Clinical psychologists assess and treat patients with various mental and physical health issues, disorders, and illnesses.
Your aim as a clinical psychologist is to relieve pain and enhance the psychological well-being of your clients, who may suffer from various mental or physical health concerns.
You will work with your clients to diagnose, assess, and manage their illnesses. Assessment methods include interviews, observations, and psychometric testing. After being assessed, you will submit a treatment plan, which may include counselling, advice, or therapy.
You will work with individuals in various settings, including children, adolescents, and adults, as well as families, couples, and groups. You will also work with other professionals such as psychiatrists, social workers, and counselling psychologists to solve your clients’ complex difficulties.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- work out what your client needs using interviews and tests
- decide on the best treatments, like therapy or counselling
- go to conferences and research different topics
- work closely with other professionals like doctors
- write reports and act as an expert witness in court.
- Trainee clinical psychologists start at £32,306 (Band 6) of the NHS.
- After qualification, salaries within the NHS start at £40,057 (Band 7).
- More experienced psychologists can earn between £47,126 and £63,862 (Bands 8a and 8b).
- Consultant-level clinical psychologist roles typically range from £65,664 to £90,387 (Bands 8c and 8d).
- Heads of psychology services may earn in the region of £93,735 to £108,075 (Band 9).
Working hours are typically Monday to Friday, 37 to 39 hours a week, although you may do some extra hours in the evenings or at weekends.
You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a client’s home, at a university or at a health centre.
Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice clinical psychologist include:
- Level 7 Clinical Associate in Psychology – Entry requirements for this level include a degree in a relevant subject. This qualification will take 18 months to complete.
Once you’ve completed your degree apprenticeship, you’ll need to apply for graduate membership before you can apply for jobs as a clinical psychologist.
On a clinical psychologist apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- knowledge of psychology
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- the ability to understand people’s reactions
- sensitivity and understanding
- analytical thinking skills
- excellent verbal communication skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- excellent written communication skills
- to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently.
Most clinical psychologists are employed by the NHS. Opportunities are available in a range of health and social care settings, including:
- psychiatric units
- local clinics and health centres
- community mental health teams
- children and young people’s mental health services (CYPMHS)
- social services
- schools and universities
- Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services.
Once qualified, you must keep your skills up to date and keep up with current research advances. CPD is required for maintaining HCPC registration and chartered membership in the BPS and should include a mix of guided and self-directed activities.
You must keep an up-to-date and accurate record of your professional development activities, showing how your continuing education enhances the quality of your practice and service delivery while also benefitting your clients.
There is a structured career path within the NHS, and you should be able to progress through the pay bands as you gain experience and take on new tasks.
With time and experience, you may be promoted to a supervisory or clinical management role, where you will be in charge of both personnel and clinical psychology services.
Clinical psychologists with the right skills and experience can apply for consulting positions. In addition, a limited number of heads of specialised roles (in sectors such as adult mental health) are available from here, with promotion to general head of a psychological service possible.
You can teach, supervise, and train other clinical psychologists with time and experience. You might also do clinical academic research.