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Is Clinical Psychology the right career for me?

30th April 21

If you’re considering a career in clinical psychology then it’s important to know what you’re getting into. So that you’re able to make an informed decision on whether this is the right career for you.

A clinical psychologist is a health care professional focussing on helping people overcome various issues. From anxiety and depression to emotional disturbances and eating disorders. The work you do can have a big impact on people’s quality of life.

In addition to working with patients directly, you’re also a science practitioner. This means you’re able to conduct research and help advance our understanding of these topics further.

Because of the broad scope, clinical psychologists cover it makes sense that there many stages of education to work through. This ensures you have an in-depth understanding and skillset required by professional bodies. Which you will need to be registered with to practice legally.

However, you’re able to work towards your goal of becoming a clinical psychologist at any stage in your life. No matter what your previous experience or qualifications are, as long as you have the determination to succeed.

Read on to learn whether clinical psychology is the right career for you.

Qualities of a Clinical Psychologist

A clinical psychologist must have a person-centred approach in their work. Supporting your clients as they work through their challenges is an essential part of the job. So you need to show that you are genuinely interested in helping people.

Adding on from this, you must be able to deal with difficult situations. It can be tough mentally for psychologists to constantly be exposed to the emotionally challenging situations their clients face. You need to make sure you can detach yourself from these situations once your workday is over.

You also need to be honest with yourself and your clients. If you’re not connecting then it’s best to let them know and perhaps suggest other professionals with more suited skills.

What’s more, you need to have an analytical mind and the ability to think critically. As well as stellar communication and interpersonal skills. Not only with your clients but with other professionals as well. Allowing you to work together to support people.

Although you may work with others you’ll often work independently. So it helps to be self-motivated too.

A day in the life of a Clinical Psychologist

LD - Is Clinical Psychology the right career for me? - A day in the life of a clinical psychologist

Depending on where you’re located or what you’ve specialised in this can change day-to-day. Whether you’re working with people who struggle with substance misuse in a rehabilitation centre. Or children and young people experiencing mental health issues in a private practice.

Common responsibilities for clinical psychologists include:

  • Assessing clients through psychometric tests, interviews and direct observations
  • Identifying problem areas and collaborating with other professionals on treatment plans
  • Monitoring a clients’ progress throughout your time working with them
  • Working with other healthcare professionals such as doctors, nurses, occupational therapists and even social workers
  • Providing counselling and support for those in need
  • Using your expertise to carry out research adding to the evidence base of practice

What Qualifications do I need?

As previously stated, you’ll need to go through quite a lot of training before becoming fully qualified.

Firstly, you’ll need to complete an undergraduate degree in psychology accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). And then follow on from this with postgraduate training that eventually leads to a doctorate in clinical psychology.

To meet entry requirements for a doctorate course you’ll need a first-class honours or 2:1 in your undergraduate degree. As well as 12 months’ worth of work experience in a relevant clinical environment.

Once you’ve completed all your training you’ll then be eligible to register with the HCPC and gain chartered status with the BPS. Allowing you to legally practice as a professional clinical psychologist.  

Getting into University

LD - Is Clinical Psychology the right career for me? - Getting into university

Before you’re able to start your journey in higher education you’ll need to meet university entry requirements. This usually involves a mixture of relevant GCSEs and A Levels.

However, there are alternatives should you, for whatever reason, not hold these qualifications.

An Access to Higher Education Diploma (Psychology) is designed for those who lack qualifications to gain entry to university. It’s equivalent to A Level study and can be worth up to 148 UCAS points depending on your final grade. Which is the same as 3 As at A Level.

Throughout the course, you’ll gain knowledge of the fundamentals of psychology. As well as the course also prepares you for university with modules on academic writing. Ensuring you’re able to work at degree level.

What’s more, you’re able to study this qualification completely online.

Studying Online

Online learning allows you to progress with your learning at a time and place that suits you. You don’t have to worry about the logistical nightmare of trying to rearrange your existing schedule. Simply log in and begin learning whenever the time is right.

You have two years to complete your qualification. Although most learners tend to work through the course in around 10 months. But you’re able to decide what the right pace is for yourself. This allows you to relax and genuinely enjoy your learning experience.

However, despite it being a more independent learning style, it doesn’t mean you’re completely alone. Online courses tend to have experienced tutors to support your learning. They’re able to provide constructive feedback and any extra assistance where needed. So you’re confident that you’re on the right track to success.


If you’re considering a career as a clinical psychologist learndirect can help. learndirect is the UK’s leading online learning provider. Offering a range of courses including the Access to HE Diploma (Psychology).

All our courses have flexible payment options and qualified tutors. Once you enrol all the material will be readily available to you so you’re able to get started right away.

To learn more on how to prepare for your online learning experience visit our blog here.

Get started today by getting in touch with our advisors or learn more about the Access to HE Diploma below.

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