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MSc in Couple and Family Therapy or MSW


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I am hoping to get some advice from graduates or students in the program as to whether they would recommend Guelph's MSc in couple and family therapy or an MSW - things to consider employability after graduation, workload, work environments, pay, job type flexibility etc. :) thanks!

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I am not in either program yet, but if I may add my 2 cents....


I would consider whether or not you mind working evenings and weekends or being self-employed (ex: no pension plan, sick days or private health insurance and paying for advertising, office rental space and business cards).


Do mind having gaps of unpaid time in your workday or cancellations under short notice?  ex: being at the office for 8 hours and only working 5 or 6 hours?


Do you want to do a PhD or stop after a masters?


If you are ok with all of the above and plan to do a PhD, then I'd still keep couple counselling as an option. If not, I'd go with an MSW. 


As for getting a PhD, some private health insurance plans only cover a PhD level psychologist. Therefore, with a masters in couple counselling you may lose out on getting clients who want to use their private health insurance. On the other hand, your rates will be lower without a PhD so clients without private insurance will be seeking therapy that is more affordable (most likely on a short term basis since they will be paying out of pocket). Perhaps you could call a few therapists in your local yellow pages, tell them you are a student and see what they have to say about this point. 


If you only want to do a masters, I'd personally go for an MSW because most social workers do not study beyond the masters level so you'd still be competitive in the job market. But with a masters in couple counselling, you'd be competing for clients/ jobs against a large pool of PhD level psychologists.


The breadth of jobs you can do with an MSW is also quite broad. I like the idea of doing an MSW due to the versatility of the degree. If your interests evolve over the years, you will have many options to choose from with an MSW. However, if you are certain that couple therapy is exactly what you want to do for several years to come, then versatilty shouldn't be an important consideration when making a decision.


If you still haven't made a decision by this fall, I would apply to both types of programs and see what happens. I was also torn between getting a MEd in Educational/Career Counselling and an MSW. I applied to 7 schools and through the process of writing so many letters of interest, it eventually became clearer to me that I preferred to get an MSW. Perhaps the same will happen to you or maybe the conditions attached to your acceptances (ex: scholarships or TAships) will make this decision an easier one to make.


Best of luck to you in the application process!  

Edited by jenste
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