Careers in Psychology
Interest in studying psychology has grown enormously in recent years. Not only is psychology a fascinating subject to study, but it also prepares graduates for a very wide range of careers. Some of these have obvious connections with psychology and are listed below. But psychology also provides a useful training for a much wider range of career options. These include market research, social work, teaching, nursing, advertising, sales, media and broadcasting, personnel management and even the police and the Armed Forces.
British Psychological Society (BPS)
The BPS provides a lot of information and advice for people interested in pursuing a career in psychology. A university degree is often just the starting point for further training in a particular branch of psychology.
The British Psychological Society,
St Andrews House,
48 Princess Road East,
Tel: 0116 254 9568
Fax: 0116 247 0787
Psychology at School and College
Some schools and colleges do offer GCSE or A Level Psychology. However, if you are keen on studying psychology at university, an A level in Psychology is not normally an essential entrance requirement. Many universities do insist on GCSE maths, though, because statistics and research methods are part of all BPS accredited degree courses.
Psychology at University
Universities offering degree courses in psychology approved by the BPS are listed on the BPS website and at The University of Wales site. Beyond university, the career options listed below demand further, specialist training and experience. Check the BPS website for further details at http://www.bps.org.uk.
Training in clinical psychology usually takes place after students have obtained relevant work experience in clinical psychology. Students then undertake a three-year postgraduate training course.
Counselling psychologists help people cope with difficult life events such as divorce, bereavement and unemployment. There are numerous different approaches to counselling and training requirements vary accordingly. The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy offers information at http://www.bac.co.uk.
Educational psychology is closely allied to developmental psychology. Educational psychologists work in schools, together with teachers and parents, to enhance children's learning and development, especially in cases of behavioural and learning difficulties. Training involves an initial degree in psychology, a teaching qualification (e.g., the PGCE) and at least 2 years experience of teaching in schools, before starting postgraduate training in educational psychology. (There is no requirement to be a qualified teacher in Scotland).
Forensic psychologists work in the field of criminal and civil justice, providing support to the police, the prison and probation services, the National Health Service and the Social Services.
Postgraduate courses in forensic psychology typically require one year of full-time study.
Health psychologists help people cope better with illness and treatment. They are interested in how people perceive illness and adapt to it, how they interact with health care professionals, and how they cope with pain and different treatment regimes. Postgraduate training typically requires one year of full-time study.