I have had plenty of PMHNP's who have said their experience and educational background have been of benefit to their admission to Psy.D. programs. In fact, on an application I have, it it listed as being preferable so I am a bit confused but perhaps I missed something.
My post addressed both Ph.D. and Psy.D. programs so that may not have helped. Let me try to clarify and expand on psychology doctorate programs MA preferences.
Ph.D. programs in clinical psych are extremely competitive. Many (about 20%) will even count an MA in psychology as a negative (as strange as that sounds) and strongly prefer BA/BS psychology students as the entry level. Almost all of the other programs will look at an MA or consider it neutral, but usually require a BA/BS in psychology as a minimum (with some taking an MA in psychology along with a bachelors in another area as a substitute). Almost all Ph.D. programs in clinical psych will make a person with an MA in psychology start from scratch so certainly a non-psych but related masters (education, nursing, social work, etc) will gain a person no advanced standing whether it is considered for admissions or not.
Ph.D. programs in other psych areas (including counseling psych and school psych which are very closely related to clinical psych) and Psy. D. programs in clinical psychology are a lot more MA friendly (some Ph.D. programs in counseling psych require an MA first) and also will often look more favorably on an MA in a related area. Some of these programs look very
favorably for admissions towards an MA in any related area (including nursing, and not always psych nursing). However, usually for advanced standing (if offered at all, which often isn't the case) an MA in psychology or counseling is required. Also, even these programs will always prefer a BA or MA in psychology or counseling (counseling sometimes limited as a preference to counseling psych programs) over a BA and MA in a related field (the exception being school psychology programs which will look almost
as favorably on a degree in education as they will a degree in psychology).
I am curious to know what state it is legal for psychologists to prescribe.
The only state I knew of was New Mexico. Someone here said Louisiana also allows it, but I wasn't aware of this.
Additionally, the military has successfully had psychologists with prescription privileges since 1994 (first as a trial program which I believe has been expanded), and South Africa has had it for some time with no problems.
Over the past few years several states have introduced bills to allow it including: AK, CA, IL, FL, NH, OR, WY, HI, TX, GA.
Indiana has passed a law allowing psychologists involved in a federal government sponsored training or treatment program to prescribe. I'm not sure if regulations have been written and the law implemented yet though.
I am aware that this is a very hot issue which is one reason I went for the PMHNP post masters... I am not certain that prescriptive privileges will come to psychologists but we shall see. The AMA lobbies long and hard and are not too thrilled about PMHNP's prescribing.
Yes, the AMA is strongly against it, as they were psychologists even being allowed to practice therapy. For decades the AMA fought long and hard to prevent the states from licensing psychologists for professional practice. Today, I think very few people would argue that psychologists as professional providers of mental health services has been anything but an asset to patients and clients. The AMA is opposed, but they don't always win (many other non-physician professionals can prescribe, and most came with the AMA's strong opposition and predictions of dire consequences) and the APA (the American Psychological Association) is fighting just as hard.
Everyone thinks it's not a big deal to prescribe mental health medications but it really is.
I don't hear anyone saying it is no big deal. Can I guess from this wording that your personal take is that psychologists aren't qualified to prescribe and that psychologists and psychology students pushing for it consider meds to be "not a big deal"?
First, this certainly wouldn't be the first time a non-physician profession was given prescription privileges. Podiatrists and optometrists not only can prescribe within their specialties but they can perform surgery. Some chiropractors can prescribe and perform medical procedures like x-rays and in some states can prescribe some medication. NPs and PAs can prescribe, and in some states they don't require supervision or even consultation with a physician.
Many psychologists already work in consultation with physicians and collaborate on medication issues. Nine states (CA, CT, DC, FL, IL, MA, OK, TX and UT) currently recognize such consultation to be within the official scope of practice for psychologists.
Psychologists certainly already possess a high level of education on mental illness, physiological aspects of mental illness, and psychopharmacology. At minimum it requires 4 years of graduate level coursework plus a one year internship to get the doctorate (many programs due to the amount of coursework and research requirements take an average of 6-7 years to complete). Included in this coursework are classes on psychopharmacology and the physiology of mental illness. While in school, often after, psychologists do research, including research on psychopharmocology. To be licensed a psychologist has to have an understanding of the symptoms of common physical as well as mental illnesses, they need an understanding of psychophysiology and psychopharmacology and they need to know the behavioral and cognitive effects of common drugs (not just psychotropic medications but most commonly prescribed meds)- think about it, someone licensed to diagnose and treat mental illness and psychological issues needs to be able to determine if the symptoms may be a psych problem or a side effect of a med or symptom of a physical illness. Many psychologists already take additional coursework in these areas, fellowships in these areas, or post-doc masters degrees in psychopharmacology or physiology. The fact that over 3000 psychologists are currently teaching in medical schools, including courses on psychopharmacology, shows that even physicians recognize that psychologists have some competence in the field.
Psychologists already prescribe in South Africa, the US territory of Guam, New Mexico and the US military (I'm not sure if the military program is still in the test phase or if all psychologists who meet certain criteria are qualified to do so) with no resulting problems.
Psychology as a profession is pushing for prescription privileges, but only for psychologists who meet certain criteria. Specifically, the APA is pushing for legislation that requires 5 years experience as a professional psychologist, a current license as a psychologist, and advanced training in psychopharmocology including training in:
Neuroscience, Clinical and Research Pharmacology and Psychopharmacology, Physiology and Pathophysiology, Physical and Laboratory Assessment, and Clinical Pharmacotherapeutics. Additionally, the legislation they are pushing would require a practicum for the psychologist seeking prescription privileges in which he/she would be required to see at least 100 patients before they could independently prescribe.
So, a 5-7 year Psy.D. or Ph.D. which includes coursework and competency in psychopharmocology and psychophysiology, 5 years of professional psychological experience, and then an additional 1-3 years of psychopharmocology education with a practicum shouldn't be enough to qualify a professional to prescribe? If so, prescription privileges for NPs, PAs, podiatrists, and optometrists should be reconsidered.