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After reciving your PHD how hard is it to open your own profitable practice?


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Dr. Carolyn’s Answer

Developing a profitable practice after receiving a PhD in psychology will take you approximately one full year, depending upon your area of specialization, your location, your effectiveness as a psychotherapist, and your potential client base. However, there are steps to take that might make you more likely to see a profit even sooner. For example, doing any type of therapeutic work requires at least a master's degree and a license. A Masters degree is not that expensive to complete, but in order to obtain licensure, you will be required to complete thousands of hours of supervised work, which may sometimes be unpaid. If you're lucky enough to find a paid internship during that period of time, you are paid very little, but the sites that you work in might allow you to take your clients with you when you leave. This is a great way to have instant clients as soon as you complete the licensure process. Also, it's important to consider what you might want to specialize in. If you're certain that you want a PhD, do you understand what separates someone with a master's in psychology from someone with a PhD in psychology? A PhD in psychology requires additional coursework in your area of specialty, and a very long and rigorous research project called a dissertation. Your completed dissertation signifies to the world that you have achieved a high level of proficiency in conducting high level research, and that is what distinguishes you from someone with a master's in psychology.

Obtaining a PhD in psychology will set you apart from others because it's the highest degree you can achieve in the field. But obtaining a PhD is very expensive and can take from 5 to 8 years to complete. I tell everyone that completing a PhD takes one thing and one thing only – tenacity. You have to be able to have the tenacity to continue on despite adversity, setbacks, frustration, and very truthful feedback that may sometimes feel more like criticism. But if you can make it through you'll be a member of a distinguished group of professionals who has the potential to make very profitable careers. Hope that helps! Good luck!

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Ruth’s Answer

PhDs are an expensive route if you are considering a job in industry, including opening your own business, assuming you are planning to study in one of the more basic sciences. If you are looking to do something more applied, like clinical psychology, then a PhD is a great route for someone who is interested in more cutting-edge technologies and practices. Alternatives are a MA/MS degree (except you pay in full instead of receiving a PhD stipend) or a field-specific degree--sticking with the clinical psychology example, you could instead do a PsyD, which is more focused on practice than a PhD.

Ruth recommends the following next steps:

Pick a field, based on what seems most interesting to you--consider your next step in addition to the long term--reading about graduate school programs will help most here, you can't study a field you find boring!
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Consider the various routes to traverse that field. Consider the PhD as well as the MA/MS or field-specific degrees.
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Find a mentor to help you along the way, someone who already does what you want to do so they can help you in your journey.
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