Dr. Marc Wilson
November 15, 2018
People often ask me, “What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychiatrist?” While the titles may sound similar, and some job functions are the same, the educational paths that these two professionals take are quite different.
Both psychiatrists and psychologists must be licensed in the state where they practice in order to use these titles. The total time involved for education and training experiences after receiving a bachelor’s degree until licensure for both fields is about 8 years.
What is Counseling?
There are several other degree paths to becoming a mental health professional that do not require a doctorate. These include a master’s in clinical mental health counseling, a master’s in clinical social work, and a master’s in psychiatric nursing. Although the training in psychotherapy is generally the same among these fields, and the time it takes to earn the degrees are roughly equivalent, each has its own unique professional identity and therefore takes a different approach to dealing with mental health.
Becoming licensed to practice independently requires another 1-2 years of post-master’s supervised work experience.
The path to this profession begins with earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) as an undergraduate degree. A Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is the minimum requirement to become a nurse practitioner which takes a minimum of 2 years after the BSN. The Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) is now becoming more common which requires at least 4 years of study after the BSN. Significant clinical experience is an important part of the training. All states require a license to practice as a psychiatric nurse practitioner and some states require oversight by a physician.
Dr. Marc Wilson has been an educator for over 30 years, serving in a variety of roles including professor, department chair, and academic dean. He is currently Executive Director of Counseling Programs at Southern New Hampshire University where he previously worked as the Director of Accreditation and Assistant Dean. He is currently serving as a member of the Association for Continuing Higher Education Board of Directors. He twice served as the Chair of the ACHE - New England region and three times as the editor of the Proceedings of the ACHE national conferences. His area of expertise include program and curriculum development, student learning outcomes assessment, adult student retention, accreditation, and faculty development and appraisal. He has given workshops, invited addresses, and keynote presentations on a variety of topics at academic conferences throughout the country and regularly serves as an evaluator for the New England Commission of Higher Education.
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