There are many options to choose from if you're looking for a career involving psychology, but do not wish to work as a practising psychologist.
Related roles and careers
This page aims to provide some useful info on the variety of related roles and career opportunities available to you, some of which do not require a psychology degree, while others are intended as additional roles to supplement your main career.
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.
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.
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.
The role of a National Assessor is to advise employers on whether applicants meet the standards for appointment for the role of Applied Consultant Psychologists, Band 8C and above.
In particular, they assess whether candidates have the necessary skills and competencies to fulfil the job description associated with the post.
They also advise on the relative strengths and weaknesses of candidates in relation to the required competencies. However, the final decision ultimately remains with the employer.
In addition, national assessors may give advice on the development of the job description, person specification and recruitment advert.
Becoming a National Assessor
If you are currently at Band 8c or above with substantial experience of recruitment and selection at a senior level you may apply to become a national assessor.
You will need to meet the following criteria:
BPS member of appropriate Division.
Substantial experience as a Consultant Band 8c and/or above. (It is expected that this appointment will have been undertaken using National Assessors on the appointment panel).
Relevant up to date specialist knowledge and experience as a consultant Psychologist.
Fully trained and experienced in assessment and interviewing skills, including competency based assessment.
Be able to provide evidence of personal development (e.g. myCPD log).
Have knowledge of clinical governance and other relevant NHS policies and strategies.
Be fully trained in recruitment and selection practices for senior posts and aware of current legislation in this area.
Be fully trained in equal opportunities and diversity related to recruitment and selection.
Be available to travel.
It is recommended that National Assessors have their own insurance.
National Assessors may continue following retirement or leaving the NHS, providing the above criteria are fulfilled. If retired completely, they may continue for two years following retirement.
If you have any questions please contact the NA team at [email protected]
You may also find it useful to consult the documents below:
The Directory of Voluntary Careers Speakers lists Society members who are happy to give careers talks to schools and other institutions.
To contact voluntary careers speakers search the directory for their contact information.
How do I become a Voluntary Careers Speaker?
Becoming a Voluntary Careers Speaker is a great way to share your knowledge and personal experience and to help inspire the next generation. It is also a great addition to your CV.
If you choose to attend an event we can provide you with a selection of the Society’s careers materials and other promotional leaflets.
Once you become a Voluntary Careers Speaker your profile will be available to view on the internet by members of the public.
To join the DVCS please download and complete an application form, then return it to:
The British Psychological Society
St Andrews House
48 Princess Road East
For further information about the DVCS contact the Society’s Help Desk.