The Student Room Group

Psychology vs PGCSE vs Social work

Hi all. I’m having trouble deciding which career path to go with. I have a First class bachelors in History from a top uni. I’m interested in social work, psychology (child development, education etc.) and primary teaching. They’re all related in some ways lol - but I’m struggling to decide. I know I could always do social work later as there are fully funded graduate programmes, but it’s either MSc psychology conversion OR pgcse (as postgrad funding only covers 12k I believe). I was fully passionate about doing psychology as I know I’d find it fascinating but then realised how hard it is to become a psychologist unless I’m wrong (I think I know someone who’s a band 8 cognitive behavioural psychotherapist but she just has a masters not a doctorate? I guess that’s a route I could do but I can’t do another masters after the psychology MSc). I guess there are other job options after MSc psychologist. I’m passionate about making a difference in children’s lives in an interesting job. I’m also looking to have my own children fairly soon (prob getting pregnant later next year) so that’s something to consider I guess.

My mums a health visitor and I find it fascinating so social work sounds VERY interesting and basically guaranteed a job after. Psychology opens lots of doors, super interesting and I can work as a perinatal psychologist or sumn and can interact with mothers and other people (but think I need doctorate) but future more uncertain. Teaching like social work means I’m basically guaranteed a job and I have a direct impact in children’s lives. Any advice pleaseeee
Reply 1
State education teaching these days is prescriptive and without any encouragement or accolade for results - are you ok with this? In countries other than the UK where aspiration in education is 200% you may thrive. Teaching in state schools in the UK has disintegrated into a blanket one size fits all where there is no discipline, and half of the time teachers struggle to control a few aggressive children with multiple needs. This has resulted in the brightest kids being bored, and the majority of the class resentful of those few children who disrupt everything, making teaching impossible. Then add writing reports to justify actions, parental complaints etc - Ofsted capitulation and you have a very stressful mix.

The best opportunities for psychology are through the NHS route and this could offer you a route progressing to an educational psychologist working with children. There are many hours of study, many hours to reflect, and a lot of subjective assessments. What matters more is your ability to 'connect' with each person - and an understanding of life - if you don't have this ability to connect you have diddly credibility (despite having many certificates)

The reality of social work is that there are thousands of desperate needy families, many many needy people but few if any resources to back you up. Work loads are high and when you realise children should be removed from delinquent parents, invariably there are no child places, no support and a frustrating lack of financial support to help anyone. High work loads, not enough time, demanding IT systems and little thanks. But if you can stay cheerful, positive and a 'yes' person to management demands without conscience you will have a wonderful life.

Consider all other careers before the ones you have shortlisted. Especially if you want a happy life. Look at training drop out rates to get an idea of the demands made on you and the mismatch between reality and demands of every job.

This may sound negative but the reality of careers these days do not match up to romantic expectations. Where ever you end up do your best. You can't change the world overnight; but you can inspire one person, someone you have contact with, and ultimately change the world one person at a time.
Reply 2
Original post by Muttly
State education teaching these days is prescriptive and without any encouragement or accolade for results - are you ok with this? In countries other than the UK where aspiration in education is 200% you may thrive. Teaching in state schools in the UK has disintegrated into a blanket one size fits all where there is no discipline, and half of the time teachers struggle to control a few aggressive children with multiple needs. This has resulted in the brightest kids being bored, and the majority of the class resentful of those few children who disrupt everything, making teaching impossible. Then add writing reports to justify actions, parental complaints etc - Ofsted capitulation and you have a very stressful mix.

The best opportunities for psychology are through the NHS route and this could offer you a route progressing to an educational psychologist working with children. There are many hours of study, many hours to reflect, and a lot of subjective assessments. What matters more is your ability to 'connect' with each person - and an understanding of life - if you don't have this ability to connect you have diddly credibility (despite having many certificates)

The reality of social work is that there are thousands of desperate needy families, many many needy people but few if any resources to back you up. Work loads are high and when you realise children should be removed from delinquent parents, invariably there are no child places, no support and a frustrating lack of financial support to help anyone. High work loads, not enough time, demanding IT systems and little thanks. But if you can stay cheerful, positive and a 'yes' person to management demands without conscience you will have a wonderful life.

Consider all other careers before the ones you have shortlisted. Especially if you want a happy life. Look at training drop out rates to get an idea of the demands made on you and the mismatch between reality and demands of every job.

This may sound negative but the reality of careers these days do not match up to romantic expectations. Where ever you end up do your best. You can't change the world overnight; but you can inspire one person, someone you have contact with, and ultimately change the world one person at a time.

I want a happy life so my primary goal is to become a mother, these jobs are secondary to that

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