Are there any part-time voluntary roles that count as sufficient prior experience to the doctorate?

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mr0860
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Are there any part-time voluntary roles that count as sufficient prior experience to the doctorate?

Post by mr0860 » Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:41 pm

I graduated with a first-class psychology degree ~4 years ago, and although I've always been very interested in mental health, I was never really confident that I had the maturity to train as a Clinical Psychologist. I'm now working in a research role and happy with this sort of career for the timebeing, but it wouldn't surprise me if I grow bored of it in the next 5 years or so and want to pursue a mental health role.

Does anybody know of any part-time voluntary roles (e.g. 1-2 shifts per week, on evenings or weekends) that would count as sufficient prior experience for the doctorate, and stand me in good stead for getting accepted if I wanted to apply in a few years' time? If I'm being perfectly honest, I don't want to take a year or two out to work as an Assistant Psychologist on a lower salary, and don't mind doing it in my own time for free as long as it's not hugely time-consuming. I also think it would be a better way for me to work out if the career is right for me, as it wouldn't be as damaging to leave a simple voluntary role as it would to change jobs twice in quick succession.

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maven
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Re: Are there any part-time voluntary roles that count as sufficient prior experience to the doctorate?

Post by maven » Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:00 pm

You've got some rather strange misconceptions about what experience is relevant. There is no reason that a research role in a project related to clinical psychology couldn't use your current skills, pay well and count as relevant experience, whilst the idea that you could just do a bit of volunteering and that would magically be "sufficient" to guarantee a place on training without being too time-consuming... well, that's a bit insulting to everyone involved.
Maven.

Wise men talk because they have something to say, fools because they have to say something - Plato
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mr0860
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Re: Are there any part-time voluntary roles that count as sufficient prior experience to the doctorate?

Post by mr0860 » Mon Apr 29, 2019 9:36 am

Apologies that you thought my post was insulting, as that was certainly not my intention! For clarity, I'm not suggesting that you just do "a bit of volunteering" and walk straight onto a doctorate - I think you've wilfully misrepresented my post in that regard. My suggestion was part-time volunteering for a duration of 3-5 years, so whilst the work would not be so time-consuming on a week-by-week basis, the candidate would still have as many overall hours in relevant prior experience as somebody who had worked in a paid full-time role for 1-2 years.
maven wrote:
Sun Apr 28, 2019 10:00 pm
There is no reason that a research role in a project related to clinical psychology couldn't use your current skills, pay well and count as relevant experience
Can you elaborate on what sort of roles you are referring to here? The only research posts I'm aware of that have relatively decent pay and are directly related to clinical psychology are Research Assistant roles at universities. Is that what you meant?

Just from personal experience, these roles appear to be hyper-competitive. I applied for ~20 such positions (on clinical and non-clinical projects) prior to getting my current job and, despite having a first-class BSc and distinction at MSc, I didn't make it to interview stage once. There are a few ways in which my application could have been improved (I didn't have any relevant voluntary experience from my time at university, for example), but on the rare couple of occasions where I did get feedback on the rejection, I was told that it was because there had been a high number of applications for each role and that many of the applicants had already completed a PhD, and so were preferred over less academically qualified candidates. Not sure whether that's true for all these roles, but thought it might be worth mentioning.

han10
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Re: Are there any part-time voluntary roles that count as sufficient prior experience to the doctorate?

Post by han10 » Tue Apr 30, 2019 8:18 am

There are research assistant Psychologist posts that are advertised either privately or via the NHS. Clinical trials officer roles may also be relevant. It might be helpful to be aware though that some courses only accept a minimum of 12 months paid full time relevant experience, without this forms will not be considered. Clinically relevant research can and is counted as relevant, but for some courses voluntary experience, however long, alone will not be sufficient. It might be helpful to look at the information about the courses on clearing house or the thread on here about the range of experiences people had before starting the doctorate.

Iggy1
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Re: Are there any part-time voluntary roles that count as sufficient prior experience to the doctorate?

Post by Iggy1 » Fri May 03, 2019 11:45 am

Just reading through this thread I am wondering if Maven was referring to your current role in terms of transferable skills as you said you are in a research role Mr0860?
Given that you applied for ~20 RA positions without interview, it might be worth thinking about reflection/the ability to apply what you've learnt previously to the role for which you are applying on application forms to help you progress. I have previously been a Research Assistant and for my job there were over 100 applications (including people with phd's, which I do not have). My feedback from interview when I was given the role was not just about academic ability but the ability to learn from what I had done in the past, despite having not held a research post before. If you're reluctant to leave research (and the wonderful salary it often comes with compared to some AP jobs) my experience is that working on a clinically relevant project is highly valuable.
However, the Clinical Doctorate application process is a grueling one and I believe that it has to be something you are truly passionate about in order to succeed. I hope you don't mind me saying that I don't think just being bored of another role is reason enough to apply- you have to really want it.

mr0860
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Re: Are there any part-time voluntary roles that count as sufficient prior experience to the doctorate?

Post by mr0860 » Tue May 14, 2019 2:35 pm

Just reading through this thread I am wondering if Maven was referring to your current role in terms of transferable skills as you said you are in a research role Mr0860?
Potentially, yes. During my time in the research role (which is an industry-placed PhD project) I've certainly developed my research competencies significantly beyond where I was at immediately post-MSc, and I imagine they'd be handy during the research stage of any clinical doctorate. However, I'm working with non-clinical samples, so this role alone wouldn't be sufficient as prior experience for the doctorate.
I hope you don't mind me saying that I don't think just being bored of another role is reason enough to apply- you have to really want it.
I don't mind you saying it at all, but I don't think it's an accurate representation of my intentions (which I may not have expressed very well, admittedly).

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