Psychologists study people's behaviour, thoughts and feelings, and help them overcome problems.
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What does a psychologist do?

Psychologists use excellent communication and listening skills to help people with psychological difficulties. This job role usually involves specialising in a particular area, such as:

  • educational – helping children and young people to overcome difficulties and further their educational and psychological development
  • occupational – helping businesses improve their performance and increase employee job satisfaction
  • health – promoting healthy attitudes and behaviour, and helping patients and their families to cope with illness
  • counselling – helping people resolve their problems and make decisions, particularly at stressful times in their lives
  • 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 ranging from anxiety and stress to depression and mental illness
  • sports and exercise – working with individuals, teams and organisations to improve motivation and performance in coaching, training and competition

What do I need to do to become a psychologist?

To work as a psychologist you will need to complete a three-year degree in psychology, and a three-year postgraduate qualification that relates to your chosen specialism.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Interpersonal skills
  • IT
  • Organisation
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork
  • Time management

Academic route

  • Five GCSEs (A-C), including English, maths and in some cases a science subject
  • Three A levels

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 will find most opportunities with local authority education or social services departments, and in the NHS. You could also work for the prison service, some government departments or in the private sector. 

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