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My fiancee is in the Army, which means I go where he goes.  Going to school online seems to be my best option, especially since there's a chance we'll be moving to Germany in the coming year.  Since no online colleges are APA accredited, I've tried looking into brick and mortar schools that offer an online program.  I'm looking to go into counseling or clinical psychology.


I've done some research and for every answer I find, about 10 more questions come up.  I was wondering if anyone could help me out with some of my options.


APA accreditation is very important to me.  Fielding University seems like it could be an option once I get to the doctorate level.  Right now I only have an Associate's Degree in Liberal Arts.  I was also wondering if I could get an undergraduate degree from an unaccredited school and then transfer to one that is accredited. 


My preference would be to use one university for all though, since I've had a number of problems transferring credits in the past and I don't want to deal with that headache again.


Any helpful suggestions are much appreciated.




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One of the problems with online training is that at some point you'll need face-to-face supervision hours for things like practica and internships. It's not just the degree, it's the quality of the education you get in the process; online schools are notorious for charging a ton of money for a degree that gets you nowhere, in large part because either the school isn't APA accredited, or the internship isn't APA accredited, or both.


Undergrad programs don't need to go through APA accreditation; you could. in theory, get a bachelor's from U of Phoenix, and a MAsters/PhD from Fielding. Whether you are able to pass the EPPP, qualify for licensure, and find a job after that is another matter entirely.


I do hate to sound like a jerk, but I would hate for you to spend $100k+ for a degree that's worth about as much as a glorified paperweight.

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There are no reputable online programs in clinical and/or counseling psychology offered online (for good reason). There are many reputable (brick and mortar) schools that offer online undergraduate degrees which would be doable for you, but there is no way to achieve a PhD worth having in this field without staying in the same place for a long period of time.

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If you take an online degree program through a brick and mortar school, it will just say the name of the school.  There is no way for people to tell the difference based on what I've read. 


This is where I feel like I have the problem.  I do want a quality education.  I want to know a lot about my field.  I definitely do have my concerns about online degree programs for that reason.  However, if I end up in Germany, I'll be putting my education on hold for a couple years, unless I get an education online.  Ideally, I would like to do everything in person, but with this lifestyle, I don't know how realistic that is. 


Fielding appealed to me because their program is basically hybrid.  It is mostly online, but they meet in person several times a year.  I thought this might make it more worthwhile.


At this point, I may just have to try to get my undergrad online and then revisit my options.

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Yep, that is totally correct, for undergraduate it's actually a fairly reasonable option; if I were in your shoes I might look at an online program for undergraduate from a respected school. A lot of state schools have these programs now, even.


For graduate school in clinical/counseling psychology, however, it's just not realistic. Which is why a degree from Fielding is not taken very seriously (not to mention, there is very little money to be made in this field, so going into debt for this degree is a serious mistake). What I am trying to warn you about here is investing in a degree that is going to be more damaging than helpful in the long term for you (and you and your fiancee's finances). Unfortunately, this is a field where you have to make the sacrifice of being in the same place for several years in order to receive the proper training, much like medical school; if that is just not possible for you, you may have to consider other career options. In many ways it's unfortunate, but in a lot of relationships people have to decide which spouse's career to prioritize.

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Guest joshw4288

I will suggest a few things. First, I wouldn't worry about where you are going to complete your doctorate before you have even begun your bachelor's degree.  Many things can and will change over this period and you may find that you have no interest in clinical psychology or research. Second, the truth is that all undergraduate degrees are not considered equal and reputation of programs is considered in the graduate application process. You would find it very difficult to gain admission to a reputable Ph.D. granting institution with an online degree from a poor undergraduate institution. Yes, online degrees do exist from reputable places and these may be viable options. I will caution you, however. Getting a degree online will prevent you from gaining research experience. This will not bode well for graduate school applications in the field of psychology. Do not make your future career harder by not seriously considering the implications of where you choose to complete your undergraduate education. Additionally, if you are going to be living in Germany, you may consider an undergraduate education from Germany. I imagine there are english speaking programs for undergraduate since there are many graduate programs entirely completed in english.  


My suggestion would be to concentrate on finding a place where you can complete a quality undergraduate education, whether online or not. A few words about Fielding, since this is a place you are considering. Their clinical program is APA accredited. I also know quite a few people in clinical practice with their degrees from Fielding. They publish in academic journals such as Somatic Psychotherapy Today, International Journal of Psychotherapy, International Body Psychotherapy Journal etc. You can have a fulfilling career with a degree from Fielding but you will also pay handsomely for your degree. With that said, again, I would focus on completing your undergraduate education before making decisions on where you will complete your Ph.D.


As an aside, I know Oregon State University has a very intricate online education department so you may consider taking a look there. 

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Unfortunately, this is a field where you have to make the sacrifice of being in the same place for several years in order to receive the proper training, much like medical school; if that is just not possible for you, you may have to consider other career options. 


This. Could you train to be a dentist or nurse online? No, it just doesn't work that way and any program that purports to give you the same training, in my opinion, is bordering on fraudulent.

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