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How long do I have to be in college to be a therapist?

I'm on my way to college in about 22 months, and I'm trying to get prepared as early as possible. I want to major in psychology and eventually become a therapist for children and adolescents. #psychology #therapy #college

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Subject: Career question for you

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Priya’s Answer

Hi Kaelyn! Depending on your state, you also can be a licensed professional counselor (this may also be called licensed mental health counselor, professional counselor, possibly marriage and family therapist, etc.) I currently am pursuing my full license as a licensed professional counselor in Texas. It took me 4 years for my undergraduate degree in Psychology, and 3 years (though you can complete it in 2 or so years) to complete my Master in Counseling. I have a temporary license right now and am functioning as a counselor, but working toward my full license, which takes 3000 hours of clinical experience to complete (which can range between 2-5 years.) I really loved my program in counseling. At the same time, the 3000 hours can be daunting and easy for some to get and tough for others depending on your situation. I have heard of social workers who have pursued a similar career path by getting a Master in an applicable route for them. There are many ways you can become a therapist. I think the best thing to do fist is to explore what undergraduate degree you are interested in (Psychology, Social Work, etc.) and then ask some professors while you are in school about what the paths are. I learned during my senior year of college that this was actually the path I wanted to take, as opposed to getting a Doctorate in Psychology! Everyone is different =) and many branches can lead to a fulfilling therapy career. Don't be afraid to explore your options once you get to college. There is only so much information you can plan and take in now =) you got this! Good luck with your senior year!
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Kikanza’s Answer

What kind of therapist do you want to be? Psychiatrist. Psychologist. Social worker. School counselor. Spiritual Director. Pastoral counselor. These are all pathways that require degrees and life experience. You can plan minimally to get a BA = 4 years, and and MA = 2 years, and an internship = 1-2 years. A psychiatrist must earn an MD = 3 years. Spiritual Directors and Pastoral counselors often have MDiv (Master of Divinity) = 2 years. It may sound like a lot of time now, but it goes quickly and often can be combined with work. To be a good therapist you need education, experience and Wisdom. The wisdom comes from living life and learning from your experiences.
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Kartik’s Answer

He Kaelyn,

That's amazing that you are thinking ahead and planning your career .
Therapist journey is different depending on where you live. By general thumb rule to become therapist you need.
3-4 years bachelor
2 years Master
1-2 years course (cert/diploma/master) on therapy
2 years MPhil
3-4 years PhD
+Supervised working
Different people take different journey.
Do for example if someone want to be child and adolescent therapist.
Some may do
1) bachelor +master + 1 year /few month certificate on therapy.
2) bachelor's +masters+ mphil (child adolescent psychology)
3) combined track (bachelor+masters).
4) bachelor+ masters in child and adolescent
5) bachelor's+masters+ PhD

General norms say you need specialised training over your masters to practice therapy some just prefer PhD
Supervised therapy is integral part of learning even in degree /training you will do it but it is more of a work experience then college study


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