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clinical psychology or clinical social work? I can't decide! I don't want to get a masters in the wrong program. I just want to be a counselor, but everyone has a different idea of what is good as far as which program to do for your masters.<br><br>
Any other counselors out there? I don't want to make a mistake, but I feel like I'm just shopping without a net, no real direction.<br><br><br><span style="font-size:small;">FYI: I was going to post in learning at school but it just didn't seem to fit well there. Seems to fit in TAO the best IMO. I could be wrong...</span>
 

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In most states, you can do the same things with either degree is what I'm finding. The difference is the licensing exams and how you are licensed at the end so you would plan your program of study according to how you want to be licensed.<br><br>
Depending on your state, either degree can be used to do social work, counseling, school counseling, school social work...<br><br>
I'm looking into a similar program myself. There is one available in my town that is clinical social work, but I'd rather have a clinical psych program because I'm more interested in psychology and have more of a psychology background than sociology/social work and I plan to become a therapist. (So for instance, I'd rather have a counseling practicum than a social work practicum/internship) Since my program is 3 years out I'm not too worried about it right now. When it comes time, if the social work program is the only program that is local I may do that one rather than commute an hour for the program I really want.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>normajean</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10292240"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm looking into a similar program myself. There is one available in my town that is clinical social work, but I'd rather have a clinical psych program because I'm more interested in psychology and have more of a psychology background than sociology/social work and I plan to become a therapist. (So for instance, I'd rather have a counseling practicum than a social work practicum/internship) Since my program is 3 years out I'm not too worried about it right now. When it comes time, if the social work program is the only program that is local I may do that one rather than commute an hour for the program I really want.</div>
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exactly! I LOVE psychology! I just can't get my mind around, and maybe it's juvenile, but the word 'social work' doesn't conjure up any images of what I want to do with my work life. I want to be a therapist <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> This might sound funny, but I love watching 'Fraiser' just because I love all the psych talk on that show <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1">. I think this is the main reason I'm worried about going into a MSW program because I have a BA in psych and I love psych and I'm not sure or used to SW and don't really know what it's all about or if it's a right fit. I only want to be a therapist. I don't want to work in a social worker type setting, like in a hospital or clinic or community or school setting. I just want to help individuals via therapy.<br><br>
hmmmm..... <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/headscratch.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="headscratch"><br><br>
I'm either 2 or 3 years out from starting also, but it's good to settle on what program I want to go into now so I can start saving for it and preparing for it.
 

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Yeah, I've been watching closely the programs around here to see what's available when I start applying. The internship/practicum is a biggie for me. If I were to choose MSW, it would really have to be a program with a counseling option for the internship hours.
 

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I was interested in psychology way back before I went to law school, and the advice I remember getting was that if you don't plan to go beyond a masters, SW is more flexible and lets you do more with less supervision sooner. If a PhD is in the cards, then psychology hands-down.
 

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I'm in the same boat, only this is my 2nd Masters and since I am making a career switch and since I am already up to my chin in student loan debt, I was looking at a MA in Counseling Psy program because its cheaper. However I have been talking to both LCPC's and MSW's who are LCSW's and they both are suggesting the MSW. To some degree they both can do the same thing but when it comes to private practice and billing apparently MSW's have a lot more leeway. So now I am applying to an MSW program as well.<br><br>
I do know that I want to primarily provide counseling services and can see myself in private practice since I have a Masters in Organizational Management, I also see myself doing some coaching work as well.<br><br>
I don't like that MSW programs seem rigid IMO.<br><br>
Shay
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes2.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes right-handed">:<br><br>
Subscribing. I've been thinking quite a bit about going back to school once my kids get a little older. I found a great MSW program geared towards working adults, classes are on Friday afternoons and Saturdays. The program would lead to a 'generalist' MSW degree. I'm not sure if a generalist degree would make a difference in the job field.
 

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To practice independently as a psychologist you need a PhD (in all states that I know of, but there may be exceptions).<br><br>
As a social worker you only need a MSW.<br><br>
If you plan to get a MS instead of a PhD, then social work is a better option. You'll have a lot more flexibility and job opportunities. If you are more interested in psychology then a doctoral program would be the way to go. You can provide therapy/counseling with either degree.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kamilla626</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10292304"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">An MSW is a little more flexible and more marketable (at least around here).</div>
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Yea that.<br>
I'm a clinical social worker, but my job title is therapist. You can get SW practicums that deal entirely with therapy.
 

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I would highly recommend the MSW if you want to be a therapist. The difference in salary between an MSW and PHD psychologist really isn't that much. Depending on the state you live in, you will have a lot of credibility with this degree. It also allows you to do many things where as with a degree in psychology, you will be limited unless you do the PHD. I love having an MSW. I have never worried about finding a job. I am currently in private practice and have more clients than I can handle. It's a very good and interesting field!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>annekevdbroek</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10294233"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">To practice independently as a psychologist you need a PhD (in all states that I know of, but there may be exceptions).</div>
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It depends on what type of psychologist you are. School psychologists (which is different than a school counselor) are certified with either Masters or EdS (educational specialist) degrees. Different types of psychologists have different licensing standards. My DH is a school psych and he can practice independently as a school psychologist-doing independent educational evaluations for schools, group homes, parents, etc. Since his masters & his EdS are both in "Counseling & Educational Psych", he can also do therapy as a psychologist, although to do that he has to carry liability insurance...<br><br>
Also, I mentioned this thread to DH tonight and he pointed out that even with a PhD, depending on the specialization of your PhD (for instance PhD in general psych) you may not be able to be licensed without taking additional classes to be certified as a PhD level Clinical Psychologist.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>katsam</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10295043"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">You can get SW practicums that deal entirely with therapy.</div>
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Good to know. Thanks.
 

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I am a LCSW in NYS. I am glad I did it. I focused on mental health in my program and received lots of education that would be more "psychology" focused.<br><br>
I believe a big difference with an MS in Psychology and SW (I supervise someone who has a Masters in Psych) is that you are trained to do testing (IQ, personality, that sort of thing) as well as the overviews of therapy, psychological development... all the basics for any such programs.<br><br>
I agree with the previous posters that a MS Psychology is more limiting in my state. You are would be competing for mainly for school psychologist jobs unless you wanted private practice. And in private, you would need to check into the insurances in your community to see what the "accept" as providers credentials. Every place is a little different. Or you could work in not for profit agencies. Although in NYS they are getting tougher about who can supervise clinical staff and a LCSW pretty much guarantees you a job.<br><br>
Good luck with whatever you decide.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>kamilla626</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10292304"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">An MSW is a little more flexible and more marketable (at least around here).</div>
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I agree with this. An MSW allows you to do counseling, administration, research, and public policy. A psychology degree is more limiting.<br><br>
And you are in the right place with this question!
 

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i agree than an msw is more flexible. both of my internships were definitely therapy. where i went to grad school, people with MA's in psych were licensed as LPC's. LCSW's were MUCH more respected, particularly because the schooling was a bit more rigorous.<br><br>
Where I live now, it does seem like most of the therapy jobs go to LPCs, but I also live in a city that is overrun by mental health professionals.<br><br>
My degree in social work has allowed me to at least have a JOB, whereas being licensed as an LPC would be much much much more restricting.<br><br>
PhD's in psych rarely do therapy. They do testing mostly and administrative. But MAs with psych degrees (sometimes called masters in counseling) can be licensed as mental health professionals to the same degree as LCSWs. The majority of people in my MSW program were planning to become therapists.<br><br>
Have you considered a PsyD? That is a program that is completely clinically based.
 

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This thread has been so helpful! Thanks to the OP for starting it!<br><br>
I was also looking into similar programs. For me, the MA is not a terminal degree -- one HAS to be in a PhD program (too much of a commitment for me right now). The other advantage of the MSW is that it has more options for non-traditional students (I'll be 37 when I start.)<br><br>
Can I hijack with a few ?s of my own, please?<br>
Good to know that so many with MSW that are practicing therapists -- can any of you weigh in about the type of environment you work in and also the type of practicum you did? And, what kind of questions should I be asking to make sure that this program will be providing the emphasis in mental health/therapy that I want? Lastly, do you recommend this degree as a good "mid-life" career change?
 

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My first internship was in a mental health clinic as a therapist. Very eye opening for me because it was a county clinic with lots of rules and regulations that I felt got in the way of the work. My second was in a Day Treatment Program located in a school setting for kids with serious emotional disorders. I loved it! I learned so much about mental health, families and how the (crazy!) school systems treat these children and youth.<br><br>
I currently am a program manager for a community based mental health program where we use a variety of services in the home to keep kids from being hospitalized or placed outside of their homes due to their mental health conditions. It is a great program. I get to manage, do case management (which I love!), counsel, supervise and other things that keep me on my toes!<br><br>
As far as family friendly and mid-life career, I would say that this field is a good one. As long as your expectation is not to get rich! We do financially ok in my home. Meaning we live in a modest house and a nice small town, dh stays at home with the kids and we can pay all of our bills.<br><br>
Good luck!
 

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I'm a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and I had the same concerns when choosing my career path. In IL, where I grew up and went to college, an MSW is more marketable, but I'd say that here in CA, where I went to grad school and started my career, there are even be more job opportunities for MFTs (who have an MA in Counseling Psych). IME, and I've been in the field here in CA for 12 years, MFTs are, in general, better trained to do therapy, and LCSWs/MSWs are trained to be case workers/CPS workers, etc. Of course, there are LCSWs out there with awesome clinical skills, but overall, the clinical portion of the MSW programs are not as comprehensive. Also, the internship and testing processes are less rigorous here for MSWs, which I think says something about the expectations of MSWs.<br><br>
If you want to go into private practice, I think MFTs are, IMO, more marketable when people are choosing a private therapist. If you were choosing a therapist, whom you're paying an average of $90/hr out of pocket, would you rather have someone who focused on the clinical aspect of the job during her training, or on the systems piece? IN CA, the only thing that LCSWs/MSWs can do that MFTs can't is be a Hospital Social Worker, and that never appealed to me in the least.<br><br>
I'd say to follow your gut and your heart. I would be afraid to make such a huge choice about your education and your career based on the advice of people who may be coming from a mindset of scarcity, lack and fear. There are plenty of jobs out there, no matter which path you choose. If you are sure you want to do therapy, then you should choose a program that will give you the tools and support to become the best therapist you can possibly be. Good luck!
 
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