How to Become a Psychologist
The field of psychology has become a very popular career path over recent years, with many people interested in the several positions it has to offer. Psychology provides unique insights and the opportunity to make a lasting difference in people’s lives. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy, read on.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Be a Psychologist?
Most psychologists will begin their career with a qualification in psychology. You will need at least one year of relevant work experience in the area if you want to get into a postgraduate programme, which is necessary for professional practice. Postgraduate study is the next step after your bachelor’s degree, which will also last three years full-time (four years in Scotland) and up to six years part-time.
In order to get into postgraduate study, you will need at least 2:1, or upper second-class honours, from your undergraduate degree. If you do have a lower score, you can still get into the programme with a master’s degree (MSc).
There is also the option of postgraduate conversion courses or the opportunity to apply for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) if your course doesn’t have accreditation by the British Psychology Society (BPS) or graduate in something that isn’t psychology. It often takes a year to complete, though the amount of time varies depending on the extent of your study in psychology.
Once you finish your studies, you will need to register with the Health and Care Professions Council to obtain your licence to work for the NHS or to set up your private practice.
As a Beginner, Where Should I Start in Psychology?
You will need to start with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, specifically a degree approved by the BPS, which typically lasts for three years full-time.
Along with your coursework, you should also do some work experience in the area you want to go into.
For example, if you’re going to become a clinical psychologist, volunteering at a clinic will increase your chances of finding a job in that area.
Skill Set & Competencies Required for a Psychologist
Excellent communication skills
Strong ability to empathise
Excellent observational skills
Good listening skills
A good grasp of scientific concepts
What Does a Psychologist Do?
Generally speaking, a psychologist is someone who studies how an individual thinks, feels, and behaves, delving into the reasons why they do the things that they do in an attempt to understand their mental health. An understanding of psychology can go far in other industries too.
Those who graduate with a psychology degree can go on to help improve the quality of life of individuals suffering from mental illnesses by running their own research projects that delve into how certain factors influence human perceptions and behaviour.
Psychology in an area of the social sciences, using the scientific method to study human behaviour, the human mind and society.
However, it is a broad area of study, with roles such as forensic psychologists, health psychologists, and psychotherapists.
All of these specialisations are very varied, but all help people through the study of the human mind.
Typical Duties for a Psychologist
Popular Career Pathways for Psychologists
Qualified psychologists can specialise in specific areas of psychology and progress into a variety of careers.
The professional development opportunities are incredibly diverse, whether you want to work with people with learning disabilities, work in developmental psychology or continue your studies at doctoral level. Some of the fields you can progress into with further training include:
Being a psychologist can be rewarding and exciting. It’s a fulfilling career path with plenty of room for progression. If you’re keen to start your education journey in this area, explore our courses today and see how we can help you achieve your professional dreams.