Medea91
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#1
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#1
I have my heart set out on becoming a clinical psychologist (like all us psychology undergraduates :rolleyes:)– its fiercely competitive and you need relevant ‘clinical’ experience but the much sought after assistant psychologist/research assistant jobs are very hard to come by. Recently I have considered becoming a social worker working in the mental health sector. To do so I would have to apply for an MA in social work. But then I got thinking maybe I could do both? As in work as a social worker for quite some time and later apply for a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

My questions are: Will this unconventional route actually be accepted to apply for the doctorate? Or should I just try and build on my work experience after I leave uni and pray I get somewhere?

Right now on my CV I have working for Night-line (like child-line/Samaritans etc.). I will be working with Samaritans soon. I'm volunteering abroad this summer - working at an orphanage.

I have a meeting with my tutor tomorrow but his area of speciality is animal cognition... so not much help there! So and advice will be much appreciated.
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Medea91
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#2
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#2
Anyone want to help me out?
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Medea91
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#3
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#3
I've made an appointment with my unis careers service but they will only give me general advice...
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lozzyhickers
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#4
Report 9 years ago
#4
(Original post by Mudya)
Anyone want to help me out?
That route should work fine. Some applicants haven't even done a masters degree, so having one under your belt, as well as relevant experience (Hospital volunteering etc.) should boost your application. Obviously it would be better if you had a more relevant masters, but it will do. And of course, the key is to keep trying, it often takes people more than one attempt to make it onto the course.
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Medea91
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#5
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#5
(Original post by lozzyhickers)
That route should work fine. Some applicants haven't even done a masters degree, so having one under your belt, as well as relevant experience (Hospital volunteering etc.) should boost your application. Obviously it would be better if you had a more relevant masters, but it will do. And of course, the key is to keep trying, it often takes people more than one attempt to make it onto the course.
Thanks for your advice. I think I'm going to give the MA a miss and try and find relevant experience straight away.
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Fuzzpig
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#6
Report 9 years ago
#6
Many places seem to be asking for a years experience minimum. So not several volunteering posts, but an actual years hard experience. My only experience so far is 1 month in a prison psychology department, but after my masters that I'll start this September, I'm aiming to get 2 years experience in an assistant post. After one year I'll start applying for doctorates.


I'm banking on getting these positions through family connections (as was the case with the prison job). I remember one of our lecturers telling us that many people will never be able to make it onto a doctorate simply because they never had the connections. Obviously that's not the whole story but it's a big part of it. It certainly gave us all something to think about.

So ask yourself: Is there anyone who can help you out with an assistant position?

Your MA in social work could (maybe) work so long as you are working with relevant populations. I'm not sure that you can be certain that this will grant you that chance though. You're in with even more of a chance if you can get extra experience that covers the range of populations: men, women, young adults, children (though this is particularly difficult). Of course this would need to be in some kind of clinical sense.

One tip: many applicants for the illusive assistants positions will have a relevant masters degree. Hence in my case MSc Forensic Psychology.

Another point: To work with a young adult population you should (are meant to!) be at least 4 years older than the oldest client, who should be about 19. Bare that in mind with any applications.

source: My dad's business consists of several clinical and forensic psychologists, and he employs a couple of psychologist assistants. I'm lucky to have an insight into what prospective employers/current clinical psychologists might want!
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Jackso
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#7
Report 9 years ago
#7
(Original post by aliluvschoc)
source: My dad's business consists of several clinical and forensic psychologists, and he employs a couple of psychologist assistants. I'm lucky to have an insight into what prospective employers/current clinical psychologists might want!
What might they want if you don't mind me asking? I'm not so sure the connections thing makes much sense though. It can give you a minor advantage but I really doubt getting a job as an AP is entirely due to who you know.
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DeepStar
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#8
Report 9 years ago
#8
Try not to limit yourself to AP and RA posts though as they are not the only roles that would be considered 'clinically relevant'. I read somewhere that statistically it is harder to land of these roles than it is to get on the doctorate training to don't let it dishearten you.

Additionally, it will be your ability to learn from the experiences and your reflection in the applications that will make you stand out more than anything.

Many people choose masters to improve on their research methods especially if they got a low 2:1 or simply want an option to fall back on but not everyone who gets on the doctorate has a masters - you just need to weigh up your options and decide, which option gives you the best chance of standing out.
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bekezela
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#9
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#9
(Original post by Mudya)
Anyone want to help me out?
I will be completing my degree in a couple of months to and i would love to do clinical or counselling psychology.been weighing on the same problem as you and have decided to do 1 year MSc in Research Psychology then proceed to do my phd/doctrate in the chosen field.
My reasons being: it is very competitive to go through from degree without any experience and also the cost.At least if i do the 1 year in research,then hopefully i can secure a job as a researcher (I have seen loads of vacancies for research assistants).....then perhaps then fund myself for that desired career path.And with a background in research hopefully i wont go wrong and struggle when it comes to the research projects at phd level.

Good luck to you
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Medea91
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#10
Report Thread starter 9 years ago
#10
(Original post by bekezela)
I will be completing my degree in a couple of months to and i would love to do clinical or counselling psychology.been weighing on the same problem as you and have decided to do 1 year MSc in Research Psychology then proceed to do my phd/doctrate in the chosen field.
My reasons being: it is very competitive to go through from degree without any experience and also the cost.At least if i do the 1 year in research,then hopefully i can secure a job as a researcher (I have seen loads of vacancies for research assistants).....then perhaps then fund myself for that desired career path.And with a background in research hopefully i wont go wrong and struggle when it comes to the research projects at phd level.

Good luck to you
But how will you be funding your masters? I would love to do a masters in cognitive neuroscience or research but won't be able to afford it My best bet is to try my utmost to find some relevant paid experience and save up for a masters.
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*Elizabeth*
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#11
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#11
(Original post by Mudya)
But how will you be funding your masters? I would love to do a masters in cognitive neuroscience or research but won't be able to afford it My best bet is to try my utmost to find some relevant paid experience and save up for a masters.
I took out a career development loan from barclays to pay for my research methods MSc at UCL which led to a successful competitive PhD scholarship at a different university.

You could always work part time to pay for your MSc. For example, I'm working part time in a care home (1 X 24 hr shift) to build up my clinical skills and I'm also helping out with an MSc course to help fund my current professional doctorate in health psychology.
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Medea91
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#12
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#12
(Original post by *Elizabeth*)
I took out a career development loan from barclays to pay for my research methods MSc at UCL which led to a successful competitive PhD scholarship at a different university.

You could always work part time to pay for your MSc. For example, I'm working part time in a care home (1 X 24 hr shift) to build up my clinical skills and I'm also helping out with an MSc course to help fund my current professional doctorate in health psychology.
The idea of getting a bank loan scares me, when and how will you be paying it back? I'm planning on finding some paid support work when I leave university to raise money for a masters, but I would ideally like to get straight in there.
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*Elizabeth*
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#13
Report 9 years ago
#13
(Original post by Mudya)
The idea of getting a bank loan scares me, when and how will you be paying it back? I'm planning on finding some paid support work when I leave university to raise money for a masters, but I would ideally like to get straight in there.
I've already paid back all of my bank loans. I paid most of my bank loans from my PhD scholarship money and from part time jobs. I found the career development loan process relatively easy and painless. The repayments after graduation were scary though (ie 182 pounds per month!), but thankfully I'm free of it.

I found my paid learning disability support worker job from the job centre website. I also obtained a care assistant job from the same website, but I resigned after a few shifts given serious question marks on how staff operated within the home.

Both places accepted me with very minimal clinical experience so it can be done! My support worker job is poorly paid however (ie just over minimum wage), but it's providing me with excellent one to one client based experience which I desperately need at the moment. I've been there for nearly 6 months now, but I don't imagine I'll be staying there for more than a year, I do enjoy it though!
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Medea91
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#14
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#14
(Original post by *Elizabeth*)
I've already paid back all of my bank loans. I paid most of my bank loans from my PhD scholarship money and from part time jobs. I found the career development loan process relatively easy and painless. The repayments after graduation were scary though (ie 182 pounds per month!), but thankfully I'm free of it.

I found my paid learning disability support worker job from the job centre website. I also obtained a care assistant job from the same website, but I resigned after a few shifts given serious question marks on how staff operated within the home.

Both places accepted me with very minimal clinical experience so it can be done! My support worker job is poorly paid however (ie just over minimum wage), but it's providing me with excellent one to one client based experience which I desperately need at the moment. I've been there for nearly 6 months now, but I don't imagine I'll be staying there for more than a year, I do enjoy it though!
Thanks for the advice! For me the best thing would be to find some paid experience when I leave university while still applying for/finding assistant psychologist/research assistant jobs - If after a year or 2 I'm still struggling I will apply for a masters to boost my chances.
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*Elizabeth*
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#15
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#15
(Original post by Mudya)
Thanks for the advice! For me the best thing would be to find some paid experience when I leave university while still applying for/finding assistant psychologist/research assistant jobs - If after a year or 2 I'm still struggling I will apply for a masters to boost my chances.
Yes, it's extremely important to leave your undergraduate degree with the best overall classification possible (ideally a first!), so don't let work experience spoil your chances of obtaining the best degree possible.

Also, be prepared that paid assistant psychologist (AP) and research assistant (RA) jobs are also very competitive and require graduates with excellent undergraduate classifcations, relevant paid research and/or clinical experience and in some cases, a completed postgraduate qualification. For example, my last RA job at UCL required an MSc in health psychology along with years of relevant research experience and I was tested on my SPSS and statistics skills prior to my interview! I was up against some stiff competition, but managed to secure the job!

I obtained several voluntary/honorary AP posts immeidately after graduation which helped me eventually obtain paid psychology graduate positions.

Best of luck x
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~ Purple Rose ~
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#16
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#16
I completed two-thirds of a social work MSc and it is something you should only do if you are 100% dedicated to it. I was and still had various problems (partly due to personal circumstances, partly due to the university/placements). It is two years of intense study and long placements, so if your heart isn't really in it (which mine wasn't by the end) it is very difficult.

I am training to be a counsellor now, with a view to applying to counselling or clinical psychology in a few years, but I also want to qualify as a counsellor, and am loving the course. Work experience is very important, as you know, so if you get as much as that as you can you may decide to pursue social work, or another masters degree, but make sure you know what it is first, especially with ELQ regulations and their implication for course fees.
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SoulfulBoy
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#17
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#17
(Original post by lozzyhickers)
That route should work fine. Some applicants haven't even done a masters degree, so having one under your belt, as well as relevant experience (Hospital volunteering etc.) should boost your application. Obviously it would be better if you had a more relevant masters, but it will do. And of course, the key is to keep trying, it often takes people more than one attempt to make it onto the course.
Nihongo o wakarimasuka
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FunkyChicken
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#18
Report 9 years ago
#18
I'm doing it the other way around - BA in Social Work (just completed) and then a masters in Psychology (conversion course). I think the Social Work MA would be an excellent way of gaining the experience needed for the doctorate. However, if this is the only reason why you are undertaking the social work MA I would suggest against it, as both the BA & MA require extensive dedication to the field of Social Work & all that it encompasses.

There are plenty of other ways to get relevant experience, in the community in a supportive role, or psychologist assistant if you're lucky! Doing an MA in social work just for the experience may be a bit of a hard way around.
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jenna76484
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#19
Report 9 years ago
#19
Hi. I'm currently still in 6th form, but ultimately aim to complete a phd in psychology. Which unis can anybody suggest that are good for bsc, phd and any other qualifications I may need? And what kind of work experience should I be looking for and when (I am currently still 17 - do I need to wait a year?) any help/ advice much appreciated thanks


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SWF
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#20
Report 7 years ago
#20
Hope some of you can offer some wise words here. I have worked in adult mental health for about 18 years. Have an open degree from Open University (not a great mark!) but also have an MA from the Institute of Development Studies MA thesis was looking at Global mental health and that got a high merit.

Have applied for MA in social work and also the conversion Msc to follow on to the Phd as a Clinical Psyche (prefered choice by far). It all depends on which one accepts me as to which route I take.
I feel from talking to many other HC professionals that SW is predominately law focussed now and so with all my experience I would also be better off following the CP route.

My concern is mainly that my undergrad is not 2.1 or first so is that going to hold me back from anything further related to a professional qualification. AND YET!? I have been offered a place to research global health via a PhD study which makes me think surely id get accepted then....
I would really like to hear any thoughts on it all thanks!
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