In January we launched our #PostThePay campaign. Every California job applicant has a legal right to know the pay of the position they’re applying for. When employers post pay information in job announcements, they save themselves time and promote fair wages in the mental health field. But how can you help ensure fair wages if you’re already employed? What if you know the pay of a position, but aren’t quite satisfied about it? Here are some ways you can advocate for better pay in therapy and counseling jobs.
In our last episode, we talked about how student loan debt is crushing the mental health professions. This time, we get a lot more personal. For this episode of the Psychotherapy Notes podcast, we interviewed two graduate students working on their doctorates at a private university in southern California. By the time they both graduate, they will together owe more than half a million dollars for their education.
No point mincing words here: Student loan debt is crushing the mental health professions. Perhaps it’s crushing you, too. According to a 2014 American Psychological Association study, the average recent graduate of an accredited PsyD program finishes their studies with $200,000 in student loan debt. Social workers similarly decry their debt loads, with at least one going so far as to declare the entire social work profession “untenable.”
In this episode of the podcast, we talk about student loan debt, and how it’s impacting those coming into the mental health professions. We review how $200,000 in debt can easily wind up being more than $700,000 by the time it’s finally paid off.
Student loan debt has been a regular topic here, as it should be. Mental health professionals need to have graduate degrees, which often means taking on significant debt. The American Psychological Association reports that PsyD students in psychology now graduate with a median of $200,000 in student debt just from their graduate studies. The federal government offers loan forgiveness for those who work in government and nonprofit organizations, through its Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
Recently, there’s been some concern over the fate of that program. Therapists and counselors currently working in nonprofit settings wonder whether they will in fact be eligible — or whether the program will still exist — by the time they complete 10 years of service. But their concern is (at least so far) not supported by what’s actually been happening.