In recent weeks, I have had several students ask me about the pros/cons of doctoral programs in psychology. I would point those who know they want to attend a traditional clinical psychology program to this book by the APA. It offers lots of helpful data on programs and what they require.
For those not sure what they want to do or if they should pursue a Doctorate in Counseling or Psychology, consider the following questions. If you have additional questions we should consider, post them in the comments section, and I will try to give an answer.
- What career doors do I want to open that are not available to me now?
- Do I want to teach?
- Do I see myself in private practice?
- Do I see myself in a research job?
- Do I see myself in the business world?
The Ph.D. in Clinical Psych from an APA accredited program (and with an APA approved predoctoral internship) probably opens the most doors of all. This degree allows you to teach in both undergrad and grad departments, work in research settings, government settings, private practice, etc. There are specific kinds of jobs that it might not help: such as an area focusing entirely on social psychology or developmental psychology.
If you want to teach in an MA Counseling program that is either seeking or already obtained CACREP accreditation (counseling accreditation sponsored by the ACA), you will need a Ph.D. in Counselor Education (which entitles you to work towards an LPC credential). This is a recent and troubling change (turf warfare with psychology) if you don’t think CACREP should be the only standard for MA level counseling education.
Part of your work dream should answer whether or not you are looking to work in either a secular or faith environment. Now, you can change your mind but there will be some doors that are easier to open with a secular degree and other doors that a Wheaton/Fuller/Regent degree will open more easily.