Study people's behaviour, thoughts, and feelings, to help them overcome or control their problems.

What does a psychologist do?

Your day-to-day tasks will depend on your specialism. The areas of psychology you could work in include:

  • educational - helping children and young people overcome difficulties and further their educational and psychological development
  • occupational - helping businesses improve their performance and increase employee job satisfaction
  • counselling - working with patients to explore their social, economic, cultural, and spiritual health
  • neuropsychology - helping patients with brain injuries and diseases to recover or improve their quality of life
  • forensic or criminal - using psychological theory to help investigate crimes, rehabilitate offenders and support prison staff
  • clinical - working with people to help them deal with conditions like anxiety, stress, depression and mental illness
  • sports and exercise - working with individuals, teams and organisations to improve motivation and performance

What do I need to do to become a psychologist?

You'll need to complete:

  • a psychology degree accredited by The British Psychological Society (BPS)
  • Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership
  • an accredited postgraduate qualification in your chosen specialism

Once you've got a psychology degree, you can specialise in a particular area, for example educational or forensic psychology.

Competition for postgraduate training is strong. You'll need a first or upper second class degree, and evidence of excellent research skills to apply. You'll also need relevant work experience.

If you have a degree in a different subject, you may be able to complete an approved psychology conversion course.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Organisation
  • Patience
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Academic route

  • five GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths and in some cases a science subject
  • two to three A levels for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course

Essential qualifications

  • A British Psychological Society (BPS)-accredited degree in psychology, leading to the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC)
  • A BPS-accredited postgraduate qualification

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You could work in the community, in a consultation room, at a client's business, at a client's home or in an office.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

Career opportunities

You could specialise further within your branch of psychology or take on a research project leading to a PhD qualification.

You could move also into teaching or research as a career.

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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