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December 10, 2014
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December 7, 2014
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Articles of InterestPsychologist versus Psychiatrist
Vermont is among the few states that license master’s level professionals as psychologists. You don’t necessarily have to have a doctoral degree to practice. However, that doesn’t mean your prospects will be the same with a master’s as they are with a doctoral degree. There are two levels of licensure. You will have the most opportunity if you build a solid foundation academically and professionally.
Step 1: Plan your high school curriculum with college in mind. In order to do well in university psychology coursework, you will need a background in mathematics and in lab sciences like biology. You do not have to take psychology courses at this stage, but if you do, you have the option of joining the American Psychological Association as a student affiliate.
Step 2: Do some career exploration. There are plenty of in-state options. The College Quest to Health Careers program allows Vermont high school students to explore behavioral health (and other healthcare fields) while preparing for college. You can find out about this and many other opportunities on the site of the Vermont Student Assistance Commission (http://services.vsac.org/wps/wcm/connect/vsac/VSAC).
Step 3: Enroll at the university and begin general education and psychology coursework. Explore different sub-disciplines.
Step 4: Make the most of your undergraduate experience. Most graduate programs will want to see some research experience. One option is to become a research assistant; your department may provide you with contact information for faculty seeking undergraduates to assist in their research labs. Another option is to complete an honors thesis or other independent project.
If you are planning on heading straight to graduate school, you will want to begin building your research resume before senior year. You may also want to do some early preparation for the GRE.
Step 5: Thoroughly research graduate programs. In order to be license qualifying, a program must meet the standards of the Vermont Board of Psychological Examiners. It will be accepted if it is accredited by the American Psychological Association or designated by the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards and the National Register. Other programs may be accepted if they are housed in accredited institutions, have a 400 hour residency requirement, and meet other standards found in administrative rules (https://www.sec.state.vt.us/media/493061/Rules-Effective-Nov-19-2012.pdf).
If you are concerned about being accepted to a doctoral program in Psychology after completing your bachelor's degree due to lower or insufficient academic achievement, you may want to apply to master’s programs first.
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and offers several Online Bachelor's, Master's and Doctoral programs in Psychology including both clinical and non-clinical specializations. Capella University, also offers four online CACREP - accredited master's programs: MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling, MS in Marriage and Family Counseling/Therapy, MS in School Counseling and PhD in Counselor Education and Supervision. Click here to contact Capella University and request information about their programs.
A master’s level training program must be a member of the Council of Applied Master’s Programs in Psychology (CAMPP) or meet the Board’s equivalency standards. You may turn to the American Psychological Association for tips on choosing the most appropriate program.
Step 6: Complete your graduate studies. In addition to completing didactic coursework, you will carry out independent research and practice clinical skills. The last year is typically internship; this generally involves a separate application process.
Step 7: Fulfill additional licensing requirements. You will need to accrue at least 2,000 post-degree supervised practice hours. (The total requirement is 4,000 but your pre-doctoral internship may count for the first 2,000.) Your supervision must meet state standards. You will be subject to supervision reports.
You will also need to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology.
Step 8: Continue to climb the career ladder. If you receive a Master’s license, you can upgrade by completing a doctoral degree and 2,000 hours of practice. The Board cautions, however, that licenses issued on the basis of upgrade may not be accepted everywhere. (You may want to look ahead to see what additional requirements other states may have.)
If you are licensed at the doctoral level, you can eventually achieve board certification through the American Board of Professional Psychology and/ or diplomate status through the American Psychological Association.