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Psychologists apply the scientific study of the mind and behaviour to solving real life problems.

Annual Salary

£24,000 to £60,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

35 to 40 a week

You could work: 9am to 5pm; flexibly

Future employment

There will be 6% more Psychologist jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks will depend on your specialism. For example:

  • education - you'll help children and young people overcome difficulties and further their educational and psychological development
  • occupational - you could help businesses improve their performance and increase employee job satisfaction
  • counselling- you'll support people to resolve their problems and make decisions, particularly at stressful times in their lives
  • neuropsychology - you'll work with patients with brain injury or disease to recover or improve their quality of life
  • forensic or criminal - using psychological theory you'll help investigate crimes, rehabilitate offenders and support prison staff
  • clinical - you'll help people deal with conditions like anxiety, stress, depression and mental illness
  • sports and exercise - you could work with individuals, teams and organisations to improve motivation and performance

Working environment

You could work at a school, in an NHS or private hospital, in a prison, 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

You'll need to:

If you are a graduate of a subject other than psychology, or you have a psychology degree that is not accredited by the BPS you may be able to complete an approved psychology conversion course.

Once you have Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership you must complete an accredited postgraduate qualification in your chosen psychology specialism.

Psychology specialisms include:

  • clinical and health psychology
  • counselling psychology
  • educational psychology
  • forensic psychology
  • occupational psychology
  • neuropsychology
  • sport and exercise psychology

You can find out more about the different types of postgraduate training required for each specialism from The British Psychological Society.

Getting work experience during your studies will give you an advantage. Your university careers service can help you find year placement, volunteering and internship opportunities.

Competition for postgraduate training in all specialisms 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. In some specialisms this could mean a minimum of 12 months working in a relevant role before you begin a postgraduate course.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in a relevant subject for postgraduate study
For more information
Volunteering and work experience

You'll find it helpful to get some paid or voluntary experience in sectors like education, health or care, before you apply for a course.

You could contact the voluntary services co-ordinator at your local NHS trust for further advice.

You can also find volunteering opportunities through The National Council for Voluntary Organisations and Do IT.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Professional and industry bodies

You can join The British Psychological Society for professional development opportunities.

Further information

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

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Your career path will depend on your psychology specialism.

There are opportunities to move into supervisory or management positions in all branches of psychology.

You could move into teaching, academic research, policy or consultancy work.

Some professional psychologists become self-employed and run their own private practice.

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
  • to enjoy working with other people
  • counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
  • active listening skills
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • an understanding of statistical methods and data analysis
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • knowledge of sociology and anthropology for understanding society and culture
  • to be able to use a computer and the main software packages competently
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