Am I too old to retrain?

Discuss the content and style of the different clinical psychology doctoral training courses, the differences between them, placements, teaching, chat to other trainees and connect with other people who have places on the same course
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Am I too old to retrain?

Post by clownface » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:15 pm

I can't find anywhere where this has been discussed before but would be interested in hearing people's views as I am in my mid 40's and would like to apply this year to re-train.

Maybe people who are "older" could give me some idea of their experience, both of getting on and studying with a (presumably) younger cohort?

Thanks :)

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Post by magrat » Tue Jun 08, 2010 4:29 pm

There are a few threads discussing issues of relevance to older applicants - this one viewtopic.php?t=1189&highlight=mature might be a good start.

There are quite a few folk around who have either done or are in the early stages of trying to get on to the DClinPsy at an older age than the majority - I'm one of them. A few searches should find you some other threads that might be of interest to you.

The first thing I would ask is exactly what you mean when you say you plan to apply to re-train this year. Do you mean for the Doctorate or for an undergrad psych course? Depending on your previous qualifications and experience, getting on to training can be a long road - it's very competitive. Apologies if you already know this, but if you're not already really clear on the career path and exactly what type of qualifications and experience you'll need, then the wiki section here is a really good place to start.

Good luck, and if you've any further questions, then there's lots of folk on here who I'm sure will be happy to help.

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Post by miriam » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:16 pm

Other threads I found with a quick search:

And about age and training more broadly:

Hope they are helpful :)

See my blog at

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Post by clownface » Wed Jun 09, 2010 10:36 am

Thanks for your replies. They are very useful and somewhat reassuring.

I have BA and MSc in psych and work in research but would prefer more rewarding work with people (rather than SPSS!) I am doing voluntary work and appreciate it is very competitive but like Rich in one of the earlier threads Miriam sent (thank you) it is daunting if you feel there is a barrier that you cannot change.

I guess I must just take the plunge... :?


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Post by Alfie » Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:29 pm


I'm just coming to the end of my training. I started the course at the age of 44 so I would say go for it!!

What is more of a worry is whether there will ba a job at the end of training things are pretty scarce out there so that might be something to think about.

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Post by clownface » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:07 pm

Thanks for that Alfie, its reassuring to hear from someone in a similar position.

I'm desparately trying to gain clinical experience at present, not easy...

Clownface :?

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Post by Apt Pseudonym » Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:52 pm


I understand how you feel. :)

I've been accepted on the ClinPsyD at Birmingham; I'm due to start this year (Oct 2010). This was my first year of applying and I was offered places at two universities - and I'm 45 years old!

Your qualification and experience will be the factors that get you an interview, but I honestly believe at the interview they are simply looking for potential; ie, whether they think you will make a good Clinical Psychologist - I don't believe your age comes into it.

I had all the same doubts as you; I thought I wouldn't be accepted because I'm too old - and I also worried that I won't fit in with my cohort - but, of the ones I've met so far, the other trainees are just simply nice people, so I'm now not too worried about that.

As someone else has mentioned, getting a job at the end is something I'm concerned about - I'll be 48 and newly qualified! - but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it :) I'm currently a university lecturer, so I'm giving up a good job to retrain, but it definitely feels like the right thing to do.

Don't let your fears hold you back. There is no reason why you should get a place - remember you have a wealth of experience to offer.

Very best of luck! :)

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Post by RG » Fri Jun 18, 2010 4:29 pm

but surely if youre not discriminated against when it comes to getting on a course then subsequently you wont be discriminated against if you are the right person for the job? wont the employer guidelines essentialy be the same, and applied just as assidiously? i mention this as a 41 year old who had previously been concerned about this sort of thing and had thought the problem had been put behind him. well done on the success first time round, by the way.

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Post by Apt Pseudonym » Fri Jun 18, 2010 8:24 pm

Just spotted a whacking error in my previous message - it should say, there is no reason why you SHOULDN'T get a place! Sorry! :oops:

Thanks RG :) - you're right, we need to stay optimistic

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Post by larios » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:02 am

I was concerned about being the oldest trainee in my cohort in my 40's but I shouldn't have. In my cohort the split is 1/3 in their 20's, 1/3 in their 30's and 1/3 in their 40's. I think we are quite unusual as the statistics show about 5% of people training are over 40. I think Leicester Uni values diversity and is open to people with very varying pathways to training. I'm not sure about other courses although I got offers at Manchester and Trent as well. I didn't get an interview at Sheffield but I have known the odd older person get on there too.

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Post by Peyman » Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:20 pm

I think we should be careful about the use of the word 'old' here :)

Joking aside, I am 38 and I have been doing research for the last 10 years following my PhD. I am simply tired of sitting behind a desk number crunching and can't imagine myself doing this until I retire. I have experience working with clinical cases throughout my research which I discovered is the most enjoyable part of what I do. So I decided to retrain so I can do what I love full time?

Regarding jobs after training, I guess the same applies to any profession and any age. I don't think I have better chances of obtaining a lectureship in the current climate.

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Post by quovadis » Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:15 pm

hi all, first time on the site, what a godsend. I'm 45 and planning to apply for the first time this year too.Just wanted to say thanks for the links.I'm a bit concerned looking at the application form that there isn't much scope for non-occupational relevant experience to be brought in, which may disadvantage the non-traditional routees.

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Post by loopylisa » Thu Sep 02, 2010 3:43 pm

i disagree, theres an equal amount of space to reflect upon 'other' work experience for everyone and they have cut down the amount of jobs you can list( perhaps to place emphasis on more recent experience) so if you have recently changed careers there is as much scope as for anyone
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Post by quovadis » Thu Sep 02, 2010 7:11 pm

Hi, perhaps I'm missing something, but to my eyes the section on other relevant experience is apparently to fill in gaps in the CV - as confirmed in the explanatory notes to the online system. Which does rather suggest it's badly titled. Most of my recent relevant experience is voluntary work whilst I have a full time job, so it doesn't seem to fit in anywhere. :?

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Post by katja » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:48 am

You're both right, like loopylisa said the job list is for your most recent and relevant jobs, which includes voluntary work. If you have more relevant jobs than spaces I guess you have to choose which you want to highlight, that's the same for everyone. If want to mention your non relevant jobs its to fill in the gaps in your CV in the other relevant section. I only went back 5 years, and I didn't even mention my previous career in that section, although I reflected on some things about it in the personal statements.

You might find the wiki i've written on 'career changing' helpful, if not let me know and i'll try and fill the gaps! viewtopic.php?t=10391

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