Why Assistant Psychologist Positions Are Dying Out!

Hello & WELCOME to PsychAssist. This week’s article is all about something that we have been noticing in the past couple of months. Assistant Psychologist roles seem to be on the decrease. Recently, we have been asking why this is happening and 3 main themes have been coming up quite a bit. Therefore, we will explore Why Assistant Psychologist Positions Are Dying Out!

Just Graduated? Check out: 6 Jobs for A Psychology Graduate straight out of university?

Thinking of becoming an AP? Check out: 5 Tips on Getting that Assistant Psychologist Job

Want an Alternative Route? Check out: Are PWP’s The New Assistant Psychologists?

Missed the last PsychAssist Article? Check out: What It’s Like Being A Support Worker With Little Support…Kiera’s Story

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Don’t know what they do

This was one of the main reasons as to why Assistant Psychologist roles were dying out as many people outside of the psychology world don’t actually know what they do. If you haven’t noticed already, psychologists are very rarely leading services and often don’t have the time to be involved in recruitment within services. This means that for many service leads, they are quite confused as to why a service would need an AP. We have seen on many occasions that service leads will look to employ other professions such as mental health nurses to do the work previously prescribed to AP’s. Some may argue that it is our own fault as psychologists are terrible at celebrating the great work that we do. It actually makes sense as to why there is a decline in AP roles as in a world where you have to justify your worth, AP’s just don’t seem to make sense to a lot of service leads.

PsychAssist Tip: If you’re an AP currently then try your best chance is to justify your role. Don’t be afraid to highlight all the great work that you do as this will help promote the value you bring to the service. The more AP’s that do this, the more likely that services will take note and look to employ more AP’s.



“her day to day job was mainly inputting the finances for the hospital”

   PsychAssist (2018)

Glorified Admin

Another theme that came up was how diverse AP roles can be. Some roles are very appropriate in developing your skills to getting onto a doctorate; however, there are some that are quite frankly, glorified admin roles. I remember speaking with one AP that on paper seemed to have the perfect job role (working within a Neuro rehab hospital)however her day to day job was mainly inputting the finances for the hospital. Now you tell me how she was developing as a psychologist? Sadly, these types of experiences are becoming more and more common as some services will employ AP’s to simply input data or to file away patient notes. Also, from a service perspective how can a psychology team justify paying someone a band 4/5 when an admin person is paid on a band 2/3 to do the same job? This could be one of the main reasons as to why AP roles are slowly dying out.

PsychAssist Tip: If you’re in a similar situation then you’ve got 2 options! Either you leave your post or you demand that you do work that will actually benefit your development. Remember, at this stage in your career, it’s a give and take and you should be getting something out of your workplace. Speak with your supervisor about your concerns as they should be able to give you some work that will help in your development.

“many trainees don’t actually have any AP experience”

    PsychAssist (2018)

Do You Even Need Them?

The final theme that came up in our discussions was the diverse path to getting onto the doctorate. As you may know, many trainees don’t actually have any AP experience which raises the question of the need for these roles on your journey. This is also highlighted in the many alternative routes that graduates are taking to getting onto the doctorate such as going down the PWP route. Therefore, if many graduates are getting onto the doctorate without having AP experience then why would they put themselves through all the pain of getting an AP position?

PsychAssist Tip: Stop stressing about getting an AP job as this isn’t a necessity as it once was. The road to getting onto a doctorate isn’t set in stone as it was years ago. Besides, it’s not about your job title anymore but what you learn from a role that counts.



5 Comments Add yours

  1. Daz says:

    Just to point out, admin roles are rarely ever band 2 or 3. Most are band 4 or 5 too. A lot of admin staff out earn APs.


  2. Jonny says:

    What other roles do you suggest prospective clinpsychs look for? I find that up north there’s rarely an AP posts and people always suggest support worker roles instead. However I dont feel comfortable doing a social work role that requires feeding and bathing and isnt related to what I wish to do as a psych.


    1. Hey check this article out! Should help https://www.google.co.uk/amp/s/psychassistblog.wordpress.com/2017/05/02/6-jobs-for-a-psychology-graduate-straight-out-of-university/amp/ plus not all support worker jobs involve personal care and is a job that around 90% of psychologists have had as a starting point in their careers. If you need some support in this then follow us on any of our social media platforms (twitter,Instagram,LinkedIn,Facebook) and send us a DM so we can help 😁


      1. Jonny says:

        Thanks for the response, just a quick follow up to that. I find that every support worker role in my area and within a 50 mile radius all include personal care and its really put me off looking at them. I’m yet to see one advertised that does not include a form of personal care I’m not comfortable with.


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