Is getting a Psyd from an unaccredited school worth it?

Discussion in 'Accreditation Discussions (RA, DETC, state approva' started by firepsych, Feb 23, 2013.

  1. firepsych

    firepsych New Member

    I have a Master's in counseling psych from an RA school. I just got a full time job as an MFT Intern. That part of the plan worked out. Now, I want to finish my schooling and obtain my Psyd. But I am conflicted.

    I am in my mid 30's, married, two kids, renter. We'd like to buy a home, but living in Coastal California makes that super hard. Saving money is a priority.

    Plus, I have schools loans from the master's, my wife has school loans, so I'm reluctant to take out another huge loan.

    Why do I want a Psyd? I want to become licensed as a psychologist. I will be able to bill more, accept medical, get into the admin side of operations, teach as an adjunct, and in my limited experience there are clients that prefer to work with psychologist over counselors.

    Now where I live there are three schools. A traditional school that I cannot invest time in at this point. The days of 2 pm classes are long gone. I have to work, help with the kids, etc.

    The second option is Alliant International University. It's RA and APA accredited but, VERY expensive.

    The third option is RA not APA accredited and VERY expensive.

    There's the online Cal Southern, which is expensive for a non-RA, non-APA school, but California will allow me to sit for the boards with a degree from there.

    Plus, I am not leaving California. Lots of reasons why, but it simply isn't happening.

    One advantage I have is that I'm male and speak fluent Spanish (I live in southern California). Part of me thinks that this "advantage" would perhaps encourage employers to overlook the fact that I didn't go to an accredited school as long as I have the license.

    Your thoughts?
  2. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Don't know much about psychology, but one point of possible interest is that California Southern University is seriously pursuing RA. They were deemed "RA eligible" by WASC in Sept 2012. This means that they will be reviewed for possible "RA candidate" status by Sept 2016.

    If a school achieves "RA candidate" status, then full RA normally follows after a few more years. In practice, "RA candidate" schools are typically treated the same as fully RA schools, in terms of financial aid eligibility, credit transfer, etc.

    So there is a chance (but no guarantee) that Cal Southern will be an "RA candidate" in a few years, and fully RA a few years after that. Don't know if that would help with the broader acceptance of their psychology degrees, but it can't hurt.

    Note also that Cal Southern is technically not "an unaccredited school" at present. They may not be RA or APA, but they do have recognized accreditation from DETC, which makes them eligible for federal financial aid.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2013
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Since this is a distance learnng board I'm wondering why you're limiting yourself to schools that are near your home.
  4. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    There's nothing wrong with taking a non-APA-accredited psychology doctorate if (a) you don't anticipate having to use it to get a job (where APA might be required) or (b) you know what your state will require to sit for licensure AND you can do it through that degree program.

    Good luck with your search.
  5. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    Shame on you! No! It's not worth it!

    I've been in the medical field now for over 10 years and Psychology is a discipline you don't want to have an unaccredited degree in!!! As a matter of fact, after graduation from an APA accredited doctoral program you should consider an APA accredited post doctoral fellowship! You are young, why settle for less? Your patients deserve the best trained clinicians and in the end, you won't regret it! I would even consider a program that leads to limited prescriptive privileges as well! All the best! You can do it!
  6. Delta

    Delta Active Member

  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I agree with this.
  8. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    With that said, I have to admit that I don't know much about California Professional Licensing! I do know that Medical Professionals understand words and phrases like accredited, credentialed, Fellow and APA approved. It is such a litigious profession that I would never refer my patients to anyone less than board certified in their specialty!
  9. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    My two cents (having worked closely with degree programs and their students from both APA and non-APA) is that accreditation has little to do with the quality of training.
  10. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    30 years ago I was a lot more accepting of unaccredited-but-legitimate schools. But with the plethora of accredited alternatives, pursuing a degree from an unaccredited school almost never makes any sense. But in California, in Psychology, there are exceptions.

    Tens of thousands of graduates of California-Approved doctoral programs in psychology have gone on to be licensed to practice. This has been going on for decades. (More than four, in fact.) In some instances, what you want to study and be might not even be available from an accredited school, but California is the land of alternative opportunity.

    That said, one must consider two forms of accreditation in this matter--regional and APA. A lack of either--or both--raises real issues regarding licensure. This is complicated even more if you want to work for someone else.

    California offers some really good alternatives for earning the doctorate and practicing psychology. But as with any degree--accredited or not--be as sure as possible that the degree you seek will meet your present and future needs. And it's the future that's the tricky part.
  11. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    Interesting observation! Another thing to consider is that national board certifications usually require applicants to be graduates of accredited programs. Perhaps board certification isn't required in California but in the healthcare community at large, it is a huge player in obtaining privileges, insurance reimbursements, referrals, patient confidence, etc. As Psychologists gain additional scope of practice such as, limited prescriptive privileges I can assure you, accredited training programs will play a huge factor in gaining those privileges! Its the system in place to validate the training and competencies.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 24, 2013
  12. RAM PhD

    RAM PhD Member

    I agree!!!
  13. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    Sure, I agree. Its just that the items noted above are different than "quality of training."
  14. sanantone

    sanantone Well-Known Member

    There are only one or two states that require APA accreditation. Many employers require an APA-accredited internship, which is hard to get into without an APA-accredited degree. If you want to get into teaching in the future, you'll probably be limited to adjuncting or teaching at a community college with your RA masters. If you do move, I don't know how many states require RA.
  15. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    You're right! There may be schools that are unaccredited that have better training! In addition, there may be people who never went to school that are brilliant as well! How do the graduates of unaccredited programs validate their training? Unaccredited fellowships? Unaccredited credentials? Unaccredited certifications? It's a house built on sand!
  16. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    "In general, accredited programs are more comprehensive and more uniform in terms of what they cover—and they're tied into the general requirements of most of the licensing boards," he explains.

    In fact, many states require licensure candidates to either have a degree from an APA-accredited doctoral program or prove that their program is equivalent—a growing trend among state licensing laws, says Packard. Some state laws also require an APA-accredited internship or the equivalent.

    Many states also accept licensure candidates who attended doctoral programs on the list of designated doctoral programs published jointly by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) and National Register of Health Service Providers in Psychology, a credentialing bank. This year's list includes 410 designated programs, which the National Register requires to be APA-accredited or to meet specific criteria." APA
    Why accreditation matters
  17. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    The above quote was retrieved from: ht tp:// adpsych/2004/04/accreditation.aspx
  18. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    I'd like to make a clarifying point. The terms "accredited" and "non-accredited" are being thrown around quite a bit in this thread. Typically the term "non-accredited" mean "not accredited by ANYONE." It seems that some people in this thread are using it to mean "Not accredited by the APA." There are perfectly good programs that will lead to licensure in most states that are not APA accredited. Does APA accreditation provide an advantage? Of course, but that depends largely on what you want to do with your degree. If you just was to be a practicing Psychologist in one of the many states that doesn't require APA accreditation for licensure then I can't see this as being any problem at all.
  19. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    The OP states, "Is getting a Psyd from an unaccredited school worth it? "

    For clarification, I believe the OP should not only consider an accredited school but an accredited program as well!
    In addition, adding a PsyD to your credentials from an unaccredited school or program while practicing in the mental health field with a lower license is misleading to the general public and other health care professionals. Getting a State License from graduating a State Approved program as is apparently the case in California is obviously legal in certain States.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2013
  20. Delta

    Delta Active Member

    In addition, it doesn't guarantee employment because healthcare institutions have criteria for credentialing!

    "Is getting a Psyd from an unaccredited school worth it? "

    That's why I hate responding to posts like this! As if the only research one can do on the subject is to ask "if its worth it?" Its like you get sliced and diced for every comment and people don't know how to do their own research other than to ask unofficial sources!
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 25, 2013

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