Studying psychology equips you with a broad range of skills that could help you land your dream job. But with so many career options available in the field of psychology, how do you decide on the path that’s right for you?
To help, we’re exploring the different job options for those with a psychology qualification, giving you the need-to-know information to take your career forward.
If you’re interested in working with people, a psychology qualification can lead to a rewarding career in a variety of different fields – from science to the arts. Here, we’ll take a look at the job options available to those with a qualification in psychology.
Clinical psychologists treat people with mental and psychical health problems. They help diagnose and ease a huge range of issues, whether it’s anxiety and depression, or addictive behaviours, learning disabilities, eating disorders or neurological conditions.
Typically, clinical psychologists work either in the NHS, for a private healthcare provider, or independently. As part of the role, you’ll be working with people of all ages and from all walks of life, making it a hugely rewarding and varied position. A qualification in Advanced Psychology Level 4 could help you attain the position of clinical psychologist.
Counselling psychologists offer guidance and support to people with mental health issues, or those struggling with their emotional wellbeing. They help children, adults, families and couples deal with a whole range of issues and life events, from trauma and bereavement to marriage guidance and PTSD.
Like clinical psychologists, counselling psychologists work in health and social care services, as well as hospitals. But they’re also needed in more sectors and organisations, including schools, prisons and research facilities; they can also work privately as an independent practice.
Educational psychologists work with children and young people to solve problems which may be hindering academic performance. They assess a child’s emotional wellbeing and mental health, offering guidance and support to help them deal with the challenges they face in day-to-day life.
As you might expect, the role of educational psychologist can be hugely rewarding. You’ll work with teachers, parents and other social care professionals to improve the lives of young people in your care, helping them cope with behavioural issues and problems at home.
Forensic psychologists work with offenders and prisoners to assess criminal behaviour. They’re part of the judiciary and prisoner rehabilitation system, and typically help offenders come to terms with their actions, preventing the same thing from happening again.
As a forensic psychologist, you’ll need to be patient, resilient and empathetic. Working with people who have committed serious crimes requires boundless diplomacy and compassion, and you may be expected to give evidence in court, as well as advise parole boards and tribunals.
To pursue this career, you’ll need a degree, and quite possibly a masters. Before you embark on this long and costly journey, however, it’s a fantastic idea to pursue some qualifications that will give you a broad understanding of the subject, such as our Forensic Psychology Level 3 and Criminal Psychology Level 3 certificates. This will also help you figure out whether you enjoy the subject matter, as some people can find it quite emotionally challenging.
Proof that psychology qualifications can be useful for more than just psychologist positions; such a qualification can be highly beneficial in the field of further education too. Working with people with a range of physical and mental health needs, you can train to become a further education teacher with your experience in psychology.
As well as further education, psychology lends itself well to other roles in education, including teaching assisting. With a recognised TA qualification, coupled with a background in psychology, you can make a difference to young people who may be struggling in and out of the classroom.
Health psychologists work with people who may be living with long-term physical and mental health conditions. They provide guidance and support on a range of issues, helping people come to terms with newly acquired diseases and illnesses, as well as helping them to improve their lifestyle choices.
Health psychologists usually work for the NHS or other private healthcare providers. They can also work as part of health charities, or as a private psychologist offering specialist help on a variety of health-related issues.
High-intensity therapists offer specialist support to those living with moderate to severe mental health issues, like anxiety and depression. They assess and diagnose problems before implementing techniques developed to alleviate symptoms, such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy.
Suffice to say, the role of a high-intensity therapist can be challenging and distressing. You’ll be working with people with severe mental health problems, who may be self-harming or have expressed a desire to take their own life. It is, however, a fulfilling and vital position, with the knowledge that your work is helping people overcome life-altering conditions and disorders.
If you have a background in psychology but love sport and physical exercise, this is the role for you. Sport and exercise psychologists help people participate more readily in physical exercise, whilst also providing motivation and support to professional sports teams and athletes.
As a qualified sports psychologist, you’ll have the option to work in a variety of industries – from schools, colleges and universities, to elite-level sport like football, boxing and athletics. You’ll focus on the psychological aspect of physical activity, helping clients improve their performance while coping with the demands of high-intensity training.
If this sounds like your idea of a dream job, our Sports Psychology Level 3 course will give you an excellent foundation from which to pursue further study.
Whatever route you aspire to take in the field of psychology, you’ll need the right qualifications and experience to help get you there. Applying for psychology jobs requires more than just completing a degree or a distance learning course; you’ll also need relevant experience in key areas if you’re to be successful.
Attaining work experience is vital when applying for psychology positions. To become a chartered psychologist, you’ll need first-hand experience in working with people, which can come from such avenues as social work, nursing, voluntary mental health work, or dedicated work experience in a specific institution, like a school or prison.
What’s more, many psychologists also gain experience as a research assistant, which essentially involves working alongside a chartered psychologist to gain specific experience in your chosen field. You can find work experience and internships relating to psychology at the GOV.UK careers portal.
A surprising number of organisations require personnel with a background in psychology, and it’s by no means limited to the health and social care sector. Below, you’ll find some of the organisations that typically look for qualified psychologists, which may help you define your future career path:
So there you have it: a complete guide to the career options available to those with a psychology qualification. If you’re ready to start an exciting career as a psychologist, a distance learning course from Oxbridge could help get you there. For more information, and to browse our complete range of courses, visit the homepage or give our experienced course advisers a call on 0121 630 3000.