What an awesome forum! This is my first time on the forum although I have stopped by and read things here and there. My situation is that I’m close to completing a MS in addiction counseling and I’m beginning to look forward surveying my future options. After completion of my degree next year and intern hours for certification, I will have attained the highest clinical credential in the addictions field and my plan has always included going further somehow. So from here moving forward, it’s either the clinical psych doctorate or the medical degree. Since my psych undergrad days, I had always figured on continuing on to complete the clinical psych doctorate (PsyD/PhD). But now I’m not so sure. Medical school is an option I’ve started to give serious consideration. And it just makes more sense to me. While clinical psych seems like a logical next step, I’m not interested in doing only clinical work at that level and it wouldn’t allow me to do much more in practice than I do now. My interest is in Addiction Medicine or Addiction Psychiatry.
I’ve been doing a great deal of clinical work in addictions up to now (I just love the work). However, now as a progression I would like to learn more about the science of addiction and have the ability to treat medically. My undergrad Bachelor’s degree is in psychology during which time I completed some science courses, but only as they related to psychology (neuroscience, experimental psych and psychopathology for example). The same goes for my master’s courses (psychopharmacology, for example). So I would need to do the pre-med coursework.
My undergrad GPA was 3.5 cum and 3.8 (last 2 years). My grad school GPA is 4.0 so far. I’m on track to graduate from the grad program June 2017, if all goes well. I’m 50 years of age now and wonder if medicine is even an option right now. I prefer to go the D.O. route (I like the holistic philosophy), but will not count out the MD route. As far as medical experience, I worked as a nursing assistant (CNA) years ago and volunteered in an ER at a children’s hospital. I rotated between ortho, ICU/CCU, oncology, hospice, peds and med-surg back then. Most of the time was spent in ortho, oncology and general med-surg. I qualified on the basis of experience and education to sit for the practical nurses exam (LPN/VN). But, I decided that I did not want to go further on into the nursing field. More recent work has been in substance use which has been challenging to work with addicts and alcoholics, but I do love working in the field. I worked at the Betty Ford Center in Detox with women and now I’m currently interning in the mental health substance use Mom’s program for a county agency. I’ve been offered a position as a Co-occurring Treatment Specialist (CT-1) for the county, which I am considering. To keep current, I am required to do continuing education and instead of taking credits with no end-goal, I prefer to make it count towards another degree or certification.
I have a couple of questions, if someone would like to answer it’s greatly appreciated. Is medicine an option for me at this point in my life, or should I just plain quit while I’m ahead and go for the clinical psych degree? Which is better: post-bacc courses, courses from a community college or university courses? My alma mater does not just let people to take courses; they want you to declare a second bachelor’s, which I have no use for. Could I do a combination of cc courses and university courses (I prefer it)? Will it be necessary to update my medical experience? Thank you so much in advance, for any responses and best regards to everyone on the medical career journey!
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