A psychologist speaking to a patient

October 1, 2021, by indybamra1

Alternative Careers to Clinical Psychology – If Not Clinical Psychology, Then What?

Julia Szacilo, BSc Psychology graduate (2017)

If you are anything like me, then you chose to study psychology because it is a fascinating subject, but sooner or later the question comes around of what to do career-wise after graduating.

Although many psychology graduates will go onto jobs that are not related to psychology, after all, they have a lot of transferable skills. For others and I’m hoping to address you in this post, you would like a career that is related to psychology and healthcare in some ways.

Although clinical psychology may be one obvious choice, the good news is that there are many other roles you can consider.

So, let’s jump straight into outlining a few of them, and do read on until the end of the blog post for a list of more alternative careers.

Counselling Psychologist

Not to be confused with a counsellor, there are many ways in which the work of a counselling psychologist and a clinical psychologist overlap. Both require you to complete a 3-year doctorate and train you to become a scientist-practitioner, a clinician who uses the best available evidence in their practice.

As a counselling psychologist, you will see individuals with a variety of mental health problems, and you will be able to treat them through talking therapies and the use of different models. Some differences between a clinical psychologist and a counselling psychologist are that a clinical psychologist will typically be trained to deal with individuals with more serious mental health problems, whereas counselling psychologists place more of an emphasis on patient-centred theoretical approaches.

Also, a higher proportion of counselling psychologists tend to work privately, whereas a higher proportion of clinical psychologists tend to work for the NHS, although both private and NHS jobs are possible!

CBT Therapist

The chances are that you are already somewhat familiar with the cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) approach as it is often mentioned during a psychology undergraduate degree.

CBT is one of the most popular models used to treat mental health problems and it is an approach that clinical psychologists will learn in their training, as well as other models. However, you don’t need to be a clinical psychologist to deliver CBT therapy, it is possible to train in and focus solely on CBT and become a CBT therapist. As a CBT therapist, you will use the CBT model, which is trying to understand the interaction between thoughts, feelings, and behaviours to work with individuals facing various problems and you can work in various settings, e.g. an IAPT service, community mental health team, and others.

Clinical Associate Psychologist (CAP)

Clinical Associate Psychologist (CAP) is a new and emerging role in the NHS. The role requires the completion of a master’s degree, and upon completion, you become a professionally applied psychologist working under the supervision of a clinical psychologist. CAPs are trained to work with a variety of populations and in various mental health settings.

Other Careers

Inevitably there is not enough space in a single blog post to mention all alternative careers, so below is a quick-fire list of some other possible careers:

– Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
– Children’s Wellbeing Practitioner
– Educational Mental Health Practitioner
– Social Worker in Mental Health Services
– Mental Health Nurse

For an even longer list, do check out a YouTube video I made about the very topic: 25 Alternative Careers to Clinical Psychology: If not a clinical psychologist, then what?. Whatever path you decide to pursue, I wish you the very best of luck. Psychology is a fascinating area to work in!

You can find out about the different branches of professional psychology below and read our alumni case studies to get an insight into their work, career pathways and their advice to you. You can also talk to a careers adviser about any aspect of your future.

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