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Left PsyD for Counseling Masters!


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I am a recent graduate with a B.A in Psychology. I am very confused about some things regarding counseling master's degrees and I would really appreciate some help! Please excuse my ignorance in some questions but I am still very new in this area and trying my best to do all the research.

*Note: I would really like to specialize in children. So I am looking into doing some sort of child track.

1) I originally planned to do a PsyD but due to some very compelling reasons I will need to move to another state (not sure where exactly yet) in two years time. Since the PsyD program will take at least 5+ years and credits are non-transferable I have decided to do a masters in counseling instead and maybe continue onto a PhD in counseling later if possible. I understand the differences in terms of clinical practice, income, and degree level...but I feel like it's such a silly reason to make such a switch. Is there some sort of solution to this situation that I am not finding?

2) How long does it normally take to finish hours needed to go from a LPC to a LPCC?

3) What do you do in terms of working while at the LPC level, do you only do your hours or are you able to be hired at hospitals/clinics etc to gain some sort of income?

4) You cannot open a private practice when you have the LPC only right?

5) How easy is it to go to another state when you are only an LPC? Can you do the hours needed to become an LPCC in another state? Where/which website are state requirements clearly stated? Because nbcc.org did not list number of hours required in each state.

6) I will remain in Chicago, Illinois for my masters (2 years). I originally planned to apply to Adler, Chicago School of Professional Psychology, and Roosevelt. Then I realized that Northwestern offers a counseling masters as well. Is it really worth the 90K+ tuition in the long run? Keeping in mind the struggle it will take for an average LPC income to cover that after graduation? Are there other schools in Chicago that I am not aware of?

7) If a school doesn't have a child track, is there someway I can specialize in children later? (In Chicago, only offered at Chicago School of Professional Psychology)


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I would avoid the PsyD programs that you listed like the plague; look up APA Match rates (the internship is a mandatory part of a doctoral degree; Adler has theirs listed at 44% which would make me run screaming for the hills); without an APA accredited internship, it is very, very difficult to obtain licensure.


Any particular reason you're set on remaining on Chicago for your Master's? There are options in other places, including funded Master's programs (rare, but they happen). I would also suggest that 90k for a Master's is not worth it (it's also not worth it for the PsyD). 


I'd also suggest looking at Masters programs in Clinical Psych, especially ones with a thesis option; a Master's thesis will put you in good shape for a PhD, should you choose to continue in grad school.

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The first thing to know is that states use different terminology for LPC and LPCC. For example, upon graduating from a masters-level counseling program in Georgia you are eligible for APC licensure (Associate Professional Counselor). After practicing for three additional years you are eligible to apply for LPC licensure. In Illinois, however, LPC is the equivalent of Georgia's APC and LCPC is the equivalent of Georgia's LPC, so it can be confusing.


Illinois requires two years of supervised practice before you can apply for LCPC licensure. Each year must contain 960 hours of direct face-to-face contact. On a personal note, I am also strongly considering moving to Illinois to practice if my PhD applications go belly-up so I've been in touch with other counselors-in-training in Illinois. Allegedly, the LPC licensure does not allow you to open a private practice, however you are able to work in hospitals, nonprofits, and the like with the licensure. But you are correct when you state that you cannot open a private practice with an LPC in Illinois.


In order to transfer your license from one state to the next you need to be aware of the education and practice experience each state requires. You may need to take additional courses or CEUs depending on the state you're applying to be licensed. For example, all licensed counselors in Florida need to have taken a masters-level Human Sexuality course. I have found the following website very useful for research state-level requirements and I hope you do too:




As for the tuition, I would agree with Lisa and not advise spending 90k for a masters-level counseling degree (or PsyD). This is just anecdotal, but the counseling program I am in allows all students to obtain a 20-hour student job that waives tuition and pays a small monthly stipend - so it is possible to earn your Masters in Counseling without going into debt. I'd be happy to tell you more about this program in particular if you decide to branch out to other locations.


Finally, I believe your internship experience will allow you to create your own specialization, so to speak. In your case I would apply to sites that predominantly work with children. Most programs will also allow you to take courses in Play Therapy as electives, which will assist you in developing your own child specialization. 


TL;DR: Check out http://www.counselor-license.com/, it's a wonderful source of information for counselor licensure requirements.

Edited by Yaris
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