Is a clinical psychology master's worth it?Watch
I am a psychology graduate interested in becoming a clinical psychologist. To do this I will need to do a doctorate in clinical psychology, but I know at the present time I do not have enough experience. I graudate late 2019 and have been searching for jobs in a clinical setting ever since. I have had no success thus far. I've been going for jobs like assistant psychologist, research assistant and mental healthcare assistant to name a few. The very few recruiters who were able to give me feedback said that they did not feel I had enough experience for the role. This is incredibly frustrating since I need experience to get into the field, but can't get there without experience. I have now been considering applying to do a clinical psychology masters since some courses include a work placement. But I am concerned that I would just be sitting through classes on material I have already been taught. Since master's are partly for people who, in this context, did not study psychology undergrad but what to work in psychology in the future. To be blunt, I don't want to waste £10k being taught stuff I learned in my bsc. But it seems like at the moment a master's is the only way I can get clinical experience. Any advice from someone who was in my position and worked through it? thanks
I understand the frustration. It's a very competitive field, so it can be difficult to find work sometimes. I started out in volunteer roles, such as a research assistant at a local uni and a mentor for ex offenders, while working an admin job alongside doing my BSc. I then got a job as a support worker for adults with learning disabilities for a company called Choice Support. Many companies like this don't ask for experience, so starting out in community care for LD or within mental health can be a good place to start. I then got a job as a mental healthcare assistant on a psychiatric intensive care unit and also started an MSc in Psychological Wellbeing in Clinical Practice last September. After this lockdown, I'll be starting a role as a Complex Case Worker for a drug and alcohol service.
Ultimately, an MSc wouldn't hurt. You don't necessarily need to do it in Clinical Psychology, though. There are a lot of different and relevant courses you could look at. Anything with a placement is obviously going to be helpful, but the research experience gained from an MSc is also great for a doctorate application. At this point, getting work in a clinical setting is very important, though. Assistant Psychologist jobs are notoriously hard to get (e.g. I have applied for about 30 something of these jobs, had one interview and got nowhere). I know people who have been applying for years for these kinds of roles. They're not the only way in, though.
I have gone down the route I have because it has given me a lot of varied experience, all clinical, all relevant. I'm actually more interested in the Counselling Psychology doctorate now, so I'm also going to be finishing my counselling qualification alongside work after my MSc.
My advice would be to look at support work roles and volunteer opportunities, and if you do want to do an MSc, look at other courses besides Clinical Psychology that might teach you more new things to add to your BSc.
Hope this helps!