Hello & WELCOME to PsychAssist. We receive a lot of messages from psychology graduates who are aspiring to get onto the Clinical Psychology Doctorate course. As you know, getting onto this type of doctorate is SUPER competitive and sadly not everyone will get a place. However, have you ever thought about different options of doctorates that could give you the same competencies as the clinical doctorate? Within this article, we explore the different options psychology graduates have instead of the clinical psychology doctorate course.
Just Graduated? Check out: 6 Jobs for A Psychology Graduate straight out of university?
Thinking of applying for the Clinical Doctorate? Check out: Everything You Need To Know About The Clinical Doctorate Application
What About Health Psychology? Check out: Why I Chose Health Psychology Instead of Clinical!
Missed the Last PsychAssist article? Check out: Why You Should Never Sacrifice Your Mental Health For Mental Health Services
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Now, the first option that you could consider is another Professional Doctorate in another psychological discipline. Take Forensic Psychology for example; Forensic Psychologists have a very similar role to clinical psychologists however they are just based within forensic services. Most psychology graduates don’t know that they have the same level of responsibilities and powers as clinical psychologists. I remember I used to think that Clinical Psychologists were the only discipline that was allowed to “diagnose” mental health difficulties until I actually looked at the ICD-10 & DSM-5 criteria of who can diagnose. This states that it is a fully qualified and accredited psychologist who can make various diagnoses. This opens the door for other disciplines to have those same powers which mean that psychology graduates have other options besides the clinical doctorate.
PsychAssist Tip: So, before you state the obvious that the clinical doctorate is the only psychology doctorate course that is funded, there are ways around this. Recently the government has introduced the doctoral loan which could provide some financial support for students that otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford the course fees. This could be something that psychology graduates could research to see if this could be a viable option.
“One of the fears I had before I got onto the doctorate was how I was going to support myself financially”
Ok, so I know that having a PhD doesn’t exactly give you the same responsibilities as a professional doctorate in psychology. However, in regard to financial stability, having a PhD gives you everything that you need. One of the fears I had before I got onto the doctorate was how I was going to support myself financially (especially if I was ever to have kids in the future) and I have to admit that doing a PhD in the future did cross my mind. Completing a psychology PhD would mean that you would be an expert in your area which comes with its own perks if you’re brave enough to pursue a new area that hasn’t been researched before. This could also mean that you would be able to apply for either lecturing or fellowship research positions within universities. These roles can be quite lucrative and could provide an alternative for those that enjoy the research element of psychology.
PsychAssist Tip: Always keep a good rapport with your university psychology department as they usually look out for bright undergrad/post-grad students that they feel would be a good fit for a PhD that they offer. I’ve known lecturers pluck undergraduates out that have exceptional skills in research and offer them a PhD so it could happen to you!
“this appears to be the perfect blend of clinical work without the high levels of competition associated with psychology doctorates”
High-Intensity CBT Therapist
The final avenue that I always promote for psychology graduates who have attempted the first 2 points yet still have no luck, is to pursue the High-Intensity CBT therapy route. We know that these can be very competitive however this appears to be the perfect blend of clinical work without the high levels of competition associated with psychology doctorates. It also doesn’t hurt that training to be a CBT therapist can be funded through an IAPT service which gives the opportunity to people that couldn’t afford further training without getting into more debt. Oh, and did I mention that a CBT therapist starts on the same banding as a newly qualified clinical psychologist?
PsychAssist Tip: Best way to gain these types of opportunities is to start as a Trainee PWP. Once you have been qualified in this role for 2 years you can then apply for the trainee CBT therapist positions if they come up. IAPT are also very keen to keep staff and actively encourage their PWP’s to apply for the higher roles which could provide a whole new career path.
Thanks for tuning into this weeks article by PsychAssist! Tune in next time for more great content!