A good age

Your chance to ask for advice on any aspect of career development that doesn't fit in any of the above categories
Rich
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A good age

Post by Rich » Tue Sep 04, 2007 12:36 am

I'm new to this forum - and what a fantastic resource I'm finding it to be.

I'm embarking on a career change, and after an exhaustive search I've settled on clinical psychology or counselling psychology as my two most promising options.

My background - I have a completely unrelated humanities degree, but I've spent the 20 years since then in publishing, reading, editing and otherwise working on scientific, medical and mathematical books.

I'm on the verge of embarking on an OU Psychology degree, counselling training and various forms of voluntary work which I hope will provide me with valuable experience.

However, I'm taking pause to ask one question which I haven't really found a straight answer to - at 41, am I too old? Even if all goes well, I'll probably be 48 when I qualifying. Private practice aside, will there be any employment opportunities for me?

Any opinions gratefully received.

Rich

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Dr.Dot
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Post by Dr.Dot » Tue Sep 04, 2007 7:54 am

Nice to see you!

I guess the answer is, that it will be hard(er), perhaps. But not impossible. A friend of mine is about to start training at 50. It will be getting on the course...the amount of investment that will be the most difficult barrier I think, rather than post qualification.

Counselling Psychology no so much I think though, as it is self-funded.

True grit, detemination, reflection, and passion can overcome much.

All the best, and let us know how you are getting on.

Glad you are finding the forum, and wikis helpful.
Dorothy: Now which way do we go?

Kit
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Post by Kit » Tue Sep 04, 2007 1:21 pm

Hi Rich

It's not impossible, I started out at a similar age to yourself, although I decided not to do the OU conversion as it took too long (4 years), I did a conversion P/T over 2 years, whilst working in education as a TA and learning mentor. Then a couple of years working in the NHS as a PMHW after graduating, and I start training this year.

This sounds quite simplistic, but it wasn't, it's hard work!!! but I've enjoyed every moment of it, which I couldn't say about my previous career.

Rich
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Joined: Mon Sep 03, 2007 3:05 pm

Post by Rich » Wed Sep 05, 2007 10:44 pm

Many thanks for the encouraging and suitably daunting replies. I shall press on with more confidence now.

Thanks

Rich

g4reth
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Post by g4reth » Wed Feb 25, 2009 10:31 am

Old thread, but I'll give it a go anyway . . . does anyone have any updates on the situation here?

I'm 40 myself and about to embark on the same journey, although I'm gaining the necessary 60 credits in Psychology via the OU before undertaking a f/t conversion course, so would really appreciate any feedback from more 'mature' trainees as to how things panned/are panning out.

Thanks for this forum too - a fabulous resource!!

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miriam
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Post by miriam » Wed Feb 25, 2009 5:27 pm

The minimum standard, when I last heard it, was 10 years working life in the NHS left by the time you qualify - so that would mean qualifying before 55 years of age.

I think it would now be considered discriminatory to use age as a deciding factor in awarding places on training, or in employment, but IMHO it is a reasonable thing to consider - partly in terms of forming good relationships with your training cohort (who will mainly be in their late 20s and early 30s) and partly in terms of the return the NHS gets for the £100,000+ spend on training in terms of the remaining duration of your career - although not nearly as important as having the necessary academic competence and skills built up through experience.

So, if you are thinking about a career change, and you are older, I'd be realistic that it is a long journey without a guaranteed path to success. If you are 40 before you start your degree or equivalence, you need to think that it might take a year or two to secure that, and then you'll need relevant clinical or research experience and/or a post-graduate qualification, before the 3 year doctoral training - maybe a path of 7 years. I don't think its impossible, but it will take a lot of commitment, and you'll need to be able to really shine compared to the competition - and maybe your added 'life experience' can let you do that?
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

g4reth
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Post by g4reth » Thu Feb 26, 2009 8:43 am

Thanks for the response, Miriam. I think you're absolutely right - the only way this can be approached effectively is if it's as much about the journey as the goal.

Of course I'd be lying if I didn't say that I *want* success, I *want* to be a CP at the end of it all. And there's no denying how scary it all is, to be starting again at my age.

Having said that, life's for living, right? Maybe, just maybe, I'll be one of those 3%. And if not, I'm sure it'll be a most glorious ride!

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miriam
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Post by miriam » Thu Feb 26, 2009 11:45 pm

Yeah, enjoying the journey is essential, as is doing everything to the best of your ability, and making and taking as many opportunities as possible.

3% is an unduly pessimistic figure, even if only 3% of successful applicants are over the age of 40, only 5% of all applicants are over 40 - so in some ways if you get to the point of being ready to apply you have a 3/5 chance of being successful :)
Miriam

See my blog at http://clinpsyeye.wordpress.com

g4reth
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Post by g4reth » Fri Feb 27, 2009 9:04 am

Cripes - I have got a long way to go!

I'd have needed SPSS to work that one out :D

tinkerbella
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Post by tinkerbella » Sat Feb 28, 2009 2:33 am

We have 2 people in our training cohort who are 45 (in their 1st year of CP training) another who is 42 and one who is 40, so I don't think it's unusual to come to the career a bit later in life! :D

g4reth
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Post by g4reth » Mon Mar 02, 2009 9:21 am

Assuming you don't live on a remote Scottish island with three other people and the smallest psychology department in the world, this is extremely positive news! Thanks tinkerbella - every little helps and this is one more piece of the puzzle convincing me to give it my best shot. Which is precisely what I'm going to do :wink:

catg
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Post by catg » Tue Mar 03, 2009 6:10 pm

I too am finding this very encouraging to read. I am 36 and currently struggling to get an AP post, having got my 2:1 from the OU in 2005 and with two littlies at home (5 and 3)! Have had quite a few interviews over the past year and a half with positive feedback, but there's always someone with more relevant experience!
Anyway I now feel I am not alone, so here's to all us over 35s! Good luck to us all :D

g4reth
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Post by g4reth » Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:48 pm

Good luck to you, catg, though I have to say you're still a young'un as far as I'm concerned :wink: Mind you, everyone does seem to be getting younger these days :roll:

I'd really appreciate it if you'd consider keeping us updated on how things go - I think it's a really valuable resource here and maybe we (the over 35s) can provide a little support (and warnings about potential pitfalls!) for each other along the way?

Anyway . . . best of luck!

astra
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Post by astra » Wed Mar 04, 2009 10:51 am

Dunno if it helps at all, but I started undergrad at 27, worked for a couple of years before getting an AP post, had 2 AP posts, a baby, another AP post and started training at 36, had to extend my training by a few months as I went part time due to the challenges of being a parent of a young child whilst training, so finished at the age of 40. 2 years on I've just got my upgrade to band 8A and all the angst about being too old to train and never catching up with where I should have been if only I'd started sooner, has gone, I'm happy in my job, earning a good salary and have the flexibility to manage being a working parent. It's been a slog at times but it's a rewarding career and seems set to remain so. Go oldies, I say!

g4reth
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Post by g4reth » Thu Mar 05, 2009 8:53 am

Thanks astra - and well done for sticking with it.

If anyone else of a more mature calibre has been / is going through the process, I for one would love to hear from you. I'll also attempt to keep you all posted on my own enterprise, though given that I'm just starting on the conversion diploma with the OU, there'll be a long way to go yet :D

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