What can I do with a psychology degree?
Psychology graduates tend to be inquisitive and highly analytical, comfortable with looking at both the bigger picture and the finer details. A psychology degree is great if you are interested in science and the arts and will provide you with several employment opportunities. If you want to become a clinical psychologist, you will be required to undertake additional studies to gain the qualifications needed for the role. Other popular career paths amongst psychology graduates include teaching and public sector roles, such as joining the police force.
Natural career paths following a psychology degree:
- Clinical psychologist
- Counselling psychologist
- Education mental health practitioner
- Educational psychologist
- Forensic psychologist
- Further education teacher
- Health psychologist
- High-intensity therapist
- Occupational psychologist
- Psychological wellbeing practitioner
- Sport and exercise psychologist
Transferable skills career paths:
- Advice worker
- Border Force officer
- Careers adviser
- Dance movement psychotherapist
- Education consultant
- Human resources officer
- Life coach
- Market researcher
- Play Therapist
- Policy officer
- Social researcher
These should only be used as a guide. Many employers will accept applications from students that have studied various degrees.
Those wanting a career in psychology should investigate doing an industry placement – pre-entry work is valued highly. Your careers department at your university should be able to help you identify these. If your university course does not offer a placement year, you may want to consider doing part-time, summer or voluntary work. If you want to become a chartered psychologist, you will have to undertake postgraduate training and study; therefore, any experience you can get beforehand will help you get a head start.
You can look for work experience in the area of psychology that you are interested in, such as an assistant psychologist or in areas such as nursing, social work, mental health work, services for individuals with disabilities, mentoring young offenders and work in prisons or social services. For educational psychology, you may consider gaining experience from teaching in a school as an assistant. For occupational psychology, experience in human resources or business management roles will be valuable.
Careers in psychology can be extremely competitive, so experience in any kind of experience will give your application an advantage. It will also help you to develop the essential skills needed to succeed in the industry. Employers highly value work experience and will allow you to network and build a list of contacts who may become useful in the future.
Psychology graduates thrive in careers where they are given the opportunity to engage with a range of complex issues and have to develop a strong understanding of these areas in a short space of time. These include:
- Careers and counselling services
- Commercial and industrial companies
- Financial organisations
- Human resources departments
- Legal firms and organisations providing advice
- The local and national government
- Marketing Companies
- The media
- The NHS
- Police forces, the National Probation Service and prisons
- Schools, sixth-form colleges, colleges of further education and higher education institutions
- Social research organisations
- Social services.
Below are some of the job titles you earn with a psychology degree:
- Advertising copywriter
- Advice worker
- Charities administrator
- Child psychotherapist
- Government research officer
- Health service manager
- Human resources officer
- Insurance risk surveyor
- Insurance underwriter
- Market research executive
- Mental health nurse
- Psychologist (clinical)
- Psychologist (educational)
- Retail banker
- Speech and language therapist
- Sports coach
- Teacher (secondary)
Skills for your CV
Through your degree, you will learn various professional skills, such as applying a reasoned approach, problem-solving and data manipulation. All of these provide useful tools for careers in healthcare, law enforcement, finance, IT and research. You will have also developed subject-specific knowledge of human behaviour and motivation, the ability to critically analyse a problem, formulate a considered response, create an argument and generate new ideas, which are all applicable and necessary for a role in the creative industry, the legal sector, government and education. Alongside this, you will have developed additional skills which will be transferable.
Make sure the following skills are highlighted on your CV:
- Written and verbal communication, including report writing and presenting
- Information technology
- Handling of data and statistics
- Analytical research
- Problem solving
- The ability to work in teams as well as independently
- Project management.
If you are keen to become a chartered psychologist, further education and qualifications are necessary to register as a practitioner psychologist. You can tailor this to the specific area of psychology that you would like to specialise in such as counselling, educational, health, occupational, health, sport and exercise or forensic psychology.
For those that want a mixture of both research and teaching, a popular choice is to undertake research at Masters and PhD level.
What are psychology graduates doing?
After six months of graduating, nearly half of all psychology graduates are in full time employment, and over 20% went on to further study. The most popular career choices amongst psychology graduates include care workers (12%), teaching and childcare support (7%), welfare and housing (8%), therapy (6%) and teaching (5%).
Study the human mind and behaviour in this professionally accredited Masters programme – your first step towards becoming a chartered psychologist.
This programme is designed for graduates with an Honours degree in a discipline other than psychology – or a non-accredited psychology Honours degree who wish to specialise in psychology.
Investigating social and political change, you will explore how we understand society and how we can change it for the better, developing your critical thinking alongside a wide range of research and transferable skills highly valued by the public, private and voluntary sectors.
This degree is perfect for anyone interested in working with young people, adults and communities, to engage in learning about how to live the best life possible and to challenge discrimination and all forms of injustice.
Teaching, learning and assessment are underpinned by theories and practices relating to youth and community work, equality and social justice, wellbeing and community empowerment.