ACA Blog

Deb Legge
Mar 31, 2010

Is the “PhD” Worth It?

I often get that question from my masters-level Mental Health Counseling students who know that the M.A. along with their LMHC (in NYS) can be the terminal degree for their counseling careers. After all, even though I have my PhD, I’ve been running my private practice for almost 20 years based on my master-level training and my CRC and LMHC. This week, however, I realized a potential niche for my students. We’ve got two full time faculty positions to fill for one of our Mental Health Counseling programs (at Medaille College), and because of NYS requirements, we need candidates who have BOTH the doctorate AND the LMHC and boy, are they hard to find!

Because this is a “clinical” program we really focus on the need for faculty who are seasoned (and practicing) clinicians. Because NYS believes that faculty should have the terminal degree in (counselor) education and experience in teaching and supervision at the graduate level, the doctorate is also required.

So, we are left scratching our heads as to where we can advertise these positions since clinicians and educators don’t always browse the same journals and magazines. We are also noticing that the combination of PhD and practicing LMHC is still rather tough to find in NYS. Perhaps that is due to the fact that licensure is so new to us.

I’m sure we’ll figure it out and I know that we’ll find just the right folks. It was just interesting to see this unfold.
So, from now on my response to students who ask the question: “Is the PhD worth it?” will be: “If you want to teach, ABSOLUTELY!” After all, I guess that’s why I tied myself to my computer to finish up that dissertation so many years ago.



Deborah Legge is a counselor, an assistant professor, specializes in coaching counselors in private practice, and is the founder of InfluentialTherapist.com

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