To PhD or Not to PhD?

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Today’s topic is another heavy-ish one — buckle up and hold on tight… while I bore you with the conversation the voices in my head are having.

One of the things I’m struggling with most right now is whether or not to earn a doctoral degree. My dream job is to become a Licensed Professional Counselor; a Master’s degree is considered the terminal degree in my chosen field, so a PhD is pretty much icing on the cake. (Okay, it’s not that simplified, but it’s not necessary unless I want to teach in the future or really expand my career horizons.) My real dream job is to utilize said licensure to work with kids on the Autism spectrum. “The Plan” is to graduate in May of 2014 and begin working on the 4,000 hours of experience I need in order to sit for the state board. At some point during those cajillion hours I’d really like to earn a certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorder studies from the school where Ian is a medical student.

All of that right there is a lot for me to consider. Four thousand hours is approximately two years of full-time work, coupled with requiring supervision for a portion of those hours. Then, once I’m finally a LPC, I’ll need to consider annual continuing education units to keep abreast of new developments in the field and to broaden my range of exposure. Still with me?

One of the questions I’ve been asking myself recently is, Do I want to earn a PhD so my clients can call me Dr. ___? If that question holds any validity, then would I be spending countless dollars and hours working on a degree that I don’t “need”? One of the biggest and most glaring concerns I have right now: Am I out of steam, or do I have what it takes to propel myself through another 3-5 years of rigorous academia?

There are some top universities in Virginia that offer the type of PhD that interests me. Conveniently, some of them are even located in the same or nearby cities to locations where Ian can apply for residency in a few years. Oh, yeah… Did I mention that our school schedules don’t at all coincide?

There are a lot of unknowns in my life right now. One thing I do know is that the sky is the limit, and that I am so blessed to have a man by my side and a family behind me who believe in me and who support my dreams unconditionally. Guess I got a bit of thinkin’ to do…

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