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Helping you find a career in the Psychology industry

As you probably already know, psychology is all about the mind - figuring out what makes us tick. Working in this industry you’d be applying this knowledge to help those who are having mental health difficulties.

It’s best suited to caring individuals who genuinely want to make a difference to people's lives. Your time will be dedicated to figuring out complex mental problems and helping with the appropriate treatment. This can be tricky as there is much of the mind that is still a mystery to us. There are developments being made all the time with academic research.

The advanced understanding of the human mind that these roles require mean you’ll likely need further training or a degree.

“Psychologist” is a very broad job title and, if this is the career you want to pursue, you will likely have to specialise in a specific area. Four common areas that psychologists work in are:

Forensic – working on investigations to help solve crimes and working with criminals to help rehabilitate them.

Education – working in schools to help children who are having emotional difficulties.

Occupation – helping employees within a business improve their mental well-being.

Counselling - working with clients, or patients, to face difficult situations and come up with strategies to help overcome them.


Skills & interests required for a career in Psychology
To work within psychology, you have to be invested in the mental well-being of others. Psychology requires you to be open-minded, free of judgement and always able to be professional above everything else.

Psychologists have to have great communication skills and be able to form a rapport quickly with people from a variety of different backgrounds. Trust is often crucial for progress within therapy.

There are a selection of roles within psychology that will require you to be able to analyse data and work with numbers, particularly within research and forensics.

As this is such a rapidly developing area, it’s also important to remain up to date on industry developments and research.


Some other skills that will help you in psychology include:

-Communication
-Diplomacy
-Ethics
-Self-awareness
-Resilience
Psychology apprenticeships & other career progress routes for school leavers
Unfortunately, career progression within psychology is largely determined by the level of education. For example, it’s impossible to progress to being a chartered psychologist without having a PhD.

You can become a counsellor with a Higher National Diploma (HND). As a counsellor, you could progress into a management position within the company that you work at. Alternatively, you may be able to supervise and help to train younger counsellors once you have a few years of experience.

Many of those working within psychology choose to further their career through specialising in a specific area such as bereavement or substance abuse.
Tips for getting into the field
A great way to make your CV stand out in this industry is through work experience. However, it can be difficult to source work experience within psychology due to patient information being highly confidential. Search for local help services or community support organisations and send them an email to see if they have any opportunities available.
What do Psychology professionals get paid?
The earning potential for roles in psychology can vary widely and those that require further education are typically paid more. Below are the salary ranges for some common roles within psychology:

Counsellor – £19,000-£47,000
Sports and exercise psychologist - £20,000-£48,000
Forensic psychologist - £20,000-£70,000
Clinical psychologist - £26,250-£99,500
What qualifications do I need for a career in Psychology?
To become a counsellor you do not need a degree, but you will have to complete a level 4 diploma in counselling in order to be able to register for the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP). It is a three-stage training process. Firstly, you will complete an introductory course which is part-time over 10 or 12 weeks. After this you will pursue a certificate in counselling skills that can be done part-time within one year. Finally, you will do a diploma or advanced diploma in counselling that will include elements of face-to-face therapy and placements.

For all psychologist roles you will need to have a psychology degree, which will likely require Psychology or a social science at A-level. For more information on the career paths available see our graduate guide to psychology.
Psychology industry bodies
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