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Therapist and possibly a PA

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So I have a few questions for everyone. First, I am currently a grad student in counseling psychology and am looking into my options for future education. I have always admired the field of medicine and think it a fantastic path to compliment my current degree. Just to be clear we are talking about a MFT/MFC/LPC type liscense (depending on where you are from).

Here are my questions.

I have read that PA's get stuck doing some of the routine tasks like drawing blood, initial physicals, etc. With my MFT liscense would I still be doing therapy or are the MD's really wanting PA's to take over the tasks they don't want to do. What I am kind of saying is that I want to compliment my MFT skills, not set them aside for medicine.


Second. Does anyone have any idea about the salary opportunities for a dual MFT/PA-C person? As much as I want to go through PA school because it is interesting and would help me help others....I am anything but rich. I need to know if shelling out the extra $70 or so would really be financially worth it.


Actually, those are the two questions I am most curious about. The alternative is to continue on through psychology to a psyd/phd. Thanks anyone and everyone for reading this.

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  • 1 year later...

I am currently an LPC in TN with a masters in counleling and working on a Ph.D. Like you, I have found a profound interest in the medical side of therapy/counseling and am planning on attending PA school. To your first question: PA's do perform "routine tasks" such as physicals but much less often draw blood. However, it is important to realize that those "routine tasks" you speak of are medically necessary and are the services for which you are being remibursed. As a PA it is unlikely that you would perform in both functions as a therapist and PA. Additionally, you will find that the remibursement is significantly different. For example, commercial insurance reimbursement for an hour of therapy as a masters level therapist will be anywhere from $40 - $65 while the same insurance company may pay $80 - $120 for a 15 - 20 minute med management session for the same patient. Basically, while you can do both, people rarely do. I would encourage you to give some thought to how you really want to help others. Finally, being a PA requires a large commitment. If your not sure you are ready to commit I would encourage you to shadow some psych PA's if possible but definitely other PA's.


To your second question: Becoming licensed/certified in both fields will do little to increase salary. Insurances will only pay you for one level of licensure (and they will do their best to ensure that is the lower paying of the two) and the medical profession, while acknowledging your additional knowledge/training , will likely disregard this when it comes to issues of salary.


A last thought to consider is that in some states psychologists can prescribe with additional training past Ph.D., but I believe there are only 3. Pa's are universally reconized and can prescribe more than simple psychotropics. Also, if you have not performed therapy, I would recommend getting a working knowledge of what is involved. Both professions are worthwhile and do much to help others but they do so in very different ways.


I hope this helps and if you have any other questions regarding counseling/therapy I'm happy to help.

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