National Requirements UK



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  • Psychology Education

The education for psychologists leading to professional recognition in the UK is as follows:

 - 3-year bachelors honours degree + 3-year professional doctorate; or
 - 3-year bachelors honours degree + 1-year MSc + 2 years’ supervised practice leading to the  award of a British Psychological Society (BPS) Qualification; or
 - 3-year bachelors honours degree + postgraduate programme approved by the regulatory body, the  Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) (usually 3-years including credit for prior learning)

Recognition of university education programmes as meeting EuroPsy requirements is undertaken by a national accreditation authority, of which the judgements are accepted by the National Awarding Committee (NAC)

  • Programmes that meet EuroPsy requirements

BPS accredited programmes exist at a large number of universities. Many universities offer a recognised undergraduate psychology degree; a smaller number of universities offer a recognised Masters Level or professional doctorate degree.

Please refer to the BPS website

And to the website of the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

  • Supervised practice arrangements (for the EuroPsy Certificate)

The principle of practice under supervision has a strong tradition in the professional training of psychologists in the UK.
All training programmes leading to qualification as a Chartered Psychologist and registration with the HCPC include supervised practice designed to develop knowledge and skills and produce psychologists who are fully competent to practise independently.
Supervision arrangements in the UK differ slightly depending on the training route in question, although the principles are very similar.

1.       Training via an accredited programme at an institute of higher education (HEI), normally a university

1.1 Higher education courses are required to specify how the overall learning outcomes/competencies for the course are addressed through the various credit-bearing components that make up the training experience. Typically they will have modules that relate to individual placements or components of clinical experience, and trainees will negotiate on an individual basis with their supervisor as to the ways in which the specific placement experience in question might allow them to meet specific competencies. This forms the basis of a placement contract, which then in turn forms the basis for evaluating the individual trainee’s performance.

1.2 The programme will have in place procedures for maintaining an overview of individual trainees’ developmental trajectories as they progress through training, as well as systems for ensuring that learning needs identified by one supervisor are not lost in the transition to subsequent placements, making sure that trainees are given appropriate opportunities to demonstrate the full set of required competencies prior to completing their training.

1.3 Courses also work with supervisors to reach shared understandings in relation to calibrating the level of competence in particular areas at particular stages of training – i.e. the level of competence in psychological formulation that a trainee at the end of their first year would be expected to achieve would be lower than that expected of someone in their final year, since the competency statements are set at the level required at the point of completion of training. We explore all of this through our accreditation process.

2.       Training via a Society (BPS) Qualification

2.1 Candidates on Society (BPS) Qualifications are subject to similar rigour, although they will have a Co-ordinating Supervisor who has oversight of their development. These processes are subject to scrutiny by the Health and Care Professions Council through their approvals process, which also applies to accredited courses.

2.2 Candidates wishing to enrol on one of the Society’s Qualifications are required to secure appropriate supervision, and negotiate a plan of training with their Co-ordinating Supervisor, which is submitted as part of the enrolment process. Applications for enrolment on to our Qualifications are considered by the Registrar for the relevant Qualification, who will evaluate the plan of training to determine whether the proposed supervised professional experiences outlined as part of the plan are both appropriate to support the candidate in developing and demonstrating the relevant competencies and offer them a safe working environment.

2.3 The nature of the Society’s Qualifications is such that candidates’ individual developmental trajectories are going to be very strongly guided by the professional contexts within which they are working and the opportunities available to them. The role of our Qualifications Boards in delivering each of our Qualifications is to ensure that an appropriate breadth and depth of experience is gained over time. Supervisors play an important role in reinforcing that point with their supervisees, and sometimes in facilitating their access to alternative opportunities if these are required to broaden the experience upon which they are drawing.

2.4 Candidates are required to undertake regular progress reviews with their supervisor to ensure they have appropriate and sufficient opportunities to reflect on their progress, and to set further goals for the coming months. Over the course of their enrolment, candidates are required to develop a portfolio of evidence, which includes a regularly revised plan of training, the purpose of which is to ensure that the Society is able to directly evaluate candidates’ progress, and ensure that their plans of training remain appropriate in light of the specific competencies they need to develop.

  • Arrangements for training of supervisors

There are national arrangements for the training of supervisors. These may be arranged by the British Psychological Society or by universities.
Most supervisors meet Level 3 or higher criteria. Level 3 means that the supervisor satisfies the EuroPsy criteria and has at least 2 years of full-time independent practice (or its equivalent). The 2 years have been achieved within one specific field (clinical and health; education; work and organisation) and the psychologist has undertaken some training in supervision.

  • Recognition of title

The single title, ‘Psychologist’ is not legally regulated or protected in the UK, nine professional titles are legally regulated and protected. These are:

Clinical Psychologist
Counselling Psychologist
Educational Psychologist
Forensic Psychologist
Health Psychologist
Occupational Psychologist
Sport and Exercise Psychologist
Practitioner Psychologist
Registered Psychologist

  • Licence to practice

License or entry in the HCPC register is needed for practising psychology in the UK.

  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD)

The UK regulator, the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), prescribes the CPD requirements for practitioner psychologists and details can be found here

The British Psychological Society places an ethical responsibility on its members to engage in CPD and monitors the CPD activity of members who have gained entry to one or more of its specialist registers. The Society’s CPD guidance can be found here with further references in the Society’s Practice Guidelines

Revalidation of the license to practice or entry in a register is required after 2 years - Please refer to the website of the HCPC for details