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Helping you find a career in the Psychology industry

Psychologists work across many different sectors of society and there are numerous opportunities within healthcare, sports, education and the prison service. It’s not all about lying people in a chair and asking them “And how does that make you feel?”.

Most psychology roles require a sophisticated understanding of the human mind and ask for a master’s degree to prove it. If your highest level of education is a bachelor’s degree, you may be able to get a job as an assistant to a psychologist, but your opportunities for progression will be very limited.

Usually you will have specialised in a specific area throughout your degree although there will be opportunities to re-train if you decided to take a different direction.

Here is a brief overview of the types of psychology jobs that exist:

  • Counselling psychologist – Involves working with patients, or clients, to help cope with difficult situations or resolve problems.
  • Educational psychologist – Typically you’ll work with young people who are encountering difficulties that are affecting their education.
  • Forensic psychologist – Involves working to rehabilitate criminals or with law enforcement staff to investigate crimes.
  • Clinical psychologist – Involves working in hospitals or treatment centres to help people with general mental health issues.
  • Occupational psychologist – Helping employees within a business with stressful situations that are affecting their mental health.
As a psychologist you may also contribute to research within the field and conduct experiments.

Psychologists encounter problems of the mind, which can be some of the most complex out there. This means the work can be very challenging and there will be no ‘one-size-fits-all’ for treatment. However, it is also incredibly rewarding and you will be making a huge difference to people’s lives.


Skills & interests required for a career in Psychology
To work as a psychologist you must be interested in mental wellbeing. It’s an area that is rapidly progressing with research, so it’s also crucial that you keep up with these changes through industry publications.

You will have to work with people who are in highly emotional and stressful situations. You’ll need to be a patient person to be able to give the best level of care possible.

Some psychology roles, like research or forensic, will require you to be highly analytical and able to interpret large amounts of data.

Some other skills that will help you in psychology include:

  • Communication
  • Non-judgemental
  • Diplomacy
  • Ethics
  • Self-awareness
  • Resilience
Graduate schemes & other typical career progression routes in Psychology
Psychology is an industry where your progression will be determined by your level of education. Only those with a postgraduate degree and a PhD go on to be a chartered psychologist.

Typically you will begin as an assistant in your chosen field and workplace whilst you become familiar with the services and establish yourself. If you are qualified to the right level, you will quickly progress to a psychologist, then a senior psychologist. Eventually you may become the head of your particular service.
Tips for getting into the field
  • Work experience related to psychology can be difficult to source because of the confidentiality barriers that will prevent you from becoming involved with a patient. However, many Universities have links to services in the community or the NHS so try speaking to them for advice on places to target for work experience.
  • If you want to go into child psychology then volunteer at local youth clubs to get some experience working with this age group. Similarly, if you’d like to work in sports psychology try getting some work experience in a gym or with a physiotherapist.
How much can graduates earn in Psychology?
The earning potential for a psychologist varies widely. According to the National Careers Service, salaries range from £31,000-£98,500 depending on how much experience you have:

Starter: £31,000 to £41,000

Experienced: £41,000 to £57,000

Highly Experienced: £58,000 to £98,500 (head of service)

The highest wages will be for experienced chartered psychologists and to become chartered you need a PhD.
What qualifications do I need for a career in Psychology?
You will need a psychology degree, which will likely require psychology (or at least a social science) at A-Level.

With a degree, it is unlikely that you will be able to progress beyond an assistant psychologist level and you will need to undertake further study. However, many graduates gain experience in the workplace before entering the next stage of their studies.

To become a chartered clinical psychologist is a lengthy process. You’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree, a postgraduate, and a PhD.

You can also become a chartered psychologist on the basis of training and experience as a teacher.
Read more about the Psychology industry
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