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pros and cons for Master's versus an extra gap year of research/clinical work


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I'm quickly realizing that I would currently not be as competitive as necessary to get into a PhD in clinical program, so I'm beginning to consider other options. I have yet to secure a research position but I am about to start working as an RBT at a center for autism, but this is part-time so I have hopes of finding a part-time research job in the coming months. As of now, I'm thinking I have two options: 1) continue working as an RBT and assume I will find a position in research soon, and continue in these roles until I apply for Fall 2021 clinical PhD programs, or 2) apply for Master's programs that I might have better chances of getting into compared to PhD programs and where I could expand my research experience (which is where I am severely lacking at the moment). I figured I would ask all you experts out there for pros and cons of either of these paths, if there is a possible third option, or just any advice in general. Thanks in advance!

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If your undergrad GPA is fine, then option 1 is your best bet. Why pay money for a degree you don't necessarily need when you can get paid to get the experience you truly need? If you cannot find a paid research position, maybe you can reach out for volunteer positions if economically feasible? You'd still be ahead financially vs going for a master's. Based on what you've stated, it seems like the degree itself isn't something you really need to be competitive, rather it's an easier way to get the research experience. 

Also, and you may already be doing this, apply broadly for research positions. The research you do now doesn't necessarily have to be within the realm of your specific interests. As long as the subject matter or techniques are transferable, it's a good option. 

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