Hello! First time poster here looking to get opinions/advice from any professionals in the field or individuals who were in a similar situation as I am now. Just a heads up—this is a long post. I am a 25-year-old currently residing in the Washington, D.C./Maryland area who graduated from American University in 2014 with a Bachelors M.A. degree in Psychology. Since then, I have worked in several fields. I was an associate ABA therapist conducting one-on-one tutoring and trials with young autistic individuals. I also worked in content/marketing within the start-up environment. My most recent full-time job was an associate researcher within the commercial real estate analytics industry. I have realized that the office environment is simply not for me. I am considering a Masters of Science in Clinical and Mental Health Counseling because I like the idea of helping people and interacting with others in a meaningful way. The prospect of having my own schedule and taking control of my own career/practice down the line also appeals to me. I have no problem narrowing down my career route, namely to marriage and child therapy. I do not want to jump into a Doctorate degree for this now, but that is something I could be open to down the line. The classes I enjoyed and excelled in during my undergraduate studies revolved around understanding human behavior, social psychology, forensic psychology (including a second advanced forensic course, which included Masters students), and principles of understanding human sexual behavior. Now, if you think I’m making a solid decision so far, I also have two primary concerns: 1 The university I am thinking of applying to is UDC (University of the District of Columbia). It is the only accredited Public/State university in the Washington, D.C. I am considering it because it offers a reasonable time frame (two years) to acquire a degree, and because it is considerably more affordable than other institutions in the area. However, I hear that it does not have the most solid reputation/track record when it comes to academics, because it is overshadowed by more “respected” schools such as Georgetown and George Washington. How important is a school’s reputation in regards to a licensed therapist’s prospective career path? Will I not be regarded equally? Should I look at other public schools in nearby states that are better established? (Such as CUNY/CCNY in New York). I know this may be a silly question, but I’d just like an honest opinion. Salary. Apparently the median annual income of a licensed therapist with a Masters of Science in Counseling is around $41,000. This is lower than some of the jobs I had with a Bachelors Degree. Do you find this to be common? Is this career path not in demand, or is it expected to rise/decline in demand? Have you had any personal experiences struggling with finances after acquiring a similar degree? I am by no means looking to get “super wealthy” with this career choice, but I would still like to live comfortably and remain financially stable throughout my life with this choice. All in all, my over-arching question is this: Does my plan seem like a good idea? Do you think I would be a good fit for this career? Again, any advice would be truly appreciated. Thank you for your time!