Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by Jakeym91, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. Jakeym91

    Jakeym91 New Member


    I am a Greencard holder within the US and have 100+ Credits from Austria. They are all in the area of Psychology. I also have a couple of Credits here from a accredited Unisversity (both undergraduate and graduate).

    I wanted to get either BA or better MA in Psychology / Counseling with the least amount of time/effort from a fully accredited Institution within the US. Therefore the Institution should at best give me credit for all or most of my Credits...Does anybody have any suggestion what to do?

    As i am not familiar with the US education system and saw some scam looking websites i would appreciate some help!

    Thank you very much!
  2. sentinel

    sentinel New Member

    The first step is to have your credits from Austria evaluated by an educational credential evaluational service.

    American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
    Educational Credential Evaluators, Inc.
    World Education Services

    After you receive a course-by-course evaluation for your Austrian-earned credits you can contact the schools in which you are interested to determine how many of these credits each will accept. If you have further questions, I am certain this forum will provide the necessary guidance towards earning a BA and MA in Psychology / Counseling.
  3. Jakeym91

    Jakeym91 New Member

    Thank you! I will get started on this right away!

    Are there any Long Distance schools you could recommend? Again cheapest/least work would be best but als Accredited! I am from Arizona
  4. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    Let's start with finishing your bachelor's.

    If you already have 100+ credits and the main goal is a low cost but properly accredited degree, there are three schools I would suggest checking out

    Charter Oak State College (
    Thomas Edison State College (
    Excelsior College (

    All three are regionally accredited, the most recognized form of accreditation. Charter Oak and TESC are state schools, Excelsior is private but state-affiliated. All three will accept an unlimited number of transfer credits, and do not have a minimum requirement for number of credits earned at their institution to issue a degree. Pricing is similar, and each has its plusses and minuses, but all are equally regarded.

    You can probably earn the remaining 20 or so credits you need through exams, and any of the three schools will help you through that process.

    There are other options, but with all the credits you have already, I believe you'd be best off with one of the above.

    Once you have your bachelors completed, there are quite a number of schools that offer MA, Psy.D. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology with most or all of the work done via distance or online. However, if you intend to remain in the US, one of the most important issues will be APA (American Psychological Association) accreditation, and very, very few online/distance programs are APA accredited. The only one I know of offhand is Fielding, but I'm sure there are others (If you use our search function, you will probably find some relevant threads.)

    You may also want to look into an MSW degree; the MSW is, according to many, a more accepted and widely recognized degree than an equivalent masters in psychology, and MSW programs need accreditation by the CSWE. I believe that most of the MSW programs out there are CSWE accredited. One in particular that I think looks interesting is this one at St. Leo University in Florida.
  5. Jakeym91

    Jakeym91 New Member

    Thank, I am just getting certified translations for my credits. Thanks also for the 3 schools! I will contact all 3 today. Is there a diffrence between Nationally accredited and regiionally?

    Yes i definitely want all of my credits to be used and yes i am staying here for good! I am sorry I am not familiar with the MSW or CSWE shortcuts. So i cant really tell whether it would be better to go which way, but distance learning is 99% what i want to do, as i dont want to move now and any kind of colleges are 1-2h away!
  6. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

    The short version of the nationally vs regionally accredited conundrum, as I see it: Unlike what many people assume, regional accreditation is more widely recognized (and therefore more useful) than national accreditation. A nationally accredited school might give you a great education and will sometimes be cheaper, but it may also limit your options. So you will definitely want to look for a regionally accredited school (like Chip listed above) if at all possible, especially if you're hoping to become licensed as a psychiatrist or other state regulated occupation.
  7. Jakeym91

    Jakeym91 New Member

    I just looked through the classes at Thomas Edison and i basically have those classes (if they recognize them), but i actually have much more that would probably go more towards a M.A. (as they are not listed for the Bachelor). Is there a way to count them all towards the M.A. or should i get the Bachelor there first and try to get credits for the other ones afterwards?
  8. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

    The organization that evaluates your courses for U.S. credit may be able to assess if some of the courses would be equal to U.S. graduate level courses so you could apply them toward an M.A. Many of the U.S. masters degrees I've seen in psychology and social work will only transfer about 6 credits (2 courses) though.

  9. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    The general rule in graduate programs is that all work must be new work (i.e., completed after you are admitted to the program, and/or after your undergraduate degree is earned.

    There are a handful of programs that will give you, as PatsFan said, up to 6 credits, but the problem is that last I looked, the programs that did also had a higher number of credits required to complete the degree, so it was essentially somewhat pointless.

    There are a few masters programs out there that do project-based masters programs where instead of classes you negotiate a specific learning project that is worth a certain number of credits. I believe Vermont College used to have such an offering, but it was acquired a few years back by Union Institute, and I don't know what's become of those innovative programs. It (Union Institute) might be worth looking into.
  10. Chip

    Chip Administrator

    The Masters in Social Work (MSW) isn't really a shortcut; it is a different degree. In the US (and most other countries, as far as I know) clinical social workers receive counseling and therapy skills training that are similar to what a masters level psychologist or Psy.D. program would provide. The difference is, social workers are trained to deal with social issues and family dynamics from a societal level, and many more social workers are employed in governmental jobs than psychologists. But social workers are also permitted in nearly all if not all states to be independent psychotherapists as well, so in a way the degree has some extra flexibility that a psychology degree does not.

    On the other hand, while this is changing, many insurance plans in the US are more inclined to pay for care provided by doctoral-level therapists (Ph.D or Psy.D) than masters level therapists.

    I should think it might be at least worthwhile to explore the social work possibility. In looking at the St. Leo's program, it sounds really good, except that it currently only accepts students who are residents of Virginia, Georgia and Florida. It is also not currently accredited by CSWE, though they are in the process and expect to receive candidacy before the fall class of 2010 is enrolled, and their bachelors program has been CSWE accredited for 12+ years so it seems likely they will not have a problem gaining accreditation.

    Keep in mind, too, that APA accreditation is going to be pretty important for a psychology program, and very, very, very few distance-based programs are APA accredited.

    I'm sorry this is as confusing as it is, but the important issues are, assuming you're aiming for work as a clinical therapist:

    Psychology program:
    Psy.D degree is probably best in terms of actual quality of training for someone seeking work as a clinician. Ph.D is equally respected but be more focused on research. Masters in psychology or counseling is recognized in most states (California is an exception; we have no licensure for counselors, only Marriage and Family Therapists). APA accreditation is important for either masters or doctoral degrees.

    Social work program:
    Distance based MSW programs are offered by several schools. My impression is that practically every MSW program is CSWE accredited because one that isn't is virtually worthless. MSW is recognized and carries more "clout" in many states than a masters degree in psychology, because the social workers association is very strong and has worked hard to advance the profession. I believe you can later go on to a doctoral program in psychology from a masters in social work without a lot of duplication of coursework.

    Hope that helps.
  11. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

    "On the other hand, while this is changing, many insurance plans in the US are more inclined to pay for care provided by doctoral-level therapists (Ph.D or Psy.D) than masters level therapists."
    I don't think this has been true for 20+ years in Massachusetts. I'd venture a guess that most of the United States has recognized masters level therapists--especially social workers for quite a number of years now.

  12. graymatter

    graymatter Member

    I have a Masters of Arts in Counseling and state (LPC) and national (NBCC) licenseure. I'm a preferred provider on all the insurance panels any potential client has asked about. I've never been turned down. And as far as I understand there's no rise in reimbursement rate or service approval for LICSW or "doctoral-level therapists." The PhDs who are providing psychological testing (a service that an LPC is not credentialed to provide) can bill insurance at a higher rate.

    But for "therapy" - at least in the state I practice in with the insurance companies I work with - there's no rate distinction between LPC/LICSW/PhD/PSYD.


Share This Page