These represent people working in the sector, providing training and networking opportunities. They often provide careers support for students and graduates.
They also provide development for people already working in the sector. Follow them on LinkedIn, or visit their websites for news, contacts, work experience and vacancies.
The main professional associations for this sector include:
- The British Psychological Society (BPS)
- BPD: Division of Educational & Child Psychology
- The Division of Clinical Psychology (DCP)
Making contacts is helpful for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field are gained through networking and speculative applications. You could start with:
- Graduate Connections – graduates happy to give you advice about the kind of work they do
- Newcastle alumni on LinkedIn – find out what they did after graduation and contact them for advice
Roles & Skills
The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties and entry requirements.
Psychological wellbeing practitioner
Sports and exercise psychologist
Skills employers look for
The skills required to work as a psychologist can vary, depending on the area of specialism.
There are a number of key skills that are common across most specialisms:
- excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- self-confidence and an ability to establish effective working relationships with clients and other professionals
- adaptability, flexibility and creative problem-solving skills
- resilience and the ability to work under pressure
- sensitivity and diplomacy
- negotiation, teamwork and leadership skills
Relevant work experience is essential in developing expertise and demonstrating your motivation and commitment to the area of psychology. It is also a requirement for entry on some postgraduate study routes, and to achieve chartered status.
Below are some websites and articles that can help you find relevant experience:
- Graduate Connections - contact psychology graduates to see how they found work experience
- Open University: Work experience for careers linked to psychology - includes resources for finding work experience
- Careers Service Career Development module - students can work with children with special educational needs
- The right experience...it could be right under your nose - Psychologist article (PDF: 91KB)
You can also use the BPS Directory of Chartered Psychologists to contact psychologists to find out how they gained work experience. Some may also be able to provide work shadowing or an informational interview.
University psychology departments are sent vacancies, so check noticeboards and ask your tutor or school administrator.
- NUSU: Go Volunteer - volunteering locally and nationally
- Mental Health North East - volunteering opportunities across the region
- Careers Service: Volunteering - links to sources of volunteering opportunities
- Do-it - volunteering opportunities
- Careers Service: Career Development module - Newcastle University students can work with children with special educational needs or behavioural issues
- Place2Be - voluntary work placements for people training to be child counsellors
To get onto a clinical psychology doctorate, you normally need to have at least six months' paid work experience. Assistant psychologist or research assistant posts are usually the best route into the doctorate.
Experience in areas such as social work, nursing assistant or care assistant is also valued – anything that gives you clinical experience with a client.
Other opportunities in relevant social care settings such as hospitals, health centres, community mental health teams, child and adolescent mental health services and social services would all help to enhance your understanding of the profession and your transferable skills.
Recruitment agencies can also be a good source of vacancies. See Recruitment agencies for advice on how to use and find relevant agencies.
You could write your dissertation with a clinician or a trainee.
ClinPsy is a forum providing information for aspiring clinical psychologists. You can ask questions using the discussion forum, or read answers to frequently asked questions about work experience.
There are many sources of vacancies within the field of psychology.
- NHS Jobs
- BPS: jobs
- Community Care Jobs
- Mental Health Jobs.co.uk
- The Voice
- The Guardian
- BPS: Jobs in Psychology
- Ministry of Justice
- Jobs Go Public - educational psychology
- BASES - sports psychology
- UK Sport - sports psychology
- AGNC - genetic counselling
BASES has a sports psychology directory of consultants.
Counselling and psychotherapy
For the majority of careers within psychology it's essential to have studied qualifications approved or accredited by the relevant professional body.
See the occupational profiles in the Roles and Skills section for full details and relevant links.
Funding for postgraduate study depends on the career area you're entering. Funding for clinical psychology is provided by the NHS and a limited number of bursaries and funded places are available for other career areas e.g. educational psychology. Most people will self-fund their postgraduate study.
GOV.UK Educational Psychology Funded Training Scheme is a good place to start, as is BPS: Accredited training courses & funding.