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Wrong Career Path :S

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
So, the story is...
I had a lot of things happen in my personal life when I was 16 and for 2 years I wasted the time I should have spent focusing on my education.
When I made the decision to get back on track (as I always wanted to go to uni)...I chose to study a BTEC in Business as coursework was my strength in comparison to exams and I thought Business would be useful.
The problem is; my heart is in psychology and I've wanted to work in that area since I was 14. I know that due to recent events I wouldn't be accepted onto a course at this time which is fine because I have another 18 months of my Business degree to finish...but once I have how do I go about changing route??
Ideally I would like to work with 16-25 year olds as a Counsellor/Counselling Psychologist...but no idea how to go about it..??
Any advice would be greatly appreciated...!? Kind of feeling like I'm having a mid-life crisis 20 years early as this has been stressing me out for a while...it's just recent events have proven that life is too short to keep doing something I don't enjoy...


  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    What exactly do you have in terms of qualifications?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    8 GCSEs at Grade C including English and Maths but nothing Psychology related.
    GCSE Double Science: DD
    BTEC Level 3 in Business - triple distinction
    Once I eventually graduate a degree in International Business Management.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    You're good enough to get A-levels, have you thought about doing that?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I tried A Levels...they were just too hard...and my local college wouldn't accept me for Psychology as I don't have the necessary grades at GCSE...
    I'm also stuck because I now can't leave full time work so I have to finish my current degree p/time. I looked at doing a psychology degree with the OU but to spread the cost and to fit it in around work it would take 6 years and that's only for an undergrad degree...
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It doesn't have to take 6 years! You can do some modules as full time and some as part time so you take it at the pace that works for you
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    There is a big difference between qualifying as a Counselling Psychologist as defined by the BPS, and becoming a “Counsellor".

    Based on what you have posted, I suggest you do the appropriate foundation course with the OU (1 year pt) which you could then use to access local courses.

    If you are going to aim for registration with the BPS as a Counselling Psychologist, then at some point you will need a degree in psychology to MSc level. However, you can put a portfolio together in various ways.

    One route could be to do the OU foundation, and then use it to access a Counselling Diploma that is recognised by the BPS. I would suggest a BACP approved Counselling Diploma, and ideally one that can be upgraded to an MSc. Bristol Uni used to do such a Diploma, not sure if they still do though.

    Most Diplomas do not require a degree as a prerequisite, but you may need to do a basic level counselling course and get some experience of counselling – the easiest way being to do some voluntary counselling that comes with supervision by a suitably qualified person - making sure you get supervision notes, as these will be useful for your portfolio.

    In the world of psychology people tend to progress based on qualifications alone, whereas in the counselling world interviewers look more for experience of counselling and the personal qualities that they see as necessary for competent counselling.

    If you pick the right Diploma, then I think you should be able to get some credit for it through the OU’s accreditation system – check out with the OU before signing up.

    Having a decent Counselling Diploma should help you to find paid employment in counselling, and obtain BACP accreditation as a counsellor – see the BACP website for more info on that.

    If you then wanted to carry on aiming for Counselling Psychologist status, you could do more relevant OU courses to make up your portfolio, or do a full time academic psychology degree. Or you could do other advanced professional courses, such as a Diploma in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that is accepted by the OU through their accreditation system. As I recall, in order to build an OU degree in this way you need at least 3.5 Credits based on certain core OU courses.

    If this way of qualifying sounds like it might be for you, you will need to map-out a portfolio plan and check it out with the OU and the BPS.

    Most colleges have in-house Careers Advisers, so maybe that’s a good place to start.

    These days, a professional qualification in CBT, or a form of counselling based on the cognitive sciences, is very helpful in obtaining employment.

    If you do the OU foundation and get some counselling experience, you might be able to get on a Counselling Degree course. To save going up any blind allies, I suggest you ring up any training centres within reach of you, and ask them about their entry requirements – try to speak to someone teaching on the course, as well as student services.

    To achieve Counselling Psychologist status you will have to cover a lot of academic work. Doing the OU foundation will give you a good introduction to studying in Higher Education. I hope you enjoy writing essays, because to meet the BPS requirements you will be writing quite a few!

    If academic work doesn't come easily to you, then the OU is an excellent place to start - their courses are designed with adults returning to study in mind. The tutors really know their stuff, and are very supportive. They will help you to build the skills and the confidence required for advanced study.

    If you don't want to take on the long academic haul required for Counselling Psychologist status with the BPS, then doing a basic counselling course and getting some experience of counselling should enable you to find a suitable Diploma.

    If you haven't done any counselling work yet, then you definitely need to see how you like it before making any significant investment of time and money in it.

    Hope this helps.

    Jed :wave:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Fuck me, you really are a Jedi.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wow!!! That's a lot of info...thanking you lots!!!!! At least now I can see I have options :-)
    Once again, thank you! :-)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Jedi, your knowledge here is absolutely awesome! It's a route i've been looking at too, but this information is the most comprehensive I've seen.

    WhiteLillies, your local adult education college may have intro to counselling courses that will give you some practical opportunities- for example, here in Leeds the Swarthmore college do several courses.

    Lots of charities do training as well for volunteer counsellors, my housemate does it. Good luck- and definitely go for it. As an interim, look for some volunteer posts while you finish your business degree?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I haven't read Jed's reply in detail so I apologise if (as is likely) I am duplicating something I missed.

    Many universities will take access courses in lieu of formal qualifications if you find A Levels intimidating. You can find more information on the UCAS website.
  • plugitinplugitin Noob Posts: 2,197 The Mix Regular
    wow, Jedi. You said everything I was about to say and more!
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