Psychology is the scientific study of the mind and behaviour displayed by humans or animals. There are a wide array of careers in psychology for graduates, as it’s such a broad subject. Students tend to specialise to become experts in a specific field during their studies. However, being a psychology graduate doesn’t limit you, the skills gained in this highly recognised degree will lend themselves to several areas. Read on to discover what opportunities are available to those who have studied psychology, and how to get into the field.
- Why work in psychology?
- What types of jobs are there for a psychology graduate?
- What skills are needed to work in psychology?
- What degrees help with a career in psychology?
1. Why work in psychology?
A rewarding career path
A career in psychology requires close working with your team and the public. This is usually with the aim of a shared goal, with everyone working together to achieve it. If you find the prospect of helping others motivating, be it listening to problems and validating experiences, or conducting potentially life-changing research, psychology could be a great career path for you.
Making a real difference in people’s lives
The study of psychology helps psychologists understand why people do the things they do. With this professional understanding, you will be able to help people overcome problems. Psychologists also help people improve their decision-making based on their knowledge of people’s cognitive behaviour.
Lots of potential for growth
The scope of psychology allows for significant career growth for psychologists. Whether that’s applying psychology to a new profession, be it in business, data analysis, marketing, management, or even teaching – or working their way up to the top of the career ladder. Lots of experienced psychologists ultimately open their own practice, using their skills and knowledge whilst being their own boss.
2. What types of jobs are there for a psychology graduate?
There are lots of opportunities available to psychology graduates. A few of the most common routes are:
Career as a counsellor
Counsellors are involved with helping people that are experiencing a wide range of issues by bringing about effective change and enhancing their wellbeing through the rough patches in their lives. These could include anxiety, stress, depression, loss, or relationship issues that are affecting their ability to manage life. Counsellors work in a confidential setting, which is usually in the form of therapy sessions for individuals, couples, or families.
Career as a clinical psychologist
Clinical psychologists work with individuals of all ages on a wide range of psychological difficulties relating to mental and physical health. This can include anxiety, depression, psychosis, ‘personality disorder’, eating disorders, addictions, learning disabilities and family or relationship issues. Clinical psychologists specialise in working with a population and work alongside a professional team, including doctors, nurses, and a range of other allied health and psychological professionals.
Some clinical psychologists work for part of their week in clinics or hospitals and the other part teaching and researching their area of expertise.
Career as a psychological wellbeing practitioner
Psychological wellbeing practitioners treat and support people with mental health problems. Working at a health centre or in a GP surgery, psychological wellbeing practitioners talk to patients and assess their needs, they run group therapy sessions and set up new mental health support services. Some psychological wellbeing practitioners gain experience and train as high intensity therapists, working with people with complex mental health needs.
As with any psychology-related job, your working environment may be emotionally demanding.
A psychology degree makes you a strong candidate for lots of other roles too, these include:
- Mental health practitioner/psychologist in education
- Forensic psychologist
- Health psychologist
- Sport and exercise psychologist
- Advice worker
- Careers advisor
- Market researcher
- Social worker
- Marketing, HR or other professional services roles
3. What skills are needed to work in psychology?
Studying psychology gives you numerous transferrable skills such as critical thinking, reasoning, time management, communication and problem solving. Specialised knowledge will vary depending on the career path you choose, but here are a few skills that would benefit you in any role within the industry:
- Strong knowledge of psychological theory and practice
- An understanding of non-verbal cues
- Good listening and sensitive questioning skills
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to relate to and empathise with a range of people
Most psychology-related careers depend on specific theoretical and professional knowledge, some roles such as clinical psychologists, require a postgraduate degree. If you are interested in a certain role, we would suggest finding job adverts for that role and looking at the job description and person specification.
Identify the skills and experience you already have, or where you need to improve to meet the essential criteria for the role. Read our guide to the top skills that employers want to see on your CV.
4. What degrees help with a career in psychology?
You usually need a degree to begin a career in psychology, and a BPS (British Psychological Society) accreditation is highly valued by employers. Some other degrees that would benefit a career in psychology include biomedical science, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, or forensic psychology. Lots of graduate schemes accept graduates of psychology to work within several different departments from marketing to finance.
Take a look at the Unitemps job search portal to see if we have any roles available that would give you key experience and set you on the pathway to a career in psychology, or get more career advice by reading our other articles.
Last updated on 3 May 2023Share this article