BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

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MeganCF
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BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by MeganCF » Sun Jun 01, 2014 3:11 am

Hi all,

I'm a British citizen living in Canada, and committed to living here for the next 4-5 years or so. Long term, I'd like to be a counselling psychologist (I know this is a forum primarily for CPs, but there are lots of CoPs posting, too).

I have a BA and an MA already, but not in Psychology, so I know I'd need a BPS-accredited conversion course (or international equivalent) + PhD in order to practise as a CP in the UK.

My questions are beginner questions surrounding the BPS vs HCPC, but I can't seem to find a clear, straightforward answer anywhere online. Maybe I'm the only one with this confusion :? Basically, I'm trying to find out which body matters most, so to speak, in terms of planning a route from A to B when I'm based in Canada.

Here's what I think is the case:

BPS: accredits education?
As I understand it, the BPS accredits the conversion courses in the UK, and thus needs to accredit your education if you want to get GBC and thereby get chartered. Without this, you can't call yourself a psychologist. I wrote to the BPS and asked whether they could let me know if a degree here would be equivalent to a British conversion course. They wrote back and said they can't tell me in advance, but broadly my degree would need to (1) be at least 50% psychology, (2) be at least a 2nd class honours Bachelor's level, and (3) cover certain areas - namely, psychobiology, cognitive, social, developmental, individual differences, conceptual/historical issues, research, and an applied area of psychology (e.g. clinical, counselling, occupational).
They also said the only safe way to become eligible for GBC would be to take a BPS-accredited conversion course.

HCPC: registers practitioners?
When it comes to the HCPC, it looks like they're the body I need to register with in order to practise *as* a counselling psychologist. They don't accredit degrees, and they don't have any say in terms of whether my international degree is equivalent to a conversion course. But my name will be on their register for anyone to look me up and check that I'm a real psychologist. In this sense, there aren't any 'hoops' to jump through in the same way as with the BPS.

Broadly speaking, then, the accrediting body (for degrees) is separate from the registering body (for professionals).

Is this right? I'm assuming so, as it's the case in Canada...

If so then the main body I need to be in touch with from this stage (i.e., before my conversion course/MA) is the BPS. They are the ones whose 'boxes I have to tick' in terms of my education, and so their standards matter most. So, stages from here:

(1) I first need to make sure I graduate from an accredited conversion course in the UK, OR an equivalent course here in Canada (the equivalency of which is decided either way by the BPS)
(2) I can then get GBC through the BPS
(3) PhD
(4) I finally register with the HCPC, once I have my doctorate and my GBC.

Thanks for all your help! :)

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miriam
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by miriam » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:39 am

The BPS decide whether an undergraduate course has GBC, this is important if applying for AP posts or doctoral courses in the UK. If you train fully abroad to doctoral level then you have to meet the HCPC standard to be accredited as having equivalent training to be registered as a practitioner psychologist here. They will have someone look at your portfolio of qualifications and experience to see if it meets the criteria and the BPS has no say in it.
Miriam

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MeganCF
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by MeganCF » Mon Jun 02, 2014 6:19 pm

Thanks for your reply, Miriam!

From your reply, I think I've understood that the BPS accredits psychological education, while the HCPC regulates psychologists’ practice, once qualified. We need to be approved by the BPS to keep climbing the ladder; we register with the HCPC once we’ve reached the top of the ladder.

This means that when it comes to international education:

(1) If considering partial training (i.e., conversion course) abroad + doctoral program in Britain: make sure the BPS regards this conversion course as equivalent to an accredited British one. Without it, graduates can’t apply to a UK doctoral program.

(2) If considering full doctoral gaining abroad: don't deal with the BPS at all, and register with the HCPC in order to practise (and complete more training if deemed necessary).

However,

(3) If we then want to work towards Chartered Psychologist status once practising, it’s the BPS that confers this - and again needs to approve our training thus far, even if the HCPC has given us the green light (http://www.bps.org.uk/what-we-do/member ... r-cpsychol).

Is this all correct?

If so, the safest route is to do all the education through the UK - even if it means doing an accredited conversion course by distance!

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miriam
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by miriam » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:02 pm

Yes, that seems right :) Chartered status is optional though. You don't need to be chartered or even in the BPS to practice in the UK.
Miriam

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MeganCF
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by MeganCF » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:22 pm

Great, thanks! :) Two lengthy posts! Hope they're helpful to others in my situation!

Out of interest, do you know the percentage of psychologists practising the UK who choose not to register with the BPS?

I'm interested now as to how common it is not to be on the Register.

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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by matt.berlin » Tue Jun 03, 2014 8:56 pm

Anyone can call themselves a psychologist in the UK - you don't need GBC, or even any study in psychology (or any other subject) whatsoever. However, to use one of the protected "practitioner psychologist" titles such as clinical psychologist or counselling psychologist, you need to be registered with the HCPC or you are breaking the law.

Jobs in the NHS for clinical and counselling psychologists will require you to be HCPC registered. You could work in private practice having trained as a clinical or counselling psychologist, but wouldn't be able to call yourself such unless HCPC registered. Therefore it is not very common for people not to be registered.
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MeganCF
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by MeganCF » Tue Jun 03, 2014 10:22 pm

Thanks so much, Matt and Miriam, for all your help! I really appreciate it.

And for anyone else outside the UK considering international education, I found this document by the BPS outlining the different routes: http://www.cop.es/efppa/uk.htm

lakeland
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by lakeland » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:30 am

I think (and maybe people with BPS involvement can be more accurate) that fewer people are joining the BPS now the HCPC are the thing we have to pay for. In my experience, the higher-up psychologists who have been around for longer tend to be BPS members, whereas newly qualified people don't always opt in to membership.

MeganCF
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by MeganCF » Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:37 pm

Thanks, Lakeland - very interesting.

Although I suppose that if the more newly-qualified people then opt to work towards becoming chartered, then at that later point they'd have to go back to the BPS anyway... ?

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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by lakeland » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:17 pm

No - you don't need to join the BPS. Chartership and practitioner status are different things. You need the latter, but the former is just a status the BPS offer and isn't statutory or required in any way.

MeganCF
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by MeganCF » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:50 pm

Thanks, Lakeland. I understand the difference, but from my reading I'd got the impression that it can be a disadvantage, in terms of job prospects, if you aren't chartered.

lakeland
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by lakeland » Wed Jun 04, 2014 6:53 pm

That's not my impression - I hope not anyway!

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BlueCat
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by BlueCat » Wed Jun 04, 2014 10:20 pm

Not so much a disadvantage, but can be a benefit in the private sector.
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by astra » Thu Jun 05, 2014 9:34 am

Definitely if working privately it seems helpful to be on the BPS register - for one thing it's a free listing and companies do look there if they need a psychologist to do an assessment of their client (eg solicitors and rehab companies). Plus since working privately I've been much more interested in the CPD events the BPS put on and there's a substantial saving on these if you're a member (which in my case is then offset by the train fare to London but hey-ho). Most rehab companies that I've signed up with seem to want a minimum of BPS & HCPC and then as many other memberships as I can rustle up to prove my existence and worth!
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Re: BPS / HCPC with international degree - who matters most?

Post by BlueCat » Thu Jun 05, 2014 6:52 pm

I wonder if BPS membership will become more and more important as the health economy changes?
There's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. Billy Connolly.

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