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Old 05-28-2007, 12:44 PM
11 posts, read 97,089 times
Reputation: 31


I am wanting to go back to get my master's in counseling but I keep going back and forth on which type I want to be. I was a teacher for three years, and so originally I wanted to go back so I could be a school counselor. However, I want to choose the degree that gives me the most options (community counseling, marriage and family, or social work). Just when I think I have made up my mind, someone tells me something and it makes me rethink everything. Is there anyone out there that can give me advice? Maybe pro's and con's. I would love to work in a school again, but what if in ten years I want a change and want to leave the schools? Will my masters in school counseling allow me to do counseling in other settings? I really appreciate your feedback.
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Old 05-28-2007, 03:39 PM
Location: Debary, Florida
2,267 posts, read 2,375,648 times
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If it were me, I would prefer to NOT work in a school, the money is not good and that is where you have to work right??

If you have a Masters that allows you to have a private practice, thats an option, then of course you can work in inpatient and residential facilities as well.

I have a friend who has a BS in Psychology and is working on her Masters, the hospital she worked in as a screener liked her so much, she manages the psych floor...it seems like there are alot more options.

With a masters in psych you could also go over to the dark side and work for a mental health insurance company, I used to work for them but REALLY felt that I worked for the wrong side of the whole thing...I felt they did what they could to STOP people from getting the treatment they required.

If you could stand the strain, I always thought that criminal profiling would be fascinating but I believe that requires a PHd...if I had it all to do over again, I might consider that and apply to work with the FBI.
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Old 05-28-2007, 07:35 PM
Location: Austin
2,120 posts, read 5,861,655 times
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School counselors, at least at the secondary level, deal more with standardized testing, class schedules, college counseling, and records. If you actually want to cousel, you'll need to go for a degree in psychology or educational psychology.
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Old 05-28-2007, 07:38 PM
7,788 posts, read 10,444,975 times
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Am not sure where you live, so can't address the state licensing aspects, but you might want to look into a masters in social work. It would certainly allow you to do work in school settings, as well as enable you to work in areas outside the school. Depending on what the state licensing regulations are, you would have the option of private practice, although that clearly has it's own ups and downs these days with insurance companies, etc. I would definately recommend an MSW over a masters in counselling, however. More versitile, more you can do with it...If making a decent amount of money is a factor, then I would recommend getting a Psy.D. (Hard to make a good income with either an MSW or Masters Psych. Counselling.)
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Old 05-28-2007, 08:02 PM
2,604 posts, read 992,298 times
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Hi bop109, lots of well-intentioned people go before me, but 'june 7th' is right on the money!

Masters in School Counseling is too limiting a degree. Tendency these days is for school systems to outsource their talk counselors to save $.

I have an MSW and am an LCSW...and I am the 'talk' counselor in a school system: elementary, middle and high school. My associates and I often say "half-pay for half-day". All of us have private practices after work or other counseling interests to make $. We start out at the same salary as a teacher, but get no further increases like they do, bec we have no union representing us.

A Masters in Psychology is helpful, but you need licensing (LPC) to do counseling. The MSW has proven to be the most-versatile degree... more widely accepted nationally, and once you are licensed, you can work in a school system, private practice, inpatient/outpatient, etc. If you choose to do family or marriage and family therapy, you have only to take certification courses in those specialities and earn additional letters after your name...FT or MFT, etc.

I also Agree with 'June 7th' in that I wish I had gotten a PsyD, which would earn the most $ counseling...next is the LCSW, bec the insurance companies are resisting PsyD's costs.

The school counselors that work with academic testing, class schedules and college counseling are 'Guidance Counselors', and they can be either MSW's, LPC's (licensed psy major), or education Masters degrees. Hope this helps! Good Luck, MsV
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Old 05-28-2007, 11:40 PM
3,632 posts, read 14,394,459 times
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I agree with some of the others on getting your MSW to be more versatile. I have my MA in Prof Counseling and have never had a problem getting a job. I did one year of my PsyD and didn't see it as being worth it. In private practice I can make just as much, so why go another several years of grueling work? I had enough of school. I do though want to get a doctorate in something one day, just not now.

Don't limit yourself with the school counseling degree. Get either an MSW or a Master's in Prof Counseling. Get licensed and get into what you want to do.
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Old 05-29-2007, 08:01 AM
7,788 posts, read 10,444,975 times
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Just a post script: When you are looking into the various degree programs, you can ask the admissions people what sort of internships their students have been placed in. If possible, I would even recommend contacting some students that have already graduated from the schools that you are considering, as they would also be a good resource in terms of what options were presented to them in terms of internships when they were working on their masters. If a masters program does not offer many internship opportunities in school settings, that would give you an idea as to the orientation of both the program and the degree.

MsV: Couldn't help but smile when I read your response to Bop109: It's nice to know that there is another MSW out there in city-Data.

Good luck!

June 7th, MSW
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Old 05-29-2007, 09:14 AM
Location: Tampa baby!!
3,258 posts, read 7,861,123 times
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My friend is in the first year to get her PHd in Sociology. She worked as a social worker while she was working on her masters and taught sociiology at the community college. I think she would agree that it's best to get a degree in something general like a Masters in Psychology(I'm sure there are certain ones ;ie, clinical or practical??

After working as a Social Worker which she really liked, but it's very very hard work. She decided to go for the PHd so she could become a professor and make the money it was worth. With that degree she obviously has tons of other options as well.

I don't think going for something that specialized would be the best option I guess.
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Old 05-29-2007, 04:41 PM
Location: Missouri
6,044 posts, read 21,128,367 times
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I agree with the above posters. My husband has his masters in counseling and a state LPC (license professional counselor). He has no trouble finding work and he can practice privately (his goal someday), but he frequently comments on how MSWs/LCSWs have far more options, and if he had known that, he would have gotten an MSW and LCSW. Also know that it's the license that allows you to counsel, not the degree...although of course you need a degree (as well as many hours of experience) to get the license. The state issues the license and each state has its own requirements.
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Old 05-30-2007, 07:13 PM
4,007 posts, read 9,885,827 times
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I am a school counselor. I LOVE it!

There were many, many in my MA program who were going FROM clinical counseling or social work TO school counseling. The job security and hours (they said) were much better.

I was a teacher for 12 years before I moved in to the counseling office.

I can't really speak to clinical counseling vs. school counseling. I only know what others have told me. Can anyone tell me what the difference in salary would be?

In CA I made $74K when I left. Here in NC I only make 50K. This does not include benefits. I only work school hours and only work school days.

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