PsyD, MSW, MA

Discussion in 'Nursing and medical-related degrees' started by Leigh6, Mar 23, 2009.

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  1. Leigh6

    Leigh6 New Member

    I know that this subject appears to be in danger of becoming redundant, but I still have some questions that remain unanswered and thought it couldn't hurt to ask. I have been doing some informational researching for quite a while and I keep hitting a brick wall. Here are my questions:

    1) If one can practice independently as a clinician with an MSW or MA in counseling, what are the reasons behind going as far as a PsyD? And what is the difference between the MSW and MA as far as job opportunities/limitations?

    2) I know that there are no reputable PsyD programs that offer online degrees, but I was curious if anyone knew of any schools that offered part-time/long-distance PsyD programs. I have seen this very question/concept on other threads start some very heated debate regarding why someone would want to receive a high degree through such means and for the majority, I would understand. However, there are some circumstances that really require the usage of long-distance learning. For example, I have established myself in the community on an island which makes continued learning on a full-time basis quite difficult, unless I wanted to completely uproot myself for many years. I do hope to practice here on this island... it is in ever increasing need of mental health assistance.

    3) Is it considered general procedure to receive your masters prior to earning your doctorate or is it possible to go straight on to your doctorate?

    Thank you in advance. Any help is greatly appreciated. I have been so overwhelmed!
     
  2. dark_dan

    dark_dan New Member

    Depending on the state you can't practice independently at the master's level.

    You can get all kinds of information about your state here: http://www.asppb.org/HandbookPublic/before.aspx

    To get a reputable PsyD you need face-to-face time and things like practicums and internships.

    There are advantages to getting a master's first. You can start practicing and getting experience and making money. Usually 100% of the credits from your masters won't transfer into the doctoral program. Which means more time and money.

    I've decided to go straight to the doctoral and get the "masters in passing." At which point I'd be able to start practicing at the masters level.
     
  3. Leigh6

    Leigh6 New Member

    I totally understand and agree.. which is why considering my situation, I am curious about part-time programs (from legitimate APA accredited schools) as opposed to online courses. It is, of course, worth it to me to do the full-time program, but I simply want to weigh all my options before diving in.

    Do you mean that you were able to go straight from a bachelor's onto your doctorate? This is what I would love to do! I have been fortunate enough to have a number of great work experiences after graduating with my bachelor's including working as a mental health counselor at a residential facility for severely mentally ill adults (Schizophrenia, borderline personality, etc.). I have also worked at a community mental health clinic as the records coordinator. Therefore, I was hoping to simply continue on to my doctorate... I know that those positions are not equivalent to the experiences I would have as a master's level clinician, but I'm hoping they count for some sort of experience in the field.

    Do you happen to know if any of the credits transfer at all or is that pretty rare?

    Thank you so much for all your help! I really appreciate it. :)
     
  4. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

     
  5. Leigh6

    Leigh6 New Member

    No quarrels please! Thats definitely not what I'm about. I live year-round on the lovely isle of Martha's Vineyard off the cost of Massachusetts. Many people are quite surprised to hear that it still exists after Summer! ;)
     
  6. Clapper

    Clapper New Member

    1) If one can practice independently as a clinician with an MSW or MA in counseling, what are the reasons behind going as far as a PsyD? And what is the difference between the MSW and MA as far as job opportunities/limitations?

    Hands down, job opportunities/listings for MSWs are greater than those for master's level counselors. There may or may not be dime's worth of difference in the content between quality programs in each discipline, but social work as a profession is far more established with greater political heft. (I have a degree in counseling lest anyone suspect any bias.)

    The only reasons for getting a doctorate, in this case a Psy.D., are if you want to do psychological assessments, do research (though the Ph.D. is the far more established research degree), expand your opportunities to teach (ditto research), and to be able to call yourself doctor. Sure, job opportunities may be greater as well, but so will the amount of your student loans and the opportunity costs of the many extra years involved in getting the doctorate.
    2) I know that there are no reputable PsyD programs that offer online degrees, but I was curious if anyone knew of any schools that offered part-time/long-distance PsyD programs.

    I think some here would argue strenuously that Capella is reputable, just not APA accredited.

    I have seen this very question/concept on other threads start some very heated debate regarding why someone would want to receive a high degree through such means and for the majority, I would understand. However, there are some circumstances that really require the usage of long-distance learning. For example, I have established myself in the community on an island which makes continued learning on a full-time basis quite difficult, unless I wanted to completely uproot myself for many years. I do hope to practice here on this island... it is in ever increasing need of mental health assistance.

    3) Is it considered general procedure to receive your masters prior to earning your doctorate or is it possible to go straight on to your doctorate?

    Depends on the doctoral program -- brick and mortar programs, at least. Some have a preference for applicants with masters, others don't. Some like a balance between the incoming bachelor's- and master's-level applicants. You should consider investing in a copy of the Insider's Guide to Graduate Programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology: 2008/2009 to get more detailed information on each program, though I don't they include listings of non-APA accredited programs, which eliminates all distance programs except for Fielding Graduate University.​
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 24, 2009
  7. Paul S Rogers

    Paul S Rogers New Member

    Clapper hit the nail on the head about there being a dime’s difference between MA in counseling compared to an MSW. However, most third party payers recognize MSW, LCSW for payment and I am not so sure if that is the case for MA in counseling (of course with licensure) Also, as a LCSW, I can bill Medicare/Medicaid not sure if LPC(s) can do that?

    Cost wise and for the reimbursement rate (paid by 3rd party payees) that Psy.D is a very expensive piece of paper, especially if you decided to attend an APA school.

    I combined social work and psychiatric nursing (LCSW, RN, CNS) and with that combination I was able to have a long successful private practice. This route is way less expensive than a Psy.D
     
  8. Clapper

    Clapper New Member

    Another difference to consider is that (barring differences in state law) social workers doing psychotherapy are not required to work under supervision of a psychologist, mental health counselors, I believe, are.
     
  9. Leigh6

    Leigh6 New Member

    Thank you so much! Its those kind of little details that go unnoticed, but are really important!
     
  10. dark_dan

    dark_dan New Member

    Also from what I understand, if you want to do work for the government (VA, or whatever), you need that APA accredited schooling.

    It's better to have it than not, but depending on what you plan on doing with your life you may not need it.
     
  11. BlackBird

    BlackBird Member

    Social Workers do have to be supervised in schooling and afterwards for their license. The catch is that they only permit another social worker to do it. They are kind of picky and smug about this... :rolleyes:
     
  12. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    LPCs and LPCCs are recognized by third party payers and can bill Medicare/Medicaid.
     
  13. Leigh6

    Leigh6 New Member

    Excuse my ignorance, I'm not familiar with the title 'LPC' or 'LPCC'. I'm guessing that it represents Licensed Professional Counselor or something along those lines. Is this the equivalent of Massachusetts LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor)?
     
  14. Ted Heiks

    Ted Heiks Moderator and Distinguished Senior Member Staff Member

    Licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, respectively
     
  15. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

    I practice in Massachusetts currently as a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW). I work with many Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHC), a.k.a. Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC) in other states. LMHCs do not have to work under the supervision of a psychologist; they can work as independently as LICSWs. The only difference is that LMHCs or LPCs cannot accept Medicare payments in any state. IMO masters level therapists are more marketable at counseling centers in Massachusetts than PhD or PsyDs. Psychologists are typically paid more than masters level therapists. The clinic where I work simply does not want to pay a psychologist for what a master's level clinician can do. While we currently have an EdD psychologist on staff I'm pretty sure he won't be replaced with another psychologist if he leaves. We do employ a part-time neuro-psychologist who does neuro-psych testing, however.

    Tom
     
  16. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member


    Do you prescribe medication as an nurse clinical specialist, as well?
     
  17. Paul S Rogers

    Paul S Rogers New Member

    Oh boy you are going to get me in trouble! First to answer your question as an advanced practitioner, prescriptive authority is allowed for advance practice registered nurses. Clinical nurse specialists are considered advance practice nurses in my state. However, I did not write prescriptions. Despite the authority to do so, I was uncomfortable with accepting the responsibility and the consequences of prescriptive authority.

    As you know, there is a huge debate about who should and should not prescribe meds. For me I felt under trained to accept such a responsibility. Now, that is my opinion and I am retired and out of the game. However, others I am sure, will have a totally different opinion. Just remember if you prescribe meds, remember the Pottery Barn rule, “If you break it, you own it!”
     
  18. PatsFan

    PatsFan New Member

    Paul, I didn't mean to put you on the spot. lol. I have worked with some very skilled nurse clinical specialists who were skilled in psychotherapy, diagnosis and in psychopharmacology. I suppose the topic of non-MDs writing psych. prescriptions could lead into the topic of psychologists getting prescription pads as well. That has probably come up on this board from time to time. Take care.

    Tom
     
  19. Bruce

    Bruce Moderator Staff Member

    From a Massachusetts perspective, I understand how isolated (in a nice way!) the Vineyard is from the mainland.

    It would be tough to complete a course of study leading to LMHC licensure from the island, because the state requires, in addition to 60 credit hours, a supervised practicum, supervised internship, then about 2,000 hours of supervised practice before you can take the LMHC exam and strike out on your own (you can practice independently as a LMHC in MA).

    For a doctorate, your best bet may be the "distributed learning" format at the Fielding Graduate University, which is APA-accredited, and therefore eligible for licensure in Massachusetts;

    http://www.fielding.edu/

    Good luck!
     
  20. Leigh6

    Leigh6 New Member

    Thanks Bruce! I think a lot of people don't understand just how much living on MV complicates situations like this. Its easier said than done to relocate.. but always a possibility I suppose. I am more than willing to commute to the Cape.. but even that is limiting; especially for the PsyD.

    I currently work at the one and only community mental health clinic on the island. So, I'm hoping, as long as I keep this connection open, I should be able to do my internship, etc. here... but it is quite possibly my only option on island. However, the PsyD would be much more difficult as far supervised hours here.

    I'll have to look into the Fielding University option more. I'm really curious... I've never heard the term "distributed learning"... Thanks again!
     

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