Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Elaine MacDonald from St. Michael's House to give some advice for people considering this job:

 

Elaine MacDonald

Psychologist - Clinical

St. Michael's House

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  Elaine MacDonald

Make sure you are willing to go the full distance in terms of the time needed to train as a Clinical Psychologist – it’s typically at least six years academic study, and invariably this period is interspersed with work in a relevant field.

Do be as confident as you can that you’re happy being a “listener” and “observer”, as you will spend significant amounts of time in your work life as a Clinical Psychologist being in this role, as well as being in the “do-er” role and being in the limelight.

To have a good ‘fit’ with this career you’ll need to be happy working with people – as individuals on a one to one basis, with groups (e.g. families), and as part of a team in the workplace.

You need to have a good attention to detail as the job needs good observation skills, record keeping, and organisation skills.

Be prepared for learning and self-development to be on-going for the whole of your career because, as a Clinical Psychologist, you’ll be learning and using techniques and intervention approaches that are being constantly developed, and be working in accordance with policies and laws that are also constantly evolving.

The last piece of advice I’d give to someone considering this job is to be as sure as you can that you feel comfortable and even excited at the prospect of your career revolving around people and groups with all the varied, diverse, and unpredictable rewards and challenges that this brings!

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Social?
Social 
The Social person's interests focus on some aspect of those people in their environment. In all cases the social person enjoys the personal contact of other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.

Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people, and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
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Back to Education Allowance

The Back to Education Allowance (BTEA) is an educational opportunities scheme for jobseekers, lone parents and people with disabilities who are getting certain social welfare payments and who wish to pursue an approved full-time second or third level course (and a limited number of post-graduate courses) of education in an approved college leading to a recognised qualification:

In order to qualify for the BTEA scheme it is necessary for a person to be:

  • Attending a recognised course of study at second or third level study option
  • Attending a full-time day course of study in a recognised college
  • A specific age in receipt of a qualifying social welfare payment for a period of time
  • Must be in general commencing the first year of a course of study
  • The course must be leading to a progression of qualifications: click here

From 15th May 2014 there are a number of new enhancements being introduced including:

  • Applicants wishing to pursue the new Professional Master's in Education will be able to avail of the BTE programme
  • Applicants who already hold a Level 5 or 6 qualification under the National Framework of Qualifications will now be allowed to undertake further courses of study at either of these levels to further their career prospects
  • Confirmation that applicants for the Department of Education's Springboard and Momentum initiatives in the forthcoming academic year will be supported under the BTE programme
  • Revised application and selection processes with unemployed clients who are considering undertaking a course of further study
For more information on the BTEA click here

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