OT-Advanced Degree issues

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from katel. Show katel's posts

    OT-Advanced Degree issues

    Hey ladies! This is super OT, but I don't know who else to ask!

    I'm starting to toy with the idea of going back to school for my PhD. or my PsyD.. I recently got my student loans paid off through the National Health Service Corps (I got 50K for a 2 year contract at my current job, $ was on top of my salary and benefits, tax free) and before that got 30K for my loans from MA Dept. of Public Health. I had made a deal with myself that if I got the 50K, I would go back to school for my PhD., as I could afford to take out more loans, if needed. I already have my masters degree and my highest level of licensure. I want to go back because 1., I love school 2., I can bill at a high rate with an even higher degree, and 3., I'm not sure if I will eventually want to go back to research, which is where I started, and a higher degree will enable me to do better stuff. Do any of you have a PhD. or PsyD? Do you feel like it was worth it? How long did it take you?

    Another thing to consider is if I want my PhD., or my PsyD....from what I have gathered, PhDs are more competitive, because most come with a stipend, so end up being cheap or relatively so, but take, on average, 2 more years to complete than PsyD and are more research oriented. PsyDs you generally have to pay for (so I worry that you may lose some credibility? Perhaps people would feel that you paid for the credentials instead of earning them?) and on average, take 4-5 years to complete...

    I don't want babies anytime soon, and I'm not even sure if I ever want them, but if I get accepted to a program (which is certainly not a given, UMASS Boston accepts 10-12 students out of 300 applications per year, for example), babies will be a no-go for at least 4 years...I've got time, I'm only 29, but still...
    Ugh, I'm so indecisive! Any advice?

    (Of note, what makes this all so much more amusing is that whatever I go for will be in Psychology and I'm currently a practicing therapist...I need to be sitting in the other chair for this discussion!)
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from LilSprout. Show LilSprout's posts

    Re: OT-Advanced Degree issues

    In Response to OT-Advanced Degree issues:
    Hey ladies! This is super OT, but I don't know who else to ask! I'm starting to toy with the idea of going back to school for my PhD. or my PsyD.. I recently got my student loans paid off through the National Health Service Corps (I got 50K for a 2 year contract at my current job, $ was on top of my salary and benefits, tax free) and before that got 30K for my loans from MA Dept. of Public Health. I had made a deal with myself that if I got the 50K, I would go back to school for my PhD., as I could afford to take out more loans, if needed. I already have my masters degree and my highest level of licensure. I want to go back because 1., I love school 2., I can bill at a high rate with an even higher degree, and 3., I'm not sure if I will eventually want to go back to research, which is where I started, and a higher degree will enable me to do better stuff. Do any of you have a PhD. or PsyD? Do you feel like it was worth it? How long did it take you? Another thing to consider is if I want my PhD., or my PsyD....from what I have gathered, PhDs are more competitive, because most come with a stipend, so end up being cheap or relatively so, but take, on average, 2 more years to complete than PsyD and are more research oriented. PsyDs you generally have to pay for (so I worry that you may lose some credibility? Perhaps people would feel that you paid for the credentials instead of earning them?) and on average, take 4-5 years to complete... I don't want babies anytime soon, and I'm not even sure if I ever want them, but if I get accepted to a program (which is certainly not a given, UMASS Boston accepts 10-12 students out of 300 applications per year, for example), babies will be a no-go for at least 4 years...I've got time, I'm only 29, but still... Ugh, I'm so indecisive! Any advice? (Of note, what makes this all so much more amusing is that whatever I go for will be in Psychology and I'm currently a practicing therapist...I need to be sitting in the other chair for this discussion!)
    Posted by katel


    Katel, I think you know your answer, don't you :)  You just gave a million reasons why you SHOULD go back.  You love school, your timing works, it works financially...  but also very important...  the field you are in - HUGE benefits for the PhD/PsyD.  I understand they take a long time in your field but if you are up for it for all of the other reasons, why not?  To be honest, college degrees are worth high school degrees these days, everyone's getting their masters...  the PhD/PsyD will set you apart and qualify you for a lot more. 

    On that note - my husband is an academia-lifer.  He's begging me to go back to school (I don't want to) so if you have the motivation and all of your stars are aligned (which it seems they are?) you will definitely thank yourself a few years from now.
     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from lucy7368. Show lucy7368's posts

    Re: OT-Advanced Degree issues

    I agree.  I desperately want to go back to school, but my paralyzing student loan debt is holding me back.  That and the cost of an LLM - $50k/year?  No ability to work?  Surprised

    If you want to, and can afford it, I think you should do it.  I don't know anything about your field specifically, but I say go for it.
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from pinkkittie27. Show pinkkittie27's posts

    Re: OT-Advanced Degree issues

    LilSprout and Lucy said it all so well.

     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from kargiver. Show kargiver's posts

    Re: OT-Advanced Degree issues

    I agree with the others.  Use your psychology skills on yourself and deduce you have the answer. :)
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from jasmine09. Show jasmine09's posts

    Re: OT-Advanced Degree issues

    A couple more things to consider, with the caveat that I don't know anything about the field of psychology specifically, but have had a lot of exposure to the phd world and md world, and understand psych to be some sort of cross. :p

    -phd's are research degrees. do some soul-searching about whether you are deeply interested in research before you commit to one. the ppl I know who are really unhappy in their phd programs weren't that interested/passionate about research to begin with, but felt like they "should get the degree".  research and clinical practice are vastly different experiences, as you know.  although, i understand that psych phds can end up doing just clinical practice at the end of their degree program, but i imagine they have to do rsrch in the processs?

    -don't worry about the kids thing too much.  there is no perfect time to have kids, but i know people who have had them during their phd, during med school, during medical residencies, as assistant profs, etc.  it's been done.  if/when the time is right enough for you, don't worry too much about the time being perfect.

    -phd's in most fields do come with funding (you usually have to do some extra work to chase it down though)--you're right.  it's nice, but i wouldn't too worry about the money.  the fact that the degree takes longer means it has a notably higher opportunity cost (2 more years of foregone higher earnings--think about the difference b/w your stipend of $25-30k and your full salary as a practicing psychologist).  you should be able to pay back the loans without too much pain and suffering with your higher earnings post-degree.  if your salary is very low (b/c you have extended post-doc training or work in public service sector), you should check out the income based repayment programs and the public service loan forgiveness program enacted last year.  (check out ibrinfo.org for more details.)

    ...of course going back to school comes with the risk that you will be online at 2 AM on Friday night monitoring your statistical code to make sure it doesn't crash, and reading wedding message boards.  :p
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from ALF72. Show ALF72's posts

    Re: OT-Advanced Degree issues

    I would strongly suggest contacting your alumni association or doing informational interviews w/ people in your field who have the advanced degrees that you are looking into getting.  Find out if it's really worth your while to spend the money/time on this.  Whatever school you are looking into for the advanced degree is going to tell you that it's good to have the degree for advancement purposes, but you really need to get the info from people in the field who have no reason not to tell you the truth.

    One of my sisters was getting a PhD in chemistry but realized partway into the program that it would not benefit her to get one, unless she wanted to do research for a university or the NIH.  If she wanted to work for a private company like she was doing while enrolled in the degree program, those places have major turnover every 5 years or so when a contract/bid is up. If the drug didn't take off, everyone was out of a job. This happened to her 1x and she was then competing w/ all of those people plus new grads for jobs. PhDs were taking jobs that were one step above entry level.  The employers had a field day b/c they had tons of super qualified people who had no choice but to take a position slightly above entry level b/c that's all that was out there.  She was told by her PhD program that she'd have job security w/ a PhD and be making very good money. Yes, those positions existed, but they were few and far between.  She has since changed fields entirely after leaving the PhD program and getting a degree in something else.  So definitely talk to people in the field and find out what is really required. If you are already practicing in the field, then you should have contacts already that you can utilize for this purpose. 

    Good luck!
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from MM379. Show MM379's posts

    Re: OT-Advanced Degree issues

    I think you should apply for both types of degrees if you are in the area and weigh out all the pros and cons.  They are all so different with different amounts of funding, different types of internships, assistantships, etc., I think it is hard to say Ph.D or Psy.D. right off the bat.  To be frank, I think if you are a practicing therapist, you should not have any trouble getting into MSPP for a Psy.D. and you should definitely give it a shot. The local APA Ph.D. programs are definitely more challenging to get accepted into, as you suggested.  I am a practicing therapist (different discipline than you  I think?) but I work in an interdisciplinary setting.  I have seen a lot of MSPP interns as well as interns from other programs and disciplines and frankly, I think the MSPP interns get an amazing experience because of all the emphasis on hands on training.... much more hands on than other doctoroal programs since the research piece isn't there.  Plus, if you are already licensed, I believe (and I may be wrong) you may be able to do internships in settings where you can also be billable.  And you may be able to pull together some private practice hours for yourself under your current license to help with bills.  On the flip side though, very few Psy.D programs have any type of funding or even assistantships while there are Ph.D. programs that are fully funded or at least offer teaching and assistantships.  You may really need to look at your priorities in terms of the type of learning experience (more internships vs. research) as well as finances(only loans vs. grants/assistantships/etc).  To be perfectly honest, in my area of practice, the only advantage of a doctorate would be if I wanted a directorial/administrative position, which I do not.  The salary differences between masters level clinicians with terminal licenses and doctoral level are miniscule in my area of practice - not enough to justify the debt of going back if one wasn't fully funded.  I am not in private practice, but from my professional organization's salary data,  there wouldn't be a huge advantage to a doctorate if I was in private practice, either. I would definitely encourage you to evaluate if you are being paid fair market value for your current discipline/degree/license and also to crunch the numbers of the debt/time commitment vs. salary difference and how many years it would take to make it worth it if you went back and accrued more debt.  If it seems like a good investment, perhaps applying to both types of programs if you find ones that meet your needs under both types of degrees, giving you as many options as possible, would be a good idea.   
     

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