Yorkville University MACP Program: FAQs About My Experience
Dear prospective Yorkville University goer's, current graduate level students, and anyone else who has come across this post today,
In recent months, I have received many emails and social media messages asking me to speak to my experience in completing my Master of Arts in Counselling Psychology (MACP) at Yorkville University. Although I am no expert by any means on the subject, I have been approached on numerous occasions to shed some light on the program, outside from the information provided from program advisers. Due to the online nature of the program, many prospective students are curious about the experience of completing such a degree and whether it holds any value in the working world. I figured I would write an update regarding the most FAQs I have received regarding the MACP program at Yorkville. Please be aware; however, that since completing the program, many aspects have changed including tuition costs, course duration, and course requirements. I cannot speak to those changes as they may be present today. The university has done many upgrades to program delivery to make it more user-friendly and to keep up with registration requirements for regulatory bodies in Canada (which is great in my opinion!)
FAQ 1: Were you able to work part-time/full-time while enrolled in the program at Yorkville?
Yes, I worked 2 part-time positions while completing the program from September 2017 to January 2019, and began working a full-time position beginning in February 2019 (I completed the program in full in April 2019). The program is delivered online to accommodate those who are currently working, raising a family, or their preferences are more inclined to an online-based program rather than a traditional brick-and-mortar school. I decided to pursue the Yorkville program over any other, simply due to the ease of logging in at any time of day to complete my coursework requirements, or interact with my professor and other students. I also appreciated the practical component of a placement, to really engrain the skills that were being taught. Experience is always key these days when it comes to job hunting post-grad. When I completed the coursework portion of the program (from September 2017-August 2018), classes were typically 5-10 weeks in duration, with assignments due at the end of each week or at the end of every-other week. The convenience of being able to work while completing the program allowed me to continually put money into my education, rather than racking up student debt. That’s a big advantage in my books!
FAQ 2: How long did it take you to complete the program?
It took me 1 year and 8 months to complete the program in full. I took the accelerated route to complete quicker than the average completion time of 2.5 years. You have up to 5 years to complete the program upon enrollment.
FAQ 3: Was the learning user-friendly online?
I personally found the online platform to be user-friendly and straightforward. Half-way through my coursework completion, an upgrade to the system and website was done which made the interface better in my opinion. I’m not sure what upgrades were made since then, but I’m sure they are constantly looking for ways to make it easier to access on many devices. At one point I completed 2 courses while away in Italy for 3 weeks!
FAQ 4: Was finding a practicum location easy? How was your practicum experience?
I could write an entire blog post about this but to keep it short and to-the-point…finding a practicum site was by far the most challenging part of the program. Yorkville claims that they assist in securing a site; however, this is not the case. They provide you with a list of possible sites that have accepted students in the past, but these were often outdated and/or not accepting students anymore in my experience. Also, most sites only take students at specific times of the year, so some colleagues had to defer (and pay a fee) to enter practicum at the time designated by the site.
Also, what you are not told in the tuition and fees conversation (and what I also did not anticipate having to budget for) is the fact that practicum supervisors may charge you for supervision. I paid a whopping $150 per week! For a 30-33-week practicum…you do the math. Please consider the fact that you will most likely have to pay a supervisor for their time if you are completing your practicum outside a community organization that may be funded by a ministry.
My practicum experience as a whole was not very good but did teach me some professional skills including how to budget my time as a therapist, how to communicate with new and current clients, and how to advertise and manage a private-practice. Although this was not taught to me by my supervisor at the time, it was something positive that I can take away from this experience at least. My advice on the matter; search for a practicum site about 1 year in advance and budget your expenses to consider possible supervisory fees.
FAQ 5: Was the course content difficult?
My undergraduate degree and research background was founded in the Psychology and Sociology disciplines, so I personally did not find the course content very challenging or different from what I had already known. I came across many students in the program who came from various backgrounds and educational disciplines outside the scope of Psychology, who had a more challenging time with the material as it was new information to them. As the course structure is quick and the learning is self-driven (professors don’t really “teach” in the traditional sense, they were simply there to grade your work and provide some feedback on your Discussion Question responses), you don’t have a ton of time to learn the material in a way that could be translated into an essay or report. I would recommend the program to those with a strong passion for mental health, counselling and a background in psychology.
FAQ 6: How much did the program cost in total?
This is a question I get a lot and something that I find a bit lucrative. I don’t typically feel comfortable discussing finances and how much I spent on my degree, as this is quite a personal question for me. Also, tuition for every Yorkville program, and any university in general, increases every year so the fees that I paid will look different then what they may be today. If you’re considering a graduate level program, expect to pay anywhere from $30,000-50,000 in total depending on the program and location. I would recommend you speak to a Yorkville program advisor about finances, payment options, and fees/expenses for 2020 and beyond (again, I am not a specialist on the program by any means, just speaking to my own experience!)
FAQ 7: Were you able to get registered to do psychotherapy after completing the program (i.e. College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario)?
Yes, I was successful in registering with the CRPO following the completion of my degree with Yorkville. I currently run an independent private practice as a Registered Psychotherapist on a part-time basis. I also secured a position at a local hospital, where I work as a Psychometrist full-time. I can only speak to registering in the Ontario and not to those located elsewhere.
FAQ 8: How much time per week did you dedicate to the program?
This varies depending on the course, assignments due, and how much time you personally have in a week. I typically would dedicate about 20-30 hours per week to the program including the completion of essays and assignments.
FAQ 9: Is a Master's degree required to be a psychotherapist?
In short, yes! But it really depends on the career path you are deciding upon. Helping individuals who are struggling with mental health-related conditions, trauma, or debilitating condition requires the help, guidance, and knowledge of an individual trained in providing appropriate interventions in psychotherapy. As of January 2020, psychotherapy is now a regulated act and profession in Canada and thus proper registration with governing bodies and colleges is a requirement for practice. If you are practicing psychotherapy and you are not a regulated to do so, this is a huge risk! Not only would you be risking your professionalism to be practicing out of your scope, but also risking the safety of your clients. A minimum of a Master's level degree is required to register as a Psychotherapist with the CRPO. With more regulations coming to ensure proper treatment and care in the community, these guidelines will become more strict with time.
FAQ 10: Does Yorkville adequately prepare you for the reality of working as a psychotherapist/counsellor?
Personally, only real-world experience will prepare you for life as a therapist. You unfortunately learn about burnout, counter transference, and emotional fatigue when you are in the thick of the therapy storm and with that experience, you learn strategies to cope. Working as a therapist, although extremely rewarding, can be emotionally draining at times. You cannot always prepare yourself for what stories will be told in your office, or what support you will need to provide on any given day. The important part is you are confident in your ability to seek personal support when you need it, take a break when you are called to do so, and have the supervision necessary to enhance your practice and skill sets. No textbook will tell you how to be the best therapist, you decide that on your own. Part of my practice is bringing my own personality and style into the therapy space. My clients know me to be honest, open about myself and my own personal struggles, and ultimately provide them with a cozy and homey space to talk about their biggest challenges. My practice was built of de-stigmatizing therapeutic experience and making it more...real. After all, life is real and it's happening all around us.
I hope this FAQ was informative to you in your journey of grad school hunting! Everyone’s experience is unique and different in their own ways, so I suggest asking other students about their experiences, making some phone calls to the schools themselves, and weighing the pros and cons that fit into your life. Grad school is no small feat and requires some advanced planning to ensure you will be successful in your endeavor. If you have the passion and motivation to enter the crazy and rewarding world of counselling psychology, I'd say its worth the time and effort!
Please note that due to the number of emails I receive from individuals looking to get my take on the program, I cannot always answer back to requests in a timely manner. Please use this post as an open and honest summary of my most frequently asked questions with regard to my experiences/reflections in the year since graduating. If you have any further questions about me, my practice, or my training; feel free to reach out via my contact page!
Wishing you the best of luck!