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What can I do with my degree?: Psychology

Studying psychology gives you a broad range of skills that span both science and the arts and opens up opportunities with a wide variety of employers

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Postgraduate training and study is a requirement to become a chartered psychologist. Due to course entry requirements, many psychology graduates spend a year or more getting work experience before embarking on postgraduate study.

It's a good idea to build up your work experience as soon as you can. You will usually need to work on a voluntary basis first to get enough experience to apply for a paid job.

The type of experience needed depends on the area of psychology you're interested in. Work 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, probation or social services is vital.

Experience as a research assistant is also relevant.

For educational psychology, experience of working with children in educational, childcare, or community settings is required. Although not essential, experience as a teacher is useful.

Experience in personnel/human resources and business/management is needed for those interested in occupational psychology.

Many psychology graduates choose to enter other career areas. Again, work or voluntary experience in your chosen field is important. This can include part-time work during your degree, summer placements and internships, as well as voluntary work and work shadowing.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Although some psychology graduates become professional psychologists, many others go on work in related fields.

A degree in psychology provides a useful foundation for a wide range of careers and employers.

Major employers of psychology graduates include:

  • the National Health Service;
  • local and national government;
  • schools, sixth form colleges and colleges of further education;
  • social services;
  • police forces, the National Probation Service and prisons;
  • human resources departments;
  • the media;
  • marketing companies;
  • financial organisations;
  • commercial and industrial companies.

Find information on employers in healthcare, teaching and education, marketing, advertising and PR, and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Transferable skills include:

  • written and verbal communication, including report writing and presentation;
  • information technology;
  • handling of data/statistics;
  • analytical research;
  • problem solving;
  • the ability to work in teams.

The scientific aspects of your psychology course, including the application of a reasoned approach, problem solving and manipulation of data, provide useful tools for careers in healthcare, law enforcement, finance, IT and research.

Your knowledge of human behaviour and motivation, ability to critically analyse a problem, formulate a considered response, create an argument and generate new ideas lend themselves well to careers in the creative industries, the legal sector, government administration and education.

Further study

Postgraduate study and training is essential if you want to become a chartered psychologist and to register as a practitioner psychologist with the Health & Care Professionals Council (HCPC).

Postgraduate study is available in areas such as clinical, counselling, educational, occupational, sport and exercise or forensic psychology.

Some graduates qualify as teachers as a route into educational psychology. Whilst a teaching qualification is not a requirement for this profession, it still provides useful relevant experience.

Psychology graduates who don't want to be a psychologist may choose to do a postgraduate qualification in their chosen career area, for example advertising, marketing, teaching or human resources

Some graduates go on to undertake research at Masters and PhD level in order to follow an academic career that combines research and teaching.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do psychology graduates do?

Around two thirds of psychology graduates are in employment in the UK six months after graduating. The top ten occupations include HR and industrial relations officers, youth and community workers, and marketing associate professionals.

Almost a quarter of psychology graduates undertake further study or combine further study with work.

Graduate destinations for psychology
Destinations Percentage
Employed 62.9%
Further study 15.5%
Working and studying 9.6%
Unemployed 7.8%
Other 4.2%
Types of work entered in the UK
  Percentage
Retail, catering and bar work 18.7%
Caring and education work 17.2%
Legal, social and welfare 12.9%
Secretarial and numerical clerks 11.9%
Other occupations 39.3%
 

For a detailed breakdown of what psychology graduates are doing six months after graduation, see What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

 
 
 
AGCAS
Written by AGCAS editors
Date: 
January 2015
 

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