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Getting into the field of psychology

The pathway to qualifying as a psychologist seems out of reach for me right now. What other related roles (eg counsellor, therapist, well being practitioner etc) could I aim for and what degrees/training would I need, which would still keep the door to becoming a psychologist further down the line still open?
Original post by Rainbw
The pathway to qualifying as a psychologist seems out of reach for me right now. What other related roles (eg counsellor, therapist, well being practitioner etc) could I aim for and what degrees/training would I need, which would still keep the door to becoming a psychologist further down the line still open?


Which specific area of psychology?

For most roles in psychology, you more or less have listed them. You could look into psychiatry, but that's more medicine than psychology.

The standard requirement to become a psychologist is to get a degree in psychology (either at bachelor's or master's) before doing a doctorate. I would ensure that the bachelor's/master's is BPS accredited, so you can manoeuvre into clinical psychology as well as psychology research. If the degree is not BPS accredited, your options are only limited to the academic.

See the following for finding BPS accredited degrees: https://portal.bps.org.uk/Accredited-Courses
The good news is that a good number of psychology related degrees out there are BPS accredited, but there would be a few that do crop up. In other words, I would always check the degree in the BPS search engine to double check.

The lowest entry requirement to getting into a BPS accredited degree is CCC at A Levels (I think) for a bachelor's, whereas it's a 2:2 (I think) if you're going for a master's. I am not sure why you think this is out of reach for you right now.
You would need at least a 2:1/Merit in your psychology degree in order to do the doctorate. If you fail this, then it's an even more of an uphill battle.
Competition for doctorates is stiff, so I would aim for a 1st class in a straight psychology degree where possible, along with quite a bit of relevant work experience in psychology and a GBC membership.
Reply 2
Original post by MindMax2000
Which specific area of
For most roles in psychology, you more or less have listed them. You could look into psychiatry, but that's more medicine than psychology.

The standard requirement to become a psychologist is to get a degree in psychology (either at bachelor's or master's) before doing a doctorate. I would ensure that the bachelor's/master's is BPS accredited, so you can manoeuvre into clinical psychology as well as psychology research. If the degree is not BPS accredited, your options are only limited to the academic.

See the following for finding BPS accredited degrees: https://portal.bps.org.uk/Accredited-Courses
The good news is that a good number of psychology related degrees out there are BPS accredited, but there would be a few that do crop up. In other words, I would always check the degree in the BPS search engine to double check.

The lowest entry requirement to getting into a BPS accredited degree is CCC at A Levels (I think) for a bachelor's, whereas it's a 2:2 (I think) if you're going for a master's. I am not sure why you think this is out of reach for you right now.
You would need at least a 2:1/Merit in your psychology degree in order to do the doctorate. If you fail this, then it's an even more of an uphill battle.
Competition for doctorates is stiff, so I would aim for a 1st class in a straight psychology degree where possible, along with quite a bit of relevant work experience in psychology and a GBC membership.

Thanks for your response @MindMax2000

I am more interested in practising as a psychologist than in a research role; ideally counselling psychology, although I do have an interest in educational psyc as well.

I have a 2:1 in an unrelated degree, so was initially thinking of a BPS accredited conversion master’s and following the pathway you mentioned: relevant work experience, then maybe another more specialized master’s, then a doctorate. But I have a young child and realised that the time and financial commitment involved would make it out of reach right now so wanted to look for an alternative pathway that would lead to being able to getting into a (fairly well) paid role sooner. Ideally a role that would still count towards eventually being able to get back on to this psychology pathway.

Counselling seemed to be a quicker route to paid work via level 4 Diploma+ work experience. But I wasn’t sure if this kind of work would count for later on if and when I was applying for doctorate positions.
Reply 3
On a related, but side note, what are your thoughts on where I do my conversion master’s? As long as it’s BPS accredited, does the prestige/ ranking of the university matter later on when vying for limited job/ doctorate positions? Also whether it was done online or in person on campus?
Reply 4
Original post by Rainbw
On a related, but side note, what are your thoughts on where I do my conversion master’s? As long as it’s BPS accredited, does the prestige/ ranking of the university matter later on when vying for limited job/ doctorate positions? Also whether it was done online or in person on campus?


Neither matter!

Greg
Original post by Rainbw
On a related, but side note, what are your thoughts on where I do my conversion master’s? As long as it’s BPS accredited, does the prestige/ ranking of the university matter later on when vying for limited job/ doctorate positions? Also whether it was done online or in person on campus?

As @greg tony has answered this, I won't comment further.

Original post by Rainbw
Thanks for your response @MindMax2000

I am more interested in practising as a psychologist than in a research role; ideally counselling psychology, although I do have an interest in educational psyc as well.

I have a 2:1 in an unrelated degree, so was initially thinking of a BPS accredited conversion master’s and following the pathway you mentioned: relevant work experience, then maybe another more specialized master’s, then a doctorate. But I have a young child and realised that the time and financial commitment involved would make it out of reach right now so wanted to look for an alternative pathway that would lead to being able to getting into a (fairly well) paid role sooner. Ideally a role that would still count towards eventually being able to get back on to this psychology pathway.

Counselling seemed to be a quicker route to paid work via level 4 Diploma+ work experience. But I wasn’t sure if this kind of work would count for later on if and when I was applying for doctorate positions.


I have a 2:1 in an unrelated degree, so was initially thinking of a BPS accredited conversion master’s and following the pathway you mentioned: relevant work experience, then maybe another more specialized master’s, then a doctorate.
Well, the minimum requirement is the conversion course for most psychology and psychotherapy doctorates. I have looked through a number of doctorates that involve counselling, and most would ask for the BPS accredited conversion course.

But I have a young child and realised that the time and financial commitment involved would make it out of reach right now so wanted to look for an alternative pathway that would lead to being able to getting into a (fairly well) paid role sooner.
I don't know about your financial circumstances, but there are often busaries available for your first master's. The only therapy related postgrad course that is considered an allied health profession is occupational therapy.
Tuition costs can be supplemented, but I don't have much information on living costs unless you are classed as someone living in a low income household.

Counselling seemed to be a quicker route to paid work via level 4 Diploma+ work experience. But I wasn’t sure if this kind of work would count for later on if and when I was applying for doctorate positions.
It depends on the specific doctorate. I have only come across 2 specific counselling doctorates that mention anything related to a counselling qualification required on top of a conversion course:
https://www.metanoia.ac.uk/programmes/counselling-psychology/dcpsych/entry-requirements/
https://nspc.org.uk/course-directory/dcpsych-counselling-psychology-and-psychotherapy-by-professional-studies/#text_anchor_3
You will need to check with postgrad admissions of the psychology department that you want to do your PhD at to cofirm whether your diploma and work experience would be of any benefit. From the general scope of things, the work experience should be valid, but don't take my word for it.

You can also sometimes get your course paid for certain roles in counselling, but you would need to research this and speak to the individual employer. See the following:
https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/psychological-therapies/roles/counsellor
https://nationalcareers.service.gov.uk/job-profiles/counsellor
https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/counsellor
Consider CBT, do not believe you even need to take a psychology degree. Becoming a clinical psychologist is highly unlikely for most students. The BPS state graduates after doctorate have a measly 15% of employment, seems like a pointless commitment for several years for potentially nothing.
(edited 10 months ago)
Reply 7
Original post by random_matt
Consider CBT, do not believe you even need to take a psychology degree. Becoming a clinical psychologist is highly unlikely for most students. The BPS state graduates after doctorate have a measly 15% of employment, seems like a pointless commitment for several years for potentially nothing.


Not sure where you got the stats on post doc employment (might be confusing this with chance of getting on the doctorate, but happy to be proved wrong) you are effectively guaranteed a job post clinpsy as there are way more jobs than qualified people (the clearing house, where clin doc applicants apply via states a 95.3% employment rate post qual) It is a funnel point of difficulty pre doc but after it is fairly straight forward and well paid.
(edited 10 months ago)
Original post by Rainbw
Thanks for your response @MindMax2000

I am more interested in practising as a psychologist than in a research role; ideally counselling psychology, although I do have an interest in educational psyc as well.

I have a 2:1 in an unrelated degree, so was initially thinking of a BPS accredited conversion master’s and following the pathway you mentioned: relevant work experience, then maybe another more specialized master’s, then a doctorate. But I have a young child and realised that the time and financial commitment involved would make it out of reach right now so wanted to look for an alternative pathway that would lead to being able to getting into a (fairly well) paid role sooner. Ideally a role that would still count towards eventually being able to get back on to this psychology pathway.

Counselling seemed to be a quicker route to paid work via level 4 Diploma+ work experience. But I wasn’t sure if this kind of work would count for later on if and when I was applying for doctorate positions.


Hello!

I just wanted to mention that I'm studying the MSc Psychology (Conversion) course at Surrey, and I'm really enjoying it. I was fortunate to get a research assistant role for my dissertation too, which is great experience and helpful for some money. Some universities offer part-time or online if that's more accessible to you.

You can work in healthcare assistant roles without accreditation. I was a Peer Supporter, so worked with trained counsellors in helping students. If it helps, my plan is to gain various work experience after the BPS-accredited course and train as a Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner. I think trying different areas is good to see what you like and make connections :smile: I will eventually do a doctorate in Psychology once I have more practical experience.

The BPS student membership also gives you access to events, articles and chatrooms, etc.

Let me know if you have any questions or need help navigating it all.

Thanks,
Sam (she/her)
MSc Psychology

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