I want to change career to clinical psychology

Information about qualifications, experience and the typical career path

I want to change career to clinical psychology

Postby katja » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:17 am

Changing career can include a wide range of people, from those starting with no experience in mental health at all, to those who come from related area such as forensic. I’ll try and cover all camps, but revisions and additions are welcome.

A good place to start is the British Psychological Society (BPS) website
http://www.bps.org.uk/careers/careers-i ... r_home.cfm
There are lots of useful wikis on this site to learn more about what the role involves, for example
What do Clinical Psychologists do? viewforum.php?f=19

You will need to obtain Graduate Basis for Chartership (GBC) before you are able to apply for the Clinical Psychology doctoral programme. You get this when you complete a course accredited by the BPS. You may already have it if you already have psychology degree (it used to be called GBR, it’s the same thing). If you already have a degree in another subject unrelated to psychology then you can complete a conversion course to obtain GBC. These usually take a year to complete or you can choose to study part-time. Details of these accredited conversion courses can be found on the BPS website. Once you have GBC, the next step is to try to gain relevant experience. There are lots of wikis about this for example
Volunteering viewtopic.php?t=12
What should I do next? viewtopic.php?t=1747
Typical route viewtopic.php?t=341

Looking back, I think it would have been useful for me to know when I first started my career change that it would realistically take 3-4 years to develop enough experience. The journey to training can be enjoyable and worthwhile, but the timescale is something to consider. There is the issue of finances. If you are leaving a well-paid job, gaining experience when working at bands 3-5 in the NHS may necessitate changes. Research Assistant jobs are generally higher paid if you have relevant experience, but you would most probably need to have some experience of working with a clinical population as well to be considered for further training. Also Assistant Psychologist posts are usually on a six month or year fixed contract which means a lot of toleration of uncertainty!

When you complete the application form to apply for Clinical Psychology Doctoral training it is important to summarise your reasons for your career change in box 12c (correct as 2010 entry). Keep it concise, but it’s a good idea to make your reasons explicit. Remember that the reviewers are interested in your commitment and experience you have gained in clinical psychology to assess your suitability for training.

If this all seems too much, there are many alternatives to Clinical Psychology that involve similar work. For example: see this wiki for ideas: viewtopic.php?t=251

Am I too old?

No you are not! The average age of a clinical psychology trainee is around 28. It may be more difficult for older applicants but with persistence and determination it is possible and there are people in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s on Clinical Psychology Doctoral training. Some courses may have more older candidates than others.
According to statistics from the Clearing House, in 2009 the majority of successful applicants were aged 25-29 (54%), followed by those under 25 (29%), 30-34 (11%) and 35+ (6%). However, it’s worth remembering that there are fewer applicants applying for training from the over 35’s, as only 11% of applications were received from the over 35’s. In 2009 around 1 in 17 (6%) of people who were successful and were offered a place on Clinical Psychology training were over 35. These details are taken from the clearing house website: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/chpccp/BasicEopps.html

There are some interesting discussions on the forum about age which you can find by a search, for instance
viewtopic.php?t=9613&highlight=age
viewtopic.php?t=1189&highlight=age

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Content checked by Borrowed Cone on 20/04/13.
Last modified on 20/04/13.
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