MS in Psychology/Counseling is not enough

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1st year online grad student in Baltimore, Maryland

32 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

32 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

32 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

32 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

32 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

32 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

32 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

31 months ago

good info

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EdMH in Atlanta, Georgia

31 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

31 months ago

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

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jen in Reedsburg, Wisconsin

31 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

31 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

31 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

31 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

30 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

30 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

30 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

30 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

30 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

28 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

28 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

28 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

28 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

28 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

28 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

27 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

27 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

27 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

27 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

27 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

26 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

26 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

25 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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Earlean Johnson in Greenville, Mississippi

25 months ago

gcobisa in Bellville, South Africa said: im worried and concerned about my degree. and im not sure i i should get a job if i had only a degree in psychology without masters.

I have a Masters in Psychology and the area I want to work in I do not qualify. It has become frustrated. I live in Mississip and have considered Georgia, but I hear alot of people on here gives Georgia a bad report for our career. With a Masters in Psychology you do not qualify for any type of certification which most jobs want, you have to continue and get your PhD which will take the poor income you make paying back student loans. I'm really regretting my choice of picking my Masters in Psychology and should have went with maybe Social Work because I could have gotten certified.

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squids in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

25 months ago

Earleen,

I livce in Mississippi too. Not sure how it is in north Miss but on the coast, there simply are no jobs for new grads, even with a year's internship experience. You could consider looking into University of Mobile (or another university) at their Marriage & Family program - it shouldn't require you to go another two years, at least according to one supervisor I spoke to who did that (it was more of a philosophy issue for her to change, although she's still LPC).

Anyone out there work in Asheville NC? I'm checking out state jobs, would love to move there or Birmingham or Atlanta. I know Georgia is a bit of a closed system to outsiders but I'm pretty sure I could get certified in sub abuse there anyway. Would love to here from anyone in those places on what's happening. Heard North Carolina started a provisional license program for new grads, which is very helpful, in my opinion, with places only wanting LPCs.

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Karen Nalbone in Trenton, New Jersey

25 months ago

divinebovine85 in sydney, Australia said: A friend of mine actually took a home-study counseling course and got a diploma. He had a job while studying this course because he can't give up his job.... at least not yet. He was able to study without pressure and at his own free time.

You can actually look for these courses online or you can check this out www.inst.org/counsel/become.htm

He's now working for an institution and according to him, there's no job better than being able to help suicidal people feel that there is a purpose in life.

I checked out the website but it seems to be based in the UK & Ireland. I don't know that these credentials would be of any value. I spend almost 3 years getting a certification in Psychiatric Rehabilitation, and employers just stare at me blankly with no recognition or understanding. It just isn't a state license. Thanks & good luck.
Karen Nalbone

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No longer MSW in Great Neck, New York

25 months ago

I am a NYS Master's level social worker. I a made a mistake going into the field. You need to have the personality/temperament to deal with patient's who have no sense of boundaries, and management/supervisor's who have a chip on their should. Extremely high stress and low paying position. After spending over $40,000 for graduate school, you get paid $25 an hour starting. Are they kidding? You work in noisy and chaotic environments. And the field tend to attract supervisors who have severe emotional problems and are as sick as the patient's. I would go into anything but this. My plan was to become an LCSW. You need approx. 3000 hours of supervisions under an LCSW, or psychologist. But I hate the job and don't end up staying there long enough to get the hours. I have had supervisor's innapropriately touch me and field a harassment lawsuit against one of them, which effectly ended his career. The women in the field tend to be tightly wrapped, cold and very unpleasant to work with. They are not happy people because they are stuck with nuts all day long, and many would have like to have become psychologists or higher up on the food chain. The working conditions are brutal. Stuck in a cubicle surrounded by 3 conversations all day long. It is not for me. As guess you have gathered I am not a people person. I prefer to work in isolation and not deal with people's problems. I have my own. Social work is good if you can work for the government. But these agencies are basically medicaid mills who try to take advantage of their workers. I worked at New Horizon in Ozone Park Queens. The clinical supervisor had a personality disorder. Not a bad guy, but never smiles and would ask me about 25 questions after seeing a patient. I felt like I was being interrogated. It was per diem. So if patient's don't show up you don't get paid. Also all the paperwork was done on my time.I was just paid per session. Two years of grad school, $40,000 for this? I don't like the people the field

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

25 months ago

No longer MSW in Great Neck, New York said: I am a NYS Master's level social worker. I a made a mistake going into the field. You need to have the personality/temperament to deal with patient's who have no sense of boundaries, and management/supervisor's who have a chip on their should. Extremely high stress and low paying position. After spending over $40,000 for graduate school, you get paid $25 an hour starting. Are they kidding? You work in noisy and chaotic environments. And the field tend to attract supervisors who have severe emotional problems and are as sick as the patient's. I would go into anything but this. My plan was to become an LCSW. You need approx. 3000 hours of supervisions under an LCSW, or psychologist. But I hate the job and don't end up staying there long enough to get the hours. I have had supervisor's innapropriately touch me and field a harassment lawsuit against one of them, which effectly ended his career. The women in the field tend to be tightly wrapped, cold and very unpleasant to work with. They are not happy people because they are stuck with nuts all day long, and many would have like to have become psychologists or higher up on the food chain. The working conditions are brutal. Stuck in a cubicle surrounded by 3 conversations all day long. It is not for me. As guess you have gathered I am not a people person. I prefer to work in isolation and not deal with people's problems. I have my own. Social work is good if you can work for the government. But these agencies are basically medicaid mills who try to take advantage of their workers. I worked at New Horizon in Ozone Park Queens. The clinical supervisor had a personality disorder. Not a bad guy, but never smiles and would ask me about 25 questions after seeing a patient. I felt like I was being interrogated. It was per diem. So if patient's don't show up you don't get paid. Also all the paperwork was done on my time.I was just paid per session. Two years of grad school,

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

25 months ago

I'm sorry but you seem to find fault with everybody. Makes me wonder what underlying issues you have that are not resolved. Hate to burst your bubble, but the grass is not always greener on the other side. There will always be problems and conflicts at any job you go to. If you can't handle the situation your in, not sure you can handle any. Perhaps you don't have the personality nor temperament to work in any of the in the various fields dealing with people with problems.

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dreamy00 in Novi, Michigan

25 months ago

Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida said: I'm sorry but you seem to find fault with everybody. Makes me wonder what underlying issues you have that are not resolved. Hate to burst your bubble, but the grass is not always greener on the other side. There will always be problems and conflicts at any job you go to. If you can't handle the situation your in, not sure you can handle any. Perhaps you don't have the personality nor temperament to work in any of the in the various fields dealing with people with problems.

I agree with you Deidra.NoLongerMSW sounds and is very negative, not all situations are like this in the Social work field. Unfortunately, he spent much money to pursue a field he thought he would like. It can be a very rewarding career but you definitely have to like what you are doing and have the personality for it. When you are a student and do your required internship hours this should give you a good idea of whether or not you can actually be a fit for the career. If not, cut your losses and move on to something else. If you don't like what you are doing in life then you are not going to do your very best and that affects everyone around you. There is good and bad in every occupation, it is how we choose to deal with it that makes the difference.

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Karennal in Trenton, New Jersey

25 months ago

Re: NoLongerMSW - While I do not share this person's attitude toward clients and patients, I am glad someone is addressing the overall poor mental health of many agencies, hospitals, and their management. With clients presenting very challenging issues and families in crisis, you would think that management and coworkers would support each other. Instead, there is politics, game-playing, and dysfunctionality that just add to the stress of these low-paying jobs. And many social workers bill themselves as psychotherapists, which is alarming. However, if one is not a "people person", why pick a field that has the word "social" in the title?

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c_berry in Houston, Texas

25 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

There is a great need for group homes. Pick the type of population of clients you want to serve where you can use your experience in counseling. Also I have seen some counselors open their own business in other areas. I have seen someone open a halfway house and used their counseling degree in that aspect, and now they are living very very well. Just a thought.

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DadMike in Maryland

25 months ago

NoLonger does have some valid points; sadly, there are too many toxic agencies and toxic managers out there. By and large, social workers seem to make very poor administrators. That said-- there are many positive agencies and good superivsors out there, too. One can't judge the entire field based on one cr@ppy agency or hospital or clinic. I love working CPS, been there for well over a decade now, working my way through ranks. But I've had several other social work jobs prior to that, and either due to toxic management or deluded agency goals they were terrible places to work.
Just like any other career, esp. one as broad as social work, one has to find one's niche- and has to be willing to job-hop to find their best fit.

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Soon to Grad Dec 2012 in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania

25 months ago

I am so glad I found this forum. To be concise I found this thread when I google searched "What can I do with a masters degree in counseling without a license". Which is exactly what I am asking. I graduate in December with a Masters in Counseling Psychology, after 700+ internship hours, 600 of them at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center near Pittsburgh. I am aware that to be licensed in PA I need 3,000 hours of counseling experience and a passing grade on the NCE (set to take in Oct). I like D&A Rehab counseling and also rehabilitation counseling in general. I would like to get a CAC (certified addiction counselor) but that also needs something like 3,000 hours of experience. So I guess the big question is - what kind of job is out there for a beginning Masters counselor in order to get the experience I need for the licenses required for the jobs I want that are financially stable enough to pay off my $95,000+ loans?? And I thought GETTING the degree was the stressful part! Any advise would be much appreciated.

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Kandi214 in Alexandria, Virginia

24 months ago

This is scary I am almost done my M.S. in psychology and I dont know what test to take. I have no clue what to do next. Can someone help me out

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Yessy in Dallas, Texas

24 months ago

Hello, I'm glad I found this site. I'm in my early 20s and I just decided to go back to school and I'm very interested in Psychology or Social work. I'm really interested in helping out Teens more like a High School environment or a clinic or Hospital. I'm confused as to what steps to take or what field I should Actually work in. Hoping maybe i can get some guide or just some feed back of your experience. I really want to help young kids from kids to teen.

My email is Yessyflores17@hotmail.com

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Amanda40362 in Tampa, Florida

24 months ago

Hello everyone. I am finishing a double major in English Literature and Economics at a south Florida school and would also like to enter either a master's program in Social Work or the counseling profession. From these posts, my prospects look bleak; however, it seems like a masters program in Social Work would be more accepting of my interdisciplinary background. I'm very good at statistical analysis and would like to conduct research. Ideally I'd like to get a phD in psychology, but I feel that boat has sailed. I do feel I have good prospects for a graduate level program in Social Work, but I have a few questions...
1. Are social workers respected? I don't expect an objective answer--I want to know if the social workers on this forum FEEL respected.
2. Is a PhD in psychology as totally out of my range as I suspect it is?
3. What is the best state to be a social worker in? And why?

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DadMike in Maryland

24 months ago

Amanda40362 in Tampa, Florida said: Hello everyone. I am finishing a double major in English Literature and Economics at a south Florida school and would also like to enter either a master's program in Social Work or the counseling profession. From these posts, my prospects look bleak; however, it seems like a masters program in Social Work would be more accepting of my interdisciplinary background. I'm very good at statistical analysis and would like to conduct research. Ideally I'd like to get a phD in psychology, but I feel that boat has sailed. I do feel I have good prospects for a graduate level program in Social Work, but I have a few questions...
1. Are social workers respected? I don't expect an objective answer--I want to know if the social workers on this forum FEEL respected.
2. Is a PhD in psychology as totally out of my range as I suspect it is?
3. What is the best state to be a social worker in? And why?

Will you be respected as a social worker? Depends on where you concentrate- as a therapist, yes. As a CPS worker- respected and feared. Other areas- possibly, but not always. Though everyone I meet always tells me I'm a good person for being a social worker! Not necesarrily true, but I appreciate the sentiment!
PhD in psych- they like you to have a BA in Psych. Money and repsect are better- jobs harder to find.
Best state- hard to say. MD is better than Fla- in Fla social work pay sucks! MD is much better!! Check Indeed pay scales by state- may be best bet.

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StillHopeful in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

24 months ago

Don't waste your time unless you get an MSW, and plan to get LCSW, at least. That seems to be most rewarding. I graduated in 2002 with a Masters Degree in Psych. from an Ivy League university and have been out of work for a little over a year. My peers who have MSW/LCSW have less experience than I do, but have always made more money.
I loved working with clients/families/schools, and have received much gratitude. With that being said, I have about $100K in student loans and am unable to find work in my field, despite having over ten years of experience. I have a family, and NEVER earned more than enough to be considered "over the poverty line".

I can understand why people have negative attiudes: community agencies have long paid employees poorly, and burn out is totally encouraged. Fraud is common, and I have been asked to do all sorts of unethical things, such as completing a former co-workers paperwork for billing (when she left work unfinished to get a better paying job!), administering medication to clients, and attending funerals of dead clients as a member of a "clinical team". There is very little you can do to combat this, as politics are a major player in the game. In the Philadelphia area, as I learned at one interview, most of the agencies all started together in the 1970's, and branched off into their own companies. These agencies have been in and out of "cahoots" with one another for decades. Often, no one seems to care WHAT you know, it's WHO you know that is most important.

I have left jobs to gain supervisory experience, and that was without pay increase. I have never been able to find work paying more than $37,000, that is, until I left the field and found similar work in a school. (The schools aren't doing all that much better out here, and I am now laid off, just one of many thousands of educators, etc. laid off in PA.) My current plan is to pursue LPC and/or CAC certification, start my own practice, or find work in a different field.

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No longer MSW in Great Neck, New York

24 months ago

I am sorry to hear your story about getting a master's in psychology and not being able to do much with it. I agree with you, that you are better off getting an MSW and then becoming and LCSW. You are also correct about the unethical practices at these agencies. The client's are difficult to deal with. They have serious problems that can never really be resolved due to either poverty, mental illness, lack of education etc. They suffer from chronic issues that you really can't improve. Agencies like this because these people never really get better and keep coming. I have also seen a lot of unethical practice, and for some reason the field seems to attract very messed up people. People with serious personality disorders, tight ass supervisors who never smile, or emotionally fractured sadists. I had a supervisor who would routinely make comments to people who were working hard and minding their own business. He would say, "maybe you suffer from a little PTSD". He was a very angry guy, obviously unhappy about something and enjoyed making people under him squirm. He would also do it with an evil grin on his face. Many people complained about him... to his supervisor, but that didn't do anything. I filed a lawsuit with the NYState Division of civil rights claiming he created a hostile environment. I could have pursued a case if I wanted to spend the money. The company had to get an attorney to respond to my complaint, which ofcourse cost them money. This supervisory was first moved behind the scenes and then let go. I use this example because I really would like to get out of the field, because the supervisory staff tends to have more problems than the patient's. It is a very stressful job for low pay. And ofcourse you work with people you wouldn't want to talk to on the street. If they are not sick like this guy was, they are usually very tightassed, grim faced people. It's hard when you have to run a whole agency.....and you are in over your head.

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