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To do a degree in Psychology at 50 ?

(34 Posts)
Dragonsdaughter Thu 07-Jan-16 08:43:05

Want to retrain and have the finacial / time space to do a degree - I have a back ground in Business and customer service. Know I would love the subject but am like the Archeology thread wondering if there is a job at the send of it?

whois Thu 07-Jan-16 08:46:58

No. 100% pointless h less you are going to do a masters and fight really hard to get a low paid job at the end

Do an OU or part time degree for self enrichment, but don't expect to knock outs a psychology degree and walk into a job.

19lottie82 Thu 07-Jan-16 08:47:45

I did a psychology degree when I was younger. Never followed it up career wise tho.

Apart from using it as a general graduate scheme stepping stone your main options would be the academia or counselling routes.

It isn't really a degree with huge directly employment options at the end of it IME. And you need to remember that it is a very popular choice, so there will be a lot of grads fighting it out for the few directly related roles.

If you want to do a degree mainly for employment purposes, perhaps realistically another subject may be more beneficial?

timelytess Thu 07-Jan-16 08:48:24

Someone was telling me yesterday that Psychology is a very boring course, all statistics and little practical application.

Gottagetmoving Thu 07-Jan-16 08:56:48

If it interests you then it is never a waste to learn something but I agee with others, career wise it may not have any benefit.
I did a counselling course and was told that very few get a job from it, unless they are self employed, private counsellors.

Katinkka Thu 07-Jan-16 09:00:02

I just started a psychology degree at 37 and I am nowhere near the oldest. There's a few in their 50s. I agree that for a job you need to do masters/further training. I plan on going straight onto masters afterwards to improve job prospects but as I have three disabled children I'm not sure I'll be able to have one. Nevertheless, for the here and now I'm doing a degree and I LOVE IT. It's so much fun to meet new people etc. Sometimes it is hard and sometimes boring because it's quite a broad subject but I'd still recommend it.

HPsauciness Thu 07-Jan-16 09:01:54

I think at the moment, anyone thinking of doing one of the applied degree subjects such as psychology, archaeology, anthropology, criminology, even law, has to get over the fact there is no clear career path at the end of them. These are just not training for a specific career, and there are also tens of thousands of graduates out there who also work hard, get a 2:1 or first and want to work in the field.

That doesn't mean you can't get a job at all in those sectors, just that there are very few jobs at present- budgets are cut in places like education, psychology, in the police and so forth- that budget cutting means they are taking far fewer people on, and often prefer, say in the case of the police, in-house trained people rather than recruiting from outside. In the case of clinical psychology it is a whole several year training after the degree and it is extremely competitive to get on the courses. Same with law training.

A few people do it. They tend to have great results (often a first), relevant work experience which often only rich students can afford to do, like intern at a law firm in the summer hols or work as a volunteer to get social/educational experience, and often contacts as well. They are utterly persistent and apply for internships/jobs from their second year at uni.

What job do you think you would get with psychology? Counselling is several years of training, clinical psychology is several years of training and research is a Masters and a PhD and a post-doc and not that well paid!

I do actually think psychology is a good degree to do, precisely because it has some quantitative/stats skills, paper/report writing as well as being interesting, but it's not like counselling/clinical work at all as an academic subject. But, it would be useful in the same way any good degree from a good uni would be- as a stepping stone into jobs that require degrees, not necessarily to be a psychologist, at least not on its own. And, graduates now have to be flexible and do all kinds of jobs to get employment, not just one relevant to their degree.

Dragonsdaughter Thu 07-Jan-16 09:18:58

I think job wise I was thinking along the lines of specialising in ASD counseling/mentoring in private practice as I have kids with additional needs. I have considered social work but although the course looks interesting, the job is stressful and I think too 'in the box' for my personality (have run own businesses for 13 years) . My A levels were Maths Sociology Biology and History - really stumped as what to apply for sad

19lottie82 Thu 07-Jan-16 09:24:29

Would you not have to do some kind of access course first OP, to get you back into the swing of studying? I think that's how it works in Scotland anyway.

How about teaching? Then you could lean towards the SN areas?

PearSoup Thu 07-Jan-16 09:27:41

To be a Counselling Psychologist you need a Doctorate so that a lot of further study to factor in.

You could train to be a counsellor without doing a degree in psychology. Maybe that's an idea?

SnootBoop Thu 07-Jan-16 09:32:48

How ridiculous to dismiss a whole subject as 'boring'! hmm it either interests you or it doesn't. I bloody love it!

The clearest career route I can see is to become a therapist but that would require degree then post-grad studies. For example a three year degree then a one year full time PGDip or Masters in CBT (and full time is HARD when you've got to get in client contact hours as well). You wouldn't be qualified until 54/55 but you could still get in 10(?) years as a CBT therapist before retirement.

Clinical psychology is an incredibly competitive field and I guess you'd have to be exceptional to make it onto the postgrad coursen with a lack of relevant experience.

TBH, I think this will come down to whether you have a real passion for the subject - would it be of personal value to you to be learning psychological theory, critical thinking and research skills?

Toobusytowee Thu 07-Jan-16 09:34:00

Could you find someone who is doing the job you would eventually want to do? You could speak to them about how they got their job, what career routes there are and what it all involves. Maybe arrange for some work experience? There may be other jobs in similar fields that you don't know about. Maybe you don't need to do a degree at all.

Dragonsdaughter Thu 07-Jan-16 09:34:35

19lottie - no need for access course all 3 unis I could attend, happy to take my work life as qualifications. I am doing volunteering work at the moment in a SN school - I don't want to teach for sure smile

Pearsoup - further study not actually a problem - I have about 5 years to study and hopefully have summers free.

Muskey Thu 07-Jan-16 09:34:48

Hi op I went back to university at 45 to do a psychology course. It was hard work but I really enjoyed it. People are right in the fact that if you want a career in psychology you need an MA and other supporting courses. However I combined my psychology degree with a counselling course with the open university. I am now in a job where both skill sets are extremely useful.

I would say that I found the stats a bit mind boggling but I worked my way through. The course I did was about one third stats but it gave me a much better understanding of how to use excel.

By the way I had a similar background to you.

SnootBoop Thu 07-Jan-16 09:37:11

Or how about a counselling degree, for example this kind of thing: www.salford.ac.uk/ug-courses/counselling-and-psychotherapy-professional-practice

Covering psychological theory with emphasis on application of theory to counselling practice.

Dragonsdaughter Thu 07-Jan-16 09:38:22

A degree suits me financially and childcare wise very well for the next few years - plus I just want to meet new people, develop new skills, stretch myself intellectually and not be in business anymore smile

Whatdoidohelp Thu 07-Jan-16 09:41:01

Unless you do down the Masters route it is pointless. I know many psychology grads who are employed in anything but psychology at the moment.

Also... Your age. You will be competing with younger, hungry, fresher graduates when applying for jobs. Employers claim not to be ageist but they so are.

TamaraLamara Thu 07-Jan-16 09:44:38

If this is an area interests you, counselling might be worth looking into. I did a psychology degree as a mature student (30s), but realised that the routes into clinical psychology (which had been my preferred area) weren't really compatible with starting a family. Instead, following discussion with a clin psych friend, I looked into counselling and began training. The OU now do counselling courses, and I know someone now working as a counsellor having studied via the OU.

During my counselling training I was told that being older works in your favour as life experience is a great thing to bring to the role.

(My life took an unexpected turn and I didn't complete the counselling training, but I haven't ruled out a return in the future).

Good luck, whatever you decide to do smile

PolterGoose Thu 07-Jan-16 09:45:28

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SnootBoop Thu 07-Jan-16 09:45:33

It's not pointless if you enjoy it for what it is!

Dragonsdaughter Thu 07-Jan-16 09:45:46

I am actually quite happy to be self employed at the end smile I'm lucky to have a reasonable basic income. Looking at the masters stuff now !!!

tinyterrors Thu 07-Jan-16 09:52:43

I mm doing my psychology degree with the open uni, it's hard but worth it.

Yes there's a fair bit of statistics, but you apply them to projects that you've carried out. I'm at the beginning of a Research project foe my current module and there's plenty of practical application. For a psychology degree to be BPS accredited you have to do at least one study of your own, albeit on a small scale.

To go into a psychology career it does need further study. I'm planning to do my masters when I finish and hope to go onto forensic psychology eventually. There are plenty of careers that you can go into with a psych degree if you're willing to do further study.

Pipestheghost Thu 07-Jan-16 10:19:16

I have an open degree through OU and done a mixture of clinical psychology/child psychology and challenging behaviour/ASD, I work in behavior support with families who have children with learning disabilities/challenging behaviour through NHS. Not for the faint hearted but I really enjoy it. The biggest drawback is never knowing when the funding might get pulled, especially the last 5 years.

Todecide Thu 07-Jan-16 12:18:42

Dragon if you are looking to do SEN counselling or use it in that capacity, there could be scope there.

If you are interested in SEN, would you consider learning disabilities nursing? I knew someone who trained in that at age 50.

ghostyslovesheep Thu 07-Jan-16 12:40:20

what is it about Psychology that you think you would like - it can be interesting but it can also be dire (industrial psychology anyone???)

I'd start with what JOB you actually want out of it?

Then work back to consider the degree - you work with children with SEND - is this something you would like to continue?

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