A psychology degree is a great starting point for a career in both science and the arts, as it equips you with a range of skills and opens up opportunities with a range 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.

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 or human resources and business and 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. Some universities also offer a year out in industry where you can put your academic learning into practice.

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

Typical employers

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

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

Major employers of psychology graduates include:

  • careers and counselling services
  • commercial and industrial companies
  • financial organisations
  • human resources departments
  • legal firms and organisations providing advice
  • 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.

Find information on employers in healthcare, teacher training 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 presenting
  • information technology
  • handling of data and statistics
  • analytical research
  • problem solving
  • the ability to work in teams as well as independently
  • project management.

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, health, occupational, sport and exercise, or forensic psychology.

Some graduates qualify as teachers as a route into educational psychology. A teaching qualification is not a requirement for this profession, but 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 in psychology.

What do psychology graduates do?

The top five jobs held by psychology graduates include care workers and home carers (7%), welfare and housing associate professionals (5%), nursing auxiliaries and assistants (5%), educational support assistants (5%), and sales and retail assistants (4%).

Moreover, 3% of psychology graduates are working as psychologists, making it the eighth most popular form of employment.

DestinationPercentage
Employed59.2
Further study11.5
Working and studying14.1
Unemployed6.1
Other9.1
Graduate destinations for psychology
Type of workPercentage
Childcare, health and education22
Legal, social and welfare12.9
Secretarial and numerical clerks11.6
Retail, catering and bar staff10.5
Other43
Types of work entered in the UK

For a detailed breakdown of what psychology graduates are doing after graduation, see What do graduates do?

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Find out more

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