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PA-C and LCSW?

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Hello all!  


PA student currently entering my clinical year (survived didactic year, woo hoo!!) with a question for you all.


My career pre-PA school was in community mental health and I'm thinking I'll probably end up working in the field again, either right away or eventually after a stint in primary care.


My question is, how beneficial would going back to school to get my MSW (and later LCSW) so I could do some real CBT-type work with my patients and bill for it?  Have you ever seen this in action/do you think it is a realist goal?  


Thanks, and I look forward to your responses!

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Unless you want more intensive training in counseling skills, I would not recommend it.   If you've been working in community mental health already, you probably already have some of the skills you need.  You can devote your CME time to perfecting your CBT skills later, and incorporate CBT into your practice as a primary care or psych PA.   These types of trainings are fairly easy to find.

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I did outpatient psych and PAs are able to bill for psychotherapy.  Not having done any additional specific courses for CBT skills, I did not go beyond simple "street smarts" type psychotherapy.  My PA education did have a full semester of mental health and a psych rotation.  We had LPC, LMFT, PsyD, and LCSW in my office to do psychotherapy.  Had I done additional CME or courses, then I would have improved my skills in doing this, but it wasn't needed.  So, while doing a formal LCSW/LPC/LMFT degree would certainly be awesome to make you a very well prepared PA in mental health, it may not be worth the time and money to do it.  I would recommend doing a psych residency. Then you are learning and at least getting paid a little rather then paying for another degree. 


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