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What are Psychology graduate prospects like? Career Options? Watch

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    I suffer with mental health issues myself, anxieties and depression and have gained a knack for helping others in my situation or worse; get through the day and make positive changes to their life.

    Psychology as a degree is s*** on quite often, I am curious as to why? Surely in today's day and age a psychology degree can be useful to helping the plethora of mental health issues coming to service nowadays. I understand to become a psychologist you need to complete a doctorate and some say you have to do years of voluntary work in order to get into the field at all.

    I would be going to university to study as a mature student and therefore don't really want to make a mistake by choosing a degree that will leave me with less chances than I had in the first place. Are there alternative routes to help people with mental illness? Something more face-to-face, perhaps.

    If anyone has any tips or can tell me why psychology went from the most employable degree to one of the least employable degrees, I'd be thankful for input on either, or both.

    Perhaps there is a completely different option all together, one that I am missing? Something that instead of focusing on statistics, it actually teaches you about the problems people are facing (which seems more logical than mathematics in my opinion) and how to solve them and aid them.

    Just as a note, this degree will be four years in the future. Do you think there will be any change? I myself do, as mental health is becoming a major problem and is beginning to be treated equally to physical problems. What's your view?

    Thanks for reading,

    Jon.
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    (Original post by Jon_Gidwon)
    I suffer with mental health issues myself, anxieties and depression and have gained a knack for helping others in my situation or worse; get through the day and make positive changes to their life.

    Psychology as a degree is s*** on quite often, I am curious as to why? Surely in today's day and age a psychology degree can be useful to helping the plethora of mental health issues coming to service nowadays. I understand to become a psychologist you need to complete a doctorate and some say you have to do years of voluntary work in order to get into the field at all.

    I would be going to university to study as a mature student and therefore don't really want to make a mistake by choosing a degree that will leave me with less chances than I had in the first place. Are there alternative routes to help people with mental illness? Something more face-to-face, perhaps.

    If anyone has any tips or can tell me why psychology went from the most employable degree to one of the least employable degrees, I'd be thankful for input on either, or both.

    Perhaps there is a completely different option all together, one that I am missing? Something that instead of focusing on statistics, it actually teaches you about the problems people are facing (which seems more logical than mathematics in my opinion) and how to solve them and aid them.

    Just as a note, this degree will be four years in the future. Do you think there will be any change? I myself do, as mental health is becoming a major problem and is beginning to be treated equally to physical problems. What's your view?

    Thanks for reading,

    Jon.
    Psychology degrees are good degrees but they're very much focused on the academic study and theory of psychology - not on direct and practical intervention/treatment of people with mental illness.

    If that's where you interest lies then an accredited degree in counselling or a trainee PWP role (a work based training where you study alongside a job delivering low intensity CBT) might be a better route.
    https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/exp...g-practitioner explains about the PWP role
    http://www.jobs.nhs.uk/xi/search_vac...5d87175ebc336/ contains vacancies (look for Trainee roles).

    http://www.bacp.co.uk/student/become.php explains more about becoming a counsellor (there's a range of different routes and training options)
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    The issue with psychology is that you don't really learn any specific skills that are specifically valued in the general job market (e.g. quantitative skills, engineering, programming, law), and the psychology job market is heavily saturated with applicants (so you need a great CV to break through).

    I don't think psychology is seen as unemployable though - i don't think its any worse (and in some respects better) - than if you did a degree in biology, chemistry, english literature, for the general graduate job market, where they don't really care about what degree you have done. However if you do a degree in maths, enginerring or computer science, you will find that there are many businesses that need those skills.

    As the above poster mentions, it doesn't sound like your interested in acedemic research psychology (which is 99% of what you do in a psychology degree) but i would follow the other routes if your interested in mental health.
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    (Original post by PQ)
    Psychology degrees are good degrees but they're very much focused on the academic study and theory of psychology - not on direct and practical intervention/treatment of people with mental illness.
    ^^This. Do you actually know what career you want? If it's clinical psychology, be aware that only a tiny fraction of psychology graduates will ever end up there (and many want to). There is massive oversupply compared to demand. Of course, if you want to do a psych degree without ending up working in psychology, then fine.

    (Original post by iammichealjackson)
    The issue with psychology is that you don't really learn any specific skills that are specifically valued in the general job market (e.g. quantitative skills, engineering, programming, law)
    Generally true except that psychology degrees are quite statistics heavy (second only to perhaps economics and maybe biology?). You should end up being statistically competent which is a useful transferable skill.

    If anyone has any tips or can tell me why psychology went from the most employable degree to one of the least employable degrees, I'd be thankful for input on either, or both.
    Not sure what you mean. Psychology is probably a middling degree - lower than most STEM, higher than most humanities.

    Something that instead of focusing on statistics, it actually teaches you about the problems people are facing (which seems more logical than mathematics in my opinion) and how to solve them and aid them.
    If only such a subject existed. The truth is we don't really know except for extreme cases where you need medical surgery etc.
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    (Original post by chazwomaq)
    ^^This. Do you actually know what career you want? If it's clinical psychology, be aware that only a tiny fraction of psychology graduates will ever end up there (and many want to). There is massive oversupply compared to demand. Of course, if you want to do a psych degree without ending up working in psychology, then fine.



    Generally true except that psychology degrees are quite statistics heavy (second only to perhaps economics and maybe biology?). You should end up being statistically competent which is a useful transferable skill.



    Not sure what you mean. Psychology is probably a middling degree - lower than most STEM, higher than most humanities.



    If only such a subject existed. The truth is we don't really know except for extreme cases where you need medical surgery etc.
    This is true, but most psychology degrees don't really cover statistics beyond an amateurish level (true for biology too), so its still a kinda half-baked skill. I think if you do the right modules economics degrees do cover it better.
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    Thank-you for your response, I have been looking over the PWP role the past day and am really interested in it, thank-you for mentioning it

    As I need to do an access course for university anyway, would you think it would be wise to not follow a foundation year and instead do a HE diploma in September and volunteer for the next year, apply to PWP roles toward the end of the year of volunteering and assess my options then?

    Thanks once again,

    Jon.

    (Original post by PQ)
    Psychology degrees are good degrees but they're very much focused on the academic study and theory of psychology - not on direct and practical intervention/treatment of people with mental illness.

    If that's where you interest lies then an accredited degree in counselling or a trainee PWP role (a work based training where you study alongside a job delivering low intensity CBT) might be a better route.
    https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/exp...g-practitioner explains about the PWP role
    http://www.jobs.nhs.uk/xi/search_vac...5d87175ebc336/ contains vacancies (look for Trainee roles).

    http://www.bacp.co.uk/student/become.php explains more about becoming a counsellor (there's a range of different routes and training options)
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    (Original post by Jon_Gidwon)
    Thank-you for your response, I have been looking over the PWP role the past day and am really interested in it, thank-you for mentioning it

    As I need to do an access course for university anyway, would you think it would be wise to not follow a foundation year and instead do a HE diploma in September and volunteer for the next year, apply to PWP roles toward the end of the year of volunteering and assess my options then?

    Thanks once again,

    Jon.
    I would suggest getting in direct contact with the places advertising pwp trainee roles and speaking to them about your current situation and what they are looking for from applicants. They'll be able to give you direct advice on what qualifications and experience would be most suitable.
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    The majority of PWP trainee roles ask for a psychology degree as a minimum requirement so that will be a non-starter. Experience in the mental health sector does not have to be voluntary. The key is to start in an entry role and work your way up to increasingly relevant clinical roles as you go along, ideally whilst completing the degree.

    How can mental health roles become less important? Will individuals with mental health issues cease to exist any time soon? I honestly can't see that happening and do not envisage myself ever being out of work.

    Plenty of people spout how psychology is a middling, verging on easy, degree. Yet swathes of students drop out due to the scientific vigour of it. Which is a skill set highly transferable to a vast number of careers.

    However, if you wish to do direct clinical work without the statistical element, maybe a counselling or psychotherapy diploma is what you are really after. My understanding is that via that route you do more face-to-face supervised practice hours from level 4 onwards.

    A psychology degree is more a foundation from which to specialise rather than your career launchpad.
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    Consider psychiatric nursing, it can be an important patient facing role and there are a lot of opportunities in many areas such as in the community and hospitals.

    https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/exp...l-health-nurse
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    For the people who get into psychology-related careers, their psychology degree was probably not the main reason why. That was just the minimum requirement.

    I'll talk about 3 people I know who got into it.

    Person A works as a mental health professional/clinical manager. She graduated in the mid-late 2000s with a psychology degree from Bangor - not the most prestigious university but a good one nonetheless and it's fully accredited. Whilst doing her degree she worked part-time as a support worker/carer in a mental health institution. She leveraged this experience to get a graduate role as a mental health practitioner and has risen to become a clinical manager. She needed the degree in psychology to be eligible to apply for the role but the experience is what won her the job. Lesson = a psychology degree on its own simply isn't enough.

    Person B got his first job out of university working for the prison service writing psychological profiles of inmates. Not sure of his precise job title. He attended Edinburgh University, graduating in the late 2000s. He was highly academic and specialised in forensic psychology as part of his degree, doing his dissertation on this. He made a lot of contacts doing this and developed specialist knowledge that was highly relevant to the role he applied for. He had a lot of generalised work experience outside of his degree where he was working with the public. In his case it was the specialist knowledge he had gained and his understanding of the workplace environment that made the difference. He was also highly personable, confident, with a good deal of experience of life outside of his specialist field - a good all-rounder. He might need a master's and maybe a published article to warrant the same job being given to him now but maybe not.
    Lesson = it's more than just the basic degree. You need to bring something extra sometimes to get the right role.

    Person C did a specialist conversion degree with a strong track record of getting its graduates into professional doctorates. She was a former SENCO at a school with three years experience directing the special educational needs programme and working with psychologists, SLTs, OTs, PTs and parents as well as the children directly. She is now an educational psychologist.
    Lesson = you can't always plan a career in psychology. Sometimes, the people they want to do the job are not the people with the degrees in the subject. Psychology graduates are not going to compete with those people. She was taken on because she knew the job, knew the environment, understood the role, knew how to work with the client groups and the other professionals she would be working with. The conversion degree was just what she needed to be eligible to apply for it.

    Psychology degrees are good degrees to get but you've got to be realistic about what the prospects are at the end. Your experience counts more than the degree a lot of the time. I could have cited a whole other set of people with these degrees who are woefully underemployed right now, despite having prestigious degrees from various prestigious institutions. I know a lot of people working in mental health who have no degrees in psychology but they do have degrees in mental health nursing. They're what the NHS actually needs. If you want to work in mental health, do psychiatric nursing. Good way in to a lot of roles. People don't want to because they think they lack prestige but I know a fair few people who are qualified CBT therapists, psychotherapists, even now clinical psychologists all off the back of doing a degree in mental health nursing.
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    (Original post by CCC75)
    The majority of PWP trainee roles ask for a psychology degree as a minimum requirement so that will be a non-starter. Experience in the mental health sector does not have to be voluntary. The key is to start in an entry role and work your way up to increasingly relevant clinical roles as you go along, ideally whilst completing the degree.

    How can mental health roles become less important? Will individuals with mental health issues cease to exist any time soon? I honestly can't see that happening and do not envisage myself ever being out of work.

    Plenty of people spout how psychology is a middling, verging on easy, degree. Yet swathes of students drop out due to the scientific vigour of it. Which is a skill set highly transferable to a vast number of careers.

    However, if you wish to do direct clinical work without the statistical element, maybe a counselling or psychotherapy diploma is what you are really after. My understanding is that via that route you do more face-to-face supervised practice hours from level 4 onwards.

    A psychology degree is more a foundation from which to specialise rather than your career launchpad.
    PWP training places are available with both postgraduate and undergraduate routes (with the undergraduate route designed for mature applicants like the OP).

    It might be more difficult or require more experience but it isn't a non starter unless the OP is restricted to a small region and the education funding in that region has removed funding for the UG route.
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    (Original post by PQ)
    PWP training places are available with both postgraduate and undergraduate routes (with the undergraduate route designed for mature applicants like the OP).

    It might be more difficult or require more experience but it isn't a non starter unless the OP is restricted to a small region and the education funding in that region has removed funding for the UG route.
    Okay, I have learnt something new myself here, thank you. When I last looked, within the NHS boroughs surrounding where I live the person specification repeatedly cited postgraduate routes. I guess that many of those targeting the clinical psychology PhD are opting for PWP work as an alternative/standby to assistant psychologist positions.
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    (Original post by CCC75)
    Okay, I have learnt something new myself here, thank you. When I last looked, within the NHS boroughs surrounding where I live the person specification repeatedly cited postgraduate routes. I guess that many of those targeting the clinical psychology PhD are opting for PWP work as an alternative/standby to assistant psychologist positions.
    http://www.bps.org.uk/system/files/P...02016.docx.pdf
    lists the accredited PWP training courses - there's undergraduate routes at:
    University of Central Lancashire
    University of Exeter
    Liverpool John Moores University
    University of Reading
    University of Southampton
    Teesside University
    Ulster University

    So any placement that offers training from those universities might be suitable. Some (like Exeter and Reading) are entire MSci undergrad degrees incorporating PWP training, others (like Southampton and Teesside) are almost identical to the postgrad/grad cert route....and there's some (like John Moores and UCLan) where the course is a top up/HND/FdSc level qualification so some preliminary qualification below degree level might be required.
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    (Original post by chazwomaq)

    Not sure what you mean. Psychology is probably a middling degree - lower than most STEM, higher than most humanities.

    .
    What is STEM sorry? Science, technology and?
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    (Original post by Jon_Gidwon)
    Thank-you for your response, I have been looking over the PWP role the past day and am really interested in it, thank-you for mentioning it

    As I need to do an access course for university anyway, would you think it would be wise to not follow a foundation year and instead do a HE diploma in September and volunteer for the next year, apply to PWP roles toward the end of the year of volunteering and assess my options then?

    Thanks once again,

    Jon.
    Hi Jon. I'm in a very similar situation to you so it was quite comforting to be able to relate. Could you please keep us posted after learning more about approaching a PWP course? And I'm debating bw a foundation year and HE Diploma. Have you contacted any unis that offer a foudnation year? There aren't many good ones except maybe Liverpool? I've contacting some unis about advice on this and get hardly any feedback.
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    (Original post by Glee)
    Hi Jon. I'm in a very similar situation to you so it was quite comforting to be able to relate. Could you please keep us posted after learning more about approaching a PWP course? And I'm debating bw a foundation year and HE Diploma. Have you contacted any unis that offer a foudnation year? There aren't many good ones except maybe Liverpool? I've contacting some unis about advice on this and get hardly any feedback.
    I will try my best to keep you posted. I have found that (from the help of others posters to this thread) that PWP accredited course at University on an undergraduate level seem to be few and far between.

    I have been using "http://www.bps.org.uk/system/files/Public%20files/PaCT/PWP%20status%20for%20web%2024%20 November%202016.docx.pdf" to view the different options and way everything up. Most courses seem to be either PgCerts (part-time short courses), postgraduate courses or Reading and Exeter which offer undergraduate degrees with PWP accredited training included. PgCerts are actually provided anywhere near where I live (unfortunately) but, that may be different for you. So if you find one of those that are close to you, I'd recommend contacting that provider (can be a university, or a provider of specific qualifications in that area, or even a college) and ask them for entry requirements, progression, etc. I am sure they'll be happy to help you.

    *just remember that one thing I have noticed is something that makes perfect sense but is rather apparent is that certain educational institutions can be quite biased. So make sure to get multiple opinions on a question to ensure the information is 100% correct.

    If you're looking for good foundation years, Keele offer a foundation of health year which is really good and also a degree in Mental Health Nursing that has 100% work for students, 6 months after the course. (if I remember correctly). However, I'd recommend a HE diploma, it is cheaper and if you complete a degree using that diploma, you get that money deducted from your overall loan repayments, or so I have read.

    I haven't been able to contact anyone in regards to PWP courses as of yet, as I have been super busy. However if you're struggling to get any sort of response from a university, I find that it is just better to ring their admissions department and they're normally more than happy to forward you to a department leader who can talk you through your path, concerns, etc.

    Now one thing that I have been told about my brother is something that has interested me and has similar skills to that of people in the PWP role, those being; people skills, helping, healing. The career is in Radiography, whilst diagnostic radiographers don't have much chance to build a relationship with those they treat, Therapeutic Radiographers do. As a Therapeutic Radiographer you have constant contact with your patients pre, during and post procedure. You help them get better (hopefully) and I suppose it is very rewarding work. On-top of that, there is currently a shortage in this area of work and they're desperately needed.

    Hope that helped,

    Jon
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    (Original post by Glee)
    What is STEM sorry? Science, technology and?
    STEM

    Science
    Technology
    Engineering
    Mathematics

    Little piece from Staffordshire University about STEM graduates: https://www.staffs.ac.uk/news/stem-g...tcm4252951.jsp

    If you are interested in that, I am aware that STEM is a fantastic degree but is incredibly difficult. Most probably because of the nature of the subjects studied and work load.

    Jon
 
 
 
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