MS in Psychology/Counseling is not enough

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squids in Ocean Springs, Mississippi

52 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

52 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

52 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

52 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

52 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

52 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

52 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

52 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

52 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

52 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

51 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

51 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

51 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

51 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

50 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

50 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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No longer MSW in Great Neck, New York

50 months ago

Karennal in Trenton, New Jersey said: 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?

There is a lot of back stabbing among co-workers. It's funny how people in a helping profession tend to be the one's with the least empathy. I can go into dozen's of stories about the emotionally fractured co-worker's/supervisors I have met. Why did I go into the field? Well..... I have a B.A. in psych. I did psych because I knew it was an easy major, and I wanted to go to med school and had to take all the science prereqs... I had a 3.2 overall GPA with about 3.4 in the sciences which is really my strength. I applied, but could not get into an American Medical School. I went to a Carib med school. My roommate bailed after the first week. I hated the conditions down there and left after 6 weeks. That was the biggest mistake in my life! This was St. George's in Greneda. When I went it was very primitive. No A/c, water outages, electricity going on and off, hot as hell. I felt like I was suffering. Also I love to run....and couldn't run down there because it was 100 degrees everyday. I hated every minute of it. I was suffering. But it was a good opportunity. So I got my MSW as a plan B with a psych major. Should have stayed in Greneda and gone into a field of medicine I enjoyed. Probably something like radiology or pathology. I find dealing with people.....very stressful.

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No longer MSW in Great Neck, New York

50 months ago

I am planning to try to get back into medicine in some capacity. Either as a PA, perhaps going back to Greneda, or Podiatry. I am a fanatical runner and have had my share of foot injuries so I do find that interesting. But it's a long haul and I am a bit too old to be starting med school. However, they are predicting a massive doctor shortage over the next 10-15 years. I too have been un-employed. I interview...but I think they see a guy who doesn't have the temperament for the job. I really couldn't care less about these people and their problems. I have my own issues. So I am looking for a part time social work gig and studying to retake the MCATS. I know from my personality...the field is not a good fit. My social skills are poor and I say the wrong things. I also have a poor sense of social boundaries. I also don't connect well with people. So I really need to go back and finish what I started. I hate the field, it doesn't make me feel good about myself, and I REGRET every day of my life not staying in med school. This REGRET has only gotten worse over time. It has also prevented me from ever getting married as I have not been able to establish a stable career in the field. It's hard to do something you hate on a daily basis. So usually I don't last more than 3-6 months in any social work position. Just not a good fit for my personality, low pay, high stress, a lot of politics, and back stabbing co-workers. I am just not well liked by people. They see an arrogant guy with a sense of entitlement. People from my area all became dr., dentist, lawyers, or had a good business. They didn't go into social work. If they went into mental health it was as a psychiatrist, or clinical psychologist. It's sad...these schools take your money. Your left with huge student loans, and then get paid a lousy $25/hr, if you can get a job!

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No longer MSW in Great Neck, New York

50 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.

Yes Diedre I do have my issues. I was chubby and small as a teenager. Had a lot of social anxiety because every time I opened up my mouth somebody would say something negative. I lost weight, became attractive, but the issues and the bitterness remains. I have been in therapy....but that only made my anger worse. Because it made me more aware of what had been going on. I had a very positive childhood with many friends. But I stayed small and got heavy in my teens. From 14-21 it was real bad. Always put down by people left me with low self esteem. I lost weight, but just never felt worthy. I was seen as an easy mark because I was small, and had a tense demeanor. I never thought I was smart. Everyone tells me I am very smart. But that only happened after I opened up my mouth. I was extremely shy and just didn't talk much during my teenage years. Unfortunately in my old age, I am aware of that and now I talk too much and say the wrong things! Yes.... I probably am NOT fit to deal with people with problems....in any setting.

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Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida

50 months ago

No longer MSW......if you, by your own admission, have poor social skills and say the wrong things....what makes you think you can make it as a PA or a doctor. Any time you deal with patients, whether mental illness or family crisis is in play or not, they can be a pain and get on your last nerve. You see people at their worse when they are ill. If you offend pts., no doc is going to keep you on as their PA and you certainly won't be able to build up a practice as a doctor. Perhaps you need to work on your own issues first and see if you can over come some of these problems. Perhaps, you need to re-evaluate what you want to do in life and perhaps you need to be doing something that doesn't involve direct pt. care.

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No longer MSW in Great Neck, New York

50 months ago

Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida said: No longer MSW......if you, by your own admission, have poor social skills and say the wrong things....what makes you think you can make it as a PA or a doctor. Any time you deal with patients, whether mental illness or family crisis is in play or not, they can be a pain and get on your last nerve. You see people at their worse when they are ill. If you offend pts., no doc is going to keep you on as their PA and you certainly won't be able to build up a practice as a doctor. Perhaps you need to work on your own issues first and see if you can over come some of these problems. Perhaps, you need to re-evaluate what you want to do in life and perhaps you need to be doing something that doesn't involve direct pt. care.

I agree.. In a perfect world I would be a radiologist/pathologist. Something behind the scenes that does not require too much pt. interaction. But those are tough and competitive residencies to get into. At my age it would be very difficult and would probably go into primary care. However, when I am doing something I enjoy and when I am in a good mood people do find me charming. So I am a different guy depending on my mood, the person, and the environment.

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LadyMagnificat in Buffalo, New York

50 months ago

I feel the immense burden for those going through a hard time and posting on this site. I would like to share my experience and perhaps some of you may glean some hope or garner ideas from my professional journey. I went back to school in my mid-40's to get a MA in Counseling Psychology, knowing that I would need to get licensed to find work. My dream was to open my own private practice. This was a 2nd Masters for me. I have a MBA and worked for 20+ years in Business. I wanted a new career where I had freedom in setting my hours, deciding my clientele, determining how much money I made, etc. I did a lot of research every step of the way -- asking endless questions to people who worked in mental health -- especially those in private practice (how did they build their business, how much $ did they make, did they enjoy their work, etc). I graduated 2 years ago with a MA from a school in Illinois -- then moved to NY -- which threw me into the fact-finding mode again since licensure was different. Through networking, I got a job at a mental health agency to begin working on my 3000 supervised hours for licensure, working part-time and then moving into a full-time position. Agencies can be difficult -- but I kept my eyes on my ultimate goal (private practice). I spent time networking with dozens of therapists over the past 2 years (both LMHC's and LCSW's) who are in private practice. I garner valuable info with every conversation. These master-level, licensed clinicians make between $90,000 - $120,000 a year (regardless of the initials after their name), don't take insurance and love their careers with intense passion. In 4 months, I'll have my LMHC and start my own journey down the path of private practice. The past 5 years have not always been easy but I can honestly say that I have no regrets. I can't predict the future -- but I'm looking forward to whatever it brings. I wish you all much peace, hope and clarity as you sort through your own next steps.

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LadyMagnificat in Buffalo, New York

50 months ago

Kandi214 in Alexandria, Virginia said: 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

Kandi, Congrats on your upcoming graduation. And, yes -- it can be scary. First, think about what kind of work you want to do when you get out of school. It's ok to have 4 or 5 or 6 or 7 or 8 ideas! Then start talking to people (classmates, professors in your department of study, guidance counselor at your school, professionals who work in those areas) to help widen or narrow your choices. Talk to professionals already working in those areas - I can't stress this enough! Contact them and ask for 30-45 minutes of their time - this is called an informational interview -- you're gathering information - not asking them for a job. I have done this all throughout my career and have NEVER had someone tell me "no" that they wouldn't talk with me. Most people are happy to share their experience to help the new person. Explain to them that you're an upcoming graduate and you're possibly interested in getting into their field. When you sit down in front of them -- have a list of questions prepared and pen/paper to take notes on what they tell you. Ask them open ended questions -- about schooling/licensure/experience needed to do their job. Be professional -- you never know when they just might have an open position in their organization. Google the licensing/exam information to get your answers from a reliable source -- every state has a licensure board with a website and you need to get the answer specific to your own state. You'll find the answer there as to what test you need to take, if you chose to enter a career that requires licensure. Good luck and congratulations again!

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LadyMagnificat in Buffalo, New York

50 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?

Amanda, you ask really good questions and I'll give you a method that has worked for me for years..... go out and "interview" 5-6 social workers and 5-6 PhD's. Ask them about their job -their thinking that lead them to their current career choice - what they do -- what a typical day looks like - ask them to give you a salary range of what people in their field make - ask about licensure and other requirements. You can make a better informed decision if you talk to people who are actively working in that field. I mean no disrespect to anyone on this forum but you have to remember that this forum is located on a job search site. That means that this site will attract more people who are unhappy with their job/profession and/or feeling sad/frustrated/irritated/fearful due to their specific circumstances (and understandably so). I would not take the comments on this forum as being indicative of an entire profession albeit mental health therapist, social worker, nurse or PHd. Hope you find this helpful and I wish you success.

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docdoc50 in Beachwood, Ohio

50 months ago

I recently graduated with a masters in counseling psychology. I followed the LMHC/Trauma track. I thought having the trauma piece would not only help my understanding but it would also make me more marketable. Well.....reality hit and I am still searching for a job. I am not a pityful person nor do I like to whine...but sometimes I feel like screaming. Like many people in this forum, I can only think to maybe go for the PHD or get additional coursework in school counseling.

I was formerly a teacher before beginning the counseling program. At age 50 I have a window of time to grow and develop in the field, etc. I didn't think I'd spend that window of time taking more classes and looking endlessly for a job. While I would agree with some that one does need to do research before entering a program, sometimes the advice and research we find is faulty. It was my understanding that counseling jobs were like running water. I haven't found that to be the case...no regrets...yet...

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Abby in Chicago, Illinois

50 months ago

Deidra47 in Hollywood, Florida said: 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.

I wasnt complaining that I needed "x" hours of supervision. I did do my research and I knew what was required. What I was saying was it is a joke to have to get a degree and then not be able to find a masters levels counseling job that will give you this supervision.

For any of you that are struggling to find a job, try to get a job in a QMHP position, even if it is a case manager position. This is the majority of the hours that I used to get my LCPC. After being in a case manager position for two years, I was finally able to find a therapist position and earn the rest of my hours towards my LCPC.

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LadyMagnificat in Buffalo, New York

50 months ago

Abby in Chicago, Illinois said: I For any of you that are struggling to find a job, try to get a job in a QMHP position, even if it is a case manager position. This is the majority of the hours that I used to get my LCPC. After being in a case manager position for two years, I was finally able to find a therapist position and earn the rest of my hours towards my LCPC.

Abby, I really like your ability to figure out a solution that worked for you to get your supervised hours in these tough times. Kudos! Going for a Case Manager position is a great idea and I hope others give that some thought.

I'm happy to share what I did to get my 1st Post-Masters job to get those precious supervised hours. After I graduated, I accepted a position in a community agency in their Compliance area -- they were looking for someone who knew Excel spreadsheets and who understood counseling - it was a 20-hour a week position. I couldn't count these hours toward licensure because I didn't have any direct client interactions -- but that was ok. I saw it as a foot-in-the-door and accepted the position. I enjoyed it and I quickly learned how to put together client charts, review charts for compliance and use the on-line scheduling/notes system. I enjoyed the opportunity to meet many Counselors in the agency, their supervisors and participate in weekly staff meetings. Three months later, I was approached by one of the Directors who offered me a Counselor position on-the-spot. I was floored and said, "Don't you want to interview me?" He said, "I don't need to. I've seen you work. I've seen you go through charts. I've seen you interact with the other counselors. You've learned the inner workings of this agency and that's a big asset. I'm sure you're a fine counselor. Can you start full-time next week?"

The moral: If you can't get a job as a Counselor -- see if you can find a job that is a stepping stone to a Counselor position. Best of luck to all!

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IdealistJobseeker in Edgewater, New Jersey

50 months ago

I am considering going back to graduate school to become a clinical therapist. I would ultimately like to open my own practice. I have visited a school that provides a MA in Mental Health Counseling but after researching this field it seems like an MSW is more versatile, has more political backing and is more advantageous for insurance purposes.

I am concerned after reading many of your posts that gaining employment is difficult. I hated my last position as an agency recruiter mostly because of the instability and focus on commission but loved working with people's career dev so I have been applying to HR jobs. I want a fulfilling and respectable profession where I am helping people and can use my people skills and insight. That is why I am considering counseling.

I am fluent in Spanish. Will this help with employment for cert hrs in NY? Also, how much oppty is there in career dev counseling? Any help is appreciated as I do not want to incur a tremendous debt.

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IdealistJobseeker in Edgewater, New Jersey

50 months ago

Also, please provide insight on State school vs. private well known.

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docdoc50 in Beachwood, Ohio

50 months ago

It is helpful to have a forum to vent in a health way. Everyone's situation has some similarities and stark differences. It is impossible to prepare for every "bump" in the road. What I do like is reading replies that are informative and understanding. These two qualities are important for anyone in the field. There are many options and I plan to thoroughly investigate the merits of each.

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LadyMagnificat in Buffalo, New York

50 months ago

IdealistJobseeker in Edgewater, New Jersey said: I am considering going back to graduate school to become a clinical therapist. I would ultimately like to open my own practice. I have visited a school that provides a MA in Mental Health Counseling but after researching this field it seems like an MSW is more versatile, has more political backing, etc.

I've been doing life coaching for a couple years -- a certification that I find very useful in many ways. I do coaching in addition to counseling to earn extra money and I love it. It doesn't involve insurance and I use Skype with clients so location is a non-issue. I've worked with people is helping them find an answer to "what is the purpose/passion in my life?'. It sometimes comes clearly to people -- other times it takes prayer, meditation, soul-searching, thinking, journaling, working with a coach, etc. If you can gain a grasp on your passion/purpose -- use that to drive the decision as to which masters to pursue (social work vs mental health). For me, I had no desire to get a MSW -- when I looked at the coursework -- 50% looked boring to me. I knew I wanted to do counseling in private practice - that's my passion. Therefore, I focused on a MA in Counseling Psych. Is a MSW more versatile? I think so but my response, "who cares - it's not what I want to do" - all my decisions were driven by my goals/purpose/passion. And, this might be different for you as you have your own goals/passion. In terms of insurance, there are 15 insurance companies in my area -- LMHC's are accepted by 12 of them. If you are thinking about a school in NY, chose one that has been pre-accepted as meeting the standards for licensing- here's the link www.op.nysed.gov/. Lastly, I worked full-time while going to school full-time so my loans were minimal when I graduated - very important to me. Best of luck in finding your passion and pursuing it! P.S. Speaking 2 languages is an asset. :)

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Squids in Pearl, Mississippi

50 months ago

LadyMagnificat in Buffalo, New York said: I've been doing life coaching for a couple years -- a certification that I find very useful in many ways. I do coaching in addition to counseling to earn extra money and I love it. It doesn't involve insurance and I use Skype with clients so location is a non-issue. I've worked with people is helping them find an answer to "what is the purpose/passion in my life?'. It sometimes comes clearly to people -- other times it takes prayer, meditation, soul-searching, thinking, journaling, working with a coach, etc. If you can gain a grasp on your passion/purpose -- use that to drive the decision as to which masters to pursue (social work vs mental health). For me, I had no desire to get a MSW -- when I looked at the coursework -- 50% looked boring to me. I knew I wanted to do counseling in private practice - that's my passion. Therefore, I focused on a MA in Counseling Psych. Is a MSW more versatile? I think so but my response, "who cares - it's not what I want to do" - all my decisions were driven by my goals/purpose/passion. And, this might be different for you as you have your own goals/passion. In terms of insurance, there are 15 insurance companies in my area -- LMHC's are accepted by 12 of them. If you are thinking about a school in NY, chose one that has been pre-accepted as meeting the standards for licensing- here's the link www.op.nysed.gov/ . Lastly, I worked full-time while going to school full-time so my loans were minimal when I graduated - very important to me. Best of luck in finding your passion and pursuing it! P.S. Speaking 2 languages is an asset. :)

Thank you so much for this reply, LadyMagnificat. This is exactly my dream job as well,blending coaching with counseling and perhaps distance counselling. I would love to hear more about how you accomplished this. If you have free time ever, I would love to hear from you. My email is nhhereford @gmail.com. thank you again so much.

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Dontbelieveit in Crazyhorse, Indiana

50 months ago

Why would a Masters degree be mandatory for an entry level job in any field? Then what is the Bachelor degree?

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DadMike in Maryland

50 months ago

Dontbelieveit in Crazyhorse, Indiana said: Why would a Masters degree be mandatory for an entry level job in any field? Then what is the Bachelor degree?

Step one.

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artisf in Wake Forest, North Carolina

49 months ago

I'm not sure about Asheville but I live in the Research Triangle Are (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill). There are jobs and opportunities to complete hours and many of the problems mentioned on this site have been invisible to me. I am in a MS MHC degree program. I came from 23 years in IT to grad school in a completely different field. I started working for a mental health CABHA in Raleigh about one year into the program. I just started another job leading a psychosocial rehabilitation group 5 hours a day, for 5 days a week. It's very low pay compared to my old IT career, but the job helps me meet my goals to be in line for field work and internship in a few months.

For those of you pursuing the LPC through a counseling degree, the VA approved the LPC license for reimbursement under Tri-care and for employment at VA centers this past Spring. Anyone looking for work or internships hours should contact the VA and network your way in. Counselors there are greatly overworked and clients are getting appointments that are 6 weeks apart. This has to change. The VA centers across the country are in a near desparate situation. Don't expect to be offered a job because you have the degree, develop a strategy and it will all work out as you wish.

The disparities between the MSW and LPC is no big deal to me. I am confident that my degree will equip me well for what I want to do. It offers a greater clinical focus in my opinion and leads to complet independence, which in North Carolina, LPA (Licensed Psychology Associates - masters level) does not ever get.

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Squids in Canton, Mississippi

49 months ago

artisf in Wake Forest, North Carolina said: I'm not sure about Asheville but I live in the Research Triangle Are (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill). There are jobs and opportunities to complete hours and many of the problems mentioned on this site have been invisible to me. I am in a MS MHC degree program. I came from 23 years in IT to grad school in a completely different field. I started working for a mental health CABHA in Raleigh about one year into the program. I just started another job leading a psychosocial rehabilitation group 5 hours a day, for 5 days a week. It's very low pay compared to my old IT career, but the job helps me meet my goals to be in line for field work and internship in a few months.

For those of you pursuing the LPC through a counseling degree, the VA approved the LPC license for reimbursement under Tri-care and for employment at VA centers this past Spring. Anyone looking for work or internships hours should contact the VA and network your way in. Counselors there are greatly overworked and clients are getting appointments that are 6 weeks apart. This has to change. The VA centers across the country are in a near desparate situation. Don't expect to be offered a job because you have the degree, develop a strategy and it will all work out as you wish.

The disparities between the MSW and LPC is no big deal to me. I am confident that my degree will equip me well for what I want to do. It offers a greater clinical focus in my opinion and leads to complet independence, which in North Carolina, LPA (Licensed Psychology Associates - masters level) does not ever get.[/QUOT

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Squids in Canton, Mississippi

49 months ago

Artisf, thank you for your support and ideas. I'm happy to hear how north Carolina is doing. Regarding the va, I had an in, sent in the required forms, used her and other friends in vat as references but it bounced back within 12 weeks saying they weren't looking for anyone with my qualifications. Perhaps other states aren't so behind the times? I would love to get my certified hours in the vat and the latest stats practically scream for more mental health workers. So sad.

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Squids in Canton, Mississippi

49 months ago

That should read "va " not vat. Smartphones - not so much haha!

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Morgs4488 in Denver, Colorado

48 months ago

Hello,
I am very happy to have found this website, because I have found myself very lost. I have several questions, so if anyone could help guide me with any of them I would greatly appreciate the input. I want to help people and would like to be a therapist, but I am unsure of how to go about it. At first I was looking into MA in counseling or MFT programs. Then as I researched and asked more and more professionals about their experience more and more told me to pursue a MSW and become a LCSW. I then started volunteering at a rape crisis hotline where I work with several social workers and have become very found of the people in this field. I really hadn't thought of social work until recently because of the stigma over-worked and underpaid that has been associated with it, that it can be very heavy and many do not last long in the career, along with I have heard that people look down upon LCSW compared to PSY'D and MA in Psychology. Is this true??
I have researched social work and the areas that you can pursue, and the area that stuck out to me the most, while it is apparently a newer field has been international disaster and trauma relief. Has anyone worked in this field through a social work degree? I could see myself counseling families to get back on their feet after a natural disaster to going abroad and counseling those that have been experienced sex trafficking and other international problems, but I have had difficulties finding programs in this area that are not through psychology. Also, if this is what I would like to pursue then should I re-think the MSW route? or would a certificate in this area suffice?

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Morgs4488 in Denver, Colorado

48 months ago

The other questions I have are if I were to pursue the Micro route in social work could I later work in Macro and policy making? I do not know anyone that has gone the Macro route and if you have any experience in that area I would love to hear what exactly it entails. And are there any research opportunities in Social Work? I also do not know anyone in this area.

I understand that each state has different license requirements. If I want be a LCSW but I were to get my MSW out of state is it possible to come back to Colorado to work? or would you suggest receiving a degree in the state you want to work? And how much do employers put emphasis on where you receive your degree because as much as I would like to go out of state I can obtain my MSW for a third of what it costs from the Metropolitan State University of Denver; however, they are in the process of receiving their accreditation and the school is not as reputable as others because they recently went from a community college to a university and I am afraid that I won't be able to be hired if I pursue a degree from this college. Any input would be much appreciated, my e-mail is mawillia4488@gmail.com if you would like to respond to me personally. Thank You!

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kelhyder in Union City, Georgia

48 months ago

For those of you who already have a degree in Psychology and not sure what to do next - you may want to consider Occupational Therapy.

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kelhyder in Union City, Georgia

48 months ago

I think if you have a degree in Sociology, you can also qualify to go into an Occupational Therapy program.

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dfisherny in Charlotte, North Carolina

47 months ago

This website is very interesting to find out all of the different qualifcation from state to state. I live in Charlotte NC and it has been very difficult for me to just get my foot in door with my master degree in psychology. Can anyone give me any suggestion on what can I do. I feel that I have BOX myself with job selection.

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aprvllo in Williamsburg, Virginia

47 months ago

docdoc50 in Beachwood, Ohio said: I recently graduated with a masters in counseling psychology. I followed the LMHC/Trauma track. I thought having the trauma piece would not only help my understanding but it would also make me more marketable. Well.....reality hit and I am still searching for a job. I am not a pityful person nor do I like to whine...but sometimes I feel like screaming. Like many people in this forum, I can only think to maybe go for the PHD or get additional coursework in school counseling.

I was formerly a teacher before beginning the counseling program. At age 50 I have a window of time to grow and develop in the field, etc. I didn't think I'd spend that window of time taking more classes and looking endlessly for a job. While I would agree with some that one does need to do research before entering a program, sometimes the advice and research we find is faulty. It was my understanding that counseling jobs were like running water. I haven't found that to be the case...no regrets...yet...

I am 53 and the years are flying by. I will finish my online masters in psychology next month. I have heard so many stories about not finding jobs with a masters that I am considering getting an online MSW and getting licensed in my state to counsel adults. I was also a teacher before beginning my masters in psychology in elementary school. I wouldn't mind teaching psychology on the post-secondary level, however, those jobs are few and there is high competition. Any thoughts anyone?

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DadMike in Maryland

47 months ago

aprvllo in Williamsburg, Virginia said: I am 53 and the years are flying by. I will finish my online masters in psychology next month. I have heard so many stories about not finding jobs with a masters that I am considering getting an online MSW and getting licensed in my state to counsel adults. I was also a teacher before beginning my masters in psychology in elementary school. I wouldn't mind teaching psychology on the post-secondary level, however, those jobs are few and there is high competition. Any thoughts anyone?

If you can't get a job and get supervision towards your LCPC or equivalent license, MSW is fall back. But if you've invested in your degree- try it out first. You may be paid cr@p, but it would be a start and a path to your license. Also- A PhD in Psych is far, far more valuable than a Phd in Social Work. MSW is working degree for social workers, PhD is working degree for psychologists.

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Arica in Bullhead City, Arizona

47 months ago

Hello:

Well, I got a master's degree in school counseling when I was your age (10 years ago) and I really wished I had gotten an MSW instead.

An MSW is so more flexible and really commands much more respect. Your can work in hospitals, clinics,schools and the government. If I were you, I'd do the MSW hands down! Good Luck! Arica

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aprvllo in Williamsburg, Virginia

47 months ago

Thank you Arica. I think advice from someone who has been there and done that is the most valuable. I know not everyone is alike. It will take about 2+ years to get the MSW I believe. Even at my age, perhaps it will be worth it. I really appreciate your opinion and thoughts!

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shellesis in Oak Harbor, Washington

47 months ago

I stumbled on this website while looking for suggestions and ideas. I recently completed my Masters in Psychology and when I started looking into jobs most are wanting an MSW. I started looking into MSW and had thought about going back to school again to get an MSW but I am not sure if the extra money I would have to pay to get this degree. I am not sure if it would be worth it. Thankfully I do have a good job as a case manager which I had before I went back to school for my masters. But my husband and I are considering a move to Ohio in a couple years and dont know if having an MSW would make me more employable. Any suggestions or input

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dthomas in Glen Ellyn, Illinois

47 months ago

Hi Ladymagnificient!!

Your story sounds so inspiring and encouraging. Counselling is something that I have been wanting to do for a long time as well. I am currently in corporate America, and really dont enjoy it. I look forward to the day I can start my own private practice in counselling. I too am from Illinois, and would love to get some information from you on the path you followed to get your masters in counselling and any other information you may have. I would really appreciate it if you could send me your email address or contact information. My email you can reach me at is rockstar00065@yahoo.com.

Thanks so much. Look forward to hearing from you!

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dfisherny in Charlotte, North Carolina

47 months ago

What I have found is that alot of companies or organizations don't want to give you a chance at all. You have to be working in the door with experience. WELL if nobody gives a chance, HOW can you get the experience. ONLY if I new what I know NOW, my master degree would have not been in psychology.

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