages...you simply have to love being an RN! I say go after what you love and the money will follow. Good luck to all.

I am so late on stumbling on this forum. You advice is excellent. I am choosing to pursue therapy because I look for job fulfillment first then I always told myself money will come. I am one of the very few I know that is taking their courses all online. I am really hoping that at the end I will be financially stable and love what I do. I am currently working full time and are looking for part time work to transition into before I am required to complete my practicum. As noted above it is very difficult to get any job in the state of Maryland with a license.

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Rebi in Gaithersburg, Maryland

56 months ago

Hi,

I read with interest your response to my initial comment on the field of counseling and its requirements. More importantly, I can relate to your social phobia because when I began college in my 30s I was still having considerable agoraphobia episodes and it made staying in class very difficult. When I finally overcame the phobia, I continued on into the field of counseling.
If you are suffering with social phobia, first of all, I hope you are getting counseling and medication to help you. When you are a graduate student in counseling, you do much role playing with fellow students and if you are having social issues, I am afraid that you would find these experiences difficult. Then when I did my internship, I met with families and young people to talk with them. Having a social phobia could interfere with the help you can honestly give to patients. When you are with people on a one to one basis, can you communicate well with others? Can you listen well? Sometimes when one has phobias they are "self" oriented and can't really be present for others.

I hope you get help with your disorder so that you can pursue any career that you want!

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Rebi in Gaithersburg, Maryland

56 months ago

Rebi in Gaithersburg, Maryland said: Hi,

I read with interest your response to my initial comment on the field of counseling and its requirements. More importantly, I can relate to your social phobia because when I began college in my 30s I was still having considerable agoraphobia episodes and it made staying in class very difficult. When I finally overcame the phobia, I continued on into the field of counseling.
If you are suffering with social phobia, first of all, I hope you are getting counseling and medication to help you. When you are a graduate student in counseling, you do much role playing with fellow students and if you are having social issues, I am afraid that you would find these experiences difficult. Then when I did my internship, I met with families and young people to talk with them. Having a social phobia could interfere with the help you can honestly give to patients. When you are with people on a one to one basis, can you communicate well with others? Can you listen well? Sometimes when one has phobias they are "self" oriented and can't really be present for others.

I hope you get help with your disorder so that you can pursue any career that you want!

PS My response was to the young lady from Michigan experiencing social phobias.

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E.Pick in Laurel, Maryland

56 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?

It is true that some hospitals prefer the LSW degree versus the LPC, BUT i have found some hospital counseling positions that state to be looking for a counselor with an "LSW, LPC or related degree" so dont give up yet. ALSO, i looked at VA postings in my area which also posted a counselor opening for a LSW OR counselor with a master's degree in "counseling psychology" which I'm sure an LPC would qualify for with a counseling masters. SO, things are changing, an LPC is often treated similar to an LSW. True, some postings stronly prefer LCSW-C, but as a counselor already (which I am as well) it just makes no sense to me to go back to get a degree in social work. Keep looking- jobs are out there! And if you picked counseling, a purely "social worker" job probably isnt for you anyway- with all the legalities and case managemnt home visits. Hold out for the counselor job, be licensed, and something will come your way. I've struggled with this same thing (feeling like the social work degree is favored over the counseling degree) so that is my advice!

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E.Pick in Laurel, Maryland

56 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.

Maryland absolutely recognizes Licensed Professional Counselors and many companies, including hospitals and now the VA recognize it as equal to an LCSW degree. dhmh.maryland.gov/bopc/SitePages/Home.aspx
Counselors must not crumble against social workers!- (Sorry, its just my absolute pet peeve)

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DadMike in Maryland

56 months ago

E.Pick in Laurel, Maryland said: Maryland absolutely recognizes Licensed Professional Counselors and many companies, including hospitals and now the VA recognize it as equal to an LCSW degree. dhmh.maryland.gov/bopc/SitePages/Home.aspx
Counselors must not crumble against social workers!- (Sorry, its just my absolute pet peeve)

Yep- I think I printed a retraction earlier-- the law has been changed - I've been in the field over 20 years and didn't realize it had changed for the LCPCs. Sorry if that post caused anyone any confusion-- Maryland DOES recognize a counseling degree.
The catch,though-- to get the LCPC, that's recognized by insurance, you need to practice for at least two years under clinical supervision. To my knowledge, there is no "graduate" license like the MSW- LGSW. You can get an LGSW right after you complete your MSW (after you pass the test.) You have to practice under an LCSW-C, but you are licensed.
Counselors/ MS in psychology lack that in Maryland. It's extremely hard for them to get jobs before licensed, which makes it hard for them to get supervision and get the LCPC.
We have many folks with MS in Psych or counseling working for my agency- at a bachelor's level Caseworker pay, because Social Services only recognizes the licensed MSW as an advanced degree.
On the plus- an LCSW-C social worker can give you supervision hours in Maryland.
I wanted to get an MS in Psych after I got my bachelor's. What convinced me otherwise- I worked at a crisis hotline for 8 bucks an hour. A only had a BA in psych, and that still sucked for pay. I had three co-workers with MS in Psych, one from Hopkins--- they got 8 bucks an hour, too. And the director of the agency, and our clinicians that made decent wages--- all MSWs.

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E.Pick in Laurel, Maryland

56 months ago

I dont know much about a Master of Science in Psychology, but I have a Master's in Counseling, and when i finish all the coursework (60 graduate hours) under the 15 subject areas (3 credits each) and send in all the licening paperwork, I will get my LGPC- basically the same as the LGSW in that you can get it strait out of your masters program. I dont have the LGPC in Maryland yet (I moved here from Idaho) but I did get hired as a clinian since I had NCC status. So, you never know who will hire you if you dont try!
My company provides me with an LCPC supervisor who I'll meet with for 2 years until I earn enough for my LCPC licensure. The opportunities are out there for new grads, you just have to be vigilant in searching for them!

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brenda werim in Houston, Texas

56 months ago

good info

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EdMH in Atlanta, Georgia

56 months ago

Here is a radical idea... I'm LCSW and LPC my only masters is MSW. Got the LPC because the courses I took in MSW was focused on micro practice (clinical) - most people do not know that but yes MSW with clinical concentration may qualify to sit for LPC (in somestates if not all) of course with the mandated supervised hors. The LCSW is the most that bares the weight. In order to be a counselor in the US Uniform Services for example you must have a LCSW. It is now that the VHA are hiring LPCs and LMFTs but if LCSW applies for the same position the LCSW got the job. Getting the MSW is the way to go. I'm sorry but that is the truth. Many LPCs like to argue about their training being more psychology practice oriented but that is just simply not the truth (I took the same coursces - different names - through my MSW program and that is why I was able to get an LPC as well) . The benifit of the LPC: the test was muuuuuuuch easier.

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schdLPC194 in Colleyville, Texas

56 months ago

How is the job market for LPCs in the Metro Atlanta area?

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jen in Reedsburg, Wisconsin

55 months ago

I have been reading through the posts on this site, and must admit that the commentaries made by individuals regarding "research the occupation before deciding on a program" have me a little more than frustrated. I graduated in Augus '11 with a M.A. in Community Counseling (WI). Prior to beginning my education I researched the classified ads, government statistics on job growth and opportunity (www.bls.gov/oco/ocos067.htm) , and licensure requirements. If you are licensed the job opportunities seem endless! There seems to be little to no information on how VERY difficult it is to find placement for the post grad 3000 supervised hours. Like many others, I worked my butt off to graduate with a 3.86 GPA and gave my everything in my one year internship at a maximum security facility. I was loving the work that I was doing!
I would like nothing more than to be working in the field!
When you consider (at least in WI) that you are unbillable, it seems someone who is unlicensed becomes dead weight to a private clinic. Funding has been cut from nearly all NPOs and government run facilities. I am $80,000 in debt and am tending bar and waitressing at nearly 40 years old just to make ends meet. This was not what I had planned. I know that many others are in the same boat as I am, and I do not doubt that the majority of you did your research prior to beginning your counseling endeavor.
I am curious as to what other fields this degree might be applicable for? I read a few posts about Human Resources/Human Services. I have considered these areas, and have been looking for something in the hospitality industry (all while still sending resumes for careers in counseling, of course! I do not want to throw in the towel just yet!).

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jen in Reedsburg, Wisconsin

55 months ago

There certainly needs to be more advocacy from the ACA and the like. There is much need for counselors in this world, but for the amount of pay, it should not be this difficult to become licensed. Nearly as much work as a doctor for barely a fraction of the pay. We are all in this field due to our desire to help others, it is not all about the pay, but lets face it…we need to collect a paycheck!
Wishing all teh best to those in similar shoes, and congrats to those of you who have made it through :)

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DadMike in Maryland

55 months ago

DadMike in Maryland said: Yep- I think I printed a retraction earlier-- the law has been changed - I've been in the field over 20 years and didn't realize it had changed for the LCPCs. Sorry if that post caused anyone any confusion-- Maryland DOES recognize a counseling degree.
The catch,though-- to get the LCPC, that's recognized by insurance, you need to practice for at least two years under clinical supervision. To my knowledge, there is no "graduate" license like the MSW- LGSW. You can get an LGSW right after you complete your MSW (after you pass the test.) You have to practice under an LCSW-C, but you are licensed.
Counselors/ MS in psychology lack that in Maryland. It's extremely hard for them to get jobs before licensed, which makes it hard for them to get supervision and get the LCPC.
We have many folks with MS in Psych or counseling working for my agency- at a bachelor's level Caseworker pay, because Social Services only recognizes the licensed MSW as an advanced degree.
On the plus- an LCSW-C social worker can give you supervision hours in Maryland.
I wanted to get an MS in Psych after I got my bachelor's. What convinced me otherwise- I worked at a crisis hotline for 8 bucks an hour. A only had a BA in psych, and that still sucked for pay. I had three co-workers with MS in Psych, one from Hopkins--- they got 8 bucks an hour, too. And the director of the agency, and our clinicians that made decent wages--- all MSWs.

In Maryland, there now appears to be an post-graduate license for counselors.

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ChristineM6547 in Phoenix, Arizona

55 months ago

I've really appreciated all of the comments in this forum, and it really did convince me to finally recently give up my desire to pursue a Masters in Counseling. It just felt very scary for me to think about taking on an additional $40k in debt with the hope of someday getting licensed and being able to make a living. Plus, in Arizona, I was told that it's almost essential to speak spanish which I don't.

Someone mentioned pursuing a career in the HR field....this is where I have the most experience (including Recruiting) and I'm going to eventually focus on the psychological aspects of candidate sourcing/screening including behavorial interivews, assessments etc. The HR/Recruiting professionals in my network are all between $50-80k per year, so at least it does pay a solid wage. Having an MA/MS would certainly encourage promotional opportunities down the road. Best of luck to everyone.

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only1ladyv in Normal, Illinois

55 months ago

I know what u mean. I cannot find a job in counseling and I have been placing apps all over the U.S. but I am not giving up. So far I have had 3 interviews within the last 3 months and none have panned out. It appears I don't have enough experience with the masters, just graduated in June "2011". But can't get a job to get experience. So sad. But cant give up.

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Recruiter in Kerrville, Texas

55 months ago

Struggling counselor in Nashville, Tennessee said: I owe $90,000 for a MA in counseling degree and can't get a job in counseling. I'm broke and desperate-- and I was the best student in my class. On top of that, I had a fantastic internship and I worked very hard. I networked like crazy; I had so much passion for my career.

If you are in the U.S. and are considering an MA to be a counselor, just don't do it. Wait until the market changes. Don't end up like me. I can't get a car or start a family and I have to work whatever jobs I can get. I'm getting older and I had to short-sell my home.

My biggest regret in life is that MA degree. It's worthless and has left me broke and miserable. I know that sounds dramatic-- but at this point it truly is dramatic. The $10 an hour I make now isn't enough--plus the only job I could find won't even hold water on my resume. I don't know what the future brings anymore.

Hello to you, and I am sorry to hear of your frustration. I am a recruiter that specializes in the fields of the behavioural sciences, and I would love the opportunity to speak with you. I am not sure if you are still looking, but if you are I believe I can help. Looking forward to your response.

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LPC supervision in Dalton, Georgia

55 months ago

If I am seeking LCSW licensure can a LPC provide supervision hours? No one has a straight answer and the SOS office is always closed.

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Squids in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

55 months ago

Recruiter in Kerrville, Texas said: Hello to you, and I am sorry to hear of your frustration. I am a recruiter that specializes in the fields of the behavioural sciences, and I would love the opportunity to speak with you. I am not sure if you are still looking, but if you are I believe I can help. Looking forward to your response.

I would be interested to hear your recruiting pitch. You can reach me at csusanitah@gmail.com

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rocky in Novi, Michigan

54 months ago

FrustratedCounselor in Charlotte, North Carolina said: Hi Lisa. If money is an issue, you should probably go for a MA in psy.nursing. I do not know of all the opportunities available to a psych nurse, so, you might want to research that. In the past, School Psychologists earn good money but with the down turn of the economy it may be hard to find openings. Counselors and psychologists are the first to go when their is a financial crisis in schools. If I knew 8 years ago what I know now, I would have gone for social work. They have the market cornered with Medicaid programs, jobs (private and community), and they can have a private counseling practice once they are licensed. They also use SWs in schools. By the way, I am a LPN (since 1974). I went back to school for counseling because I knew I did not want to go deeper into nursing, but I wanted an advanced degree. Based on several career and personality tests, I found I was best suited for counseling, the ministry, or a chef. I chose counseling b/c I wanted something I could do during my retirement years, which is fast approaching! I am also in Atlanta, but I did not want to invest the time they required to get my licensed when I had just gone through that in NC. I am going back to Charlotte this summer and set up a private practice. I will be 57 this month, so, hopefully, I will be able to do this for the next 15 or 20 years, which makes it worthwhile.

Hi Frustrated: Please share how it all went for you. I am 57yr and just completing my BA studies which I did online. I am going for my masters in Counseling...but yesterday my son gave me reality check and dashed my hopes somewhat He said "mom who is really going to hire you at your age? just think when you are finished you will be almost 60 and then you want a doctorate which takes quite a while. You need to forget it and just live on your pension (I am a widow of 4 years)...now I am having second thoughts.

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Erika in Johannesburg, South Africa

53 months ago

rocky in Novi, Michigan said: Hi Frustrated: Please share how it all went for you. I am 57yr and just completing my BA studies which I did online. I am going for my masters in Counseling...but yesterday my son gave me reality check and dashed my hopes somewhat He said "mom who is really going to hire you at your age? just think when you are finished you will be almost 60 and then you want a doctorate which takes quite a while. You need to forget it and just live on your pension (I am a widow of 4 years)...now I am having second thoughts.

Hi there, I am a MA psychology student and 30 years old. From my experience, I have found that older persons/therapists have more life experience and thus are able to better connect and create better therapeutic relationships with clients. I have had many instances where clients were suspicious of me and my qualifications due to my age. I don't think that an older age can be against you in this profession. Although it is generally hard to find a job in the field of psychology, there is little as rewarding as being able to help people as well as engage in the journey of learning. If you are passionate about it, you should pursue it :)

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Unsure in South Portland, Maine

52 months ago

This site has been really eye-opening for me. I have a B.A. in Sociology and currently work as a Case Manager. I was enrolled in a Masters in Counseling program but withdrew for a variety of reasons. The salaries I was seeing for LCPCs and LCSWs were not much more than I am making now as a CM and I knew a lot of people with those degrees that were stuck as CMs and in other positions because they couldn't find work as LCPCs or LCSWs--so not only were they in positions they could have held before their MA, but they had $30-$50k more in loans!

I really don't know what to do. My therapist (a PsyD) is trying to help me with my career choices as an objective outsider and has made a lot of great points about getting my LCPC and eventually having my own practice. I just don't know if there's a likelihood of that happening. Also, working as a CM with tough populations is burn out city and I'm already feeling it two years in.

I am looking into other programs, like a M.S. in Early Childhood Education, because I love working with young children. However career opportunities with that degree seem to be extremely limited. I fear that I'm not going to feel comfortable enough in any decision to make one and stick to it.

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only1ladyv in Bloomington, Illinois

52 months ago

Yes, I still looking and still frustrated. I hope to find something in the human resource field or something a position with the government.

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DadMike in Maryland

52 months ago

Unsure in South Portland, Maine said: This site has been really eye-opening for me. I have a B.A. in Sociology and currently work as a Case Manager. I was enrolled in a Masters in Counseling program but withdrew for a variety of reasons. The salaries I was seeing for LCPCs and LCSWs were not much more than I am making now as a CM and I knew a lot of people with those degrees that were stuck as CMs and in other positions because they couldn't find work as LCPCs or LCSWs--so not only were they in positions they could have held before their MA, but they had $30-$50k more in loans!

I really don't know what to do. My therapist (a PsyD) is trying to help me with my career choices as an objective outsider and has made a lot of great points about getting my LCPC and eventually having my own practice. I just don't know if there's a likelihood of that happening. Also, working as a CM with tough populations is burn out city and I'm already feeling it two years in.

I am looking into other programs, like a M.S. in Early Childhood Education, because I love working with young children. However career opportunities with that degree seem to be extremely limited. I fear that I'm not going to feel comfortable enough in any decision to make one and stick to it.

You have to decide what you enjoy doing, find the salary you'd like to make, and fit the two together. The advantage to MSW case management work vs. bachelor's level is that you do have more opportunity- you can move into management, become a therapist, etc. If you enjoy education- an MS in teaching may be the way to go. This economy have been tough on all professions; whatever degree you get, do it the cheapest way possible- check out accredited on-line schools, too- they're becoming an affordable way for people to still work and further their degrees; just make sure it's accredited.

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alley jones in London, Kentucky

52 months ago

I am going into a program to get my masters and become a liscensed mental health counselor. I also am considering going on to get my doctorate. My question is would I be doing the same classes to become a psychologist? I guess i am still trying to decide between the two. any advice?

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MeinWI in Appleton, Wisconsin

52 months ago

southernbelle in Lugoff, South Carolina said: Actually in SC as an LPC you can get reimbursed by insurance companies but NOT Medicaid. I have had no problems with finding a job with LPC rather than LMSW or LISW. Currently working for a psychiatrist in a private practice.

Yes

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LBW in Douglasville, Georgia

52 months ago

If you really wanted to do yourself a great favor you would have become a clinical Social Worker and you could have done anything in the world you wanted to do with less education/training as well as less of an intensified program. They have more political clout! They are able to accept Medicaid, Medicare, work independently under Tricare, consult, work for DOL, and receive pay $15-20 or more per hour than any experienced LPC. This is a horrible travesty! and every entity will bleed every dime they can from our empty pockets and we receive zero advocacy. I have been in the field over 16 years and still poorer than the day I left school. I am appalled at how we are all treated in the workplace as well as this field as second class professional. The insurance companies often times refuse or decrease payments at will and force us to double as their support staff between ourselves and the clients. And you are right if it had not been for the love of what I do, I would have been dropped out of this field long ago.

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LBW in Douglasville, Georgia

52 months ago

EdMH in Atlanta, Georgia said: Here is a radical idea... I'm LCSW and LPC my only masters is MSW. Got the LPC because the courses I took in MSW was focused on micro practice (clinical) - most people do not know that but yes MSW with clinical concentration may qualify to sit for LPC (in somestates if not all) of course with the mandated supervised hors. You are definitely right about LCSW; however, please post every term or semester of your courses to support your claim. You received a LPC because of the advocacy/political power of your SW advocacy group along with APA & ACA as well as the rest who fight on SWs behalf. You may want to feed this crap to younger counselors, but a lot of us have been in the field too long and we are quite aware of what is going on! Sorry! Younger ones are trying to make a good choice! So, stand up & be counted! Deal in Reality! SWs Cheat! & its okay - that is the way the system works! They need to know this so you can help as many as possible not to get stuk oweing awesome amounts for nothing!

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LBW in Douglasville, Georgia

52 months ago

EdMH in Atlanta, Georgia said: Here is a radical idea... I'm LCSW and LPC my only masters is MSW. Got the LPC because the courses I took in MSW was focused on micro practice (clinical) - most people do not know that but yes MSW with clinical concentration may qualify to sit for LPC (in somestates if not all) of course with the mandated supervised hors. The LCSW is the most that bares the weight. In order to be a counselor in the US Uniform Services for example you must have a LCSW. It is now that the VHA are hiring LPCs and LMFTs but if LCSW applies for the same position the LCSW got the job. Getting the MSW is the way to go. I'm sorry but that is the truth. Many LPCs like to argue about their training being more psychology practice oriented but that is just simply not the truth (I took the same coursces - different names - through my MSW program and that is why I was able to get an LPC as well) . The benifit of the LPC: the test was muuuuuuuch easier.
See Dglsvlle GA reply 0 mins ago

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ddenis in Brooklyn, New York

52 months ago

Hello everyone, I just completed my 3000 hrs post graduate requirement for a Mental Health Counselor. I am waiting for my results of the exam I just took in order to be licensed as a LMHC in New York State. I wish to relocate to Virginia state ASAP. My question is, when I am officially licensed as a LMHC, am I able to relocate to Virginia despite VA's requirements?

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pardonmyfrench in Schaumburg, Illinois

51 months ago

I feel your pain lf6708. When I began my Masters in Human Services it was a huge deal, somewhere down the line it became critical to get a license. By that time I was almost finished and had dished out so much money already. My intentions were to go back to school later to become licensed eligible, but the school I was attending said I'd have to do a second Masters because you can't add on credits to an existing degree. I've decided to go the post graduate route. Good luck to you.

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Teacher4Life in Las Vegas, Nevada

50 months ago

I want to teach Psychology in a Community College and eventually a university. I have a BA in Education but not credentialed because I taught secondary ed in private schools for the past 25 years. I'm trying to change careers. I just completed a B.S. in Behavioral Science & Ethics (Psych based classes) & I am about to start a Master's program online and the school is in AZ. Question is do I enroll in the Master's of Psychology with an emphasis in General Psych which does not prepare or lead to licensure (14 months longs and only $17,000) OR do I enroll in their Master's in Professional Counseling which can lead to licensure because of the 1 1/2 years of practicum (2 1/2 years long and $28,000). As I said, I mainly want to TEACH at a higher level so does anyone know, do I really need the license? My counselor was not sure but said that "SHE THINKS" in order for me to teach, I would need counseling experience which I can't do without licensure here on the west coast. I'm not one to go the medical route as some suggested above. HELP! I wish my last counselor had told me the truth about this B.S. not being able to be used right after graduation.

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DadMike in Maryland

50 months ago

Teacher4Life in Las Vegas, Nevada said: I want to teach Psychology in a Community College and eventually a university. I have a BA in Education but not credentialed because I taught secondary ed in private schools for the past 25 years. I'm trying to change careers. I just completed a B.S. in Behavioral Science & Ethics (Psych based classes) & I am about to start a Master's program online and the school is in AZ. Question is do I enroll in the Master's of Psychology with an emphasis in General Psych which does not prepare or lead to licensure (14 months longs and only $17,000) OR do I enroll in their Master's in Professional Counseling which can lead to licensure because of the 1 1/2 years of practicum (2 1/2 years long and $28,000). As I said, I mainly want to TEACH at a higher level so does anyone know, do I really need the license? My counselor was not sure but said that "SHE THINKS" in order for me to teach, I would need counseling experience which I can't do without licensure here on the west coast. I'm not one to go the medical route as some suggested above. HELP! I wish my last counselor had told me the truth about this B.S. not being able to be used right after graduation.

I would say- without exeperience in doing the job, you can never really teach it. Going over textbooks and online information is fine, but no susbstitute for the wisdom of one who has actually practiced in the field. Your other option is to do research, and teach from that angle. Unless you want to be more than glorfiied lab tech, though, you'll need a PhD or PsyD.

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Dan in Charleston, West Virginia

50 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

Pat I would suggest looking into the USJOBS.GOV lots of Good jobs in your field, ie. they look at experience levels along with education. Also examine Chicago professional school of Psychology in Washington DC. they offer PhD. programs in new fields for psychology.

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