Studying psychology gives you a broad range of skills that span both science and the arts and opens up opportunities with a variety of employers
Jobs directly related to your degree include:
- Clinical psychologist
- Counselling psychologist
- Educational psychologist
- Forensic psychologist
- Further education teacher
- Health psychologist
- High intensity therapist
- Occupational psychologist
- Psychological wellbeing practitioner
- Sport and exercise psychologist
Jobs where your degree would be useful include:
- Advice worker
- Careers adviser
- Education consultant
- Human resources officer
- Life coach
- Market researcher
- Play therapist
- Policy officer
Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here.
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.
Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.
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:
- commercial and industrial companies
- financial organisations
- human resources departments
- local and national government
- marketing companies
- the media
- the National Health Service
- police forces, the National Probation Service and prisons
- schools, sixth form colleges and colleges of further education
- social services.
Skills for your CV
Transferable skills include:
- written and verbal communication, including report writing and presentation
- information technology
- handling of data and 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.
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. 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.
What do psychology graduates do?
Over half of psychology graduates are in employment in the UK six months after graduating, while almost a third undertake further study or combine further study with work.
|Working and studying||10.3|
|Type of work||Percentage|
|Retail, catering and bar work||15.9|
|Legal, social and welfare||15.3|
|Childcare, health and education work||14.8|
|Business, HR and financial||9.5|
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.