Post # 1
So I have my Bachelors in Psychology. I had initially intended to go to Graduate School for an M.Ed. in School Counseling. I had a panic attack about the economy, and on a whim applied (and got into) a Radiology program. I went for a few weeks and realized that was not for me.
So I’m back to the “I have my Bachelors, but I want to do something that required more education” place. The School Counseling route is sort of the “safer” route of the two. But, due to some life-changing things, the traditional graduate school route isn’t seeming like a good fit. I have been torn between sucking it up and doing the School Counseling route, or being a bit…bolder, I guess? And getting my Masters in Marriage & Family Counseling or Community Counseling and getting my LPC (license in professional counseling basically) and doing that. The programs in my area are a bit more flexible, and seeing as we’re talking about TTC next year (June-ish) I think that may be a better option – but it’s scarier!
Note: If I did the second, there is a possibility that my mother and I could open up a practice together. She already has her many degrees (BS, MEd, Doctorate) and her LPC. This isn’t guaranteed, but I’m hopeful.
So, anyone do either of these things and have any thoughts? I know it’s a really specific question, but I’m hoping there are at least a few bees who can offer some wisdom! I’m going to add a poll just to see people’s thoughts, but would love comments.
Post # 3
I am a school psychologist. It is the same amount of credits as a Master in school counseling; however, school psychologist are in higher demand. Plus it is a great job to have when you have kids( summers off/weekends/holidays/great benefits)
Post # 4
I’m in the same boat. I am going to graduate in May with a BA in psychology, and right now I am applying to MSW programs. I want to get into the school counseling field, and my research (internet and talking to professors) tells me that an MSW opens you up to the school counseling field, as well as hospitals, detention facilities, private practice, etc. What I have read is that mental health counseling, school counseling, and counseling degrees are fairly new and don’t hold the same weight as an MSW to employers. Pretty much, a licensed social worker with an MSW can work any job a person with a school counseling, counseling, or mental health counseling degree can do, but much more as well.
MSW programs are also usually easier to determine if they lead to state licensing or not. Some counseling degrees may tout themselves as credible, but you have to try to find their rates of licensing post-graduation, and usually the harder it is to find that rate, the less it is.
Post # 5
@aicila: I hadn’t really thought of that, which is odd because I know one. I’ll have to look into programs in the area and see if there are any I like. 🙂
@GoldfishPie: MSW as in Masters in Social Work? I’ve looked into that degree but have almost ruled it out. MSW’s in my area are highly underpaid. And the school systems prefer M.Ed. (Education) in School Counseling for their counselors. That could just be my area, but my mom has been a school counselor for 15 years so I’d asked her about that. MSW would basically be working at DFCS or some other type of institution, I think. It is a very flexible degree though so I’ll definitely need to take a second look. Thanks! And I’m definitely wary of programs that don’t openly state their licensure rates – why go if most graduates do not qualify right?
Post # 6
Personally, I would go for an MSW (and this is coming from someone who has an LMHC). I don’t know about where you are, but in the NY area, MSWs/LMSWs are SOOO Much more well known and it’s MUCH easier to find a job with one–they give you a TON more flexibility. I don’t really know anything about the LPC or the situation in georgia, so I would try and talk to people who have graduated from programs in your area. I wish I had gone for my MSW instead of my LMHC, because it would have given me more options.
Post # 7
@hilsy85: What do you do? And what exactly is the LMHC?
I always thought/have been told that the MSW opens more doors but not necessarily the higher-up doors. Could be a misconception on my part, but that’s just what I’ve heard. I’m not really looking to go into social work, but rather a private practice with my mom if I don’t go the school counseling route. I do need to have further discussions with her, but I know it’s one of her goals as well and she and I have talked about it before. In that case, it doesn’t really matter what my Masters is in so long as I eventually get a Doctorate I suppose. Hm.
Post # 8
@AmeliaBedelia: I currently work as an intake coordinator at an alcohol and substance abuse outpatient tx program. Prior to this, I was a case manager with a supportive housing program for mentally ill adults. An LMHC is a licensed mental health counselor.
If you want to open up a private practice, then it doesn’t really matter what you get–you can do that with an LCSW, LMHC, etc. But if you’re looking to find a job before you do that, I personally believe that since the MSW is so well known, it gives you a lot of flexibility. As as for higher up positions, I know a ton of people in supervisory/director positions with LCSWs. It’s usually an LCSW or a PhD. I guess it depends where you want to go with your career.
Post # 9
@hilsy85: True. The MSW does sound like it may have the best back-up, which is what I think you were saying before. Thanks! 🙂
Post # 10
I’m currently pursuing a PsyD (basically equivalent to a PhD in clinical psychology, but focuses more heavily on practicum experience). We receive a Master’s in clinical psychology halfway through (which is in June for me – woohoo!).
From experience with others trying to find work in the field — I know several Master’s-level therapists (clinical, counseling, marriage and family, etc.) in the field of psychology who cannot find jobs or have a very difficult time applying for licensure in certain states (Most are having issues in Ohio, but I know people who hit roadblocks in Michigan and Kentucky, too).
I’m currently interning at a school this year (even though I’m not in a school counseling program, this is just how it worked out!). The school psychologist I work with is considered full-time but only works Monday through Thursday (she gets a three day weekend every week, plus all of the school holidays and summer off). She’s a mother of two young children and her schedule seems very conducive to balancing work and family.
If I were to get a terminal Master’s, I would either go the MEd route or an MSW. These individuals seem to be in much higher demand than great people I know with Master’s in counseling and clinical psychology (Most of those people are planning to go back and get their doctorate because they’re having so much trouble finding work — In the states I’ve lived in, you have to be under the direct supervision of a PhD or a PsyD, whereas MEds and MSWs can operate with autonomy in most places.