Finding relevant work experience in the psychology field can be a long and laborious job (no pun intended). Whether you are interested in applying for a Master of Clinical Psychology program at a University in Australia, looking for a door into a 4+2 internship role, or perhaps just looking for an edge over your peers chances are you are going to need relevant experience. Here are some ideas that are commonly thrown to give you some inspiration and places to start.
If you are looking for clinical work experience. You may consider some of the following roles:
- Disability support worker or carer
- Community rehabilitation support worker (e.g. working with people who have brain injuries)
- Mental health support worker e.g. OneDoor, Flourish
- Youth worker – case management, residential carer, refuge worker
- Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) therapist
- Reception/admin job at a psychology clinic
- Lifeline telephone counselling
- Family and Community Services (FACS) Case Worker
- Counsellor e.g. Centacare, Anglicare, Relationships Australia, Wesley Gambeling Counselling
- Brain Injury and Community Rehabilitation Units
- Marriage And Relationships Educator/Group Facilitator
- Group therapy worker e.g. group therapist or support co-ordinator.
- Respite Worker for Disabled Children (Home Care)
- Employment assistant for people with mental illness at organisations such as Centrelink, OCTEC, Care Employment
- Tutoring, Volunteering, or becoming a teacher’s aide in a School
Volunteering positions are also helpful in adding experience to your CV. Universities take volunteer work very seriously. Consider these roles:
- Volunteering at hospitals with children, older persons, people with mental health disorders
- Telephone counselling e.g. Lifeline, Quitline, Abortion Helpful, Mens Phone Line, Gay and Lesbian Counselling, DV Counselling Service, Salvation Army, ARAFMI
- Youth volunteering program e.g. ReachOut, Salvation Army
- Disability volunteering e.g. CarersNSW, CarersAssist, Serenity NSW
- Mental health mentoring and volunteering e.g. OneDoor, Flourish
Things to remember:
- If the job description requires a certificate IV in Mental Health, you are fine to apply with at least a bachelors degree
- For volunteer positions, most universities ask for experience in helping people with physical and/or mental health problems, working with children, adolescents, adults and the elderly. By helping, they mean being exposed to these demographics. Therefore, even working as a volunteer taking therapy animals into aged care facilities is considered volunteer experience.
- By exposing yourself to additional training courses (e.g. lifeline, basic counselling skills) you may be able to network yourself into your dream role plus it looks great on your CV.
- Research experience is always looked upon favourably. Consider linking in with a supervisor for some work over the summer, or to jump on board with data collection.
- Becoming a student member of professional organisations (e.g. Australian Psychological Society) is something you will be able to put onto your CV. Also, it will expose you to networking events and other opportunities such as training to propel your experience.