Advice on retraining as a clinical psychologist in the UK
October 17, 2017 1:15 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for help and advice on changing career to become a clinical psychologist in the UK. Much more inside...

I’ve just turned 40 and am considering a career change to become a clinical psychologist. I have a (strong) undergraduate degree in an unrelated subject and since then have had a pretty well paid job in web development, so have some savings. However, I do have a mortgage and three kids (with a partner in full-time work) so there's a limit to how long I'd want to be not earning.

I am aware this is a competitive field. I’m interested in any advice to improve my chances of getting a job as soon as realistically possible.

It looks like my best bet would be to try to do a one year (self-funded) full-time MSC at the University of Nottingham (my local university, and it looks like they have a strong psychology department), before then undertaking some paid/voluntary work in the field, before then applying for a doctorate in clinical psychology.

I guess my question is - is this realistic, and if so, what timescale would we be looking at?

My main issue would be - if I did my MSC from September 2018 through to September 2019, how much work experience would I need before having a realistic chance of doing a doctorate? I assume it would be unlikely I could start the doctorate before September 2020, but is that feasible - I'd be presumably applying in January/February of 2020 with only 4-5 months (max, even assuming I could get straight into work) of any in-work experience? Is it so super competitive that I'd likely need to apply for several years running? What is the likelihood of getting paid work in the field after an MSC? e.g. there's a practical limit if I'd need to spend several years doing unpaid volunteer work while reapplying each year for a doctorate.

I'd be limited as well to where I could do my doctorate (would have to be Nottinghamshire or Derbyshire Trust) which I guess makes things tougher.
posted by anonymous to Education (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
there is an excellent forum with heaps of information - and people that understand the "system" you will be better off posting your question there as well. quick question - does the MSc come with BPS registration? If not, you may have to look at a conversion degree rather than a masters.
posted by coffee_monster at 3:42 AM on October 17, 2017

(In my 3rd year of the DClinPsy) Came here to suggest the ClinPsy forums as well - you will also need to check the BPS accreditation of the degree you're looking at. A 1-year conversion comes to mind as the appropriate degree for your situation.
From my experience it is super competitive and most candidates have at least 1-2 years' worth of clinical (NHS) and research experience under their belts by the time they interview.
posted by monocot at 4:37 AM on October 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Just an extra bit of info but it's possible by the time you're applying that clinical psychology will no longer be funded by a bursary and will instead have moved to a loan system (as I understand it this is being reviewed at the moment with no funding confirmed for 2018 entry or beyond at the moment. I'm training as a counselling psychologist and we never got the bursary anyway so our courses are less competitive). This may affect how competitive getting on a course is though I imagine they'll still be looking for significant amounts of experience.
posted by theseldomseenkid at 6:11 AM on October 17, 2017

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