Assistant Psychologist - UK or abroad?

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Assistant Psychologist - UK or abroad?

Post by fRogers » Mon Jun 18, 2018 2:56 pm

Hi :)

I'm looking for the best quality of life - I have no significant family or friends in the UK where I live now, no specific ties to the country and a dual citizenship with UK and America, meaning I will be able to work there without issue. Where, in your eyes, would be the best country to live and work in?

My next question - what kind of salaries are available in America for psychology jobs, and what kind of taxation will I incur? I don't know their system to any resources/advice would be excellent. UK tax is super easy - as demonstrated with this salary calculator which shows all the brackets and figures associated, a great resource if you ask me.

Thank you in advance :)

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Re: Assistant Psychologist - UK or abroad?

Post by maven » Sun Jul 15, 2018 4:21 pm

I don't think many of us know the American system. For progress towards being a CP in the UK, experience here is generally the best possible option. But setting aside all issues of equivalence and career progression and thinking purely about quality of life, I think there is a lot to be said for Canada and Australasia, as well as Scandinavia if you can overcome the language barriers and colder weather. But just as a place to live, a friend of mine is spending time in a business centre in Bali at the moment - great beaches, great weather, cheap cost of living, and lots of skilled colleagues to collaborate with - so it makes me quite jealous!

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Re: Assistant Psychologist - UK or abroad?

Post by benbrand » Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:09 am


I'm a Clinical Research Coordinator working on a study that looks at cognitive remediation within the context of first-episode psychosis. The role of an assistant psychologist doesn't really exist out here, so a CRC position is probably the closest you're going to get- I'm primarly involved with neuropsych and clinical assessment, participant recruitment and retention, and overseeing implementation of the study intervention. I work within an MDT at 3 different first-episode programs. The CRC is typically the sort of role people attain prior to clinical psychology programs in the US. In terms of cost of living; that's a difficult question to answer as there's a huge amount of variability in salary across states. I work in the San Francisco, CA, which is a notoriously expensive city to live in, so my salary is probably higher than someone in the same position as me in say, Louisianna. I think the average for a research coordinator is around $40,000?

In terms of my own reflection; I've loved loved loved my time here and have had some wonderful experiences and supervisors. However, regarding getting onto a UK DClinPsy program, its probably hindered me. For one, I think it worked against me that I didn't have a referee that was trained in the UK- not only is the admissions process here drastically different in the US, but also how you might go about communicating and reflecting upon your own or someone else's experience. For example, the personal statements and references I have read seemed a little sensationalised and over-zealous, which I get the impression might be unfavourable against people reviewing your application- I guess this could be seen as something of a culture clash.

Also, Speaking from personal experience, the NHS is, and I'm sure people will disagree, a very insular and protective institution which can be difficult to break into as an outsider. You should also be mindful that your mentor might be someone that has no idea how competitive the DClinPsy is or what NHS CP does, which can make supervision/mentorship difficult at times.

Some universities have strict residency criteria- most ask that you have been living in the UK 3 years prior to starting the DClinPsy. It seems like this is assessed on an individual basis depending on ties you've maintained with the UK, though. I'm currently undergoing assessment by Univ of Manchester as to what my fee status- I've been out here six years on an off, but am only a citizen of the UK. If I end up needing to be resident in the UK for 3 years prior to starting I'm not entirely sure if I'll end up pursuing the doctorate. I move back to the UK next year and will look for work as an AP, so It's going to be interesting to see how that translational shift plays out.

Anyway! I think the bottom line is that you should just be careful with your decision- if you want to be a clinical psychologist in the UK and you're in a rush to get on, get your experience in the UK.

Sorry for the length, but as I am about to hit 29, It's something I've been thinking a lot about recently and I wish someone would have been there to explain some of this to me 6 years ago!


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Re: Assistant Psychologist - UK or abroad?

Post by miriam » Tue Jul 17, 2018 4:22 pm

I think that all sounds like good advice. I thought that you had to be a UK citizen, and resident in the UK to qualify for home fee status for the doctorate. I didn't realise that saying out of the country for a few years before applying would change that, or that they require 3 years of residence for British citizens - that seems pretty strange and defensive to me. But I'd welcome someone with your experience as an AP!

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