If you’re an aspiring clinical psychologist then you have the desire to help others overcome a broad range of issues. Making a difference in people’s lives is the core of clinical psychology and most jobs in healthcare.
However, that alone is not enough to provide the in-depth level of expertise that clinical psychologists offer. As a clinical psychologist, you’re also a science practitioner so you conduct research to help advance the field. Whilst also working directly with clients to improve their quality of life.
Clinical psychology covers many aspects of mental health from emotional disturbances and learning disabilities to eating disorders and more.
Therefore, getting fully qualified is quite the academic feat as there’s much to learn. You’ll have to work your way through many stages of education before finally receiving a doctorate.
Although should you have the determination to succeed then it’ll lead you to an extremely fulfilling career.
Qualities of a Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists need to be empathetic and have a person-centred approach to their clients. Helping people is the main attribute of a clinical psychologist. So, demonstrating you genuinely have this characteristic is essential.
You’ll need the ability to respond to difficult situations appropriately and understand your own limitations. The relationship between the client and psychologist is important. So, if you’re not connecting or don’t have the right skillset, they may not receive the help they need.
What’s more, you need to be a proficient critical and analytical thinker. Working with your clients to improve their mental wellbeing.
Stellar communication and interpersonal skills are important when dealing with people in distress. In addition to this, it also helps to work well in teams and be collaborative with colleagues from other disciplines. Together you can support your clients and help them overcome whatever challenges they face.
However, it still helps to be self-motivated as you’ll often work independently from other professionals too.
A day in the life of a Clinical Psychologist
Each day will differ depending on where you’re located or the clients you’ll work with.
Should you choose to specialise than this will impact the types of clients you’ll see most often. You can specialise in substance abuse, young people and children, mental health or many other mental illnesses.
Common responsibilities for clinical psychologists include:
- Assessing clients’ behaviours and needs using psychometric tests, interviews, and direct observations
- Devising a treatment plan in collaboration with other professionals
- Monitoring a clients’ progress with their treatment
- Working alongside other healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists, and occupational therapists
- Offering therapy and treatments for a broad range of mental health conditions
- Consulting professionals in other areas of work to encourage a psychological approach
- Providing counselling and support
- Utilising your expertise and carrying out research adding to the evidence base of practice
What Qualifications do I need?
To become a fully qualified clinical psychologist you’ll first need to secure an undergraduate degree. The course needs to be in Psychology and accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). Following the completion of your undergraduate degree you’ll then need to continue your studies further still.
Three years of postgraduate training is necessary leading to a doctorate in clinical psychology. To get accepted onto a doctorate course you’ll need a first-class honours or 2:2 in your undergraduate degree. In addition to 12 months relevant clinical research or work experience.
Currently, doctorate courses are funded by the NHS. You’re likely to be employed by them as a trainee clinical psychologist too. During your doctorate studies, you’ll combine academic and practical learning with clinical placements and research.
Finally, upon completion of your doctorate, you’re eligible to register with the HCPC and gain chartered status with the BPS. Only then are you legally allowed to practice as a clinical psychologist.
Getting into University
To start your journey within higher education you’ll need to meet the requirements to get into university. Usually universities ask for the following:
- 5 GCSEs C/4 or above
- 2/3 relevant A Levels or equivalent
This is generally what universities look for. However, universities can set their own entry requirements so always check your desired institute to make sure. If you don’t have relevant A Levels for whatever reason then there is an alternative.
The Access to Higher Education Diploma (Psychology) is equivalent to A Level study. The course is designed to give you highly relevant knowledge to prepare you for university.
An A Level in Psychology would also give you the desired level of understanding. However, one A Level alone isn’t enough to secure a university place. Whereas the one Access to HE Diploma is all you need.
An Access to HE Diploma is worth between 48 and 144 UCAS points. So if you were to achieve a high grade upon completion your qualification would be worth 3 As at A Level.
Online learning gives you the flexibility to engage with your studies whenever suits you best. No matter what time constraints you may already be under. Whether you have work, family or other commitments you’re able to progress with your learning at a pace that works.
You have a full two years to complete the course if need be. Or you can blitz through the material in as little as 6 months. It’s completely up to you.
Having the freedom to study wherever and whenever means you can enjoy your learning experience. You won’t have to worry about rearranging shifts, finding childcare or rescheduling appointments to attend class because there aren’t any. As long as you have a stable internet connection and a laptop, you’re good to go.
What’s more, the material is readily available to you as soon as you enrol. So you won’t have to wait until the term begins before progressing with your learning like at a physical college.
If you’re considering a career as a clinical psychologist Stonebridge Associated Colleges could help.
Stonebridge Associated Colleges is one of the UK’s leading online learning providers. You’re able to complete the Access to HE Diploma (Psychology) online and get closer to reaching your goals.
All our courses have flexible payment options and expert tutors to support your learning. They’ll provide constructive feedback and any extra assistance when needed.
To learn more on how to prepare for your online learning experience visit our blog here.
If you’re ready to get back into education, speak to an advisor for more information or browse below.