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Training in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

A background in mental health

If you aim to become accredited with us, you will need to train in CBT at post-graduate level. This means that you must have an undergraduate degree or a recognised equivalent in a mental health field. 

We call these accepted professional backgrounds Core Professions. You should also have at least a year's experience of working in this or another mental health field.  

No Core Profession? You can still train in CBT - we also recognise equivalent training and experience in mental health. This is known as KSA.

What if I trained abroad? Please have a look at this section in our Getting Accredited FAQs if your core professional training was completed overseas.

To be able to work in most settings as a CBT therapist, you should train on a University-based CBT course.  This will usually be at least a Post-Graduate Diploma (Level 7).  

There are CBT courses available at lower academic levels but these may not allow you to meet the criteria for accreditation. Accreditation with us is a requirement for many CBT jobs .

How to choose a CBT Training Course


Studying on one of our accredited courses is the most straightforward route to becoming an accredited practitioner. 

These have been assessed in terms of the quality of teaching and the content of their curriculum. Courses have to maintain standards and reaccredit every five years. 

Each university sets its own entry criteria and you should contact the course directly about these.

Levels of Course Accreditation

You can choose between -

Level 1 accredited courses meet some or most of the Minimum Training Standards (MTS). These are our requirements for accreditation. Each Level 1 course can provide full details of which requirements it meets, so that you can top up any missing components outside of the course.

Level 2 accredited courses - graduates of these courses will have met all the MTS within the course curriculum, so you will be eligible for accreditation once you have graduated.

Different types of Level 2 Accredited courses

BABCP Level 2 Accredited Courses

Courses with this label are post-graduate diplomas which follow our Core Curriculum.

Some courses have funded or commissioned places, and some allow students to pay for their own training.

IAPT High Intensity courses

Increasing Access to Psychological Training (IAPT) is a government initiative to train mental health practitioners.

High Intensity Training is the label given to IAPT CBT courses. They are Level 2 accredited and run in English universities. They follow IAPT National Curriculum.

All the places on these courses are funded trainee positions within the NHS. They are advertised on https://www.jobs.nhs.uk. There is often a short window in which to apply so check with the individual universities when the posts will be advertised.

Other Level 2 Accredited IAPT courses

  • Children and Young People's (CYP) CBT pathway IAPT trainings, Some of these are accredited at Level 2 but not all, so please check. They are included under the name of the university within our directory of all Level 2 Accredited Courses.
  • Evidence-Based Parent Training (EBPT)

Non-Accredited IAPT Low Intensity Training Courses

  • Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP) Trainings teach how to deliver some cognitive and behavioural strategies called Low Intensity interventions. As this is a different level of training, PWPs aren't eligible for accreditation with us as CBT practitioners but we are in the process of developing a new PWP Accreditation. The British Psychological Society (BPS) accredits Low Intensity courses, so you can use their Find a PWP Course function.

There are many CBT training courses which are not accredited with us, and some which are in the process of becoming accredited. You can still become accredited if you complete a non-accredited post-graduate diploma in CBT if you meet the criteria. 

What if I took a non-accredited course? Find out more at Getting Accredited FAQs

Can I get accredited if I train online?

Since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic all CBT training has moved online.  So, until further notice, you can work towards accreditation through remote training.  However, not all online courses will meet our Minimum Training Standards (MTS) – the criteria for Accreditation. 

Our Accredited Courses are high quality trainings which meet most or all of the MTS, but if you do your CBT training elsewhere you should check whether the course’s curriculum can meet our requirements.  This means how it is taught, what is taught and the qualifications of those who teach it.

Once the pandemic is over, we will review our requirements on how much training needs to be in person. We will give plenty of notice if we intend to change our requirements. This means that people will have time to apply for accreditation using the current guidance before any changes are brought in.

What type of online training counts?

Therapeutic training involves learning interpersonal skills. For this reason, we require that at least 80% of training on courses is face to face and interactive. For now, this can be online provided that the teaching -

  •  ·        is live – not recorded
  • ·         offers the opportunity for discussion and questions
  • ·         includes small group work
  • ·         incorporates skills development like demonstrations and role play
  • ·         has a 50:50 ratio of theoretical to skills teaching

Can I count remote clinical hours?

If you deliver sessions via video-conferencing and/or phone due to COVID-19, you can count these towards the 200 hours of CBT clinical practice required for Accreditation.

You should take account of whether the interventions and skills you are developing need to be adapted for remote working. Appropriate consent, security and data protection must be in place.

You must still have regular live supervision.  It’s possible to record and share most forms of remote therapy delivery.  We suggest you discuss with your supervisor the best way to do this that suits you, your supervisor and your clients, and make sure that you have informed consent to any recording.

Working towards Accreditation during COVID 19

Our How to choose a CBT training course page will help you ask the right questions.

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