This is going to be tough for you, financially.
If you plan on working with people, you will be doing a lot of clinical hours without pay.
I was on several rehab teams, as the speech and language pathologist in the hospitals, clinics, as well as the schools.
I have a number of friends that are school psychologists. They were all self-funded for grad school. A number of my friends who are clinical psychologists, worked in the clinics with me and funded their grad school programs with loans.
One colleague attended a for profit, Psych. school and owes $350,000. She wasn’t making the kind of money that she thought all of her degrees would bring her. She lives with her parents, husband, and her child at home and drives a truck that her Dad had to give to her. They can’t afford to buy a home.
Because you are a nontraditional student, you may be able to find someone to help you fund your program, but that’s where research comes in on your part.
Depending on the program that you enter, and the school, you may have to have at least 1200 hours of documented, unpaid work with pediatric patients, including peds/adolescents, elderly, and marriage and family patients, all without pay.
That is what some of the psychologists that I worked with were required to have for their practicum. They were then given a certificate, by the facility, noting the number of hours spent with patients, under supervision, by a licensed clinical psychologist.
Edited to add: these are strictly patient contact hours and did not include charting time, typed Medical reports/test summaries, time spent doing research with medical records, time spent consulting with colleagues, etc. All of that is on your own time, unpaid.
I think it’s admirable that you want to go into this field, at this age. I think, financially, it’s going to be a struggle if you can’t self fund.
Plus, the added expense of clothing can hit hard. You are expected to wear professional clothing in every setting, which gets expensive, but the way my friends and I got around that, was to go to consignment shops and secondhand stores. Some clinical sites will only take you if you can put in full-time work during your practicum. That means you need to bring lunches and snacks because you’ll be there all day.
And based on what you said, I think the school psychologist route is probably more realistic. Good luck!