There are many options to choose from if you're looking for a career involving psychology, but do not wish to work as a practicing psychologist.
This blog aims to provide some useful info on the variety of related roles and career opportunities available to you, whether you have a psychology degree or not.
Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners
Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners are trained to assess and support people experiencing common mental health problems – principally anxiety disorders and depression – in the self-management of their recovery, via a range of low-intensity, evidence-based interventions, informed by underlying cognitive/behavioural principles.
The PWP role was originally developed to work within Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services in England, providing assessment and low-intensity interventions designed to aid clinical improvement and social inclusion, through the provision of information and support with everything from phyiscal exercise to medication adherence.
PWPs normally operate within a stepped care service delivery model, on the principle of offering the least intrusive most effective treatment in the first instance - after which patients can then be ‘stepped up’ to a more intensive treatment if required.
You don't have to have a degree in psychology to get onto a PWP training programme, as they are offered at Level 6 and Level 7, however many psychology graduates do pursuse this role as a career in itself.
If you have any questions about our IAPT register and individual PWP practitioner accreditation, contact the Membership Team.
For more information on how to become a PWP, please visit the NHS PWP Careers Page.
Clinical Associates in Applied Psychology
A Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology is a specialist mental health professional whose duties include assessing, formulating, and treating clients within specified ranges of conditions and age, either in primary care/adult mental health settings or in a range of areas involving children, young people, and their families.
It is important to note that, unlike individuals who hold a full Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, Clinical Associate practitioners are able to operate only within certain specialised areas, and are required to work under the supervision of a fully qualified practitioner psychologist.
Individuals wishing to become a Clinical Associate first need to complete a BPS-accredited undergraduate degree (or conversion course) in psychology, followed by an MSc in either Psychological Therapies in Primary Care or Applied Psychology for Children and Young People.
The standard MSc programme usually takes around one year to complete, and will incorporate a mix of theoretical, research-based, and practical/applied study.
Please note that the role of Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology is specific to Scotland.
To find out more, please click here.
The precise duties of an Assistant Psychologist can vary depending on the specific area of psychology involved, but in general they will involve tasks such as:
- preparing/administering psychological tests and assessments
- observing and recording behavioural observtions
- implementing specific treatment and intervention programmes
- research and information gathering
- and many more...
In order to become an Assistant Psychologist you will need an undergraduate degree in psychology - ideally one which is accredited by the BPS, as membership of the Society is often a prerequisite for many posts.
Due to the highly competitive nature of the field it is recommended that candidates also possess a relevant postgraduate qualification, and conversion courses are available at both MSc and PGDip levels as an alternative route for those whose undergraduate qualifications have not yet been accredited.
For many the role of an Assistant Psychologist serves as a stepping-stone towards full qualification as a Chartered Psychologist, as it allows them the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience in their chosen field, while working under the direct supervision of an experienced professional, as part of a dedicated multi-disciplinary team.
Assistant Psychologists in the UK typically work in the healthcare field, often for the NHS, however other opportunities for employment can also be found in human resources, education, forensic settings, and the non-profit sector.For more information on becoming a Psychologist, visit - https://beta.bps.org.uk/public/become-psychologist