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Super Noob Here (please help me)


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Hello, 

I apologize in advance if a lot of these questions have been repeated a lot. I've spent hours trying to do my own research and have used the search bar in thegradcafe extensively as well. 

Basically, I want to apply to a Masters in Psychology. I was a first gen college student so this is all new and scary for me!

Important factors:

-I majored in English Lit as an undergrad and graduated in 2014 with a 3.8 GPA

-I don't have any undergrad psychology coursework

-I haven't taken the GRE yet but I'm willing to

-I don't have any research experience

-I applied for a fully-funded post bac geared to lead towards a PhD in Psychology and got rejected (super competitive)

 

What I want:

-low cost or LOTS of fellowships/ scholarships

-an easy transition to PhD program if I choose to pursue that but also an easy transition to a career if I don't want PhD

-research and hands on experience

-campus in the city (willing to relocate)

-diverse city, faculty, and students

-program focused on mentorship

 

There are so many different kinds of programs that I don't know if I should just limit myself to 1 kind. For example, should I consider a Masters of Education in Counseling? Or should I ONLY consider Masters in Psych? How the heck can I figure out if the program offers financial aid? A lot of them don't mention it. Do I need to make sure that the Masters program is CACREP certified? Should I only look at programs that will train me for the LCP?

Basically, how the heck do I pick a program? I am able to find a long list of schools that offer programs like this, but it's hard to comb through them. Do I just need to buckle down and literally scour every school's Admissions page?

Please help a clueless girl out. 

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To best help you, it's helpful to know what your ultimate career goal is. If you want to be a licensed therapist, there are many paths you can take. An MSW, an MA/MS, a PhD, or a PsyD can all lead to licensure. The question is what do you want your day to day to look like? Do you want to do therapy? If so, in what kind of setting? Do you want to also be able to do assessment, such as neuropsychological assessment? What kinds of populations do you want to work with? 

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Thank you for the response. I'm leaning towards taking the path towards becoming a licensed therapist. I'm mostly interested in working with culturally diverse populations. I'm not sure about the kind of setting or doing assessments. Is there any way I can figure out more specifics? 

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2 hours ago, Kaykay321 said:

Thank you for the response. I'm leaning towards taking the path towards becoming a licensed therapist. I'm mostly interested in working with culturally diverse populations. I'm not sure about the kind of setting or doing assessments. Is there any way I can figure out more specifics? 

If you're interested in straight therapy, you don't really need a PhD. I would look into master's level programs that lead to licensure as either an LPC, LCSW (MSW degree), or MFT depending on the state. Licensure laws vary from state to state, especially for master's level clinicians, so it is best to get trained in the state you are most interested in practicing. An MSW tends to be a more portable degree than an LPC/MFT, and MSWs can bill Medicare, while LPCs cannot. This makes getting a job in a hospital system much easier with an MSW than an LPC. 

CACREP is becoming more important in more states. However, there are also some great master's programs housed in psychology departments that don't be the requirements for CACREP accreditation because they have clinical or counseling psychologists on staff (CACREP requires that all faculty have a PhD in Counselor Education). 

Check with the licensure laws in the state(s) you are most interested in living/practicing. Typically, your best bet is state schools. They tend to provide solid training and are often far cheaper than private universities. 

Most license-eligible programs won't have much in the way of research opportunities (although some do), so they aren't always the best route for a PhD in Clinical or Counseling Psychology. You can always pursue a PhD in Counselor Education or Social Work, but those are purely research/academic degrees, as the licensure in those disciplines is at the master's level. 

It's not impossible to transition, but it will typically take more work on your part to ensure you get the research experiences necessary to be competitive to PhD programs following the master's. 

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Wow, thank you so much for your detailed advice @PsyDuck90! I really, really appreciate the help. 

I'm probably leaning towards a program that leads to an MSW then, since I'm not 100% sure where I want to settle down. I'll also look into State Schools and possibly prioritize ones that offer research opportunities if possible. I'm not sure about the PhD yet but I'll figure it out when it comes. 

Thanks again for your help. If I come up with more questions, would it be okay to DM you at all? 

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