Careers Service Occupations

Psychology

Psychology

About

Professional bodies

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:

Find professional bodies outside of the UK on GoinGlobal by selecting ‘Professional and Personal Networking’ on each of the individual country guides.

Making contacts

Making contacts is helpful for success in this sector. Many jobs in this field are gained through networking and speculative applications. Start of with the following: 

Events

Recruitment fairs, open days, talks and events give insight and opportunities to make contacts. Events for this sector include Careers Service events and External Events.

Related sectors

You may also be interested in Counselling and Psychotherapy, Healthcare and Complementary Therapies or see our other Sector-specific pages for more options.

 

Roles & Skills

The following job profiles include descriptions of typical duties and entry requirements.

Clinical psychologist

Counselling psychologist

Educational psychologist

Forensic psychologist

Health psychologist

Neuropsychologist

Occupational psychologist

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

Gaining Experience

Relevant work experience is essential to develop expertise and demonstrate motivation and commitment to psychology. It is also a requirement for entry on some postgraduate study routes, and to achieve chartered status.

The British Psychological Society (BPS) advise that the type of work experience you will need depends on the area of psychology you want to go into.

If you are considering post graduate study, many universities have specific requirements work experience requirements, so contact course providers for their criteria.

Below are websites and articles that can help you find relevant experience:

Finding Jobs

There are many sources of vacancies within the field of psychology.

Advertised vacancies

General

Psychology

Finding organisations

Not all jobs are advertised. You could also approach organisations or find work through networking in the industry.

Find organisations that interest you and get in touch, always with a named contact. Be specific about why you are writing to them and what you’re looking for. Show your enthusiasm for the sector and highlight any relevant skills. 

Don’t give up if you don’t get a reply – follow up with a phone call or email to show that you’re keen.

Try the following sites to find organisations to approach:

General

Find organisations on My Career - click on ‘search organisations’ under the Vacancies tab

BPS features tips for using an agency to find a position while NHS authorities and trusts also list available posts.

Psychology

BASES has a directory of consultants, which includes sports and exercise psychologists.

Counselling and psychotherapy

The Association of Child Psychotherapists lists a directory of therapists on its website.

Study

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.