GIBBC01
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Hello,

First time posting here but in desperate need of some knowledge and advice!

I am keen to pursue a career in psychology, I have an undergraduate first class degree in English Language and Linguistics which I got over ten years ago! I have since had three children and worked in speech and language as part of an MDT team. I have worked closely with clinical psychologists and have been more and more drawn to that side of things...

So looking to do an online conversion course, realistically I am thinking my options are BPP or Arden but as it is such a big commitment both financially and time wise, I am keen to hear from anyone in a similar position or that have studied at either of the above. I am nervous about doing all study online but that is the only feasible option for me right now, any advice or insights would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance.

Charlotte
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Cloudsandstars
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(Original post by GIBBC01)
Hello,

First time posting here but in desperate need of some knowledge and advice!

I am keen to pursue a career in psychology, I have an undergraduate first class degree in English Language and Linguistics which I got over ten years ago! I have since had three children and worked in speech and language as part of an MDT team. I have worked closely with clinical psychologists and have been more and more drawn to that side of things...

So looking to do an online conversion course, realistically I am thinking my options are BPP or Arden but as it is such a big commitment both financially and time wise, I am keen to hear from anyone in a similar position or that have studied at either of the above. I am nervous about doing all study online but that is the only feasible option for me right now, any advice or insights would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance.

Charlotte
To become a charted psychologist in the UK yoy must have minimum 2:1 in a psychology undergraduate degree that is accredited by the British psychological society (BPS). If you do not have this, you cannot get onto the training programme.
After this you must apply for a 3 year PHD in clinical psychology. This degree is funded by the NHS and you get paid a very good salary. Hence is very competitive.
You must have very good grades and a lot of experience to get in. They tend to take people that have studied psychology all their lives and have a clear path.

My advice is talk to some clinical psychologists about their career and how they got into it. They may give you some extra tips. If it’s what you want to do go for it! Don’t let how competitive it is to put you off, but just bare in mind it’s not an easy process 😊
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Turning_A_Corner
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Could you elaborate a little on your experience?

I would also say that you are overlooking quite a lot of options in terms of online study. Teeside, for instance, is cheaper than either of those options. It doesn’t matter where you get your conversion from to do the doctorate but it is advisable to consider universities that have good links with the clinical doctorate itself. And to enquire into their conversion success rates ie how many people go on to the doctorates after completing the course.

As someone with children, though, I do advise caution and consideration of alternatives. I moved away from psychology when I realised that the success rate was low and that I could easily plug away at it for three or four years and get nowhere, which I couldn’t risk. I ended up doing SLT instead for that reason as at least it would give me that job guarantee. As I’ve said elsewhere, psychology is oversaturated. If every psychology degree in the country folded tomorrow and there were no new graduates, there would still be a surplus of people applying in ten years’ time and the competition rises year on year.

If you’re going to do this, have several back ups in place that you would be comfortable doing. Would you be happy to settle for an IAPT career? If so, you don’t need a conversion to psychology.

Are you wanting to deliver psychological therapies? You could do this as a psychiatric nurse. You don’t need psychology for that either.

Are you wanting to just use psychological principles in your work? You could look at the AHPs for that. These can be studied at master’s level or undergraduate and you may find you’re more than qualified to do that.

Career changes are massive investments and they do need to be considered carefully. You only get one shot at postgraduate funding and I often feel that it seems a shame to waste it on a conversion degree which you may not ever use. It’s such a commitment of time and emotional resources as well. It’s just worth thinking about what your end goals are and if you really need a psychology degree to achieve that.

Psychology courses can be quite a disillusionment as well. 90% of people enter them with the same aim but so many people dropped out of mine when they realised it wasn’t what they thought it would be. Others just powered on through and then went back to their lives, chalking it up to experience and never really looking back. Maybe 3 out of 30 went on to do a doctorate and that was after plugging away for a long time in sub graduate jobs to get that experience. One person I know who graduated the year I would have in 2012 has only just been accepted to a doctorate programme and she applied five times. She’s never tipped £16k in that time whereas she could have done psychiatric nursing and be a band 7 by now, which is what one of the people I know who dropped out went on to do. She works in a university mental health service basically doing the same job as the clinical psychologists.

It’s all just food for thought. It’s possible to get tunnel vision around clinical psychology. But it’s not always necessary to fork over to what is becoming a conversion degree industry to achieve your career goals.
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GIBBC01
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(Original post by Turning_A_Corner)
Could you elaborate a little on your experience?

I would also say that you are overlooking quite a lot of options in terms of online study. Teeside, for instance, is cheaper than either of those options. It doesn’t matter where you get your conversion from to do the doctorate but it is advisable to consider universities that have good links with the clinical doctorate itself. And to enquire into their conversion success rates ie how many people go on to the doctorates after completing the course.

As someone with children, though, I do advise caution and consideration of alternatives. I moved away from psychology when I realised that the success rate was low and that I could easily plug away at it for three or four years and get nowhere, which I couldn’t risk. I ended up doing SLT instead for that reason as at least it would give me that job guarantee. As I’ve said elsewhere, psychology is oversaturated. If every psychology degree in the country folded tomorrow and there were no new graduates, there would still be a surplus of people applying in ten years’ time and the competition rises year on year.

If you’re going to do this, have several back ups in place that you would be comfortable doing. Would you be happy to settle for an IAPT career? If so, you don’t need a conversion to psychology.

Are you wanting to deliver psychological therapies? You could do this as a psychiatric nurse. You don’t need psychology for that either.

Are you wanting to just use psychological principles in your work? You could look at the AHPs for that. These can be studied at master’s level or undergraduate and you may find you’re more than qualified to do that.

Career changes are massive investments and they do need to be considered carefully. You only get one shot at postgraduate funding and I often feel that it seems a shame to waste it on a conversion degree which you may not ever use. It’s such a commitment of time and emotional resources as well. It’s just worth thinking about what your end goals are and if you really need a psychology degree to achieve that.

Psychology courses can be quite a disillusionment as well. 90% of people enter them with the same aim but so many people dropped out of mine when they realised it wasn’t what they thought it would be. Others just powered on through and then went back to their lives, chalking it up to experience and never really looking back. Maybe 3 out of 30 went on to do a doctorate and that was after plugging away for a long time in sub graduate jobs to get that experience. One person I know who graduated the year I would have in 2012 has only just been accepted to a doctorate programme and she applied five times. She’s never tipped £16k in that time whereas she could have done psychiatric nursing and be a band 7 by now, which is what one of the people I know who dropped out went on to do. She works in a university mental health service basically doing the same job as the clinical psychologists.

It’s all just food for thought. It’s possible to get tunnel vision around clinical psychology. But it’s not always necessary to fork over to what is becoming a conversion degree industry to achieve your career goals.
Thank you very your thorough and detailed response. All the points you raise are valid and I do have my reservations. I know how saturated the psychology world is and you are right to point that out, I think I have a slightly skewed view on the success and intake as I know quite a few people through work that have got on to the doctorate first or second time, they are obviously a lucky few! I work in SLT and have loved it but to become qualified seems a tricky road in terms of my location and having little flexibility to change location. Can I ask where you studied SLT and at what stage in your life you went in to that line of work?

Again thank you for your time and very helpful reply, a reality check is needed sometimes!

Charlotte
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Lord Asriel
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(Original post by GIBBC01)
I know how saturated the psychology world is and you are right to point that out, I think I have a slightly skewed view on the success and intake as I know quite a few people through work that have got on to the doctorate first or second time, they are obviously a lucky few!
As someone on the other side of the process, there are reasons why you get some people getting on 1st or 2nd time, and some people apply for ages with no success. The statistics show the majority of succesful applicants get on 1st or 2nd applications, and it's because the pool is quite skewed between a group of very strong candidates who demonstrates specific factors (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cpp.399), and a 'weaker', larger pool who may have one or two areas but are usually missing substantial areas that selectors look for.

It's human nature to double down on areas of strength, and from anecdotal observation this can sometimes be part of the problem. Someone who has good clinical experience and likes working with patients may be far weaker on their research competencies. So when their post finishes they look for another clinical post (because they enjoyed it) and may ignore a research post that will develop their skills and make them a more attractive candidate (because they don't like stats).

My other theory is sometimes this can be a case of good choices can lead to other good choices. A candidate who studies hard and gets good A-levels, then gets onto a university with good links, which they then capitalise on to gain experience and connections beyond the syllabus. This leads to strong relationships with people in the system which provide opportunities and information, which in turn leads to better informed decisions around what jobs to take. This is often how a strong candidate is built. However, a few poor decisions (e.g. taking an unhelpful masters course, leading to a dead end; staying too long in a toxic job which deskills you) can compound those weaknesses.

I wish more people knew about this, but instead psychology grads often experience a 'wilderness phase' where they are trying to scrabble around and buying into myths. It makes a tricky route even more painful for grads, and it's a shame because a lot of the information is there on forums like ClinPsy.
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Cloudsandstars
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(Original post by Lord Asriel)
As someone on the other side of the process, there are reasons why you get some people getting on 1st or 2nd time, and some people apply for ages with no success. The statistics show the majority of succesful applicants get on 1st or 2nd applications, and it's because the pool is quite skewed between a group of very strong candidates who demonstrates specific factors (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cpp.399), and a 'weaker', larger pool who may have one or two areas but are usually missing substantial areas that selectors look for.

It's human nature to double down on areas of strength, and from anecdotal observation this can sometimes be part of the problem. Someone who has good clinical experience and likes working with patients may be far weaker on their research competencies. So when their post finishes they look for another clinical post (because they enjoyed it) and may ignore a research post that will develop their skills and make them a more attractive candidate (because they don't like stats).

My other theory is sometimes this can be a case of good choices can lead to other good choices. A candidate who studies hard and gets good A-levels, then gets onto a university with good links, which they then capitalise on to gain experience and connections beyond the syllabus. This leads to strong relationships with people in the system which provide opportunities and information, which in turn leads to better informed decisions around what jobs to take. This is often how a strong candidate is built. However, a few poor decisions (e.g. taking an unhelpful masters course, leading to a dead end; staying too long in a toxic job which deskills you) can compound those weaknesses.

I wish more people knew about this, but instead psychology grads often experience a 'wilderness phase' where they are trying to scrabble around and buying into myths. It makes a tricky route even more painful for grads, and it's a shame because a lot of the information is there on forums like ClinPsy.
This is very true. You see some people applying 4 or 5 times and say that it’s just the way the doctorate works. In reality these people were not ticking boxes that needed to be ticked. They were lacking in a particular experience or in the ability to reflect upon their experiences.
It’s competitive for a reason, the patients you work with can be very high risk, you need to be able to make the correct call, and if you don’t have the experience or ability then you shouldn’t be accepted.
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Turning_A_Corner
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(Original post by Lord Asriel)
As someone on the other side of the process, there are reasons why you get some people getting on 1st or 2nd time, and some people apply for ages with no success. The statistics show the majority of succesful applicants get on 1st or 2nd applications, and it's because the pool is quite skewed between a group of very strong candidates who demonstrates specific factors (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/cpp.399), and a 'weaker', larger pool who may have one or two areas but are usually missing substantial areas that selectors look for.

It's human nature to double down on areas of strength, and from anecdotal observation this can sometimes be part of the problem. Someone who has good clinical experience and likes working with patients may be far weaker on their research competencies. So when their post finishes they look for another clinical post (because they enjoyed it) and may ignore a research post that will develop their skills and make them a more attractive candidate (because they don't like stats).

My other theory is sometimes this can be a case of good choices can lead to other good choices. A candidate who studies hard and gets good A-levels, then gets onto a university with good links, which they then capitalise on to gain experience and connections beyond the syllabus. This leads to strong relationships with people in the system which provide opportunities and information, which in turn leads to better informed decisions around what jobs to take. This is often how a strong candidate is built. However, a few poor decisions (e.g. taking an unhelpful masters course, leading to a dead end; staying too long in a toxic job which deskills you) can compound those weaknesses.

I wish more people knew about this, but instead psychology grads often experience a 'wilderness phase' where they are trying to scrabble around and buying into myths. It makes a tricky route even more painful for grads, and it's a shame because a lot of the information is there on forums like ClinPsy.
This is true. I think there are also a group of people who find themselves on the borderline on multiple application cycles. The psychologist we occasionally see gracing our Stroke department (ridiculously stringent triage criteria!) was a four timer who got wait-listed three years straight!

Then there’s the people who realise that it’s not the route for them. My partner’s cousin had years of experience as an IAPT practitioner and tried 3 times to get in. She realised that she lacked the research experience to round out her application and by that point was committed to having a large family and decided to put the process on hold for a while. When I spoke to her about it a couple of years ago, she said that ultimately she was happy delivering therapies and realised that she ultimately happy with her current role and didn’t need to push beyond it. She’s a case in point of why I say to people to be cautious about committing to clinical or educational psychology is because all to often it is the only route they know of that can lead to a career in a cognate science. It’s a very high profile career but not necessarily the route for everyone. I remember there was a girl on my conversion course who’d done an art degree and decided on a whim that she wanted to do CP. Promptly failed her first essay and dropped out because she realised that this wasn’t for her as she wasn’t interested in the academic side and it didn’t suit her skills set. Decided to try for art therapy instead. But she’d been told to go for CP and she was misinformed about the academic demands of the role. There are plenty of people applying for CP or EP who would be very well suited to a number of other careers, better suited in many cases, but just aren’t signposted to them. People are also not always realistic about whether something like CP will be achievable when it comes to career preparation, often being unwilling or unable to do the work experience required. For many people, psychology might be an option but maybe not yet or not now. To achieve the short term career satisfaction they’re looking for, many people would be better advised to consider alternatives, without necessarily having to rule out psychology altogether. But they’re not signposted or advised appropriately and often end up frustrated.
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Arden University
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(Original post by GIBBC01)
Hello,

First time posting here but in desperate need of some knowledge and advice!

I am keen to pursue a career in psychology, I have an undergraduate first class degree in English Language and Linguistics which I got over ten years ago! I have since had three children and worked in speech and language as part of an MDT team. I have worked closely with clinical psychologists and have been more and more drawn to that side of things...

So looking to do an online conversion course, realistically I am thinking my options are BPP or Arden but as it is such a big commitment both financially and time wise, I am keen to hear from anyone in a similar position or that have studied at either of the above. I am nervous about doing all study online but that is the only feasible option for me right now, any advice or insights would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance.

Charlotte
GIBBC01
Hello! I am currently working on my Psychology conversion MSc at Arden after doing my degree (Sociology) about nine years ago.

A large benefit of Arden is that they are specialists in online learning and the course is accredited by the BPS. A lot of Universities are effectively catching up with the blended/online market and are putting their old programs online. The Arden virtual learning environment has been really easy to navigate (and I struggle with technology) and student support has been great. I think there is a real appreciation for the fact that students need flexibility (I lecture full time in an FE college) and have found the time to study. I think if you plan your ten weeks for a module really well you should be fine. Typically i have worked about 5 - 10 hours a week on my studies.

Here is a link to the course specifics https://arden.ac.uk/our-courses/post...psychology-bps

If you do go with another provider make sure the course is accredited by the BPS.

Marc
Arden University Student Ambassador
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Nicolammm
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Hello,I’m doing a conversation masters through Northumbria. I’m on my first module and so far I’m enjoying it. It was the cheapest and my husband is doing a distance degree through them so it made sense to go to the same uni. I already have a MSc so couldn’t get a student loan so I had to just get an ordinary loan but it will be worth it in the long run.

I have a 3 and 4 year old also, she will start school September then things will get a bit easier.

I also wouldn’t let anyone put you off telling you it’s a competitive. I personally am up for the challenge.

Best of luck.
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Turning_A_Corner
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(Original post by Nicolammm)
Hello,I’m doing a conversation masters through Northumbria. I’m on my first module and so far I’m enjoying it. It was the cheapest and my husband is doing a distance degree through them so it made sense to go to the same uni. I already have a MSc so couldn’t get a student loan so I had to just get an ordinary loan but it will be worth it in the long run.

I have a 3 and 4 year old also, she will start school September then things will get a bit easier.

I also wouldn’t let anyone put you off telling you it’s a competitive. I personally am up for the challenge.

Best of luck.
I never try to put people off. Just try to make sure people go in with their eyes open. Conversion courses are an industry in themselves and with no caps on student numbers you’re heading into a highly saturated market. Psychology isn’t a career people should ever head into on a whim because there’s no room in the application process who do. Not everyone’s life is set up for building an application for clinical psychology and people are not always aware of perfectly viable alternatives that exist that may help them achieve their goals.
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allylily
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(Original post by Cloudsandstars)
To become a charted psychologist in the UK yoy must have minimum 2:1 in a psychology undergraduate degree that is accredited by the British psychological society (BPS). If you do not have this, you cannot get onto the training programme.
After this you must apply for a 3 year PHD in clinical psychology. This degree is funded by the NHS and you get paid a very good salary. Hence is very competitive.
You must have very good grades and a lot of experience to get in. They tend to take people that have studied psychology all their lives and have a clear path.

My advice is talk to some clinical psychologists about their career and how they got into it. They may give you some extra tips. If it’s what you want to do go for it! Don’t let how competitive it is to put you off, but just bare in mind it’s not an easy process 😊
Hi!
I recently completed my undergraduate degree in Theology and am about to begin an MSW social work degree, the idea being I gain practical and research experience in the mental health side of social work, and from there take a conversion course after a few years of learning and working in the field. Would you say that this is worthwhile? I'm doubting my path reading some of the replies to this thread!

However, I felt that taking the conversion course straight away with only a theology degree under my belt would be useless as I have no experience other than volunteer work and fail to see why any job/scheme would choose me over psychology undergrads.

Thanks!
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