Skip to main content

Clinical Associate in Psychology

The Clinical Associate in Psychology (CAP) role is a new and exciting career opportunity aiming to enhance access and delivery of psychological interventions and increase diversity within psychological professions. The role was developed in line with the NHS Long Term Plan and Community Mental Health Framework and is a rapidly expanding part of the psychological workforce. Set up in 2019 there are expected to be more than 700 CAPs working across health and social care services in England by October 2023.

As an Apprentice CAP you will develop skills related to psychological assessment, formulation, and intervention, multidisciplinary working, and research and service evaluation. You will study a range of psychological models and become an important part of a the drive to improve access to psychologically interventions for people experiencing complex mental health needs.

To qualify as a CAP, Masters level training is required. This could be either a self-funded MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology (which includes clinical placement experience as a part of the degree) or a degree apprenticeship leading to an MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology qualification.

The MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology degree apprenticeship is an 18-month course and is a paid role that includes work-based learning. Qualification from the MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology degree apprenticeship confers eligibility to work as a CAP in the NHS in the area of practice of the programme. Find out more about different areas of practice offered on the course.

A degree apprenticeship is a full-time paid job where learning involves a combination of work-based ‘on-the-job’ training and academic learning through a training provider. Apprentices undertaking a degree apprenticeship are required to complete academic assignments and attend teaching much as they would for any other university degree; however, a substantial part of their learning takes place as part of their job role. All clinical work is undertaken under the supervision of a registered Clinical Psychologist.

The MSc Clinical Associate in Psychology apprenticeship is delivered in line with standards set by the British Psychological Society Standards, Institute for Apprenticeships Occupational Standard, Education & Skills Funding Agency. The course is delivered by Essex University Partnership Trust in partnership with The University of Essex and Employers.

This is an NHS funded course.

As an Apprentice CAP you will be employed by an NHS Trusts. The role is a full time role (37.5hrs per week). There are no options for part time working.

Apprentice CAPs are currently employed under the NHS Agenda for Change at a Band 5. Qualified CAP roles are currently employed at Band 6.

Find out more about funding, pay, and career opportunities.

  • Minimum of a second-class Bachelor's degree in Psychology from a UK University which confers Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) with the British Psychological Society (BPS) or equivalent 
  • English and Mathematics GCSE or equivalent at Grade C or above (at point of entry or functional skills level 2 qualification as part of the apprenticeship)
Find out more about the Entry Requirements.

There are three area of practices supported by the Apprentice CAP Programme;
• Adult Mental Health
• Learning Disabilities
• Older Adults
Your area of practices will depend on the populations that your employing service support. 
As an Apprentice CAP you will be supported to develop general psychological skills and competencies as well as specific knowledge related to your area of practice. Teaching covers psychological assessment, formulation, and intervention, a range of therapeutic models, consultation, research and service evaluation, reflective and ethical practice, and therapeutic skills. 
Learning and development also takes place in the workplace under the supervision of a Clinical Psychologist. 
Find out more about teaching and learning.

Apprentice CAPs are employed by NHS Trusts across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, & Essex. Your workplace will depend on the role you apply for. 

As an Apprentice  CAP you will work 3.5 days per week in your service with a half day's study time.

You will also attend teaching for 1 day a week. This is held remotely or at St. Margaret's Hospital, The Plain, Epping CM16 6TN. Occasional travel to other sites may be required.

Find out more about teaching and learning.

A CAP is trained to deliver high-quality evidence-based psychological assessment and psychologically informed intervention often working within a multi-disciplinary setting with service users who have multiple difficulties. However, unlike a Clinical Psychologist, CAPs are trained to work with a specific service-user group and therefore work within a more restricted scope of practice.

CAP training typically takes 18 months via the apprenticeship route and is a masters-level qualification whereas Clinical Psychology training takes 3 years and is a doctoral level qualification, typically with substantial prior experience expected. Clinical Psychologists are required to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council and hold clinical responsibility for their work.

Clinical Psychology posts usually carry additional responsibilities for clinical supervision, service development, leadership and research, and tend to work with the most complex clinical presentations. While CAPs may well contribute to service improvement and service-based research, as well as undertaking clinical work as an autonomous and accountable practitioner, this would all fall under the supervision of a registered Clinical Psychologist.

More information about the CAP apprenticeship, with specific information detailing the occupational role of CAPs, can be found on the Institute for Apprenticeship website.

Recruitment for the Apprentice CAP roles sit with employing Trusts. In most cases CAP apprentice posts are advertised on the NHS Jobs website and usually also via the Trust website

Please visits NHS jobs to search and apply for roles.

Please hold in mind that recruitment for the Apprentice CAP roles runs in cycles so you may wish to set up a job alert if there are no current vacancies.

The Course Team are keen to support any employer interested in developing roles or recruiting for Apprentice CAPs within their service. We work closely with our partners to offer thinking around the CAP role, support and guidance around recruitment, and ongoing support and collaboration once the Apprentice is in post.

Find out more on our employers page.

Get help?