A psychology degree can take you in many different directions. You may want to continue to specialise and become a chartered psychologist in areas such as clinical, occupational or educational psychology. Or you may want to get working straight after your degree. Below are some questions you can ask yourself to help you decide on your next steps.
What kind of people do I want to work with?
Many psychology students say they want to work with people – think about who those people might be. Are you interested in particular conditions, mental health issues, offenders, children, athletes or employees? Psychologists work with all of these.
How much further study am I happy to do?
To become a chartered psychologist you will have to do further study. For some areas such as occupational or forensic psychology you will need to take an accredited Masters course followed by a year’s professional training. If you want to be a clinical, educational or counselling psychologist you will have to do a three-year doctorate. Competition for the doctorates is fierce and they require you to have significant work experience.
What kind of work experience am I willing to do?
The first step to psychology-related experience tends to be as a volunteer with organisations that support the particular client groups you have an interest in. Work experience can include befriending, providing helpline support through organisations such as The Samaritans or supporting pupils with special educational needs. https://do-it.org is a good place to look for volunteering positions or check the volunteering section of our webpage. Many psychology students build up experience as paid support workers and http://jobs.communitycare.co.uk/ has vacancies.
Working as a research assistant can also be good for your CV, especially if you want to apply for a doctorate later on so keep your ears open for opportunities within your department.
I just want to get a job after I graduate, what can I do?
You find psychologists in lots of different fields. An interest and understanding of people’s behaviour and motivations could lead you to a career in marketing or advertising. If you’ve enjoyed the stats on the course perhaps market or social research is for you. If areas such as organisational and occupational psychology piqued your interest, a career in human resources or working for an occupational testing company might be worth considering.
Whatever you choose, your degree will have equipped you with some very marketable skills. You will have planned research projects, persuaded and recruited participants for experiments, have a good grasp of data and learnt how to present it. If you want help in presenting your experience or discussing your next step, book an appointment with us as a new year’s resolution.