Education

Psychologist

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

Annual Salary

£31,365 to £87,754

Average UK salary in 2018 was £29,588
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40 a week

You could work: 9am to 5pm; flexibly

6%
Future employment

There will be 6% more Psychologist jobs in 2024.
In your local area

What's it all about?

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks will depend on your specialism. For example, you might work as an educational psychologist, where you would:

  • help children to overcome difficulties
  • interview young people and assess their emotional state
  • develop treatment programmes to help clients' psychological wellbeing

As an occupational psychologist, you'll:

  • assess the productivity of a business and how the staff work
  • develop processes to measure employee talent and progress
  • have one-to-one sessions with employees to support their wellbeing

In counselling psychology, you may:

  • work with children and adults to explore their social, economic, cultural and spiritual health
  • use psychotherapeutic methods, like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), to treat patients
  • assess patients and recommend treatments

If you're a neuropsychologist, you could:

  • investigate the impact of injury or illness on patients' behaviour
  • make rehabilitation and treatment recommendations
  • look to improve patients' health and quality of life

Working environment

You could work in an NHS or private hospital, at a school, in a therapy clinic, in the community or at a client's business.

Your working environment may be emotionally demanding.

You can get into this job through:

  • a university course
University

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 have a psychology degree, you can specialise in a particular area, for example educational or forensic psychology.

To become a neuropsychologist, you must have specialist knowledge in neuroscience and a postgraduate qualification from the educational or clinical psychology fields.

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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
For more information

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You'll find more advice on careers and training in psychology from The British Psychological Society.

As your career develops, you could specialise within your branch of psychology, for example:forensic or criminal psychology; clinical psychology; sports and exercise psychology

You could also take on a research project, leading to a PhD qualification, and combine this with university teaching.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) and Health Careers have more information on careers in psychology.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • knowledge of psychology
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • active listening skills
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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