Ryokan College or SCUPS?

General discussions concerning institutions and degree programs.

Ryokan College or SCUPS?

Postby vinny123 » Sun Mar 19, 2006 11:39 pm

I am interested in obtaining Psychology licensure in California. I have investigated a new doctoral Clinical Psychology program at Alliant University that allows students with advanced academic standing to complete the first year of coursework online. However, the second year needs to be completed f2f. The third year is an internship. I like this program but unfortunately cannot complete the second year component face to face. In addition the tuition, travel and related expenses are quite high.

Ryokan College, a California state approved school, has a two year online program that prepares one for the California Licensure exam in Psychology. As many of you guys know, students from this school have a very high pass rate on this exam. In fact, it is higher than many students from RA doctoral Psychology programs! This is not a cheap program, approximately $32,000, a price I feel is astronomical considering the fact that it cannot be applied for licensure in the majority of other states.

Now SCUPS may not have the reputation of Ryokan and has been the subject of many controversies on other distance learning chat forums. However, their Psychology doctoral program also prepares one for California Licensure and is a fraction of the cost of the schools listed above (approximately $10,000). Unfortunately, there does not appear to be the number of students who completed this program and/or passed the state licensing exam.

Putting aside the controversy re: SCUPS what do you guys think about possibly completing the doctorate at this school for the intended purposes noted above. Do you feel it is too risky at this point to do so? Thanks, Vinny
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Postby John Bear » Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:18 am

If entering private practice is the eventual plan, I would guess that the vast number of people who choose therapists do not do so on the basis of where they earned their degree. And even if they see the diploma on the wall, they're not going to do an internet search. And even if they do an internet search, they probably won't do it to the level of finding the snarky things people like me have written.

When you hang up the SCUPS shingle, put a fraction of the $22,000 you've saved into marketing, and you'll have more business than the guy next door with his Stanford degree.
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Postby Mankind » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:27 am

John Bear wrote:If entering private practice is the eventual plan, I would guess that the vast number of people who choose therapists do not do so on the basis of where they earned their degree. And even if they see the diploma on the wall, they're not going to do an internet search. And even if they do an internet search, they probably won't do it to the level of finding the snarky things people like me have written.

When you hang up the SCUPS shingle, put a fraction of the $22,000 you've saved into marketing, and you'll have more business than the guy next door with his Stanford degree.


Wow, that is the single most impressive and realistic advice I have seen on any distance learning discussion board.

I am impressed…
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Postby vinny123 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 2:14 pm

[quote="John Bear"]If entering private practice is the eventual plan, I would guess that the vast number of people who choose therapists do not do so on the basis of where they earned their degree. And even if they see the diploma on the wall, they're not going to do an internet search. And even if they do an internet search, they probably won't do it to the level of finding the snarky things people like me have written.

When you hang up the SCUPS shingle, put a fraction of the $22,000 you've saved into marketing, and you'll have more business than the guy next door with his Stanford degree.[/quote]


John, thanks for your excellent feedback. I would appreciate your input regarding several other questions I have re: this and another school.

Regarding SCUPS, I am concerned that there is a possibility that the school will cease operations due to its not meeting state standards or due to unforseen business decisions. These concerns emanate from posts I have read on other distance chatrooms and from a discussion with a representative of the California State Board of Psychology Licensure. This person related the possibility that state approved schools offering doctorates in Psychology can be expeditiously closed down IF the governor decides to do so and if laws are passed by the state legislature. As you know, the state of California is attempting to gradually eliminate these state approved purveyors of Psychology doctorates. In addition, although I plan to use the degree for private consultation/coaching work, it is also possible that colleagues will perceive this degree and its possessor (me) as not being up to par with standards for clinical practice even if I obtain state licensure.

Recently, I spoke with a senior administrator of California Coast University and he indicated that based on the DETC doctoral pilot study in progress, that several doctoral programs, one in business and the other in Psychology, are being conceptualized and planned for future implementation. If this comes to pass, do you believe that a DETC doctorate in Psychology will have any credibility as a professional degree? Thanks, Vinny

Thanks, Vinny
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Postby vinny123 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 2:15 pm

[quote="John Bear"]If entering private practice is the eventual plan, I would guess that the vast number of people who choose therapists do not do so on the basis of where they earned their degree. And even if they see the diploma on the wall, they're not going to do an internet search. And even if they do an internet search, they probably won't do it to the level of finding the snarky things people like me have written.

When you hang up the SCUPS shingle, put a fraction of the $22,000 you've saved into marketing, and you'll have more business than the guy next door with his Stanford degree.[/quote]


John, thanks for your excellent feedback. I would appreciate your input regarding several other questions I have re: this and another school.

Regarding SCUPS, I am concerned that there is a possibility that the school will cease operations due to its not meeting state standards or due to unforseen business decisions. These concerns emanate from posts I have read on other distance chatrooms and from a discussion with a representative of the California State Board of Psychology Licensure. This person related the possibility that state approved schools offering doctorates in Psychology can be expeditiously closed down IF the governor decides to do so and if laws are passed by the state legislature. As you know, the state of California is attempting to gradually eliminate these state approved purveyors of Psychology doctorates. In addition, although I plan to use the degree for private consultation/coaching work, it is also possible that colleagues will perceive this degree and its possessor (me) as not being up to par with standards for clinical practice even if I obtain state licensure.

Recently, I spoke with a senior administrator of California Coast University and he indicated that based on the DETC doctoral pilot study in progress, that several doctoral programs, one in business and the other in Psychology, are being conceptualized and planned for future implementation. If this comes to pass, do you believe that a DETC doctorate in Psychology will have any credibility as a professional degree? Thanks, Vinny

Thanks, Vinny
Vinny
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Postby Bill Huffman » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:30 pm

The school closing down is a real risk when pursuing an unaccredited degree. As is the future utility especially if you decide you would like to move to a different state. The most important thing to remember is that should you decide to pursue an unaccredited and in the future you run into problems do not blame anyone but yourself. Too many times I've seen people getting irrate and try to blame Dr. Bear for their own decision to pursue an unaccredited degree.
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Postby vinny123 » Mon Mar 20, 2006 3:55 pm

[quote="Bill Huffman"]The most important thing to remember is that should you decide to pursue an unaccredited and in the future you run into problems do not blame anyone but yourself. Too many times I've seen people getting irrate and try to blame Dr. Bear for their own decision to pursue an unaccredited degree.[/quote]

I really don't understand the need to be lectured!

I am seeking specific information that will assist me in making a decision and am not seeking to blame others for my decisions. So please if you have some feedback regarding the issues I raised I am looking forward to hearing it. If not, thank you anyway.

Vinny
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Postby Jack » Mon Mar 20, 2006 4:24 pm

Some time ago, back on degreeinfo, there was a thread in which it was stated that a couple of SCUPS graduates had been accepted for licensure in states other than California. I don't know if this was ever verified but it would certainly be worth checking. I have discovered through my own experience that degree/licensure portability is an important aspect of the accredited vs. unaccredited debate. I have long had the idea that many SCUPS grads are unconcerned about this because they are already licensed based upon their Masters degree. Someone without that advantage is, well, without that advantage.
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Postby Hungry Ghost » Mon Mar 20, 2006 6:11 pm

Here's what the California Psychboard thinks of the CA-approved psych-schools.

http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/licensing/unaccredited.htm

It seems that they are distinctly underwhelmed. That probably reflects the general opinion of the psychology profession in the state.

In fact, current California state law requires that newly licensed clinical psychologists have regionally accredited degrees, except that the existing state approved schools at the time the legislation was passed were grandfathered in. It's no longer possible to start new licensure-qualifying state-approved psych schools in California and the existing number of schools can only decrease.

The new state law requires that the residual state approved schools prominently display this disclaimer:

"Prospective students should be aware that as a graduate of an unaccredited school of psychology you may face restrictions that could include difficulty in obtaining a teaching job or appointment at an accredited college or university. It may also be difficult to work as a psychologist for some federal government or other public agencies, or to be appointed to the medical staff of a hospital. Some major managed care organizations, insurance companies, or preferred provider organizations may not reimburse individuals whose degrees are from unaccredited schools. Graduates of unaccredited schools may also face limitations in their abilities to be listed in the National Register of Health Service Providers or to hold memberships in other major organizations of psychologists."

Here's a guest article on the Psychboard site that goes into greater detail on accreditation issues in California clinical psychology.

http://www.psychboard.ca.gov/archive/doris.htm
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Postby David » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:19 pm

Good luck, Vinny; I lost a lot of sleep over a similar decision 25 years ago. I’ve approached the pursuit of obtaining a license to practice psychology from both the front and back door … the front is better.

I try to encourage people who approach your dilemma to think beyond obtaining the license. You’ll likely experience both formal and informal limitations. The formal may come from acceptance into things like HMO panels and hospital privileging. Informally, other professionals may be reluctant to refer.

I persevered and earned an APA approved degree and internship. It was worth the effort.
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Postby Fortiterinre » Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:46 am

Good points about formal and informal limitations, I would add:

California is virtually alone in allowing these kind of programs, and the California legislature could simply change the standard and join the rest of the country in basically requiring APA-approval for doctoral licensure. I see this as a big risk; in health care management standards are often changing, especially in areas of what-type-of-license-can-do-what. In my first few years as a healthcare administrator, one standard for patient consultation requiring social workers, occupational therapists or recreation therapists to consult was changed so that only rec therapists qualified. Good for rec therapists, bad for the others.

Many job descriptions are written requiring regionally accredited degrees endorsed by the professional organization. A social worker grandfathered into licensure with a BSW would not qualify for a job that required a Council on Social Work Education-approved MSW, even though the individual is successfully licensed. I have seen hospices and hospitals lose or demote experienced social workers simply for not having the proper graduate degree.

If in a job interview you are given a job description requiring this type of degree, you might have an obligation to disclose that you do not have the professional-approved degree even if the interviewer does not catch this.

Third party payors often require that you hold the approved education for reimbursement. They are worried about their risk managament and liability and are unlikely to make exceptions.

To beat an old horse, using a master-level counseling, social work, or nursing license to practice psychotherapy while using a PsyD to call yourself "Doctor" is fraught with danger. Read the state disciplinary reports, I doubt there is a single year without a case of licensure discipline for this.

Finally, psychology I think is especially vulnerable to this kind of tumult. When one considers that unlicensed psychology PhD's at Ivy League schools can be disiciplined for calling themselves "psychologists" rather than "psychological researchers," one is not optimistic for unlicensed PsyD programs that sound like they are being phased out.

Sorry if this sounds negative--Ryokan especially just seems too good to be true.
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Postby Rich Douglas » Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:40 pm

I'm SHOCKED! :shock: John Bear has violated the "RA or No Way" canon that we all swore to in that secret meeting several years ago. You remember, the one where we all conspired to disparage legitimate unaccredited schools, to equate them with degree mills, etc. Remember? Oh, maybe it didn't happen.

Please note John's caveat about private practice. Using such a degree for employment might have some limitations.

SCUPS and Ryokan have been operating for about 20 years each. While well-established schools sometimes go out of business, there doesn't seem to be--on the surface anyway--any reason to think these two are any more likely to do so than others.
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Postby vinny123 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:18 pm

[quote="David"]Good luck, Vinny; I lost a lot of sleep over a similar decision 25 years ago. I’ve approached the pursuit of obtaining a license to practice psychology from both the front and back door … the front is better.

I try to encourage people who approach your dilemma to think beyond obtaining the license. You’ll likely experience both formal and informal limitations. The formal may come from acceptance into things like HMO panels and hospital privileging. Informally, other professionals may be reluctant to refer.

I persevered and earned an APA approved degree and internship. It was worth the effort.[/quote]


Thanks David for your feedback. I agree with you. My problem is that I am an "older" guy who is actually seeking this degree for personal satisfaction rather than for professional gain or recognition. I have completed all my course work in a RA counseling doctoral degree program but did not feel that a degree in this discipline really met my intended objective. Vinny
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Nomenclature

Postby nosborne48 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:39 pm

Ummm..."snarky"?

Is that a technical term? :D

Seriously, I thought that psychology licensure was sort of like lawyer licensure...some states require APA degree, some do not. Is this not the case?
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Postby vinny123 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 4:54 pm

[quote="Fortiterinre"]Good points about formal and informal limitations, I would add:

FORTITERINRE- California is virtually alone in allowing these kind of programs, and the California legislature could simply change the standard and join the rest of the country in basically requiring APA-approval for doctoral licensure. I see this as a big risk...

VINNY- The writing is on the wall". California has already begun the process to eliminate state approved schools offering psychology doctorates. I believe that it is just a matter of time prior to to these schools gradually being eliminated through attrition, by way of going for other standards of accreditation (ie, RA or DETC) or by future legistlation inidicating their termination.

FORTITERINRE-If in a job interview you are given a job description requiring this type of degree, you might have an obligation to disclose that you do not have the professional-approved degree even if the interviewer does not catch this.

VINNY- My primary purpose in obtaining a doctorate in Psychology at this stage in my life is not to work for any organization but as a personal attainment. Yes, being referred to as "doctor" would be good, but I do not require this designation to engage in practice.

FORTITERINRE-Third party payors often require that you hold the approved education for reimbursement. They are worried about their risk managament and liability and are unlikely to make exceptions.

VINNY-I agree.

FORTITERINRE-To beat an old horse, using a master-level counseling, social work, or nursing license to practice psychotherapy while using a PsyD to call yourself "Doctor" is fraught with danger. Read the state disciplinary reports, I doubt there is a single year without a case of licensure discipline for this.

VINNY- Yes, It could backfire. In a number of states it is already illegal to use state approved doctoral degrees or titles. However, in a number of others it is permitted as long as one does not claim to be a "psychologist".

FORTITERINRE-Finally, psychology I think is especially vulnerable to this kind of tumult. When one considers that unlicensed psychology PhD's at Ivy League schools can be disiciplined for calling themselves "psychologists" rather than "psychological researchers," one is not optimistic for unlicensed PsyD programs that sound like they are being phased out.

VINNY- I know of an Organizational Psychologist who was informed in Florida that it was illegal to refer to oneself as a "Psychologist" unless licensed in with an APA clinical degree. Now, Organizational Psychology doctoral programs are not approved by the APA. So, although this guy obtained an RA doctorate in a nonclinical area of psychology and was very forthright re: this fact he was warned that to refer to himself as a Psychologist could result in disciplinary charges for misrepresentation!

FORTITERINRE- Sorry if this sounds negative--Ryokan especially just seems too good to be true.

VINNY- No, it does'nt sound negative at all! Ryokan is an interesting entity. It has a brick and mortar component and has an unusually high passing rate on the national psychology licensing exam. However, their tuition costs, approximately $32,000, is extremely high when you consider that they do not offer an online library database and that the degree is not utilizable in the majority of other states for licensure. In my opinion it is not worth the tuition.
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