Five Awesome Psychology Careers That Will Stimulate Your Mind
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According to the British Psychological Society, psychology careers involve ‘the study of people, how they think, how they act, react and interact.’ So if you’re fascinated by the human mind and you’re looking for a job that will make a difference, a psychology-related career could be the perfect fit.
Read on to discover the range of rewarding roles on offer.
Careers for Chartered Psychologists
Whether they’re helping children to cope with the effects of divorce or helping adults to deal with stress, chartered psychologists enable people to explore their feelings, understand their difficulties and make positive changes.
It takes at least six years to become a fully qualified psychologist, as you’ll need a degree and a postgraduate qualification.
Qualifying As a Chartered Psychologist
Achieve Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) by gaining a 2:1 Psychology degree accredited by the BPS or completing an accredited conversion course. A Level Psychology isn’t normally an entry requirement, but some universities insist on GCSE maths, as courses include statistics and research methods
Gain work experience and accredited postgraduate training related to your chosen specialism
Register with the Health and Care professions Council (HCPC)
Apply for DBS clearance
Psychologists are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council
Skills Every Psychologist Needs
Whatever specialism you choose, a career in psychology requires empathy, excellent communication skills and the ability to deal with distressed clients. You’ll also need to be accurate, methodical and good at making decisions.
Once you’ve qualified you’ll be given your own caseload, but you’ll also work with a team of other health professionals including therapists, mental health nurses, social workers, dieticians and doctors.
Average Salaries for Professional Psychologists
Newly Qualified Psychologist
Highly Experienced Psychologist
When you’ve completed your degree and achieved Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership, you’ll work towards a specialist postgraduate qualification. Here’s a brief guide to three of the most popular career options for psychology graduates.
1. Health Psychologist
Health psychologists help patients to cope with the psychological and emotional aspects of health and illness, often supporting people who are chronically ill. They also promote healthy lifestyles and advise doctors.
If you choose this career path you could work in a hospital, community health setting, health research unit, public health department or an organisation outside the health care system. Alternatively, you could become a university lecturer or supervisor.
To become a health psychologist, you’ll need a society accredited masters in health psychology plus a stage 2 doctoral level qualification. This could be the society’s own qualification in health psychology or a society accredited doctorate. Before you apply, you’ll need to gain some relevant experience working with people who have physical health problems.
2. Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists use their expertise to help people with mental health problems. They carry out clinical assessments, psychometric tests, interviews and observations before deciding on the most appropriate treatment for their clients.
Many clinical psychologists work in health and social care settings, community mental health teams, child and adolescent mental health services and social services. Others set up their own private practices.
To become a clinical psychologist, you’ll need a society accredited doctorate in clinical psychology and some relevant work experience. Universities will be particularly impressed if you’ve worked as an assistant psychologist or research assistant before applying.
According to mental health charity ‘Mind’, approximately
people in the UK will experience a mental health problem this year
3. Educational Psychologist
Educational psychologists help children and young people who have learning difficulties, social and emotional issues or developmental disorders. Mainly based in early years settings, schools and colleges, they explore students’ problems by carrying out observations, interviews and tests.
Once they’ve assessed a client, these skilled professionals recommend the most appropriate educational provision and collaborate with teachers to plan learning programmes.
If you like the sound of this specialism and you live in England or Wales, you’ll need an accredited doctoral qualification in educational psychology. Scottish residents require a society accredited masters followed by a stage 2 qualification in educational psychology.
To increase your chances of gaining a place on your chosen course, we recommend gaining some relevant work experience. You could work as a learning mentor, a speech and language therapist, a care worker or an early years worker.
Alternative careers for psychology graduates
Other psychology related roles
If you’re keen to work in psychology but you don’t want to be a chartered psychologist, there are plenty of options available. Here are two of the most popular:
4. Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner
This role involves assessing and supporting people experiencing common mental health problems, such as anxiety and depression. Because the emphasis is on self-management, practitioners start by offering the least intrusive treatment available. This could be an online programme, a number of guided self-help sessions or an educational workshop/group. If a client doesn’t find this helpful, they can progress to a more intensive type of treatment.
Psychological wellbeing practitioners tend to be based in GP practices, healthcare centres and other community venues. They work within an Improving Access to Psychological Therapy (IAPT) service and collaborate with other healthcare practitioners including therapists, counsellors and employment advisers.
To become a practitioner, you need to complete an accredited IAPT training course. These include 45 days of academic work (1 day a week) and four days of supervised practice, normally spread over one academic year. While you’re training, you’ll also be employed by a local IAPT service.
BPS accredited courses are open to graduates and non-graduates who can show that they’ll cope with the academic requirements of postgraduate study. Members of the community with a wide range of life experience can also apply to receive graduate level training.
How much do wellbeing practitioners earn?
A counsellor’s role is to create a safe space where people can talk about difficult feelings, explore their choices and make positive changes. Counsellors help their clients to cope with a range of issues including grief, relationship breakdown, addiction, abuse and illness. They often help them to see things from a new perspective.
Some important skills for counsellors are:
You’ll find counsellors working for schools, GP surgeries, hospitals, advice centres, youth services and charities. Most employers look for counsellors with a professional qualification and membership of a professional association. The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy recommends a three stage training route:
Stage One: Introduction to Counselling Course
Provides basic training and insights into counselling as a career
Stage Two: Certificate in Counselling
Deepens your skills and your understanding of counselling theory
Stage Three: Core practitioner training, at Diploma, Degree or Master’s level
Provides in depth understanding and 100 hours of supervised experience
Once you’ve completed your training, you can become a member of the BACP or another body on the Professional Standards Authority’s counselling register.
How much do counsellors earn?
Working in psychology can be intellectually and emotionally challenging, so you’ll need to be resilient, patient and committed to succeed. But if you choose your career path carefully, you’ll be well rewarded.
Have we inspired you to find out more about psychology careers? Take a look at our range of courses below.