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Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology (CAAP)

What is a Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology?

Clinical associates in applied psychology (CAAPs) are specialist healthcare professionals who work in the NHS. In Wales, CAAPs use assessment, formulation and intervention skills to work with adults and older adults in a variety of healthcare settings, including primary and secondary care, under the supervision of a practitioner psychologist. CAAPs aim to make a positive difference to people’s lives by promoting wellbeing and reducing distress using evidence based psychological approaches. CAAPs are also trained in evaluation skills to enable them to evaluate their work and improve the services that they work in.


Is Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology the right career for me?

A career as a CAAPs is ideal for individuals wishing to specialise in working clinically with clients using evidence-based psychological approaches in the NHS. It is a career that suits compassionate, curious and reflective individuals who are able to work independently and within a team to enhance the quality of people’s lives.

What will I be doing?

For the first year of CAAPs training, CAAPs students complete a one year master’s degree. During this year students are employed by a Welsh NHS Health Board and undertake clinical practice under the supervision of a practitioner psychologist on average for three days a week. For the remaining two days, students complete academic modules on the theory and practice of clinical psychology and develop critical and reflective skills to enhance understanding of a range of issues such as power and diversity.


After training, CAAPs continue to work in the workplace they trained in, providing psychological assessment and formulation to understand a person’s distress and use evidence-based psychological interventions, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, to improve an individual’s quality of life.  CAAPs may work directly with clients, or indirectly by working with staff, family members or carers. CAAPs might provide individual or group interventions as part of their role. CAAPs also draw upon their training in research methods to evaluate their work and services in the form of quality improvement projects. CAAPs are expected to undertake continual professional development throughout their career to keep their knowledge and skills up to date by attending further training relevant to their workplace.


Where could I work?

CAAPs can currently work in any adult and older adult healthcare setting where psychological approaches are used and where regular supervision by a practitioner psychologist can be provided. As well as working alongside practitioner psychologists, CAAPs may also work with doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and mental health professionals.


Where do CAAPs  work?

A range of settings; the areas CAAPs can work in include but are not limited to: community mental health teams, inpatient units, and primary mental health services.


You could work in  …………………………

Training as a CAAPs is dependent on the availability of workplace opportunities within the Welsh NHS Health Boards. Each year, the workplaces on offer for training as a CAAPs will likely vary depending on the areas of mental health provision that Health Boards need to recruit into. It is likely that most training years will have placements in adult mental health and older adult services, however in the future CAAPs may also work in areas such as: learning disability; physical health; perinatal mental health; forensic; and/or neurodiversity.


How much do CAAPs  earn?

CAAPs begin earning a wage as soon as they start their training. CAAPs are paid at band 7 Agenda for Change (AfC), however whilst they are training CAAPs received a reduce wage on something known as Annexe 21.  Annex 21 means that while, undertaking training, a CAAPs is paid at 70% of the top of Band 7 AfC. 

What career progression opportunities are available for CAAPs?

CAAPs is a new workforce in psychology in Wales, therefore career progression opportunities are currently unknown. However, as CAAPs have a varied and rewarding role, with good levels of support through supervision and are a relatively well-paid profession in the NHS, it is hoped that many people will choose a long-term career as a CAAP.


How do I become a CAAP?

Individuals wishing to become a CAAP first need to complete an undergraduate degree that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). Typically, the requirement will be for a 2:1 Honours degree from a BPS accredited psychological degree programme to meet the entry requirements for CAAP training. If you have an undergraduate degree in a different subject you can undertake a conversion course in psychology to gain the GBC.

Prior to applying for the MSc Clinical Associate in Applied Psychology – Adult Lifespan, it is helpful if applicants have gained experience working with people experiencing mental health challenges, ideally in a healthcare setting.


Do I need a degree? Yes


Where can I train in Wales? Training places as a CAAPs are available across Health Boards in Wales. The educational component of the training is currently provided by Cardiff University but in the future will be provide my multiple academic institutions. Teaching is typically a mix of face-to-face training and online teaching. Face to face teaching may be provided in a teaching block to be less disruptive to clinical placements. Health boards can fund accommodation and travel to those students living far from the training course for teaching blocks.  


Is there funding available? CAAPs is a fully funded training, including receiving a band 7 AfC wage on annexe 21 during the training period.


How do I get experience? Any experience working directly with people in a helping role would be valuable whether as a paid worker or as a volunteer. You can apply for jobs on the NHS jobs website. You may also gain useful experience by working with a charity or social care provider. Some people may also have the opportunity to complete a placement year in an NHS setting during their undergraduate degree.


How do I apply for a job? Posts will be advertised on at various times throughout the year.




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