Training and Careers in CBT

Cognitive behavioural therapies, or CBT, are a range of psychological therapies. Central to them is the theory that thoughts, behaviours and body sensations are all connected and affect the way we feel; working to understand and change any of these can help us feel differently.

Visit our What is CBT page for further information

If you wish to ultimately become accredited after your CBT course, the training would generally need to be at post-graduate level. This means you will have had previous undergraduate mental health training and experience, or equivalent, first.

Below is a link to a list of recognised Core Professions – these are the mental health professional trainings which BABCP accepts as providing the appropriate knowledge and experience prior to CBT post-graduate training.

Full Core Profession list and criteria

The list is specific so do check if your prior training is listed. If it isn’t and you have other mental health training and experience, you may still have a suitable background for CBT training – please see the next section.

It is possible to train in CBT without a core profession: you will need an undergraduate degree and experience in a mental health setting before training in CBT. If your degree is not in a subject related to mental health, you may also need to complete additional relevant training.

To apply for some CBT courses you have to complete a KSA Portfolio if you don’t have a core profession. This stands for Knowledge, Skills and Attitudes and is a substantial document designed to provide evidence that you have the equivalent of a core mental health profession, in terms of training and experience.

If you don’t have a KSA portfolio assessed within your CBT training course, you would need to submit it with your accreditation application if you don’t have a core profession.

We advise you download the KSA Guidelines and check if you are able to meet the majority of the criteria before considering CBT training. It may be possible to meet some of the criteria during the CBT training and placements, so you don’t necessarily have to have met all of them in advance.

Please check with the individual courses regarding these entrance requirements, as they will vary between courses.

Usually CBT therapists are trained on university-based courses to the level of a Post-Graduate (Level 7) Diploma. Applicants should apply to the individual courses about the entry criteria.

If you are wishing to become accredited after training, we advise that you request information from the course about the curriculum and compare what is offered on the course to the requirements in the BABCP Minimum Training Standards (MTS). This is not necessary for BABCP Level 2 Accredited courses as they have proved that they meet these standards.

CBT training courses will be organised differently and over different timescales – please check with the individual courses. Placements will be expected in most courses.

IAPT Post Graduate Diplomas are usually run over one year intensively.

Usually, a post-graduate diploma or equivalent (eg Clinical Psychology Doctorates with substantial CBT elements) is required for accreditation, however there are exceptions to this and each course curriculum should be checked against the Minimum Training Standards.

Accredited courses have been assessed by the BABCP in terms of the quality of teaching and the content of the curriculum. Courses have to maintain standards and reaccredit every five years.

There are two levels of BABCP Course Accreditation: You can choose which course suits you. You don’t need to do both.

Level 2 accredited courses are fully accredited with BABCP, and graduates of these courses will have met all the BABCP Minimum Training Standards (MTS) within the course curriculum. Graduates of these courses should apply for provisional accreditation using the Level 2 application form

All IAPT courses are Level 2 accredited.

Level 2 accredited courses

Level 1 accredited courses meet some or most of the MTS requirements to varying degrees. Each Level 1 course can provide upon request details of which aspects of the MTS they do not meet, and it is possible to complete these additional requirements independently during or after the course./p>

Level 1 accredited courses

There are many CBT training courses which have chosen not to become accredited with the BABCP.

Graduates from non-accredited CBT Post Graduate courses may be able to become BABCP accredited, but clear evidence will need to be provided to show how their training meets the BABCP Minimum Training Standards. Graduates/Trainees on such courses will need to carefully compare their course curriculum to the Minimum Training Standards to establish any differences or shortfall.

Before applying for accreditation, you first need to become a BABCP member.

Initially all applicants apply for Provisional Accreditation as a CBT practitioner.

Those who have completed a Level 2 BABCP accredited course apply using a simpler Level 2 Provisional Accreditation Form. Graduates from all other courses use a Provisional Application form.

Graduates from Level 1 and non-accredited courses without core profession also supply a KSA portfolio with their application. Level 2 KSA graduates will have had their portfolios assessed within the course and just need to send a copy of the KSA marksheet.

Provisional accreditation generally runs for 12 months (up to 18 months for Level 2 graduates) and then applicants apply for Full Accreditation. Full accreditation as a practitioner of CBT is then maintained by an annual online process of Reaccreditation.

The other two types of individual accreditation available at present are Supervisor Accreditation and Trainer Accreditation. These are additions to standard practitioner full accreditation for experienced therapists.

Full details for Practitioner Accreditation

Before applying for accreditation, you first need to .

Initially all applicants apply for Provisional Accreditation as a CBT practitioner. Those who have completed a Level 2 BABCP accredited course apply using a simpler application form.

Provisional accreditation generally runs for 12 months and then applicants apply for Full Accreditation. Full accreditation as a practitioner of CBT is then maintained by an annual online process of Reaccreditation.

The other two types of individual accreditation available at present are Supervisor Accreditation and Trainer Accreditation. These are additions to standard practitioner full accreditation for experienced therapists.

Examples of Areas of Practice include:

  • As a clinician - this could mean individual and/or group therapy work as a therapist with clients. Settings would include NHS community mental health teams, IAPT services, psychology/psychotherapy departments, private hospitals, outpatient clinics and/or as an individual private practitioner.
  • As an academic and/or trainer – experienced practitioners may move on to teaching in university departments (as a lecturer, reader or researcher) in the field of CBT, attached to a local healthcare trust as a trainer or a combination of all of the above.
  • As a supervisor – established practitioners may become training supervisors, practice supervisors, specialist in supervision, or a combination of these. Many practitioners combine varying degrees of all of the above.

It is not necessary to be accredited in order to work as a CBT practitioner either in an institution or privately, however, for many employers accreditation, or working towards accreditation is required for job applications.