c34z
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I understand.

I too was "interested by human behaviour" and "intrigued by how the mind works". But the reality is that "interest" doesn't translate to a career, especially a career in psychology.

BSc Psychology ✔
MSc Psychology ✔
Clinical work experience ✔

But little did I know of the road to hell that trying to get a career in psychology would be!

I am writing this as a 24 year old who has admittedly given up on a psychology career. Luckily I'm currently on the tail end of a graduate programme which utilises my research skills and has opened my eyes to other genuine career paths and avenues such as public health (which could see you becoming a public health consultant as this specific medicine speciality is open to anyone).

https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/car...-public-health

Psychology is dramatically oversubscribed with practically everyone having at least an accredited 2:1, and many with a masters degree and work experience. Therefore, if you want to practice in any of the main areas including clinical, educational or forensic you will face one of the most soul destroying career pathways. It's rare for you to step out of your undergraduate degree and walk onto a doctorate in clinical or educational psychology without having the relevant "one year" work experience.

"But I'll gain experience in my spare time and during the holidays" I hear you protest! That won't protect you from the myriad of rejections because you will be competing with those who have years more experience than you, people with PHDs, managerial experience etc.

If you would like real life genuine examples and advice go to the brilliant clinpsy forum which showcases some of the horror stories. Do you really want to be 30 years old still working as a mental health support worker on peanuts trying to get an assistant psychologist/ trainee psychologist wellbeing practitioner post with 200 other people (which by the way only pays £21k - £23k)?

I am only writing this because I wish someone would have made me at least think twice. If you have good science A levels please apply to medicine! If medicine isn't your cup of tea then at least look at other degrees and the real job prospects before you make the mistake so many including myself have!

Whatever you choose I wish the best for all of you but remember student finance will only fund one of your undergraduate degrees so please consider this when you are applying. If you have already made your application it is not too late to go through clearing on results day. You have months to do you research before results day so you have no excuse!

If you have any questions I am more than happy to answer - I would much rather spend a few hours of my day ensuring that you choose the right career path rather than regretting your life choices before you have even started to live life properly!

Good luck!
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0le
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This is a problem with degrees and graduates from those degrees in general for all subjects. We have a large flux of new graduates and only a limited number of jobs specifically related to those fields. You just have to keep trying, keep developing and eventually you will find something.
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Lord Asriel
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Your post isn't really about why people shouldn't do psychology degrees. It's more about why people shouldn't do a psychology degree and hold the expectation that they will have to become a psychologist of some sort, or the whole thing is pointless.

As a degree, psychology is a pretty good base to go onto a PGCE, HR and a range of other jobs that involve people. You even acknowledge that your experience even led you down the path of looking at public health, which may not have been something you would have been aware of or able to do if you had not gone to university.
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Sinnoh
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(Original post by 0le)
This is a problem with degrees and graduates from those degrees in general for all subjects. We have a large flux of new graduates and only a limited number of jobs specifically related to those fields. You just have to keep trying, keep developing and eventually you will find something.
Psychology in particular though does seem to have had quite an increase in applications recently. This is just my impression, I may be wrong.
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Issakatie
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I knew clinical was super hard to get into but that's sort of affirmed it with an actual person saying it. I did a gap year and will start psychology bsc in September...
Other careers I considered were law (also competitive and I thought as a solicitor it was boring)
Animals are where my heart lies,, but vet nurse pay too low, vet too hard and competitive
Um any advice ahh
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LauraJade2307
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(Original post by c34z)
I understand.

I too was "interested by human behaviour" and "intrigued by how the mind works". But the reality is that "interest" doesn't translate to a career, especially a career in psychology.

BSc Psychology ✔
MSc Psychology ✔
Clinical work experience ✔

But little did I know of the road to hell that trying to get a career in psychology would be!

I am writing this as a 24 year old who has admittedly given up on a psychology career. Luckily I'm currently on the tail end of a graduate programme which utilises my research skills and has opened my eyes to other genuine career paths and avenues such as public health (which could see you becoming a public health consultant as this specific medicine speciality is open to anyone).

https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/car...-public-health

Psychology is dramatically oversubscribed with practically everyone having at least an accredited 2:1, and many with a masters degree and work experience. Therefore, if you want to practice in any of the main areas including clinical, educational or forensic you will face one of the most soul destroying career pathways. It's rare for you to step out of your undergraduate degree and walk onto a doctorate in clinical or educational psychology without having the relevant "one year" work experience.

"But I'll gain experience in my spare time and during the holidays" I hear you protest! That won't protect you from the myriad of rejections because you will be competing with those who have years more experience than you, people with PHDs, managerial experience etc.

If you would like real life genuine examples and advice go to the brilliant clinpsy forum which showcases some of the horror stories. Do you really want to be 30 years old still working as a mental health support worker on peanuts trying to get an assistant psychologist/ trainee psychologist wellbeing practitioner post with 200 other people (which by the way only pays £21k - £23k)?

I am only writing this because I wish someone would have made me at least think twice. If you have good science A levels please apply to medicine! If medicine isn't your cup of tea then at least look at other degrees and the real job prospects before you make the mistake so many including myself have!

Whatever you choose I wish the best for all of you but remember student finance will only fund one of your undergraduate degrees so please consider this when you are applying. If you have already made your application it is not too late to go through clearing on results day. You have months to do you research before results day so you have no excuse!

If you have any questions I am more than happy to answer - I would much rather spend a few hours of my day ensuring that you choose the right career path rather than regretting your life choices before you have even started to live life properly!

Good luck!
I’m completely in agreement with this. I am 25 now and fully aware of the situation I have put myself in studying psychology because it was easy and I enjoyed it. However I never looked into the job opportunities this would open for me and still to this day I haven’t used my degree in my job role.
I am looking to apply for midwifery and although this is an exemption to the previous study rule, I live in Wales and I am only entitled to one year study.
Always make sure you look into a course and what this can open up for you!
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Em.-.
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What universities did you study at and what class of degree did you attain? I was told that around 10% of psychology grads actually get a psychology related job, but I’m still opting to study it simply because it interested me and if there’s a chance I could do a job I’d actually enjoy I wouldn’t want to regret not trying.
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LauraJade2307
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I went to Liverpool hope. I enjoyed the course for the most part don’t get me wrong. But it hasn’t opened up anything for me. And now that I know what I want to do, this degree is actually holding me back
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c34z
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(Original post by Issakatie)
I knew clinical was super hard to get into but that's sort of affirmed it with an actual person saying it. I did a gap year and will start psychology bsc in September...
Other careers I considered were law (also competitive and I thought as a solicitor it was boring)
Animals are where my heart lies,, but vet nurse pay too low, vet too hard and competitive
Um any advice ahh
This entirely depends on your interests. This post was more about making sure people understand the competitiveness of gaining a place on the clinical doctorate and other psychology practice areas to gain a title in psychology as you can see on the BPS careers website below:

https://careers.bps.org.uk/

Psychology on the whole is a good degree. You gain fantastic insight into how we think and acquire knowledge in a range of areas including critical thinking, report writing, research methods, statistics and possibly coding depending on your university. All of which are important in most job roles.

However, you must begin with the end in mind and have a thorough look into the psychology career paths before committing yourself to one of them because it can be a long road if you choose to practice as a psychologist in any of the areas. I would strongly advise you to get as much work experience as you can in any area you are interested in to "try before you buy" as all of the psychology specialities will see you studying at masters or doctorate level (currently clinical is funded through the NHS and educational is funded through the department of education).

My main worry is that prospective students do not understand that they may have work in lower paid jobs after graduation to get the required experience get onto the very competitive doctorate course (for clinical or educational psychology for example). When you are supporting yourself and have to pay bills it's not a great option!

What I don't want to do is scare you from studying psychology but if you are considering gaining one of the psychologist titles then prepare yourself. But if not, there are so many areas you could go into! As I mentioned in my original post, I am on a graduate scheme which pays well and have been accepted into previous graduate schemes and positions so getting a great job with a psychology degree is 100% possible.

https://www.prospects.ac.uk/careers-...ree/psychology
https://www.allaboutcareers.com/camp...chology-degree
https://www.clinpsy.org.uk/forum/viewforum.php?f=3

(Original post by Em.-.)
What universities did you study at and what class of degree did you attain? I was told that around 10% of psychology grads actually get a psychology related job, but I’m still opting to study it simply because it interested me and if there’s a chance I could do a job I’d actually enjoy I wouldn’t want to regret not trying.
Sheffield, 2:1. You're right in that many psychology grads do not go on to be psychologists. You are taking the right approach but have a plan B and C! Remember that you need minimum one year's experience in most of the psychologist roles due to competition and all of the areas expect postgraduate study at masters or doctorate level.

But if you do go on to study psychology I hope you enjoy it and get to pursue a career you find interesting!
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El_21
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I have an offer to study experimental psychology at Oxford and there they teach with a tutorial system so students get a lot more direct contact with professionals. I hope the experience I get there will help me be successful in attaining a phd and getting a good job. Basically I’m competing with many other graduates so I’ll have to hope I do enough to stand out.

Though in all honesty I’m not sure exactly what career I want yet but psychology is scientific and also essay based so I’ll learn statistics and also philosophical skills which could be useful in many careers.
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Issakatie)
I knew clinical was super hard to get into but that's sort of affirmed it with an actual person saying it. I did a gap year and will start psychology bsc in September...
Other careers I considered were law (also competitive and I thought as a solicitor it was boring)
Animals are where my heart lies,, but vet nurse pay too low, vet too hard and competitive
Um any advice ahh
What is the pay for a vet nurse? I'll bet there is a better chance to become a vet than a clinical psychologist.
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Hazelly
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(Original post by ajj2000)
What is the pay for a vet nurse? I'll bet there is a better chance to become a vet than a clinical psychologist.
"At entry-level, veterinary nurses can earn £17,793 to £22,300.
With up five years' experience salaries range from £20,388 to £23,550.
More senior veterinary nurses can earn up to £38,600, with the average salary being around £28,000."


https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-prof...terinary-nurse
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Issakatie
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(Original post by ajj2000)
What is the pay for a vet nurse? I'll bet there is a better chance to become a vet than a clinical psychologist.
Unfortunately veterinary required a level chem and bio (I've done english maths & history). I do feel slightly regretful already, I love psychology but have been doubting it bc of the huge career problem with it. And vet nurse above
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ajj2000
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(Original post by Issakatie)
Unfortunately veterinary required a level chem and bio (I've done english maths & history). I do feel slightly regretful already, I love psychology but have been doubting it bc of the huge career problem with it. And vet nurse above
Well - its a good degree for lots of future careers. I'm very nervous for people who really dedicate themselves to being a clinical psychologist. Thats not just because the chances are pretty low - same for lots of other careers - but because the pathway to having a chance is often long, low paid, and can reduce the chances of progression into other fields.

If you are interested in the subject its no less employable than history, english etc.
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marinade
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(Original post by c34z)
I understand.

I too was "interested by human behaviour" and "intrigued by how the mind works". But the reality is that "interest" doesn't translate to a career, especially a career in psychology.

BSc Psychology ✔
MSc Psychology ✔
Clinical work experience ✔

I am writing this as a 24 year old who has admittedly given up on a psychology career. Luckily I'm currently on the tail end of a graduate programme which utilises my research skills and has opened my eyes to other genuine career paths and avenues such as public health (which could see you becoming a public health consultant as this specific medicine speciality is open to anyone).
What was your clinical work experience(s) out of interest?

I agree with the sentiments of your post in terms of expectations, the expectation that everyone wants to get on the clinical doctorate.

Whilst I wish websites like prospects.ac.uk would list a more realistic set of jobs for psychology, such as support worker, If people is still struggling to get an AP or PWP post at 30, nine years after graduating, they are doing something very wrong or should have given up already. It is far, far more achievable to become and AP or PWP than is generally said in the world of psychology, imho. Whether that's worth doing, I leave others to decide.

Whilst there are downsides for PWP, the PWP salary is good in most areas of the north of England. It's especially good for someone in their early to mid-20s.
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MEGAN.wilford
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I want to study psychology at uni because I really enjoy learning it, I know I will do well in it because I find the course interesting. I don't know what I want to do when I'm older but I may do a law conversion after if I decide that I don't want a career in psychology(Which I currently do), but I don't see why you shouldn't study it if you do enjoy it. They say study something you enjoy?
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c34z
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(Original post by MEGAN.wilford)
I want to study psychology at uni because I really enjoy learning it, I know I will do well in it because I find the course interesting. I don't know what I want to do when I'm older but I may do a law conversion after if I decide that I don't want a career in psychology(Which I currently do), but I don't see why you shouldn't study it if you do enjoy it. They say study something you enjoy?
Psychology will give you solid grounding for many career paths and I think it's great that there are conversion courses for careers like law. I 100% agree that you should study what you enjoy but I am just making sure that people understand the reality of getting a job as a psychologist.

All the best in your course, I'm sure you'll do great!
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c34z
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(Original post by marinade)
What was your clinical work experience(s) out of interest?

I agree with the sentiments of your post in terms of expectations, the expectation that everyone wants to get on the clinical doctorate.

Whilst I wish websites like prospects.ac.uk would list a more realistic set of jobs for psychology, such as support worker, If people is still struggling to get an AP or PWP post at 30, nine years after graduating, they are doing something very wrong or should have given up already. It is far, far more achievable to become and AP or PWP than is generally said in the world of psychology, imho. Whether that's worth doing, I leave others to decide.

Whilst there are downsides for PWP, the PWP salary is good in most areas of the north of England. It's especially good for someone in their early to mid-20s.
I was a research assistant for clinical doctorate trainees looking into the 'working alliance' between therapist and patient in depression and counselling therapy. I also have experience working with people who had various mental illnesses supporting them with housing and finances e.g. working with a housing association to stop evictions and ensure they were claiming their entitled benefits.

The 30 year old example was a worst case scenario but I don't think it's far-fetched. The reality is that people have to have an income to live and if you're like me or many other graduates in this country who are supporting themselves it's not a feasible option to take on low paid jobs. The support worker, health assistant and other roles that you need to get your foot into the door do not pay enough. The AP/PWP roles are slightly better paid but the fact that they're so competitive adds to the risk and could see you being stuck in those lower paid support roles for years. Do you see this happening in many other professional training routes?

Everyone in the field knows that the AP roles are regularly taken down on the same day because there are 100+ applications and while the standard of these applications vary you will be competing with people who have as much experience as entry level professionals in other fields for a job that's usually NHS band 4 paying £21-23k. It's ridiculous.

The point of this post is to ensure prospective psychology students understand this and don't fall into the trap. I don't want people to not apply to psychology, I want them to be real with themselves and think about what they want out of the degree.
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marinade
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(Original post by c34z)
I was a research assistant for clinical doctorate trainees looking into the 'working alliance' between therapist and patient in depression and counselling therapy. I also have experience working with people who had various mental illnesses supporting them with housing and finances e.g. working with a housing association to stop evictions and ensure they were claiming their entitled benefits.

The 30 year old example was a worst case scenario but I don't think it's far-fetched. The reality is that people have to have an income to live and if you're like me or many other graduates in this country who are supporting themselves it's not a feasible option to take on low paid jobs. The support worker, health assistant and other roles that you need to get your foot into the door do not pay enough. The AP/PWP roles are slightly better paid but the fact that they're so competitive adds to the risk and could see you being stuck in those lower paid support roles for years. Do you see this happening in many other professional training routes?
I can see how someone might be annoyed if they'd done that sort of research assistant job, but it's probably not very relevant to most AP and PWP roles. It is harsh. I've seen quite a lot of people with research assistant roles where it's not got them where they want to be. The HA roles are also a tough sell too, particularly to NHS type roles. Public Health is a great choice though, I hope that works out and like you said it's using things you already have. I think it's sensible as other roles like marketing can be low paid and HR roles are shrinking in large parts of the economy.

Why would someone be stuck in the lower paid roles for years? People chasing clinical can get burnt out of cheesed off with support worker type roles after a year or two and then try their hand at other things. With people who do PWP and AP people seem to jump around after 6 months, 1 year, 2 years.

I see low paid work on the route to many 'professional' training routes and competition, yes, lots and lots of it. The difference with Psychology is the number of people with postgraduate masters' degrees.
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JamesManc
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I agree with you if I had a child I would not advise them to study psychology (or go to university in general) but I realised only after the fact. Luckily, I am a psychologist now but would not do it again.
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