In 2012, I started a Masters of Education in Clinical Mental Health Counseling program. It was a 60 hour program which included a practicum and an internship. After completing the 60 hours I would have complete so many hours of supervision while seeing clients. You have to either get a job that pays for the license supervision or pay out of pocket for the supervision. I would also have to take three big tests in Tennessee or two if I did the process in Georgia. Then I would still have to start out making around $40,000, if I got lucky, and would probably have to start out with a company that was not the ideal job because of being new to the field. I wouldn’t be able to bill insurance directly until I was licensed for about three years or so. Before I had my son it didn’t matter the process or the amount of time it would take in school and through the license process. The amount of money for school and the lack of money that I would make in the job wasn’t a concern.
After years of being married and never being able to get pregnant, the same semester I finally stopped procrastinating going to graduate school, I got pregnant. After I had my son, I decided that I wanted to finish my education to be able to obtain a good job if I needed to ever work but that I really wanted to stay at home with him once we were financially able. Finishing up a 60 hour program and years of supervision just to work a stressful job for little money didn’t seem like a smart idea.
Also, I started working at a non-profit mental health agency in 2008 as a Transitional Living Specialist. In 2010, I was promoted to a supervisor. Specialists are basic a mix between a counselor, coach, mentor and teacher. The supervisor is just an extension of that and helps to supervise and develop the specialist. We went into the clients home and in the community. It was very stressful and after years of really difficult and disturbing cases, I came to the conclusion I no longer wanted to be a licensed counselor. I make it sound simpler than it really was. It was really kind of like a big pre-mid-life crisis for me. I have wanted to be a counselor since I was seven years old. I researched, prayed, talked to licensed counselors and I/O Psychologists before I finally came to the decision.
I searched around for other programs that I could finish quicker and with the end result being an office job with a good salary. The university in my city has a Research Psychology program and an Industrial/Organizational Psychology program. I preferred to do the Research program but to be able to really do what I want to do I would need a Doctorate degree. I researched what I/O Psychologists do and at entry level they are basically Human Resource Generalist which start out usually around $50,000 and there are always a lot of job postings at the different companies here. I figure that every job has it’s own amount of stress but in an HR job I probably won’t ever have to chase a runaway teenager down a railroad track or witness a drive by shooting when I am 7 months pregnant.