This is what I am doing and why....(all info specific to CA, other states may differ regarding licensure and scope of practice)
I am getting my doctorate in psychology (PhD) but will practice under a psych NP license.
1. In California you need 3000 hours of fieldwork (clinical internships) before you can sit for the psychologist license. HOWEVER, only 1500 of those hours can be obtained while in school, the other 1500 must be completed AFTER graduation. You must have a doctorate to sit the psychologists licensing exam, so either a PhD or PsyD. Either way, you will be in school for quite some time and then have to do additional FREE work after graduation, so there's quite some time before you will start bringing in money. There are a few paid positions and assistantships, but they are very few and far between and very competitive.
2. Psychologists cannot prescribe or even make recommendations on pharmaceuticals/med management.
3. A psych NP can prescribe and all clinical hours are obtained while in the program. An NP can also do nutritional and wellness counseling. If a psychologist does this w/o having additional, verifiable training, such as completing a nutrition program, they are in violation.
So essentially, an NP has a larger scope of practice than a psychologist. However, the psychology programs have a significantly stronger focus and training on therapy. By completing my psychology PhD I will obtain the in depth counseling/therapy skills that isn't in place in the NP program, yet have the larger scope of practice offered by NP licensure. The PhD in psychology gives me the degree and credibility that clients seek, yet with the added bonus ob being able to do med management, nutritional counseling, etc. - all within my scope of practice so no gray areas or risk of licensure issues.
I had already begun a FNP program, so I'm completing that and will do a post-grad certificate for the psych NP. And I've been in my PhD program concurrently. Depending on the doctorate program you CAN do them concurrently if you're not working FT also. Otherwise you'd need to arrange it differently. I'd suggest doing the NP first, so you could get out there and start working, and work on the PhD while working as a psych NP.
Just something to consider............