Student Employability Pack
An ‘Employability Pack’ designed by the School of Psychology to
aid students choosing a personal career path
Statistics ce r
n Of fi gist
Services a l Psy
Useful Links & Materials se
our Analyst gist
Applied Behavi cholo
t Social Worker
Careers and Employability ............... 4-7 5.6 Occupational Psychology
1.1 Introduction 5.7 Sport and Exercise Psychology
1.2 What is ‘Employability’ 5.8 Past University of Ulster Graduates
1.3 The change in the market 5.9 Pod casts from Professional
1.4 Generic skills, attributes and qualities
1.5 Psychological skills, attributes and
qualities 6 Other Careers .................................... 52-56
1.6 Skills, attributes and qualities 6.1 Other Careers
b Social Work
2 Employability Statistics .................... 8-9
. c Careers (Training and Recruitment)
d Occupational Therapy
2.1 General UK Graduate Employment e Psychotherapy
2.2 Employment in Psychology f Speech Therapy
2.3 Career Destinations of Past g Nursing
University of Ulster Students (Psychological or Specialist)
2.4 Career Destinations of Psychology 6.2 Management & Finance
Graduates (UK) 6.3 Marketing & Sales
2.5 Long Term Employability 6.4 Psychology Involved Roles
Services Available ............................ 10-16 b Secretary
3.1 The Careers Development Centre d Assistant
and the Personal Development
7 Action plan ........................................ 57-61
3.2 Employability Modules at Ulster
3.3 CV Building and Cover Letters 7.1 My Career?
3.4 Interview Skills 7.2 What do I want?
3.5 Job Applications 7.3 How do I do that?
3.6 Assessment Centres 7.4 Progress …
3.7 Placement (DIS) 7.5 Your C.V and Cover Letter…
3.8 School of Psychology (University of 7.6 Your Interview...
8 Useful Links, Materials
4 Education or Occupation .................. 17 .
& References .................................... 62
List of good web sites that will be useful
4.1 Further Study for each section e.g. C.V building sites or
4.2 Employment/work experience descriptions of different careers.
Psychology Careers ......................... 18-51
5.1 Clinical Psychology
5.2 Counselling Psychology
5.3 Educational Psychology
5.4 Forensic/Criminal Psychology
5.5 Health Psychology
1 Careers and Employability
1.1 Introduction Personal Qualities Process Skills
The following ‘Employability pack’ has been created to aid decisions concerning your personal career Malleable self-theory: belief that attributes are Computer literacy: ability to use a range of
path, whether that is as a Psychologist or as a specialist in another related field. It is designed not fixed and can be developed. software.
to provide information on a number of issues regarding employment and what you can do to best
Self-awareness: awareness of own strengths Commercial awareness: understanding of
prepare yourself for the next step of your career.
and weaknesses, aims and values. business issues and priorities.
Therefore the main aims of this pack are to help:
Self-confidence: confidence in dealing with the Political sensitivity: appreciation of how
• Inform you of the condition and dynamics of the current employment market. challenges that employment and life throw up. organisations actually work, and acting
• Clarify what skills you have acquired and what skills you have yet to obtain to realise your Independence: ability to work without supervision. accordingly.
professional vision. Adaptability: ability to respond positively to Ability to work cross-culturally: both within and
• Highlight what support is available and how to access it efficiently. changing circumstances and new challenges. beyond the UK.
• You decide what the right career is for you and what these occupations encompass. Initiative: ability to take action unprompted. Prioritising: ability to rank tasks according to
• Assist you in planning and taking the next steps of your career. importance.
Reflectiveness: the disposition to reflect and
evaluate the performance of oneself and others. Planning: setting of achievable goals and
1.2 What is employability? structuring action.
The term employability is defined in different ways. For the purpose of this composition the following Applying subject understanding: use of
definition has been used: disciplinary understanding.
Reading effectiveness: the recognition and
‘Employability is composed of a set achievements, skills, understandings and personnel Coping with ambiguity and complexity: ability
retention of key points.
attributes that makes graduates more likely to gain employment and be successful in their to handle ambiguous and complex situations.
chosen occupations’ (Yorke and Knight, 2006). Numeracy: ability to use numbers at an
Problem solving: selection and use of
appropriate level of accuracy.
It should be remembered that employability is not just about getting a job, it’s about keeping it. It is appropriate methods to find solutions.
about graduates developing malleable skills and qualities that will help them maximise their potential in Information retrieval: ability to access different
Influencing: convincing others of the validity of
any workplace and enable them to realise this potential. The range of skills required in the workplace sources.
is always changing due to multiple sets of complex laws (e.g., supply and demand) impacting the Language skills: possession of more than a
economy. It is therefore important to remember that terms, such as knowledge and competency, are Resolving conflict: both intra-personally and in
always evolving as new jobs which require new skills and abilities are created. Therefore you must relationships with others.
Self-management: ability to work in an efficient
adopt the same flexibility when evaluating our own employability. Decision making: choice of the best option from
and structured manner.
a range of alternatives.
Critical analysis: ability to ‘deconstruct’ a
1.3 The change in the market Negotiating: discussion to achieve mutually
problem or situation.
satisfactory resolution of contentious issues.
The employment market is a continually changing landscape. The graduates of the University of Ulster Creativity: ability to be original or inventive and to
have to compete more than ever due to the well publicised ‘recession’ of the global economy. This not Team work: can work constructively with others
apply lateral thinking.
only makes it harder for Psychology graduates but for all graduates, as students are becoming more on a common task.
Listening: focused attention in which key points
diverse, overlapping in the job market and competing on the same fronts more so than ever before.
The nature of employment is also changing as individuals are more likely to be employed on projects
or temporary contracts compared to 15 years ago. Written communication: clear reports, letters
etc written specifically for the reader.
Oral presentations: clear and confident
1.4 Generic skills, attributes and qualities
presentation of information to a group.
There are numerous competencies which employers look for when advertising a vacancy. Most
Explaining: orally and in writing
undergraduate degrees will develop all of these, some more than others. Some generic skills acquired
by University graduates, according to Knight and Yorke and Knight (2006), are as follows (you may find Global awareness: in terms of both cultures and
this list useful when composing your C.V): economics
1 Careers and Employability
1.5 Psychological skills, attributes and qualities Ability to work in teams:
This is much the same as outlined previously in respect of individual abilities. However, from an
During your psychology undergraduate career you have developed particular aptitudes specifically
employers perspective, it may also incorporate working well with the entire work force of that particular
from your degree. A list of these competencies is: (you may find this list useful when composing your
An interest in continuing education and willingness to learn: Interested in pursuing educational
Cooperativeness in this sense should not be confused with conformity, but rather conducting oneself
opportunities to keep abreast of new research and other developments in the field of psychology;
professionally with the company’s best interest in my mind, regardless of personal or department
commitment to ongoing learning to meet the needs of employment and life.
Emotional stability and intelligence: Sensitivity to others’ emotions and the effects that they can
Desire and ability to learn:
have on different situations. Individuals high in emotional competencies are reported to have a solid
The continuing desire and improve ones own knowledge is a very attractive quality to most employers.
emotional foundation and the ability to handle stress effectively under pressure.
Willingness to gain new, important skills:
Ethical sensitivity and acting morally: A solid ethical code and keeping consultation sessions with
This may appear similar to the previous quality; however there is a difference in application. Willingness
patients confidential. Individuals appreciate ethical aspects of employment and act accordingly within
to gain innovative skills within the work-place coneys commitment, competiveness, and a willingness
their moral code.
to provide the best product/service available, thus improving the business as a whole.
Knowledge of laws and regulations: A basic familiarity with laws and regulations that exist in the
Focus on customers/clients:
industry. A knowledge of how to work in the industry, professionally within the boundaries of the law.
A quality that may not necessary be obtained through your undergraduate career without some sort
Research methodology/statistics: The ability to design, conduct, and analyze research experiments of extra training (e.g. employability modules) or experience (the DIS/DAS placement). However, the
and studies. ability to compassionately and humanistically conduct oneself are skills that most undergraduates will
Behaviour management: The ability to teach, supervise and manage behaviour through personal be aware of. Extending this towards customers or clients can be developed through postgraduate
skills and by monitoring and manipulating relevant aspects of the immediate environment. study or through experience.
High aptitudes of decision making and interpersonal skills: Competency beyond the levels Interpersonal relationship skills:
obtained through lesser person orientated sciences. Relating and working positively with colleagues are desirable qualities sought by employers.
Higher-order analysis: The ability to extract general principles from immediate or concrete situations. Adaptability to changing situations and environments:
Psychology graduates tend to be better than most people at spotting recurrent patterns or similarities Employers prefer employees who can fulfil multiple roles within the company and work in a multitude
between situations, and at looking at issues in terms of their underlying principles rather than becoming of settings without unreasonably compromising performance.
overwhelmed with the details of the immediate situation. Ability to suggest solutions and criticisms:
Pragmatism: The ability to make the best of a non-ideal situation. Psychology students know that the It is still important to interact with colleagues in a way that the best possible outcomes can be achieved,
perfect experiment is going to be elusive and they will have to get on with doing it as well as possible. whilst maintaining interpersonal relationships and working cooperatively. This will usually consist of a
As graduates, this tends to give them a pragmatic orientation. number of employees voicing their different opinions. More significantly, individuals accept criticisms
and be competent enough to fully execute any solutions proposed by his or herself.
Independent and team problem solving:
1.6 Skills, attributes and qualities employers want/expect/value The ability to solve problems on multiple fronts has been suggested in most, if not all, required or
Some of the most common aptitudes that employers of Psychology undergraduates are looking desired lists of skills composed by researchers and employers. Employers and Heads of Schools will
for are outlined in this next section. You many find that some may overlap or in some cases are usually claim that their apprentices have attained a good level of problem solving.
repeated, however it is important too consider the same variable from the employer’s point-of-view.
For example, when an undergraduate considers him or herself to possess good levels of teamwork, it
is usually in terms of working well with their immediate group on some sort of group project. However,
an employer may expect a more evolved sense of teamwork which involves all the colleagues of
that business which complies with the views and aims of that company. A study by Landrum (2001)
revealed that the top 10 skills that are coveted by employers of psychology students are (many of
these you already possess):
Communication skills: Communication that involves both written and oral communication. Corporate
businesses increasingly use the internet as an avenue of communication. Therefore, psychology
students not only have to employ their communication skills but combine it with their computer literacy
2 Employability Statistics
2.1 General UK Graduate Employment Occupation category % of leavers
In 2007/08, there were 200,090 graduates whose destinations were known. In 2007/08, 62% (124,065) Marketing, Sales and Advertising Professionals 4.1%
were in employment, 8% (15,265) were in a combination of work and study, 17% (33,170) were involved
Commercial, Industrial and Public Sector Managers 7.5%
in further study, and 8% (16,835) were unemployed. Of the graduates whose destinations were known
and reported as being in employment, 96% (118,920) were employed in the UK, as reported by the Scientific Research, Analysis and Development Professionals 0.4%
Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA 2009). Engineering Professionals 0.2%
Health Professionals and Associate Professionals 2.2%
2.2 Employment in Psychology Education Professionals 4.0%
Approximately 90% of Psychology graduates find employment within the first year of graduating. Business and Financial Professionals and Associate Professionals 6.3%
However, 30% of these graduates do not enter graduate track employment. Kingston (2003) reports
that only 20% of Psychology graduates enter professional Psychology training. Therefore the vast Information Technology Professionals 0.7%
majority of Psychology graduates gain professional training in other related areas, a finding also Arts, Design, Culture, Media and Sports Professionals 1.6%
reported by University of Ulster Psychology graduates (University of Ulster, Career Development
Centre, 2009). Legal Professionals 0.4%
Social and Welfare Professionals 13.0%
2.3 Career Destinations of Past University of Ulster Students Other Professionals, Associate Professional and Technical Occupations 3.8%
University of Ulster Psychology graduates have a strong representation in other occupational categories, Numerical Clerks and Cashiers 2.8%
such as nursing and special education in 2009. Just under a quarter (22.7%) of our graduates who were Other Clerical and Secretarial Occupations 17.4%
employed in the UK, or working and studying, entered these types of jobs. This, perhaps, reflects the
Retail, Catering, Waiting and Bar Staff 11.2%
need for many Psychology graduates to gain relevant experience prior to embarking on postgraduate
Psychology study. A further 13.5% of Psychology graduates entered social and welfare related work; Other Occupations 24.3%
again, suggesting a desire to gain experience in this field prior to embarking on further training. In Unknown Occupations 0.1%
addition, 7.6% were employed as commercial, industrial or public sector managers. Some students
embarked on completely different career paths, 13.5% of psychology graduates entered into social
work and 8% obtained teaching roles.
2.4 Career Destinations of Psychology Undergraduates (UK)
In 2007/08, of the graduates who were employed in the UK 30% of these posts were classified
as Associate professional & technical occupations, 27% as Professional occupations, 12% as
Administrative & secretarial occupations, and 11% as Sales & customer service occupations. These
are the occupational groups with the highest proportions of responses. Unemployment rates for
degree graduates whose destinations were known varied between subjects, ranging from those which
have traditionally low rates of unemployment, such as Medicine & dentistry 0% and Education 3%, to
12% for Mass communications & documentation and 14% for Computer science (HESA 2009).
2.5 Long Term Employability
The long-term employability of Psychology graduates was assessed in a longitudinal study by the
Higher Education Statistics Agency using a sample of graduates in 2005. The follow-up study revealed
a vast array of occupations:
3 Services Available
3.1 The Careers Development Centre and the Personal Development System There is no single perfect way to write a CV, but there are general rules and principles which you
should follow. One size does not fit all, so tailor your CV to each application. You will use most of
a The Careers Development Centre (CDC)
the information on more than one occasion, but you will rarely use exactly the same CV twice. In any
The Coleraine campus’s CDC is located on the second floor (near the LRC) in room H214 or in room case, you will be constantly updating your CV, adding new work experience, recent qualifications,
MF226E in the Magee campus (in top floor of the building to the left of the main building). The CDC courses, conferences or publications. You can judge the effectiveness and relevance of your CV by
offers support information and guidance to graduates up to three years following graduation. The CDC summarising what you have to offer a particular employer in two or three sentences. A careers adviser
offers a range of services and advice on a wide range of career related topics including postgraduate from the CDC will be able to help you identify your skills and relevant experience.
study. A full list of all the services provided by the CDC can be found at http://careers.ulster.ac.uk/
b The Layout
Employers will find it quick and easy to gather information about you if your CV presents pertinent
b The Personal Development System (PDS)
information in a logical format.
The PDS is a online resource tool for students of the University of Ulster. Through this interactive web
These sections should be included in all CVs
based tool students can:
• personal information
• Build an online portfolio of their skills and experiences. This portfolio can be shared with other
parties (e.g. potential employers). • career goal or personal profile
• Discover opportunities to develop their skills. • education and qualifications
• Set goals and action plans. • employment and work experience
• Build CV’s • achievements
• Communicate with their programme team. • skills
• interests and activities
Details of the PDS resource can be found at http://pds.ulster.ac.uk/pds
Also, if you have sufficient information, and if they are relevant to the position, you can include the
3.2 Employability Modules at Ulster following sections (after skills and before referees).
To augment the many skills obtained throughout undergraduate study, students can also take modules • awards/prizes
(usually worth 10 credit points) to enhance their employability prospects. Such modules in Personal
and Professional Development include:
• Work Experience
• professional organisations
• Class Representation
• other information
• Exploring Your Career Options
Once you have completed your CV you should be able to compare it favourably against this checklist:
• Developing Your Employability Skills
• Career Progression Skills • Name at the head of the page (There is no need to write ‘Curriculum vitae’, it should be obvious
what the document is).
• Communication & Career Management Skills
• Information is accurate and truthful.
For a full list of the additional modules which can aid your career prospects please contact the CDC
• CV is tailored to the job.
or visit www.ulster.ac.uk/nextlevel
• Important facts are prioritised and the most important supporting evidence is prominent.
• It fits on two pages (This is the length that employers prefer).
3.3 CV Building and Cover Letters • It is clear, easy to read and pleasing to the eye.
a What to include • It creates the right impression (Use good quality neutral coloured paper and don’t fold or staple
A CV is the primary means of submitting an application to an employer. A CV is also used to apply it).
for placements and for some postgraduate courses. A CV is often your first chance to make a good • It only includes relevant information that supports the application.
impression. A focused, well presented CV will grab the reader’s attention and help your application • It demonstrates relevant skills, both transferable and subject related.
stand out. A poor CV could mean no interview and no further opportunity to impress. The purpose • It gives evidence for every claim made.
of a CV is to convince a potential employer that your qualifications, skills and experience make you
• The CV is interesting to read, and flows in a logical order.
suitable for a particular job. It should inform but also persuade. Unlike an application form, you can
decide what to include in your CV and therefore select and highlight the most pertinent information. • The spelling and grammar are correct and have been double checked.
• There are no typos.
3 Services Available
• Someone else has checked for errors. to follow which will aid performance at any interview. Your interview may feature one or more types of
• Includes a covering letter which draws attention to the impressive and relevant information in question or activity. Preparation is vital if you have to sit a test or give a presentation, but you can also
the CV (Be aware, however, that some companies will only circulate your CV, so ensure all the think in advance about some of the questions you might be asked and how you might answer them.
information appears in the CV).
b Types of Interviews and Questions
c Do’s and Don’ts
There are many different types of interviews such as:
While you are expected to put ‘spin’ on your CV, demonstrating your experiences by using positive
• A one-to-one interview takes place between the candidate and the interviewer. Although it can
language, you are not expected to include anything which is deliberately untrue. Employers want to
be relatively informal, it is best to assume that it will be formal, therefore necessary to act and
receive legible, clearly presented CVs, demonstrating care, endeavour and attention to detail. The way
dress accordingly. In any case it will be more than a casual conversation, so prepare thoroughly
in which you present your CV may make the difference between an employer reading it thoroughly or
and do your research.
not at all, e.g., make sure you have checked your spelling and grammar. Using appropriate language
and writing styles in your CV will make it easy for employers to understand the information you send • First interviews can take place face-to-face or can be conducted over the telephone. A recruiting
them. It will also help create a good first impression and display effective communication skills. There agency or occupational consultant may handle this stage on the employer’s behalf. These types
is no right or wrong stylistic approach to use when writing your CV. The only essential rule is to be of interviews are usually structured and will often comprise of general work related questions.
consistent. Choose one style of writing and stick to it. Many individuals begin writing in one way and • A second interview will establish which candidates, successful at the first, stage have the
then switch to another. As a result, the CV does not read well and may be confusing. Employers will skills and qualities needed for the job. Some second interviews are conducted by telephone.
only make so much effort to understand what you are telling them. Positive, active language will grab However, most second interviews are the final and more formal interview, and therefore held
the reader’s attention and send a strong message about you and your capabilities. Action verbs or face-to-face.
power words will help you explain what you actually did in any situation you give as an example in your • Some interviews involve a panel of assessors. This may seem daunting, but think of the
CV. Using power words to begin sentences about your achievements can also encourage you to think advantages. It may be easier and fairer than a one-to-one interview. The decision doesn’t rest
positively about what you have done and can do in the future. with one person. You have a variety of people to talk to and make eye-contact with. You should
Targeting your CV to the job and organisation will quickly show employers that you have what they are be told in advance, or on the day, who is on the panel and their area of responsibility.
looking for and therefore increase your chances of being invited to an interview. Every CV you write • Competency-based interviews are focused on specific competencies which employers seek.
should be targeted to a specific job or organisation, but the format can also vary according to your Research suggests that structured competency-based interviews can be one of the most reliable
own circumstances and experience. You can choose the most suitable from a range of typical CV, and accurate forms of assessing a candidate. Most interviews are competency-based to some
types according to your purpose on each occasion. extent, but some are more formal than others. Employers will outline their key competency
requirements in your interview letter or direct you to a web link. You can expect a list of six to
eight key competencies. On the basis that past behaviour is a good indicator of future behaviour,
d Cover Letters employers will ask you to demonstrate these competencies by relating your experience.
Employers increasingly want CVs to be accompanied by a covering letter, and your letter can be a
major determinant of whether you proceed to the next recruitment stage. It should help an employer to There is also a range from questions which interviewers may ask:
decide how suitable you are for a particular job and persuade them to read your CV. By demonstrating
your career interests and highlighting your most relevant strengths and experiences, a well written • Most interview questions will be open for you to answer in the way you think best. Usually, there
letter can say a lot about your professionalism as well as how you match the requirements of the post. are no right or wrong answers. Try to give focused, relevant answers supported with evidence
and examples of your skills and experiences. Employers rarely invite candidates to tell them
everything they know about something, so be specific. If you don’t understand a question,
3.4 Interview Skills you can ask the interviewer to repeat it or explain it further. Or you may repeat it in your own
words to ensure that you have understood it correctly. In both cases you will have bought some
Interviews are a two-way process. They are an opportunity for employers to find out more about you, thinking time. Try to answer what is asked of you, not what you wanted to be asked.
and for you to find out more about them. If you have been invited to an interview then your application
• Presentations test a number of skills, including planning, organisation, and communication, as
has been effective, and you now have the chance to talk directly to your prospective employers or their
well as your impact on an audience. Presentations are common at assessment centres and
agents. Not all interviews will be successful, but the experience will be useful in helping you prepare
sometimes feature as part of the interview process. Presentations make many people nervous,
for future applications.
but interviewers will expect this. The adrenaline which comes with nerves can also prompt you
to give an effective performance and stop you looking overly relaxed and casual. Remember,
a Preparation that this is the one time when you control the proceedings. You could be asked to prepare
a presentation on a specified topic, or one of your choice. You may be given material or a
A successful interviewee demonstrates planning, focus and enthusiasm. Researching the position and topic in advance of your presentation, to focus your preparation. At an assessment centre you
the company, and thinking in advance about possible questions and answers, will help prepare you to might be expected to conduct a presentation based on material you are given on the day. The
perform well in any interview. Interview types vary according to the nature of the post, the recruitment lengths of presentations vary, but you can expect to talk for five to fifteen minutes before taking
stage, and the organisation. However, there are some standard formats, and some basic principles
3 Services Available
questions from the audience. This may sound like a long time but you will be surprised how a Preparation
quickly it can go. Your presentation may be watched by one or more interviewers or assessors,
The key to a successful application form is preparation. It involves effort, practice, reflection, and a
and sometimes by staff related to the post or the department where you will be working. Other
good understanding of sources of information and how to find and use them. Preparation is the most
candidates may also watch, but this is less common. Knowing your audience is important for
effective way of doing yourself justice in your application form. The level of detail employers provide
designing your content and for anticipating questions, so try to find out in advance who’ll be
will vary. Public sector organisations often have lengthy job descriptions and person specifications,
there. Questions test not only your knowledge, but also how well you communicate information,
while private sector companies may set out fewer criteria. If you are sent both a job description and
think on your feet, and react under pressure.
a person specification, use the latter as the basis for targeting your form. Specifications are often
• As Psychologists you are well aware that some employers administer personality assessments divided into essential (must have) and desirable (would like you to have) criteria. The desirable criteria
in the selection process. Personality assessments also occasionally feature in the recruitment will be used to narrow down a strong field if a large number of applicants meet the essential criteria.
process. They are not used in isolation but as part of the wider picture of evidence that the It is therefore important to state clearly if you meet some or all of the desirable criteria as well as
employer collects about you. Assessments reveal information about how you would behave in a demonstrating with evidence and examples how you meet the essential criteria. For every candidate
given situation. Although assessors are not looking for a specific profile, certain characteristics that submits an un-researched application, there will be many more that send a better one. Not doing
will be more or less appropriate for a particular job or organisation. There are no right or wrong any research will therefore put you at a distinct disadvantage. Submitting an application form when
answers, and you cannot pass or fail. Employers may use your results as a starting point for you have not researched the job you are applying for is like sending in a note saying ‘I am not really
discussing your experiences and interests in an interview, to determine how you would fit with bothered whether I get this job or not’. It will be obvious to employers if you have not researched the
the post they are offering. job and they will not look on your application favourably.
• As Psychologists you are well aware that some employers administer psychometric tests in
the selection process. Employers are using psychometric tests more frequently to assess
candidates’ abilities and aptitudes in certain areas. The results are presented in a standardised b Application Forms
way, which helps employers make accurate and objective comparisons between you and other Application forms are widely used in response to advertised vacancies or for entry to graduate
candidates. Approximately 75% of medium to large employers and 95% of FTSE Top 100 training schemes. They allow employers to decide what they want to find out about applicants and to
companies use psychometric testing for selection. For graduate level recruitment, the most obtain comparable information for each candidate. For example, employers may use standard forms
common tests are verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning (including diagrammatic). The tests composed by recruitment agencies, or employer specific forms which will be very specific in terms of
vary from one company to another and will usually be carefully constructed to test skills that are what the employer is looking for. As well as different types of application form, there are also different
relevant to a particular job or working environment. types of question. You may worry about answering the longer more complex questions the most, such
as ‘Why have you applied for this job?’ But it is important to get the basic information right as well.
c The Interview Most forms will ask for your educational qualifications in reverse chronological order, so you should
start with your current degree. If you have yet to complete your course, put the date you are hoping
You have reached the interview stage. The organisation is interested in you and considers you able to to finish and the grade/award you realistically expect to achieve. Your personal information must be
do the job or complete the course. You have made a good impression in your application or telephone accurate. For example, your name should appear as it does on your birth certificate (unless you have
interview. Final preparations for the ‘big day’ will help you feel confident and in control, and encourage legally changed it), even if you are known by another one. You may feel uncomfortable answering
interviewers to look favourably on you. There a few things you must do at an interview: certain personal questions, but not only are honest answers essential, they will often work in your
• Present yourself professionally favour. The work experience or employment history section of an application form should usually
include details of your paid and unpaid work. It is an important section in any application form as
• Be early
it says much about you. List your jobs in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or
• Ask questions and listen most recent post. There is no need to list every single temporary or part time job, unless told to do
Thinking about recruitment and interviews from an employer’s perspective will help you to give them so, especially if they were all in the same field. As with any other part of an application, it is essential
what they are looking for. Typically employers want to know three things: that you can do the job, that to read the information given to you. Give each employer what they want, and demonstrate in the
you will do the job, and that you will fit into the team or department. Employers will interview more process that you can follow instructions and pay attention to detail. For example employers may want
people than there are vacancies, so they inevitably have to reject some candidates. Even the most you to send more than one copy, use capitals, black ink etc.
experienced people face rejection at the application stage or at interview. The important thing is to
learn from the experience and to look forward positively.
3.6 Assessment Centres
Most large scale graduate employers use assessment centres as a fundamental element of their
3.5 Job Applications recruitment process. An assessment centre is a detailed examination of your suitability for a job,
Application forms are widely used to recruit staff. They are also used by universities to recruit to carried out over half-a-day to two days. Many smaller and medium sized employers also use some
postgraduate courses. Ultimately, the purpose of an application form is to get you an interview, whether assessment or selection exercises within their decision making process to assist them in selecting
for a job or a course. Your application form will often be your first point of contact with an employer the most suitable candidates. For you, the candidate, success at this stage of the process is critical to
and it is vital that you make a good impression. Understanding the types of form and question that you being offered the job. Knowing what happens at assessment centres, and why, will help you feel well
are likely to encounter, and how you might go about filling in and answering them, will help you make prepared and confident on the day.
accurate and effective applications which stand out.
3 Services Available 4 Education or Occupation
a What To Expect 4.1 Further Study
If you have been invited to an assessment centre, that is very good news. It means that the employer In many cases regardless if it is a career in professional Psychology or another field most high profile
likes what they have seen so far and wants to find out more about you and what you have to offer. occupations will require a postgraduate level qualification. In these instances it would be best to
Understanding what assessment centres are, how employers use them, and what they might involve, research the required job specifications of these roles (see Section 5 & 6). Deciding what career is for
will help you perform at your best. An assessment centre is not a place. It is a process designed to you will determine what postgraduate course you enroll for. Also, if you find that the chosen career you
assess whether candidates have the skills required for a job and the future potential the organisation wish to pursue is unattainable through the current paths open to you, contact the CDC as there are
is looking for. It comprises a range of activities or simulations designed to tests these factors. Some usually many options available. For example, if you wish to teach it is usual that to enroll on a PGCE
elements may replicate the tasks and demands of a particular job. An invitation to an assessment you will need another subject with Psychology in Northern Ireland. A careers advisor can advise what
centre can seem daunting. However, while you will never know the actual content of the tests in options to take and usually a compromise can be met, such as completing a year of study in another
advance, there is much that you can do to prepare yourself for the event. Some thorough research and subject such as English or completing a work placement scheme. There are many options available if
some targeted practice will help you to feel confident that you can do your best on the day. you want to pursue further study after graduation. Any postgraduate course will bring with it benefits
and costs. Some of these will be apparent, but others will be less obvious, or perhaps not quite what
you imagined. A clear understanding of what postgraduate study offers will put you in a good position
b Individual and Group Activities to choose wisely and get the most out of your investment. Exploring the range of course types that
Assessment centres typically include a number of selection tests and exercises that you will do on are open to you, including vocational and non-vocational courses, can be both exciting and confusing,
your own, rather than as part of a group. These include psychometric tests, in-tray or e-tray exercises, but it will always be worthwhile. There are many methods of searching for a postgraduate course such
presentations, written tests, role plays and interviews. Knowing what is involved in each of these as visiting your CDC or online.
exercises, and what employers are looking for, will help you approach them effectively. You may
be able to find out by conducting a bit of research what past assessment centres involved or even
4.2 Employment/Work Experience
what activities are scheduled for your assessment day. Working as part of a team or group is a major
element of many graduate roles, and employers often consider it a vital skill for potential recruits to In an increasingly competitive job market, work experience can make a vital addition to your CV.
demonstrate. An important element of most assessment centres is one or more group exercises, Indeed in some areas of employment it is a necessity. Work experience offers you an opportunity to
where you and the other candidates work together to solve a problem, meet a challenge, or work develop your employability skills and to gain valuable insight into potential areas of future employment.
through a situation relevant to the organisation and make some recommendations. In many cases it may be necessary for you to gain some work experience before you can enroll in
your postgraduate degree. When making a choice of what to do next after your degree, it may be
useful to search for employment which can better prepare you for your desired career path. Many
3.7 Placement (DIS) Psychology graduates do not enter into professional Psychology, and many graduates claim that a
Students who are transferring from second to final year have the opportunity to enrol in the Diploma break from study is what they need. By following the sections carefully in previous chapters you can
in Industrial Studies (DIS) in order to prepare them for the rigours of working life when the leave better prepare yourself for the world-of-work. However, if you wish to pursue a different career path
university. Students are placed in a working environment for between 10 – 16 months, which may (see Section 6) it may be best to do more research before committing yourself to one career path.
be paid or unpaid, subject to availability. Students who successfully complete the DIS are rewarded Many graduates claim that they are unsure what career they want for themselves, and in these cases
with a Diploma in Industrial Studies, in addition to their Honours degree at graduation. Students it is perfectly natural for an individual to enter into employment for a period of time before deciding
who complete the DIS have often reported it as a very positive experience. If you are interested in what to do.
completing a placement year and would like to know more, please contact Dr. David Shaw or Dr. Liz
3.8 School of Psychology (University of Ulster)
Coinciding with the DIS placement, PSY334 offers classes aimed at enhancing employability. These
classes involve lectures and workshops on topics such as CV writing, interview training, skills auditing,
Over the last three years, the School of Psychology in conjunction with CDC have offered a customised
‘Exploring your Career Options’ module to final year students on the Coleraine campus. Invited
speakers, representing the popular psychology (see Section 5) and non-psychology (see Section 6)
professions, deliver talks outlining the courses available, course selection, training requirements, day-
to-day work activities, etc and take questions from attending students.
5 Psychology Careers
5.1 Clinical Psychology • Band 8 roles apply to senior experienced psychologists, possibly managing departments or
large specialist sections with responsibility for the psychology service and its staff. Salaries in
a Job Description
these posts can be in excess of £80,000.
Clinical psychologists aim to decrease the stress and enhance the psychological well-being of clients. • A London allowance is payable in the NHS.
They use psychological methods and research to make changes to their clients’ lives via various
• Salaries in private hospitals and private practice vary.
forms of treatment. Clinical psychologists frequently collaborate with other professionals in multi-
disciplinary teams in order to tackle patient problems. Clinical psychologists work with clients of all • Working hours are generally nine to five, with the possibility of extra hours in the evenings or
ages on a range of mental or physical health problems including: weekends. Occasionally, an on-call system covering emergency situations may be in operation.
• Self-employment/freelance work is often possible. Opportunities for private or clinical practice,
• depression and schizophrenia;
and for industrial or commercial consultancy, are growing.
• adjustment to physical illness;
• In 2008, 82% of new entrants to the profession were female, with a slightly smaller proportion
• neurological disorders; within the profession as a whole. This reflects the gender ratio of students taking first degrees
• addictive behaviours; in psychology.
• challenging behaviours; • Jobs are available in most large towns and cities, with fewer opportunities in rural areas.
• eating disorders; • The work can be stressful as it involves contact with many different types of people who are
• behaviour disorders; often distressed in some way. Supervision by colleagues is important. Occasionally, situations
• personal and family relationship problems; of potential personal risk may be encountered.
• learning disabilities. • Local travel within a working day is common. Absence from home overnight may occasionally
be required. Overseas work or travel is uncommon.
b Typical Work Activities
d Entry Requirements
Clinical psychologists tend to specialise with one particular client group, such as children or people
with learning disabilities. They often work in a particular setting like a hospital or through social In order to become a qualified clinical psychologist you will need to hold a British Psychological
services. Typical work activities can include: Society (BPS) accredited psychology degree with a classification of 2:1 or above (some courses
will accept a 2:2 and a Masters degree). If your course is not accredited, or your degree is not in
• assessing a client’s needs, abilities or behaviour using a variety of methods, including
psychology, you can obtain Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) by several means; by sitting
psychometric tests, interviews and direct observation of behaviour.
the British Psychological Society’s qualifying examination; via an appropriate society-accredited
• working as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside doctors, nurses, social workers, education postgraduate qualification; taking an appropriate society-accredited conversion course. A further
professionals, health visitors, psychiatrists and occupational therapists. three years of postgraduate study, leading to a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology is also required
• devising and monitoring appropriate programmes of treatment, including therapy, counselling which then leads to eligibility for chartered status. A minimum of six to twelve months of relevant
or advice, in collaboration with colleagues. clinical work experience is essential in order to secure a training place. Some course providers set
• offering therapy and treatments for difficulties relating to mental health problems, such as specific requirements or give advice on how to go about gaining experience (successful applicants
anxiety, depression, addictions, social and interpersonal problems and challenging behaviour. typically have two years of work experience). Relevant experience may include work as an assistant
psychologist in NHS clinical psychology departments, sometimes on a voluntary basis. Work in other
• developing and evaluating service provision for clients.
areas, however, is also relevant, e.g., in nursing, social work or services for individuals with disabilities.
• providing consultation to other professions, encouraging a psychological approach in their Research experience, as a research assistant, in a branch of psychology is also considered relevant,
work. particularly if the research is clinically orientated. It is helpful to have a good balance of experience in
• counselling and supporting careers. both academic and clinical areas. It is also beneficial to acquire work experience, working under the
• carrying out applied research, adding to the evidence base of practice in a variety of health care supervision of qualified clinical psychologist within the NHS.
settings. You will need to demonstrate evidence of the following:
• More experienced clinical psychologists are often called upon to write legal reports and act
• empathy and a person-centered approach to clients;
as expert witnesses. This requires keeping detailed client assessments in order to monitor the
progress of the client’s treatments. • tolerance of stress;
• the ability to recognise your own limitations and respond to difficult situations;
• the ability to apply your knowledge of academic psychology and research to clinical problems;
c Salary and Conditions
• the capacity to be critical and analytical, and to work in a self-motivated independent way;
• Trainee clinical psychologists start at Band 6 (£24,000). After qualification, salaries within the
• excellent communication and interpersonal skills appropriate for dealing with people in distress;
National Health Service (NHS) start at Band 7. A typical starting salary would be in the region of
£27,000 • the ability to collaborate with colleagues from other disciplines;
• For more experienced psychologists, salaries start at Band 8a, from £30,000 up to £50,000. • the determination to succeed;
5 Psychology Careers
• a strong understanding of the profession and the role of a clinical psychologist, and an awareness • health centres;
of current NHS issues. • community mental health teams;
As posts often involve local travel, a current driving license and access to transport is a definite • child and adolescent mental health services;
asset. Applications for most of the three-year Doctorate in clinical psychology courses are made
• social services.
through the Clearing House for Postgraduate Courses in Clinical Psychology. The closing date for
courses is early December, however it is recommended that applications are made before November. Most clinical psychology services are organised within NHS trusts, or partnerships between NHS
Competition for entry is severe, with just one in four applicants currently gaining a place; it is not trusts and local authorities, called ‘care trusts’. Some trusts provide services to other trusts through
uncommon for individuals to apply several times. It is not usually possible to fund yourself, or use service level agreements and almost all have a professional advisory mechanism for guiding decisions
funding from sponsorship or scholarships in order to gain access onto a course as the NHS provides about the provision of psychology services. Clinical psychologists may also be employed by schools
enough funding for all the places available. The Clearing House handbook includes details of the and universities. Others work in the private sector or are self-employed.
sources of funding for each course and information about each course’s entry requirements. Entry on
to accredited postgraduate training courses is quite competitive. Many of the successful applicants
for the doctorate course have a postgraduate qualification, such as a Masters, and at least two years 5.2 Counselling Psychology
of relevant experience. It is suggested that gaining relevant experience will enhance your chances of a Job Description:
getting on a course. On average it takes around three years after graduating to get onto the Doctorate
course and the average age of applicants is 26 years old. Counselling psychology is a branch of applied psychology concerned with the integration of
psychological principles and therapeutic processes. It adopts a reflective practitioner approach
combining understanding both from formal psychological enquiry and from the interpersonal relationship
e Training between practitioner and client. Counselling psychologists work therapeutically with clients that may
have a variety of problems, difficulties and life issues. These may include: bereavement; the effects of
The majority of those accepted onto the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology courses are employed as childhood sexual abuse; relationship breakdown; domestic violence; major trauma; and/or symptoms
trainee clinical psychologists through the National Health Service (NHS). Training in your first post of psychological disorder, such as anxiety and depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress
will be mainly on the job and will include a range of short courses. Further study is encouraged and disorder or psychosis. They work collaboratively with people, exploring underlying issues to empower
once you have qualified there are opportunities to move into different specialisms, such as clinical them to consider change. There are many similarities to the work conducted by clinical psychologists.
neuropsychology on completion of the Division of Neuropsychology Membership Qualification or The major difference is within the training. The training required to become a chartered Counselling
forensic psychology on completion of the Diploma in Forensic Psychology. Upon qualification, and Psychologist is much more focused on personal insight and the relationship with the client. Another
as soon as their services are offered to the public, chartered clinical psychologists are obliged by the difference is that clinical psychologist trainees are paid while they train. Counselling psychologist
British Psychological Society (www.bps.org.uk) to take part in continuing professional development trainees pay their own fees and expenses and therefore have more flexibility in their training.
(CPD) in order to maintain occupational competence in their specialist area. In addition to general
CPD, clinical psychologists may also be required by the relevant division of their society to undertake
further training each year in their specialist area. b Typical Work Activities
Counselling psychologists aim to help clients make decisions for themselves, to improve there sense
f Career Development of personal wellbeing and alleviate their distress. The work is concerned with the application of
psychological theories and techniques to help people deal with everyday problems associated with
Employment prospects for qualified clinical psychologists are generally very good, although the life events. Contact is mainly in a community/social, health/medical or organisational setting with the
situation varies according to geographical region, the overall number of jobs available in each following clients:
specialist area, and the popularity of particular fields. For all specialist areas, there is a relatively short
promotion ladder, both in and outside the NHS. Even though the training is the same, differences in • individual adults or children;
the organisational structures of the health authorities in Northern Ireland and Scotland may lead to • students and young people;
different career progression routes and opportunities for specialisation. Some clinical psychologists • families and couples;
go on to work as trainers, teachers or researchers in universities. Opportunities to work abroad are
• older people.
limited. Further training is usually required to practise in another European country and requirements
also vary from state to state in the USA and Australia.
Tasks typically involve:
g Typical Employers • working with individuals, groups and/or organisations, applying psychological principles and
understanding, with the objective of assisting clients to change, improve, understand or better
Clinical psychologists are currently in demand and will continue to be required by the National Health manage their situation;
Service (NHS). There are currently over 4,000 clinical psychologists working in the UK in a wide range
• building relationships with clients: ‘being with’ rather than ‘doing to’ the client;
of health and social care settings, including:
• offering advice on how best to work with a client, usually when employed on a consultancy
• hospitals; basis;
• psychiatric units;
5 Psychology Careers
• undertaking research, either individually, or as part of a team; Entry to postgraduate Counselling Psychology courses is becoming increasingly competitive, with
• performing assessments, including assessment of mental health needs, risk assessment and courses requiring a good first degree, relevant paid or voluntary work experience, and often some
psychometric testing; counselling skills qualifications. Assistant counselling psychologist vacancies are rare and competition
is fierce. Potential candidates should consider looking for paid work and volunteer placements in a
• formulating psychological explanations of the cause and maintenance of psychological
supportive role. These types of vacancies can generally be found in the non-profit, health and human
services sectors. Evidence of long-term volunteering is also beneficial, as this demonstrates the ability
• planning and implementing therapy, together with the evaluation of the outcome of therapy; to be emotionally robust.
• writing reports and record-keeping;
Candidates will need to demonstrate evidence of the following:
• overseeing the management of services and staff;
• interpersonal and psychotherapeutic skills;
• managing ongoing personal therapy and supervision.
• a willingness to be open;
• supervising and training other counselling psychologists, applied psychologists, assistant
psychologists and related professionals. • the ability to explore issues with clients;
• a broad, reasonably sceptical view of all theoretical argument;
• a healthy curiosity and research-minded approach to thinking;
c Salary and Conditions:
• analytical skills;
• Based upon nationally agreed scales for clinical psychologists, counselling psychologists
• the ability to look at how and why things are, or are not, working with clients;
working in the NHS (www.nhs.com) should expect to receive a starting salary of £28,313 -
£37,326 (Band 7). • independence and self-motivation;
• Salaries can rise depending on age, experience, specialism and level of responsibility to £75,114 • self-awareness, self-knowledge, security and self-belief;
(Band 8d). • the ability to work under pressure.
• Senior, experienced psychologists, managing departments with responsibility for the psychology Postgraduate training is likely to be self-financed and total costs (including fees) could reach
service and its staff, earn from £50,616 - £75,326. approximately £6,900 per year. It is usual for students to pay for their own personal therapy and, in
• For counselling psychologists working as lecturers, nationally agreed lecturers scales apply. certain cases, also to pay for their required supervision. Some trainees secure posts as assistant
• Working hours are flexible and usually 8.30am to 5pm if working within the NHS. psychologists first and negotiate part or total funding towards their training, or approach psychology
departments for sponsorship. The BPS states that the Division of Counselling Psychology is growing.
• Many counselling psychologists are self-employed, or work partly for the NHS and partly for
Since 2006 membership has increased from 676 to 2334, of whom 883 are chartered Counselling
themselves. Freelance salaries vary but hours of work can be arranged to suit, although hours
will be driven by client requirements, often requiring work outside office hours.
• Counselling psychology is currently a predominantly female profession.
• There are good opportunities for part-time work, career breaks and job-sharing. e Training
• Counselling psychologists often work as part of a multidisciplinary team. In addition to the clinical placements provided and the clinical and professional experience gained
• Jobs are available throughout the UK but are concentrated in larger cities. Some health en-route to chartered status, training, once in post, is an integral part of a counselling psychologist’s
authorities prioritise psychological therapy, making more jobs available. career. The opportunity to attend short courses or study for further qualifications is usually available.
• Due to long waiting lists and the emotional demands of clients, the working environment can be As psychologists tend to use a range of techniques which are common to all specialisms, particular
stressful. methods and skills can be enhanced and developed. Upon qualification and as soon as their services
are offered to the public, Chartered Counselling Psychologists are obliged by the Health Professions
• Travel within a working day is occasionally required, especially once a reputation has been
Council to take part in continuing professional development (CPD). Examples of relevant professional
development include the following:
• post qualification courses which help to develop a knowledge of different theoretical approaches;
d Entry Requirements
• received or conferred professional supervision;
Full details about qualifying to become a chartered counselling psychologist are available from the • presentations;
BPS (www.bps.org.uk) . Briefly, you will need the following qualifications:
• attendance at conferences;
• Graduate Basis for Chartered Registration (GBR), achieved by completing a BPS accredited • undertaking topical research;
degree or a conversion course;
• developing expertise with a particular client group.
• A PhD in Counselling Psychology or the BPS Qualification in Counselling Psychology;
This is a career in which further study and developing specialisms are usually encouraged and
• In order to use the title ‘counselling psychologist’, you will need to be registered with the Health
supported. Most counselling psychologists continue to have a supervisor or mentor to whom they can
Professions Council (HPC). This will involve completing a Doctorate in Counselling Psychology
turn on an ongoing basis for advice, guidance and inspiration in dealing with challenging situations,
(or equivalent) that has been approved by the HPC (www.hpc-uk.org). Contact the HPC for
clients or groups.
more information on the entry requirements for their register.
5 Psychology Careers
f Career Development
The NHS, Prison Service, probation services, the Civil Service and local education authorities (LEAs) b Typical Work Activities
all provide clearly defined career paths for suitably qualified psychologists. Due to a national shortage
Typical work activities include:
of Chartered Counselling Psychologists, job opportunities are good, although the situation varies
according to geographical region, the overall number of jobs in each specialism, and the popularity • assessing young people’s learning and emotional needs which involves working directly with
of that field. However, due to the higher cost, authorities may be forced to replace psychological them and observing and consulting with multi-agency teams to advise on the best approaches
therapy with drug therapy, in times of economical constraint, which would have a negative impact on and provisions to support their learning and development;
the number of vacancies. Counselling psychologists tend to work fairly autonomously, which gives • developing and supporting therapeutic and behaviour management programmes;
them a certain amount of choice in organising their time and workload. After qualification, there is the • designing and developing courses on topics such as bullying for parents, teachers and others
opportunity to move into various specialisms and to choose to work with specific client groups. For all involved with the education of children and young people;
specialisms, there is a relatively short promotion ladder in the NHS and other areas, and individuals
• writing reports to make formal recommendations on action to be taken, including formal
can move up the salary scale by gaining qualifications and experience. There is also the opportunity
to move into self-employment as you gain knowledge and experience, or to combine self-employment
with part-time work for an employer such as the NHS. With experience, counselling psychologists • advising, negotiating, persuading and supporting teachers, parents and other education
will also have the opportunity to become involved in the teaching, supervision and training of other professionals;
counselling psychologists, applied psychologists, assistant psychologists and related professionals. • attending case-conferences involving multidisciplinary teams to determine how best to meet
the social, emotional, behavioural and learning needs of the children and young people in their
g Typical Employers • prioritising effectiveness: the context and environment that influences the child’s development
Counselling psychologists work primarily in NHS in various settings. These include: is seen as increasingly important;
• departments of psychotherapy, clinical psychology or psychological therapies; • liaising with other professionals and facilitating meetings, discussions and courses;
• community mental health teams; • developing and reviewing policies;
• primary care; • conducting active research.
• specialisms, such as child and family services, older adults, and learning difficulties.
Counselling psychologists are also employed in general and psychiatric hospitals, general practitioners’ c Salary and Conditions
surgeries, private hospitals and independent practice, schools, colleges and universities, and a • Range of typical salaries for a trainee educational psychologist: £21,007 - £28,693.
wide range of voluntary organisations. You could also be employed by the Civil Service, the prison • Range of typical salaries for a newly qualified chartered educational psychologist (Grade A
service or in occupational health departments and social services. The National Probation Service is post): £31,302 - £41,001.
another potential employer and there may also be vacancies within the Probation Board for Northern
• Senior or principal educational psychologists can expect to earn from £41,001 - £55,835.
Ireland. In Scotland, criminal justice teams in local authority social work departments carry out
probation activities. Although fewer in number, opportunities also exist in the private sector, including • In England and Wales pay and conditions are negotiated with Local Government Employers (the
providing psychological therapy services to industry, in employee assistance programmes (EAPs) Soulbury Committee) by four trade Unions: the Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP),
and in independent practice. Within these settings, counselling psychologists may work directly with the Association of Professionals in Education and Children’s Trusts (Aspect) , the National Union
individuals, couples, families, and groups, or act as consultants to other professionals. of Teachers (NUT) and the National Association of Youth and Community Education Officers.
• In Northern Ireland educational psychologists are employed by the Province’s five Education
and Library Boards (ELB) and salaries are also negotiated with the Soulbury Committee.
5.3 Educational Psychology • In Scotland the salaries are negotiated through the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities
a Job Description and the Scottish Negotiating Committee for Teachers (SNCT) and are typically the same as the
An educational psychologist is concerned with helping children or young people who are experiencing
problems within an educational setting with the aim of enhancing their learning. These problems • Formal working hours tend to conform to the nine to five pattern, with some evening work.
may include learning difficulties and social or emotional adjustment. Educational Psychologists Flexibility is common provided the job requirements are met.
work directly with young people as individuals or in groups and also advise teachers, parents, social • Normally there is a central office base with time spent travelling to schools, clients’ homes etc.
workers and other professionals who are involved. Their work with individual children involves an as required.
assessment of the child using observation, interviews and test materials. They offer a wide range • Work is often in multidisciplinary teams.
of appropriate interventions, such as learning programmes and collaborative work with teachers. • Self-employment/freelance work as a consultant is an option. However, doing this does change
Educational psychologists also provide in-service training for teachers and other professionals on the range, nature and balance of the work you would undertake. The work is more likely to be
issues, such as behaviour and stress management. The work can also involve advising on educational focused on individuals, or within certain sectors, for example independent schools.
provision and policies, and carrying out research.
• Career breaks and part-time work are possible.
5 Psychology Careers
• The gender balance is currently in favour of women. e Training
• The profession is keen to increase its representation from all sectors of the community and to After you qualify as a Chartered Educational Psychologist, training and learning continue. There is an
increase the numbers who can offer another language. Because of the nature of the work, there ongoing need for keeping up-to-date with the latest research and ideas, often concerning relatively
may be restrictions on ex-offenders and active members of political groups. new techniques or tools, such as cognitive behavioural therapy or new conditions such as dyspraxia
• Working with people facing difficulties and those trying to help them can be stressful. or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), or new therapeutic hypnotherapy, that could benefit
• Local travel within a region is a normal feature of the job. Overnight stays are rare. your clients. The training may be through short courses, reading, or attending conferences and
networking. Other training needs, such as enhanced IT skills, team working and time management
• The training is for the UK education system, so overseas work or travel are uncommon.
courses, are normally available from your employing organisation. For promotion to more senior posts
where additional skills are called for, e.g. staff appraisal or supervision of trainees, other training is likely
d Entry Requirements to be forthcoming. Individuals aspiring to senior roles might find a formal management qualification
Full details of training to become a chartered educational psychologist are available from the BPS
(www.bps.org.uk). Briefly, you will need the following qualifications:
• Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBS), achieved by completing a BPS accredited f Career Development
degree or conversion course. In local authority work, there is a defined organisational structure and clear career progression to the
• A BPS accredited Doctorate in Educational Psychology or, for Scotland only, an accredited roles of senior and principal educational psychologist, but there are a limited number of steps on the
Masters in Educational Psychology followed by the BPS Award in Educational Psychology. ladder. In a large authority, psychological services are usually organised into districts, with individual
In order to use the title ‘Educational Psychologist’, you will need to be registered with the Health psychologists responsible for the majority of the work in their own area. Also, there are likely to be
Professions Council. This will involve completing a Doctorate in Educational Psychology (or equivalent) some specialist posts held by experienced practitioners, e.g. working in specialist units or with one
that has been approved by the HPC. In Scotland, all psychologists employed by local authorities must particular condition. Career development can take many forms and is not limited to progression up a
be chartered and must also be full members of the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology or ladder. For some people the option to become self-employed, undertake work on a freelance basis
the Division of Educational and Child Psychology. For acceptance onto a postgraduate course, you or become an active member within the profession would provide new challenges and be considered
will need to be able to demonstrate that you have relevant experience of working with children in by others as career enhancements. As your expertise and interests develop, your career could move
educational, childcare, or community settings, which should be at least one year’s full-time equivalent. into new areas or branches of psychology. Some Educational Psychologists work in schools, and
Experience as a teacher is very relevant and, although it is no longer a requirement, teachers may be help train staff and pupils to better manage those with different disabilities, thus being translated
given exemptions from parts of the doctorate. Contact course directors for specific details of these into the workplace by helping them to better manage a disabled workforce, an area associated with
exemptions. Admissions tutors for Doctoral programmes will not normally accept graduates with a 2:2 occupational psychology. Vacancies are not evenly distributed across the country so mobility will
unless they have also achieved a higher qualification, such as an MSc/MPhil in, ideally, an education- increase development options and may be required for promotion.
related area. However, candidates with a 2:2 and exceptional experience may be successful. Contact
admissions tutors for further details. In England, the Children’s Workforce Development Council
g Typical Employers
(CWDC) manages applications for courses and funding. Funding is only available to applicants who
permanently reside in the UK and intend to seek a permanent position as an educational psychologist Most educational psychologists in the UK are employed by local authorities and are based in the
with a local authority in England after successful completion of the programme. Funding is likely to cover psychological services of the education departments working in schools, colleges, nurseries and
fees for all three years and a bursary for the first year. Trainees will be required to seek employment special units. In Scotland, there are 32 employing local authorities and job opportunities are good.
in a trainee post with a Local Authority for their second and third years. Failure to undertake this may Most newly qualified educational psychologists will be employed by the local authority or educational
result in the recovery of all or part of the grant. In Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland applications psychology services (EPs). In Northern Ireland, employers are the Education and Library Boards (ELB)
are made directly to institutions. These are the Universities of Dundee and Strathclyde in Scotland, Northern Ireland. Other public sector employers (where you might find yourself the only educational
Cardiff in Wales, and Queen’s University, Belfast in Northern Ireland. Early application is advisable psychologist) would be in regional social services’ assessment centres, hospital-based pediatric
and funding options are available; competition for course places and funding is fierce. In Scotland, assessment units or child psychiatric units. You might elect to work in a research establishment or in a
the Scottish Government continues to make a commitment to offer a training grant to support people university and become involved in teaching as well as research. In most cases your employer is likely
undertaking the MSc. There has been an increase in local authorities in Scotland employing assistant to be within the public sector. An area that is growing is working independently, on a freelance basis,
educational psychologists, and these posts offer a useful way of gaining relevant experience for those as a private consultant or within a specialised consultancy. The terminology varies but the work might
who wish to take the MSc Educational Psychology course. There are approximately four times as include some or all of the following:
many applicants for postgraduate courses as there are places. However, once you are trained there
• working for charities and voluntary bodies, such as Barnardo’s or The National Autistic Society;
are jobs available and, indeed, an overall shortage of Educational Psychologists is evident. Apart
from academic qualifications, you will need to be an excellent communicator with sensitivity, tact and • providing training;
diplomacy, coupled with the ability to be assertive, persuasive and an effective facilitator. You must • supporting independent schools and undertaking private work for families.
also possess strong negotiating, administration and time management skills. • occasionally there may be full-time opportunities within a charity.
5 Psychology Careers
5.4 Forensic/Criminal Psychology Other tasks include:
a Job Description • management and administration;
Forensic psychologists work mainly in the prison and probation services to develop intervention • analysing local, area and national policy to develop strategies for continuous improvement;
techniques and treatment programmes for use with both offenders and people under supervision. • casework notes and court work, sometimes including attendance and providing expert witness
They develop one-to-one or group treatment programmes to specifically address offending behaviour testimony.
and psychological well-being, for example, to manage depression, anger or anxiety. Forensic
psychologists play a critical role in the assessment of offenders and the provision of support and
training for other staff. Research is a further element of their work, as is presenting evidence in court c Salary and Conditions:
and advising parole boards and mental health tribunals. Using expertise based on psychological • The range of typical starting salaries for trainee forensic psychologists in the prison and
theory and research, forensic psychologists work closely with other professionals and agencies both probation service; £17,285 - £19,581 (new entrants start at the bottom of the training scale). The
in the assessment and treatment of individuals, and in the development of institutional policy and typical starting salary for psychological assistants is £14,444. A local pay allowance of between
working practices. £1,100 and £4,000 may be payable for some locations, depending on category of prison.
• Chartered forensic psychologists (higher grade) can expect to earn between £26,280 and
b Typical Work Activities
• The range of typical salaries at senior and principal grades (experienced positions i.e. 10-15
Forensic psychology is often perceived as concerning criminal investigation and profiling. While this is years in the role); £29,184 - £63,535.
one aspect of the work it predominantly relates to the assessment and treatment of criminal behaviour.
• Working hours are typically nine to five, with some flexibility required. Evening and weekend work
Forensic psychologists work not only with prisoners and offenders but also with other professionals
(often for work on accredited group programmes) is becoming a more common requirement.
involved in the judicial and penal systems. Much of the work of a forensic psychologist focuses on
therapy in correctional settings where tasks typically involve: • Job share and part-time working options are possible.
• Office accommodation varies. In prisons, acclimatisation is needed to noise, smells and lock-
• carrying out one-to-one assessments, often to assess the risk of re-offending (e.g. for lifers
up procedures. Category A institutions impose camera observation and entry searches.
being released into the community or sex offenders after a treatment programme) or of suicide,
self-injury or other high risk behaviour; • Jobs are available across the UK. Some locations are difficult to access without your own
• presenting findings from assessments to a wider staff audience;
• Self-employment/freelance work is sometimes possible, e.g. opportunities to progress into
• advising prison governors on incidents;
• developing and evaluating the contribution of assessment techniques, such as psychometric
• More than 50% of prison psychologists are currently female.
• Career breaks can be self-managed.
• undertaking research projects to evaluate the contribution of specific service elements, policy
initiatives or group programme developments, e.g., exploring probation ‘drop-out’ rates, • Travel for work and nights away are occasionally needed. Overseas work or travel is uncommon.
investigating the impact of bullying in the prison environment, or evaluating the effectiveness of
an anger management group programme; d Entry Requirements:
• participating in the delivery or management of nationally recognised cognitive-behavioural
Full details of training to become a Chartered Forensic Psychologist are available from the British
group programmes, e.g. enhanced thinking skills, or severe personality disorder, sex offender
Psychological Society (BPS) www.bps.org.uk. Briefly, you will need the following qualifications:
• checking and monitoring treatment groups to ensure standards and quality;
• overseeing the training of prison/probation service staff; • Graduate Basis for Chartered Registration (GBR), achieved by completing a BPS accredited
• preparing risk assessment reports; degree or conversion course. Entry is not possible without a degree, except at psychological
assistant level where progression will be limited unless GBS is achieved. For psychology
• overseeing the provision of support during serious incidents;
graduates entering at this level, the post does provide a strong foundation from which to move
• hostage negotiation; into a trainee forensic psychology role.
• liaising with and providing consultancy to hospital staff, prison officers, the police, social
workers, probation officers, representatives of the judicial and legal systems and university
• A BPS accredited Masters in Forensic Science or Stage 1 of the BPS’s Diploma in Forensic
Psychology. Courses are available by distance learning or part-time for those who start work
• attending team and area meetings. in an assistant or trainee capacity without a postgraduate qualification. Stage 2 of the BPS’s
Diploma in Forensic Psychology with two years’ supervised practice, assessed by the Health
Professions Council (HPC).
5 Psychology Careers
• Some universities offer a Doctoral programme that covers both Stage 1 and Stage 2 of the f Career Development
BPS’s Diploma in Forensic Psychology. Previous experience may strengthen your application
Career development within both the prison and probation services is according to ability and
for an accredited Masters course. Identify the courses you are interested in and then contact
experience, although to some extent mobility is a factor, and offers increased managerial and
course tutors directly to find out what sort of experience would be valuable.
supervisory responsibility. Progression is through trainee/higher (qualified)/senior/principal grades.
In order to use the title ‘Forensic Psychologist’, you will need to be registered with the HPC. This will There are also opportunities to move sideways or diagonally to other employers of forensic
involve completing Stage 2 of the BPS’s Diploma in Forensic Psychology or an equivalent qualification psychologists, e.g. from the Prison Service to The National Health Service (NHS). Chartered forensic
that has been approved by the HPC. Pre-entry experience is usually required before you can start psychologists may be appointed to senior psychologist posts, for example in the management of a
working formally as a forensic psychologist. Preference is given to those with experience of working sex offender treatment programme or, at principal level, with overall responsibility for the management
in a forensic setting. This may include experience gained with the prison, probation or social services, and delivery of offending behaviour programmes. Openings within the Probation Service are relatively
as a psychological assistant, operational support grade (OSG) or as a probation service officer (PSO). new and provide exciting opportunities for shaping the role. The broader field of forensic psychology
Voluntary experience with offenders/victims in other settings, such as the National Association for is dynamic and amenable to new initiatives and multi-agency interaction. The Dangerous People with
the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (NACRO), bail hostels of the National Approved Premises Personality Disorder (DSPD) programme is one example of this. The DSPD programme provides a
Association (NAPA) , refuges, drug/alcohol treatment centres and victim support groups (e.g., Victim platform for the Home Office, the Department of Health, HM Prison Service and the NHS to work in
Support and the Samaritans), is also worth considering. Health care roles, particularly in secure partnership in the provision of treatment for highly dangerous individuals detained under the criminal
hospitals or rehabilitation units, and opportunities with young people’s services are further valuable justice system or current mental health legislation. With career progression, self-employment or
sources of experience. The context of the experience is critical as it is important to be able to freelance work is sometimes possible, e.g. there may be opportunities to progress into consultancy
demonstrate an understanding of the broad needs of offenders. in a forensic context. If you are interested in eventually pursuing this option, it would be advisable to
start developing additional skills, such as financial management, marketing and time management.
Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge of current issues in the prison and probation
services and the role of the psychologist in the criminal justice system and will also need to show
evidence of the following:
g Typical Employers
• planning and reviewing skills
Forensic psychology is one of the fastest growing areas of employment for psychology graduates.
• motivation and commitment Forensic psychologists work in the criminal and civil justice field, mainly in the prison service but also
• the ability to empower clients the probation service. In England and Wales, recruitment is conducted through HM Prison Service and
• problem-solving ability the National Probation Service. They are separate employers, with some differences in conditions of
service, even though both work together under the remit of the National Offender Management Service
• a systematic approach
(NOMS), which is a government agency. HM Prison Service, in England and Wales, is divided into 11
• teamwork and leadership skills areas and each has an area psychologist. Additionally, there is an area psychologist representing
• rehabilitation orientation high security prisons. The Scottish Prison service and the Northern Ireland Prison Service recruit
• the ability to establish a relationship with the offender community independently of the prison service in England and Wales. The National Probation Service of England
• self-awareness and Wales was launched in its current form on 1 April 2001. It comprises a central national directorate
and 42 local probation areas. Recruitment is managed at local level so refer to individual probation
• a high level of security awareness
areas for vacancies. In Northern Ireland, probation work is carried out by the Probation Board for
• a non-discriminatory/non-judgmental approach Northern Ireland. The situation in Scotland is rather different in that there is no probation service; the
• the capacity to cope with an element of personal risk. equivalent remit is delivered at local level by the Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre for
Scotland. Forensic psychologists are increasingly being employed outside the prison and probation
Competition for employment is growing. It is worth contacting Chartered Forensic Psychologists and
services. An emerging major employer is The National Health Service (NHS), where psychologists are
area psychologists, who have area recruitment responsibilities, about work experience and training
based in special hospitals; opportunities also exist in secure hospitals in the private sector. Universities
opportunities. The BPS has an online directory of psychologists. Many posts are only made available
provide opportunities in research and lecturing roles; opportunities also exist in the police, social
to people already working as psychological assistants. Graduate and assistant psychology network
services, the Home Office and private consultancy.
groups are an excellent source of contacts, support and vacancies at regional level.
Continuing professional development is monitored by the Health Professions Council (HPC) and
requires attendance of appropriate courses provided, for example, by the British Psychological Society
(BPS) or the International Academy of Investigative Psychology (IAIP) and the maintenance of a log of
cases, etc. Professional training is complemented with training in specific aspects of service. There
is also considerable emphasis on acquiring accredited trainer status to deliver nationally recognised
5 Psychology Careers
5.5 Health Psychology In order to use the title ‘Health Psychologist’, you will need to be registered with the Health Professions
Council (HPC). This will involve completing a Doctorate in Health Psychology (or equivalent) that has
a Job Description
been approved by the HPC. Contact the HPC for more information on the entry requirements for their
Health psychology is a fairly new and evolving area, and can be defined as the practice and application register. In Scotland, all psychologists employed by local authorities must be chartered and must also
of psychological methods to the study of behaviour relevant to illness, disability and health care. be full members of the Scottish Division of Health Psychology or the Division of Health Psychology.
Typical work activities include: For acceptance onto a postgraduate course, you will need to be able to demonstrate that you have
relevant experience of working with people in clinical or social setting, which should be at least one
• using psychological theories and interventions for primary prevention and health-related year’s full-time equivalent. Admissions tutors for Doctoral programmes will not normally accept
behaviour change in community and workplace settings to reduce health risks and damaging graduates with a 2:2 unless they have also achieved a higher qualification, such as an MSc/MPhil in,
behaviour; ideally, an education-related area. However, candidates with a 2:2 and exceptional experience may be
• encouraging the uptake of health-enhancing behaviour and psychological approaches to health successful. Contact admissions tutors for further details.
• improving communication between healthcare professionals and patients;
• investigating cognitive processes, which mediate and determine health and illness behaviours;
• considering the psychological impact of acute and chronic illness on individuals and their Most licensed health psychologists hold a doctorate-level (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) degree in psychology. In
families to improve quality of life and reduce disability; many cases, health psychologists pursue an undergraduate degree in general psychology and then
specialize in health psychology at postgraduate level. Some programs offer degrees specifically in
• conducting research that may impact healthcare policy.
health psychology. The emphasis in these programs can vary; some focus on preparing students
There has been a significant increase in the number of lectureships in health psychology and growth for clinical careers while others emphasize the role of research. Those who want to be licensed in
in research into social and behavioural factors in health and health care. A small number of health clinical or counseling psychology must complete a minimum of a one-year internship after earning
psychologist posts exist in The National Health Service (NHS) a doctorate degree. The American Board of Professional Psychology also offers board certification
in health psychology. While a doctorate degree is usually required in order to become a licensed
health psychologist, there are some employment opportunities for those with a bachelor’s degree
b Typical Work Activities or master’s degree. Employment at the bachelor’s level is limited, but some find work in community
Health psychologists work in a wide variety of settings including hospitals, health care clinics, private mental health offices or correctional facilities. Those with a master’s degree enjoy more employment
corporations and universities. Some health psychologists work in settings that specialize in a particular opportunities, although they typically work under the supervision of a licensed clinical psychologist.
area of health care, such as oncology, pain management, women’s health and smoking cessation
programs. Other health psychologists work in government settings, often administering community
f Career Development
health programs or influencing public policy.
Employment prospects for qualified health psychologists are generally good, although the situation
varies according to geographical region, the overall number of jobs available in each specialist area,
c Salary and Conditions and the popularity of particular fields. For all specialist areas, there is a relatively short promotion ladder,
Salaries for health psychologists typically depend on a number of factors including geographic location, both in and outside the NHS. Even though the training is the same, differences in the organisational
work setting, educational background and job experience. According to the American Psychological structures of the health authorities in Northern Ireland and Scotland may lead to different career
Association (APA), licensed psychologists working within direct human services (of which health progression routes and opportunities for specialisation. Some health psychologists go on to work as
psychology comprises 13-percent) earned an average of £40,000 per year. Other estimates suggest trainers, teachers or researchers in universities. Opportunities to work abroad are limited. Further
that licensed health psychologists typically earn anywhere from £40,000 (entry-level) to £60,000 training is usually required to practise in another European country and requirements also vary from
(advanced-level) on the NHS. state to state in the USA and Australia.
d Entry Requirements g Typical Employers
Full details of the training to become a Chartered Health Psychologist are available from the British Most health psychologists in the UK are employed by the NHS. In Scotland, there are a number of
Psychological Society (BPS) (www.bps.org.co.uk). Briefly, you will need the following qualifications: employing local authorities and job opportunities are good. Most newly qualified health psychologists
will be employed by the local authorities. Other public sector employers would be in regional social
• Graduate Basis for Chartered Registration (GBR), achieved by completing a BPS accredited services assessment centres, hospital-based assessment units or psychiatric units. You might elect
degree or conversion course. to work in a research establishment or in a university and become involved in teaching as well as
• A BPS accredited Doctorate in Health Psychology or, for Scotland only, an accredited Masters research. In most cases your employer is likely to be within the public sector.
in health Psychology followed by the BPS Award in Health Psychology.
5 Psychology Careers
5.6 Occupational Psychology • improving companies’ health and safety performance by studying the causes of accidents and
their prevention, designing and applying behavioural change interventions and assessing safety
a Job Description
Occupational psychologists apply psychological knowledge, theory and practice to the world-of- • advising companies about stress prevention and stress management strategies, and training
work. They aim to help an organisation get the best performance from their employees and also to staff in techniques.
improve employees’ job satisfaction. Occupational psychologists apply expert knowledge to all levels
of working and may work on organisational issues, such as culture and change, as well as issues
at an individual or team level. They may work in a consultancy role or in-house as an employee of c Salary and Conditions:
an organisation, in collaboration with management, human resources and training specialists, trade
• The range of typical starting salaries is £18,000 - £30,000.
union representatives, and with staff in teams and individually.
• The range of typical salaries at senior level/with experience; £35,000 - £70,000.
• Management consultancies and the private sector tend to pay significantly more than the
b Typical Work Activities public sector and academia, but require longer working hours. More experienced and senior
consultants may earn higher salaries.
Both organisation and consultancy-based occupational psychologists carry out a range of work
according to the needs of their clients or employing organisation. The British Psychological Society • Working hours and conditions often include regular extra hours in large private organisations.
(BPS) divides this work into eight key areas: This is less likely in the public sector. Weekends and shift work are rare. Flexible working hours
operate in some Civil Service agencies.
• human-machine interaction;
• You may work both on your own and in small project teams, in the clients’ premises, a
• design of environments and work; including ergonomics, health and safety, and well-being; management centre or your own office.
• personnel selection and assessment, including test and exercise design; • Self-employment/freelance work is common. Self-employed occupational psychologists are
• performance appraisal and career development; likely to have substantial work experience in a particular specialist area and will have built up a
• personal development and counselling; good client profile.
• training (identification of needs, training design and evaluation); • Both men and women are well represented throughout the profession.
• employee relations and motivation; • Jobs are available throughout the UK, but major consultancies tend to be based in the South
• organisational development and change. East of England and larger cities.
• Consultants must respond to client needs. This often means working to tight deadlines. Business
Typical activities of occupational psychologists working in the area of organisational development
clients usually expect you to maintain a professional appearance.
• Travel within a working day is frequent. Self-employed consultants need to be mobile, as they
• designing/applying methods to understand an organisation’s or team’s current culture and will need to travel to their client. Absence from home at night may be necessary. There may
helping to develop a new culture or achieve specific performance objectives; be occasional opportunities in the largest consultancies for work overseas with multinational
• advising on new technologies, such as e-learning, portfolio working and virtual team working; companies.
• helping people to develop leadership, teamwork and communication skills, working with groups
d Entry Requirements:
• advising on employee relations and schemes to motivate staff.
The British Psychological Society (BPS) is the main body that represents psychologists in the UK and
accredits training leading to the designation as a Chartered Occupational Psychologist. From 1 July
Activities of those working in the areas of assessment and training include: 2009, it became a legal requirement for anyone employed as an occupational psychologist (or using
the title occupational psychologist) and other types of practitioner psychologist to register with the
• developing, implementing or evaluating selection procedures, including psychometric tests,
Health Professions Council (HPC). It is not obligatory for HPC-registered occupational psychologists
assessment centre exercises and structured interviews;
to be BPS members or chartered psychologists but they are normally required to have completed
• developing and evaluating training and appraisal programmes; the equivalent of the qualifications, training and supervised practical experience that would make
• giving guidance and counselling to help staff plan their career or cope with redundancy; them eligible for chartered membership. There are three stages involved in becoming fully qualified to
• life and career coaching for managers and other staff, working collaboratively with individuals register as a chartered psychologist with the BPS and with the HPC as an occupational psychologist:
to enable them to reach their full potential. • Stage 1 involves an accredited degree in psychology or equivalent.
• Stage 2 involves completion of an accredited Master’s degree in occupational psychology,
Activities of those working in the area of ergonomics and health and safety include: which includes study, skills training and research.
• working with engineers, physiologists and ergonomists to improve the design of the working • Stage 3 involves two years of supervised practical experience.
environment and equipment;
5 Psychology Careers
For Stage 1, you need the minimum of a 2.2 honours degree in psychology from an accredited required. Experience must provide breadth of practical application skills in five of the eight areas of
course for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS, which is essential for occupational psychology (see Section 5.6.a Typical Work Activities) and in-depth work with clients in
postgraduate training and employment in this field. Non-psychology graduates may take a conversion one of the four fields of:
course that the BPS accepts as equivalent to a degree in psychology for GBC. For Stage 2, you
• work and the work environment;
need to complete a BPS-accredited Master’s degree course, either full time in one year or part-
time over two or three years (by attendance or distance learning). There are currently 17 universities • the individual;
offering a BPS-accredited course. A small number of candidates qualify independently of a university • the organisation;
course by completing a BPS-awarded postgraduate certificate by examination. Competition for the • training.
courses is moderate to high, depending upon the course. Many courses expect at least a 2.1 degree
There are currently around 900 people registered as in training with the Division of Occupational
classification, plus relevant work experience. Most students study part time, often while working in a
Psychology at the BPS. The BPS estimate that one-in-four registered trainees subsequently achieve
related field and may either receive some funding or support from their employer or pay their own fees.
chartered membership. A small minority of those completing Master’s courses may gain practical
Relevant experience in personnel/human resources and business/management is a strong advantage
experience whilst working in a post as a trainee occupational psychologist, but most tend to gain it
for both postgraduate study and employment.
whilst working in a related field, such as human resource management. It may be necessary to carry out
additional duties and take short training courses to ensure that all required occupational psychologist
Candidates will need to demonstrate evidence of the following: competences are achieved. Trainees will often spend longer than two years in employment to acquire
sufficient relevant experience for chartered status.
• adaptability and flexibility;
• problem-solving ability;
• self-confidence, with the ability to deal with a variety of people; f Career Development
• good communication and persuasion skills, in order to convince clients of your abilities, inspire In general, occupational psychology does not have a clear-cut career path and it is often down to
their trust and gain information; the individual to determine how their career progresses. Since most occupational psychologists
• the ability to influence other professionals, managers and staff, who may be sceptical or are employed in small units, opportunities for advancement are limited. Progression is usually in to
resistant about what you are offering; self-employed roles or other organisations. There may be opportunities to progress to senior posts,
leading a team or project. There are also possibilities to set up your own business. Occupational
• resilience and a positive attitude;
psychologists work alongside other professionals and can carry out similar work to:
• the ability to work under pressure - you will need to achieve results within fixed deadlines whilst
working on a number of projects; • human resource managers;
• pragmatism; • training officers;
• commercial awareness; • management consultants;
• the ability to show that your work has practical and worthwhile benefits over a relatively short • careers consultants;
timescale. • career and life coaches.
• a high level of competence in psychometrics or statistical analysis for particular posts. Business psychology is another possible area of career development. Members of the Association of
Business Psychologists (ABP) have normally completed a postgraduate qualification in psychology and
Competition is keen for posts in both business and the Civil Service. Some universities may offer short
provide psychological services to business or the public sector. Many members may also be eligible
courses in subjects, such as counselling, human resource management, careers guidance, consultancy,
for membership of the British Psychological Society (BPS) and registration as chartered psychologists.
disability issues and running your own business, which may give you the edge over competitors.
Business psychologists are not required to register with the Health Professions Council (HPC). While
Working for a psychometric test publisher is a route into careers in occupational psychology for some
occupational psychology provides a breadth of experience in several areas, many related professions,
graduates, and a good way of gaining some of the relevant commercial experience necessary for a
such as occupational health and safety and human resources, have their own qualification structures
more varied portfolio. Given the usual requirement for relevant experience as well as a postgraduate
and training programmes. Taking further related qualifications, such as professional diplomas and
qualification, most entrants to occupational psychology are over 25 years of age. Mature graduates
short courses, may open more doors. The Division of Occupational Psychology at the BPS also offers
with relevant experience, especially in business/management, may have an advantage. Late entry, or
continuing professional development (CPD) events. Some universities offer a professional doctorate
return after a career break is both possible and common.
in occupational psychology, involving a major research project. Some occupational psychologists
pursue academic careers either after a period as a practitioner or by doing research for a doctoral
degree after a Master’s degree and gaining a post as a university lecturer or researcher.
After completing an accredited Master’s degree, the third stage of training to become fully qualified
to register as a Chartered Occupational Psychologist with the British Psychological Society (BPS) and
with the Health Professions Council (HPC) involves two years of relevant work experience under the
supervision of a chartered occupational psychologist. You need to complete a log book of practical
experience for assessment by the BPS, demonstrating that you have achieved the competences
5 Psychology Careers
g Typical employers some cases, also work with athletes, coaches, or athletic administrators. They provide education as
well as developing and implementing programs designed to maximize the overall well-being of sport,
The growth of occupational psychology in Britain over recent decades has been driven by the rapid
exercise, and physical activity participants. Other professionals may focus primarily on applying sport
changes in work, which has arisen from technological innovation and global competition. There are
psychology knowledge. These individuals are typically more interested in the enhancement of sport,
currently 3,500 members of the Division of Occupational Psychology, of whom 1,500 are chartered.
exercise, and physical activity performance or enjoyment. They may consult with a broader range of
Typical employers tend to be large organisations in the private and public sectors, including government
clients and may serve in an educational or counselling role. Activities vary between the branches of
departments and management training centres. Most occupational psychologists are employed in the
sport and exercise psychology. Generic activities are likely to include:
business sector, mainly in private consultancies. Most of these consultancies are small, employing
no more than a handful of psychologists; the largest UK consultancies employ over 50. The second • assessing clients’ needs and abilities, and monitoring sporting performance and behaviour;
largest sector of employment for occupational psychologists is the Civil Service, with over 1,000 • implementing strategies to help the client overcome difficulties, improve performance or realise
psychologists currently employed (October 2009). The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) potential;
and Ministry of Defence (MoD) are the largest employing departments, with some psychologists also
• working with a multidisciplinary team including other psychologists, nutritionists, GPs, coaches
employed in the Home Office and Cabinet Office. More than 120 occupational psychologists work
in universities in teaching or research roles. Many occupational psychologists are self-employed.
Some have portfolio careers combining several aspects of teaching, research and consultancy. • delivering counselling and/or workshops covering issues such as goal setting, visualisation and
The increasing use of psychometric instruments in selection, management development and many relaxation;
different human resource management processes means that more people are currently employed by • conducting and applying research in sport or exercise psychology.
psychometric test publishers than in any other single business area of occupational psychology.
Activities more closely associated to sport psychology include:
5.7 Sport and Exercise Psychology • working with a broad range of clients, including individual athletes, teams, coaches and referees,
a Job Description from amateur to elite professional level across a wide range of sporting disciplines;
• developing tailored interventions to assist athletes in preparation for competition and to deal
Sport and exercise psychology is a branch of sports science. It is the scientific study of the psychological
with the psychological demands of the sport;
factors that are associated with participation in sport, exercise and other types of physical activity.
The contribution made by sport and exercise psychologists is in two areas: • equipping athletes with mental strategies to cope with and overcome setbacks or injuries;
• advising coaches how to improve squad cohesion or communication;
• helping athletes, through psychological treatment methods, to achieve optimum mental health
and therefore enhance sporting performance (often involving techniques such as visualisation • delivering a variety of group workshops, which may include self-analysis of performance or
and relaxation); techniques, to develop mental skills within the sport.
• conducting research to understand how participation in sport and/or physical activity affects an
individual’s psychological health and wellbeing throughout life. Activities more closely associated to exercise psychology include:
Sport and exercise psychologists apply psychological principles in sport settings through experience • counselling clients who are ill, in poor physical or mental health who may benefit from
gained working with athletes, coaches or sports teams as clients. They also have expert knowledge participation in more regular exercise;
and a research base in the psychology of sport, and familiarity with the field of exercise science. • advising individuals about the benefits, both physical and psychological, that can be derived
As this is still a comparatively new specialism in the UK (although it is well developed in the USA), from exercise;
the most likely route to such work is through dual involvement in sport and relevant postgraduate
• working with individuals and groups in a wide variety of settings including: GP surgeries;
research. Entry requirements will change shortly, however, and a psychology degree with Graduate
employers’ premises; the client’s home; clinical settings; and local fitness centres;
Basis for Registration (GBR) and further accredited postgraduate training will be essential (unless you
have already completed at least five years full-time (or part-time equivalent) successful service delivery • devising, implementing and evaluating exercise programmes, based on the needs of the client;
involving the practice of sport and/or exercise psychology). The British Psychological Society (BPS) • providing counselling and consultations to a cross section of the public including people who
has further information on the new chartered route to enter this profession. At present, The British are depressed, GP referrals, people in prison or groups of employees, as part of a workplace
Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES) provides an accreditation scheme for both sport exercise programme.
and exercise psychologists and sports scientists, and keeps a list of members who can offer these
services. The majority of sports psychologists are currently employed as university lecturers or work
c Salary and Conditions
as consultants with clients from sport and business/industry.
• Many sport and exercise psychologists combine consultancy work with university or college
lecturing, where salary scales range from £27,000 to £45,000.
b Typical Work Activities
• Senior lecturers can earn between £35,000 and £55,000.
The activities of a particular sport psychology professional will vary based on the practitioner’s • Experienced consultants with around ten years of experience could expect to charge £480 per
specific interests and training. Some may focus primarily on conducting research and on educating day in consultancy fees.
others about sport psychology. Typically, these individuals teach at colleges and universities and, in
5 Psychology Careers
• Salaries vary if employed with professional clubs or national governing bodies. Starting salaries Gaining practical experience in sports performance, or in areas such as coaching, teaching or health
are in the region of £30,000, whilst a lead psychologist could earn £70,000. promotion, can equip you with practical skills and a knowledge base on which to build on the theory
• Working hours for practitioners can be varied and depend on the client and the nature of the studied through postgraduate courses. Competition for postgraduate courses is high and study
sport. Consultancy work could be nine to five; however it is equally likely that weekend work can be a long and expensive process. Applicants with life experience are welcomed and those with
or fitting within the timescales of specific sporting tournaments will be required. Hours within relevant experience may have a distinct advantage; however, it is illegal to discriminate on grounds of
education or healthcare settings are mainly nine to five. age.
• Work environments vary depending on the client and could include an office base within a
university campus, GP surgery or hospital; or field settings such as the athletes’ village at major
sports events, the team training base or employers’ premises.
• The gender breakdown for members of the Division of Sport and Exercise Psychology within The Health Professions Council (HPC) is the independent regulator for sport and exercise psychologists
the British Psychological Society (BPS) is 57% male and 43% female. and is responsible for the monitoring of the continuous professional development (CPD) of registrants.
This involves maintaining a continuous, up-to-date record of CPD activities, utilising a mix of learning
• Jobs are available within universities and colleges, and with sports teams and organisations
activities and ensuring quality of practice, service delivery and benefit to service users. Professional
throughout the UK and the rest of the world. Sport psychology is well established in the USA.
training opportunities exist for sport and exercise psychologists through postgraduate and doctoral
• Travel within a working day is common and time spent away from home can be required, courses. You may decide to broaden your expertise by undertaking study in other branches, such
depending on the client. A sport psychologist may form part of a support team travelling with as clinical or health psychology. You may also decide to undertake further research, especially if
the client to competitions and tournaments locally, nationally and internationally. employed in a lecturing role, by completing a PhD. You may also be required to undertake professional
training or short courses by your employer, governing body or through your division of the British
Psychological Society (BPS) or The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences (BASES). The
d Entry Requirements
opportunity to attend short courses or study for further qualifications is usually readily available.
There are two training routes to become a practising sport and exercise psychologist: through the
British Psychological Society (BPS) or through The British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences
(BASES). See the BPS website for information about their route to becoming a Chartered Sport and f Career Development
Exercise Psychologist. Briefly, you will need the following qualifications:
This is a relatively new field of psychology and is still expanding. Opportunities for advancement exist
• Graduate Basis for Chartered Registration (GBR), achieved by completing a BPS accredited both within professional practice and also through research within an academic environment. Statutory
degree or conversion course (See British Psychological Society (BPS) Accredited Psychology regulation of psychologists through the Health Professions Council (HPC) requires practitioners who
Courses; wish to use the titles ‘Sport Psychologist’ or ‘Exercise Psychologist’, to be registered through the
• A BPS accredited Masters in Sport and Exercise Psychology or Stage 1 of the BPS Qualification HPC. Within the field of sport psychology, you may find the opportunity to advance to private practice
in Sport and Exercise Psychology; as a consultant, or move to senior positions with a professional club, with individual athletes or a
governing body. Elite athletes work for many years to reach that level, and expect the same level
• Stage 2 of the BPS Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology, consisting of two years’ of
of expertise from their support staff. It can take several years for a sport psychologist to work with
supervised practice assessed by the Health Professions Council (HPC).
clients at a professional level. Within the field of exercise psychology, there may be opportunities for
To train to become an accredited sport and exercise psychologist with BASES, you must hold an advancement to a consultancy role or involvement in GP referral schemes. There is an increasing role
undergraduate degree in sport and exercise science (or equivalent). This will then be followed by three for professional staff within the area of health promotion. The role of health psychology within the
years’ of supervision by a BASES accredited practioner (or two years if you have an approved MSc). NHS may also present opportunities for qualified exercise psychologists. The issues faced by athletes
Entry with an HND or Foundation Degree alone is not possible, although these qualifications may allow are often similar to those faced by the general population, including depression or eating disorders
entry to advanced stages of an appropriate undergraduate degree. Psychologists offering services and as such there are opportunities for those qualified in other branches of psychology, such as
to the public are required to be registered with the HPC to meet statutory regulation. BPS chartered clinical psychology, as well as sport and exercise, to offer a broader range of counselling services.
psychologists will automatically be included in the new HPC register. Discussions are ongoing The British Psychological Society (BPS) provides further details of other branches of psychology in the
about possible registration of BASES accredited psychologists. There are transition arrangements online article: So you want to be a Psychologist? UK sport and the health of the nation have become
in place for those candidates who are BASES accredited to provide evidence to meet requirements focal points, with issues like the smoking ban and events like the London Olympics in 2012 and
for chartered status with BPS. For further information see the statutory regulation updates at both Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in 2014 raising both awareness and funding. This may result in a
the BPS and BASES websites. Sport and exercise psychology candidates will need to demonstrate rise in the number of vacancies for health professionals as well as support staff to work with athletes
evidence of skills, such as: in preparation for these events.
• highly developed communication and interpersonal skills;
• active listening and reflection skills;
• adaptability to work in a range of settings with different clients;
• commitment to research and continuous professional development;
• the ability to work under pressure and cope with stressful situations.
5 Psychology Careers
g Typical Employers 5.8 Past University of Ulster Graduates:
Sport and exercise psychologists work in a variety of settings and with a diverse range of clients
participating in recreational, amateur and elite levels of competition. Some opportunities exist to work
as full-time psychologists, and these are constantly increasing. Most combine their consultancy work
My name is Dr Marian McLaughlin and I work as a Lecturer within
with teaching and research, employed within universities or colleges throughout the UK and abroad.
the School of Psychology at the University of Ulster. Within this role I
Many sport psychologists work as private consultants, or hold full-time positions with professional
perform a variety of duties including teaching, supporting and supervising
sports teams or national governing bodies of sport. Some also work in other areas of psychology
undergraduate and postgraduate research projects and conducting and
such as clinical and occupational domains. Often, psychologists can operate as freelance consultants
and have a club or governing body as a major client, referring both young and experienced athletes.
Similarly, exercise psychologists tend to combine consultancy with teaching and research careers. Psychology was an area that always fascinated me and I was
Exercise psychologists’ work might see them involved in GP exercise referral, cardiac rehabilitation particularly interested in studying human behaviour with a career goal of
schemes or work within the NHS or private healthcare providers. Some private and public sector one day becoming an Educational Psychologist. After taking a gap year
employers also offer staff exercise or health programmes and may involve an exercise psychologist to after my A-level studies I applied for a place on the BSc Honours Social
consult on the content or to increase participation. Psychology Degree programme at the University of Ulster. This provided
me with a foundation in many core areas of Psychology, including Health,
Cognitive and Developmental Psychology and the application of various
research designs and methodologies.
The research skills I obtained from my degree were instrumental in my career development as once
I graduated I got a job conducting research in the Institute for Nursing Research within the University
of Ulster. This provided me with the opportunity of conducting health related research in a professional
capacity and involved working with individuals from public and private institutions.
Having gained four year’s research experience I was then awarded a studentship to complete my
PhD which investigated the factors influencing safer sex practices among teenage mothers. This was a
truly rewarding and enjoyable experience as it provided me with the opportunity to attend and present
at a number of national and international conferences and have articles published in peer reviewed
As Psychology is so varied, with many dimensions and specialities, it can open the door to numerous
career opportunities. Contrary to my original career plans I discovered from my undergraduate and
postgraduate studies that Health Psychology was the area that interested me most and lecturing and
research were the avenues that I wanted to pursue as a career. I am very fortunate to have obtained a job
within the department where I formerly studied and I now work alongside individuals who once taught
me. This, fortunately for me and several of my colleagues is characteristic of the School of Psychology
at the University of Ulster, as they like when possible, to advance the careers of their graduates. It is an
amazing place to both work and study as the lecturers are knowledgeable and dedicated to what they
Moreover, there is a friendly and warm atmosphere within the School, making it a very rewarding and
enjoyable place to work. I now hope that, along with my colleagues, I can motivate and inspire current
and future students studying Psychology.
5 Psychology Careers
My name is Amanda Crossan and I am a Consultant Clinical My name is Aoife Lyons and I work as an Occupational Psychologist in
Psychologist in Belfast City Hospital. I work with patients who the Public Appointments Service in Dublin. The role of our team involves
have respiratory problems such as cystic fibrosis, difficult asthma bringing the principles of psychology to the area of recruitment and
and COPD. Every day I enjoy the challenges that my job brings selection here in the Public Appointments Service.
applying a psychological approach to assist people cope with I did my Leaving Cert. in 1998, and then went straight on to do my
chronic illness and improve their quality of life. I work with people undergraduate degree in Occupational Psychology in the University of
on a one to one basis and in groups. I am also involved in teaching, Ulster. I did quite a bit of research before deciding on this course, and I
supervision, research and consultation with other psychologists was attracted to it because it seemed a very good mix of psychology and
and professionals. business, both of which I was interested in. I had a great time in Magee
My journey into the area of psychology began when I was and the course was a really good foundation for me. We had a good range
accepted to study Social Psychology and Sociology at the of psychology modules that gave me a good insight into the field. I have
University of Ulster. Whilst studying for my BSc Honours degree, used the research skills that I learned throughout my career, even the
I became more and more interested in the areas of abnormal psychology, social psychology, statistics, which I had hoped I would never have to use again!
psychobiology and research. The knowledge I gained during my degree was the catalyst As part of my time in Magee, I took a year out and, as part of the Business Education Initiative, went
that ignited my desire to learn more about the specific area of Health Psychology. Thus upon to college in the States, where I did a Diploma in Business Administration it was a brilliant year.
completing my degree I embarked on a D.Phil at the University of Ulster in the area of Health
Psychology. As I got closer to the end of my degree I had to decide on my next steps. I really felt occupational
psychology this was an area that I wanted to work in so I decided that I should study for a post graduate
The D.Phil taught me how to develop my own ideas and interests into a thesis on the general qualification. I did my Masters in Occupational Psychology in the University of Manchester and I felt
populations’ knowledge of genetic diseases and their attitude towards intervention. Thus I gained that I had a big advantage, having covered a number of areas in Occupational Psychology as part of my
the experience and skills needed to carry out a research project from idea to completion. I also undergraduate degree.
learned how to do presentations and to take tutorials/lectures. The D.Phil was a very rewarding
and positive experience in my life. After my D.Phil I accepted an offer of a place on the Doctorate My first job was as a consultant in Dublin, and that was a great job because I got to work with a range
in Clinical Psychology training course in Queen’s University at Belfast. of organisations in both the public and private sectors. This was a very good opportunity for me because
it is always challenging getting a job without experience but at the time, a lot of consultancies offered
I am very grateful to the Psychology Department in the University of Ulster for the positive, graduate training programmes. I worked there for two years and learned a huge amount before travelling
supportive and creative environment in which they teach psychology. The standards of the around Australia for a year and then joined the Public Appointments Service in Dublin. My current position
lectures, tutorials and practicals were exceptional. The enthusiasm of the lecturers for their often consists of analysing a job, understanding what’s required, then designing selection exercises,
topics was contagious. training assessors and board members. We also do quite a bit of research in the field of recruitment and
When I started my BSc degree in Coleraine I had an interest in psychology, when I left selection.
Coleraine I had a definite passion for Psychology. The University of Ulster provided me with a A typical day for me would actually be quite hard to describe because the activities are quite varied.
solid foundation in psychology and I continue to use this knowledge daily. I still retain contact I might be involved in maybe a full day training session, with the assessors on a particular exercise. I
with the Psychology Department at the University of Ulster - it is the kind of University that you might be involved in going off-site to actually observe somebody in the workplace, to try and pull out the
graduate from but that you never really leave. key competencies required or I might just spend a day in front of the computer actually analysing data.
So really there’s a huge variety in terms of what I might do on any given day. The best part of my role is
getting to work with people who are really dedicated, committed and just brilliant at what they do and
you get a real buzz out of working with people like that.
The advice I’d give to someone interested in psychology is to do your research and understand
the branch of psychology you’d be keen on working within. You really have to understand the different
specialisms to see which one would suit you best as a person.
Clinical Psychologist Occupational Psychologist
5 Psychology Careers
My name is Geraldine O’Hare and I am a Chartered Forensic During assessment, I am trying to determine what caused an individual to behave in a criminal way.
Psychologist. I am Head of Psychology Services within the Probation All of my assessments involve face-to-face contact with offenders. Through interviews, the use of clinical
Board for N. Ireland, where I have worked for the last 15 years. skills and by employing a range of psychological tests, I formulate opinions. These allow me to determine
necessary management plans and to make recommendations regarding treatment needs. I can also
I studied Applied Psychology at the University at Jordanstown
be called upon by the Courts to act as an expert witness and to assist in criminal investigations. The
before attaining 3 Masters Degree in Psychology from the University
psychological assessments I provide for the Court assist the Court pass sentence. In addition, I provide
of Ulster, Queens University Belfast and University of Leicester, and
assessments to Parole Commissioners if it is no longer safe for an offender to remain in the community
I also hold a management qualification.
and the individual needs to be recalled to prison.
My BSc Honours Degree programme at the University of Ulster
I also have senior management responsibility within PBNI for Offending Behaviour Programmes. My
provided me with a foundation in many areas of psychology and my
job is to ensure that we have appropriate treatment programmes in place to address offending behaviour.
placement opportunity in my 3rd year at the Institute of Psychiatry,
For example, these include sex offender treatment programmes, programmes for violent offenders and for
Maudsley Hospital London was the experience that confirmed my
perpetrators of domestic violence. Such programmes are critical in working with offenders to help them
ambition and determination to practice as a psychologist.
face up to the harm that they have inflicted and in changing not just their attitudes and thinking, but also
Forensic Psychology was always an area that interested me. Studying criminal behaviour was a their behaviour in the future.
great opportunity, which I was fortunate enough to experience and achieve my 3rd Masters in from
Both the N. Ireland Branch of the BPS and the Psychological Society of Ireland have been great
the University of Leicester. This was my career decided for me after having worked in a number
sources of contacts with other psychologists from other psychology areas, and an important network for
of clinical and occupational psychology roles both in the South of Ireland and Scotland. After
developing Forensic Psychology in Ireland. As Chair of the Division of Forensic Psychology for the NIBPS
professional Forensic Psychology training, it is necessary to register with the British Psychological
and PSI, I have great opportunities to develop local and national links in promoting Forensic Psychology
Society (BPS) to begin Chartership. This is a minimum of three years further training on the job, an
practice and research.
“apprenticeship” type of experience, whereby you will develop a range of expertise in a number
of areas, recognised by the BPS, to enable you to practise independently as a Chartered Forensic I would have no hesitation in recommending Forensic Psychology as a career choice for psychology
Psychologist. So really it can take up to eight or nine years to fully qualify. It is a long time, but, given graduates. It is challenging but rewarding work. It requires a real interest in people’s behaviour and
the nature of the work, it does give you the confidence, and indeed the competence, you need to what can motivate them to commit criminal acts, and more importantly, what can change attitudes and
work in what is a very exciting field of psychology. behaviours. It is also hugely varied and provides a truly fulfilling career for those who choose this path.
As a Chartered Forensic Psychologist, I head up forensic psychology services within the Finally, when I reflect upon my career to date, I am always thankful to the Psychology Department at
Probation Board for N. Ireland. It is one of the fastest growing areas of employment for Psychology the University of Ulster who provided me with many great opportunities of study, and I am very proud to
graduates and, in simple terms, is the study of crime and criminal behaviour. My job as a Forensic be a graduate of the University of Ulster. I am proud that my first experiences of psychology began at the
Psychologist involves conducting psychological assessments on individuals who have offended. University of Ulster. These experiences were firmly shaped and encouraged by the many very dedicated,
Many of my clients have very complex problems, such as mental health problems, personality enthusiastic and committed lecturers within the department at the time, and who continue to advance the
disorders, addiction issues etc. Many have served life sentences and present with a range of careers of their students.
psychological issues. Requests for assessments will also come through the courts or from the
Probation Officers with whom I work on a daily basis.
5 Psychology Careers
My name is Judith Mullineux. I graduated from the University My name is Mairead Graham, I am currently employed as a Research
of Ulster in 1986 with the award of BSc (Hons) Psychology. Unlike Assistant with the Irish Society for Quality and Safety in Healthcare (ISQSH).
many, I began the psychology course with little idea of what I I graduated from the University of Ulster in 2008 having completed a
wanted to do on completion. However, as I progressed through degree in Psychology at the University’s Magee campus.
the course I became increasingly interested in the clinical and
I have always been interested in human emotions and behaviour so
behavioural elements of the course. After graduation I decided to
Psychology was the ideal choice for me. My degree in Psychology gave
gain some experience in the ‘real world’ before making any further
be a broad overview of the discipline and of the many areas within which
decisions. I secured a voluntary position with ‘Save The Children
Psychology graduates work. I also have a keen interest in health and
Fund’ who, at that time, delivered a residential programme offering
how people interact with health care services. In the second year of my
an alternative to Training School for young people in the criminal
degree programme I applied for a research placement with ISQSH and
justice system. The work then evolved embracing adults and
was offered the opportunity to work with them on a study examining ways
offering a replacement to a custody programme. During this time I
of assessing patient satisfaction with health services. I really enjoyed the
was able to utilise the knowledge I had gained through my degree
project and conducted an additional study with this organisation for my final year dissertation. When I
and start applying some of the theories to practice in both individual and group therapeutic
completed my degree I was offered a permanent research post with ISQSH.
contexts. I completed a foundation course in ‘Personal Construct Psychology’ to inform this
work further. It was during this time that I began to wrestle with the dilemma of returning to My day to day work now involves conducting and managing research studies. However I am also
University either to train as a Clinical Psychologist or a Social Worker. Subsequently, I chose involved in other ISQSH projects such as the preparation and launch of our medication safety leaflet and
social work. I completed the Post-graduate Diploma in Social Work together with the Certificate managing a pilot survey for measuring patient perception of Mental Health services. I am now playing a
and Qualification in Social Work (CQSW) at the University of Ulster graduating in 1990. lead role in the management of a major patient satisfaction survey of hospitals in Ireland. My degree in
Psychology has been invaluable in developing my research skills and also providing me with the skills and
Following this I secured a position with the Probation Board for Northern Ireland (PBNI) as
experience of applying psychological research and theories to develop real-life health service projects.
a Probation Officer. Within this, I have been able to work in a local fieldwork team and in a
prison environment. In the former, the focus of my work was supervising offenders who were
subject to community orders. This also involved assessing people in terms of the likelihood of
re-offending and preparing reports for the courts. I was also able to develop my group work skills
through co-facilitating programmes such as ‘Anger management’. The foundation to all of this
work was the knowledge I had attained through my psychology degree. In the prison context I
was able to develop this further and facilitate the accredited Home Office programme ‘Enhanced
Thinking Skills’ (ETS). Again, the knowledge I attained through my primary psychology degree
on cognitive-behavioural approaches underpinned this work. On occasion, I have been required
to evaluate the programmes I have been involved with and the knowledge and skills acquired
through the research methods element of my psychology degree have been invaluable.
In summary, I feel the psychology degree equipped me with a significant knowledge base which
I have been able to utilise and build upon in the subsequent and varied roles I have undertaken
in the field of criminal justice. It was and remains the most useful and enjoyable course I have
5 Psychology Careers
My name is Dr Katrina Duffy. I am the Educational Director with My name is Denise Clarke. I am an Oncology Social Worker in the
the Saplings School, a position I have held for three years. The Cancer Centre at the Belfast City Hospital. I graduated from the University
Saplings School, in Mullingar is a year round early intervention of Ulster in 2003 with a BSc (Hons) Degree in Applied Psychology. Like
facility for children challenged with autism. The Sapling’s model many others, I did not really know where I wanted my Psychology Degree
of education utilizes the principles of Behaviour Analysis or to take me. The four years equipped me not only with knowledge, theory
Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA), a psychological discipline, and research skills but I also had the fantastic opportunity to experience
which simply stated, is the scientific study of behaviour. ABA is my 6-month placement in the Centre for Children’s Cancer and Blood
recognised as the most comprehensive and effective scientific Disorders, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Australia. This was an invaluable
approach to improving the lives of children/persons with autism experience working alongside a Research Psychologist in both the
and their families. As Educational Director I am responsible for Children’s Hospital and the University of New South Wales, Sydney.
devising individualised teaching programmes for all our children.
I closely monitor their progress and change their programme/s Following graduation I went travelling for a year before coming back
accordingly. and applying for the Social Work Degree at Queens University Belfast.
Having already gained a Psychology Degree allowed me to fast track the Social Work Degree in 2
After I did my Leaving Cert I completed a HNC in Health and Social Care. At that time I felt years. I also found that a significant part of the teaching on the social work course was informed by
this was where my strengths lay as I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in Psychology my knowledge and skills developed during the Psychology degree. I continue to use this in my daily
so that I could qualify in a professional capacity to assist children with special needs to reach practice as an Oncology Social Worker. On reflection, I was certainly not ready at 18 to take on the
their full potential. From there I went on to do my degree in Social Psychology at the University responsibilities of a social work course and I feel the Psychology Degree not only allowed me to better
of Ulster at Coleraine. This was an extremely enjoyable experience as, in addition to the more understand the direction of my career but it also provided me the time to develop as a person and better
traditional areas of psychology, such as cognition and individual differences, it gave me the understand my world.
opportunity to have training and supervision in the principles of behavioural analysis. This
aroused my interest in this field and once I graduated in 2000 I applied to do my PhD. My thesis The team at the University of Ulster form a huge part of my positive memories of the course and the
outlined the application of behaviour analytic procedures in the development of a non-intrusive personal element to their approach was fundamental to the success of the 2003 graduates. I would
detection and disclosure technique to determine whether a child had or had not been sexually recommend the Psychology Degree to any person considering a career involving work with people in
abused. This was a challenging experience but one which I thoroughly enjoyed. any capacity or setting and can guarantee that it will be a worthwhile primary degree.
The training and skills I obtained from conducting my PhD are essential to my role as
Educational Director. As Educational Director I must ensure that all practises in the school
are research based and further supported through the collection and graphical presentation
of data using the science of ABA. Furthermore, my job requires that I construct, implement Social Worker
and monitor Individual Education Plans (IEP’s), conduct comprehensive functional analysis
assessments, design, update and ensure appropriate implementation of individual Behavioural
Support Plans, design and conduct assessments for all junior staff, and supervise training and
teaching of staff to tutor in 1.1, small group and integration placements and liaise with and
supervise other professionals, such as Speech and Language Therapist, Music Therapist and 5.9 Pod casts from Professional Psychologists:
To view the podcasts from a selection of psychologists who are currently engaged in the careers
Given this, a typical day for me would be hard to describe as every day is different. That’s described earlier please go to:
why I love it. Experience has taught me that good communication skills are essential. My job as
Educational Director is very challenging, but every day is very fulfilling. Having the opportunity to
see children reach their full potential is very rewarding thus in turn keeps me motivated to ensure http://ihsc.worc.ac.uk/careersinpsy
that I provide the most effective scientific approach to improve the quality of the lives of each
child/persons with autism and their families with whom I work.
Applied Behaviour Analyst
6 Other Careers
6.1 Other Careers d Occupational Therapy
a Teaching Occupational therapists (OTs) actively engage people in purposeful activities to promote, regain or
maintain health and wellbeing, using occupations as therapy and enabling individuals to perform
A secondary school teacher teaches one or more national curriculum subjects to pupils aged 11-16,
such tasks. They work with children and adults of all ages, whose difficulties may be congenital or the
or up to 19 years in schools with sixth forms. Teachers may use creativity, humour and imagination
result of an accident, illness, ageing or lifestyle. The OT assesses patients’ or clients’ physical, mental
to develop schemes of work and to plan lessons in order to foster a healthy culture of learning within
and/or social challenges and devises treatment programmes to increase their ability to tackle their
the classroom and to generate the most effective interactions with pupils. Teachers encourage,
difficulties independently. Treatment programmes vary greatly according to individual needs and may
monitor and record the progress of individual pupils, and devise and tailor resources accordingly.
involve environmental modifications. OTs review treatment periodically, evaluate progress and modify
They must also keep up to date with developments in their subject area, new resources, methods and
the treatment as appropriate.
national objectives. Teachers liaise and network with other professionals, parents both informally and
formally. Newly qualified teachers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland start on the main salary Jobs in the National Health Service (NHS) are covered by the Agenda for Change. Occupational
scale, which rises incrementally from £20,627 to £30,148 (salary data collected Nov 2008). The exact therapists (OTs) starting their career as allied health professionals in the NHS typically start at Band 5
starting point depends on qualifications, relevant prior experience and the responsibilities of the post. (£19,683 - £25,424), moving to Occupational Therapist Specialist (Band 6, £23,458 - £31,779) and then
In addition, there is a Distant Learning Allowance of £1,536 and Remote Schools Allowance of £971 or Occupational Therapist Advanced (Band 7, £28,313 - £37,326). Pay progression operates through the
£1,791. As Psychology is not a qualified teaching accredited degree, a full-time, a part-time or modular Knowledge and Skills Framework (KSF). Occupational therapists (OTs) need a degree or postgraduate
Postgraduate Certificate in Secondary Education (PGCE) is the required route for individuals hoping qualification in occupational therapy approved by the Health Professions Council (HPC), and most
to teach in Northern Ireland or mainland Britain. providers are also accredited by the British Association/College of Occupational therapists (BAOT/
COT). This should ensure that programmes are up to date with occupational therapy standards of
practice. Check that degree programmes are accredited before you apply. Postgraduate courses,
b Social Work usually two-year accelerated programmes, are available if you already have a degree, in a related
A social worker works with people who have been socially excluded or who are experiencing crisis. subject such as psychology.
Their role is to provide support to enable service users to help themselves. They maintain professional
relationships with service users, acting as guides, advocates or critical friends. Social workers work in
a variety of settings within a framework of relevant legislation and procedures, supporting individuals,
families and groups within the community. Settings may include the service users’ homes, schools,
hospitals and the premises of other public sector and voluntary organisations. Qualified social work
professionals are often supported by social work assistants, who require similar training and approved
courses. They also work closely with other health and social care staff. The range of typical starting
salaries is £23,500 - £30,000 (salary data collected Aug 09). Approved postgraduate courses are
usually full time and last two years, although there are some part-time courses available. A minimum
2:2 honours degree is normally required for entry to the postgraduate professional training. Substantial
work experience in a relevant area can increase your chances of being considered for training.
c Careers (Training and Recruitment)
A careers consultant provides support on all aspects of career management and development, using
guidance, counselling, coaching and advisory techniques to assist clients to clarify and achieve
career and work goals. Many careers consultants work within an organisation, guiding and advising
employees, often individually but also in groups. A large number of careers consultants work on
a freelance basis with individual fee-paying clients in a private setting. The role overlaps with that
of Human Resources Officer and Occupational Psychologist, as well as Careers Advisor/Personal
Advisor. Careers consultants should not be confused with Recruitment consultants, who look for
suitable candidates to fill their clients’ vacancies. The typical starting salary range for a new entrant/
recently qualified consultant is £23,000 - £27,000. Although this area of work is open to all graduates,
a degree in a social science related subject will improve your chances. Most entrants hold the
Qualification in Careers Guidance (QCG), or the qualification it replaced, the DipCG, awarded by the
Institute of Career Guidance (ICG). QCG courses are available on a full-time or part-time basis at 14
institutions. This qualification combines study with work-based learning to allow students to put into
practice the skills they learn. It is possible to enter the course without a degree if you can demonstrate
that you have relevant experience, although the vast majority of QCG entrants are university graduates.
Essentially, you need to demonstrate that you have the ability to manage postgraduate-level study.
6 Other Careers
Psychotherapists work with individuals, couples, families and groups to help them overcome a range
of psychological and emotional issues. With the client as an active participant, psychotherapists use
personal treatment plans and a variety of non-medical-based treatments. The range of typical starting
salaries in The National Health Service (NHS) is £20,225 - £26,123. Most entrants are graduates, many
of whom have previous experience from working in a related area such as psychology. A pre-entry
postgraduate qualification e.g. counselling, is essential. The British Association for Counselling and
Psychotherapy (BACP) publishes the Training in Counselling & Psychotherapy Directory which outlines
the main training courses. Courses are normally part time and take four to six years to complete. They
include theory, supervised clinical work and clinical seminars. Training in an established institution
will almost always include undergoing personal therapy. Not all training programmes necessarily give
clearance to practise as a psychotherapist, so check course content and qualifications carefully.
f Speech Therapy
Speech and language therapists work closely with infants, children and adults who have various levels
of speech, language and communication problems. They also work with people who have swallowing
difficulties. Therapists assess the clients’ needs before developing individual treatment programmes 6.2 Management & Finance
to enable each client to improve as much as possible. Treatment plans often involve those with whom
A financial manager is responsible for providing financial advice and support to clients and colleagues
the client has a close relationship, for example family members, carers or teachers.
to enable them to make sound business decisions. Specific settings vary enormously and include
Speech and language therapists usually work as part of a multidisciplinary team, alongside other health both public and private sector organisations, such as multinational corporations, retailers, financial
professionals, such as doctors, nurses, psychologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. institutions, NHS trusts, charities, small manufacturing companies and universities. Financial
They may also liaise with professionals in education and the social services. The typical starting salary considerations are at the root of all major business decisions. Clear budgetary planning is essential
for speech and language therapists in the National Health Service is around £20,225. This can rise for future planning, both short and long term, and companies need to know the financial implications
quickly to £24,103 - £32,653 (salary data collected Jan 09). Other employers, such as charities and of any decision before proceeding. In addition, care must be taken to ensure that financial practices
local education authorities, offer comparable pay. To practise as a speech and language therapist you are in line with all statutory legislation and regulations. Financial managers may also be known as
must have a degree accredited by the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists (RCSLT) and ‘financial analysts’ or ‘business analysts’. The range of typical starting salaries is £18,000 - £29,000.
be a registered member of the Health Professions Council (HPC). There are currently 18 universities Average starting salaries in the banking and finance sector are as high as £27,500 rising to £38,000
offering accredited undergraduate three- to four-year degree courses, and seven universities offering in the investment banking sector. A relevant postgraduate course may be useful, but is not essential.
accelerated two-year postgraduate courses if you already have a degree. Unless you are a speech In certain niche areas specialised knowledge gained through a postgraduate programme may offer
and language therapy graduate, an accredited two-year diploma/MSc course is necessary for entry. you a competitive advantage. Graduate schemes in finance and related areas almost always require
Postgraduate courses require relevant work experience. Applications should be made directly to the further study for professional qualifications
relevant institution. Closing dates vary between institutions but generally fall between September and
6.3 Marketing & Sales
Marketing and sales executives are involved in developing campaigns that promote a product,
g Nursing (Psychological or Specialist)
service or idea. The role includes planning, advertising, public relations, organising events, product
Mental health nurses work with children, adults and older people suffering from various types of development, distribution, sponsorship and research. The work is often challenging, varied and
mental health problems. As a registered mental health nurse (RMN), you may work with clients in their exciting. The responsibilities of a marketing or sales executive will vary (and often interlink), depending
own homes, in residential units, in the National Health Service (NHS) or in private specialist hospital on the size of the organisation and sector, and whether the focus is on selling a product or service or
services and secure units. The work involves helping people to recover from their illness or come to raising awareness of an issue that affects the public. As many organisations have marketing and sales
terms with it, in order to maximise their life potential. Mental health nurses liaise with psychiatrists, departments, executives can be found in both the private and public sectors, from the financial, retailing
occupational therapists, GPs, social workers and other health professionals to plan and deliver care and media industries to voluntary and public sector organisations. Executives may also be known as
using a multidisciplinary client-centred approach. The National Health Service (NHS) implemented ‘officers’ or ‘coordinators’. The range of typical starting salaries is £22,000 - £27,000, depending on
a new pay structure in 2005 called Agenda for Change. The nursing scales are as follows: Band 5 the sector. A postgraduate qualification may improve your chances of securing a position. However,
(newly qualified nurses) £19,683 - £25,424; Band 6 (specialist nurse) £23,458 - £31,779; Band 7 (team although an additional qualification may be useful, it will not guarantee a job or replace the personal
manager) £28,313 - £37,326; Band 8 (A-D) A £36,112 - £43,335, B £42,064 - £52,002, C £50,616 - qualities and experience that employers are looking for. Gaining pre-entry relevant work experience
£62,402, and D £60,669 - £75,114. Graduate entrants may, where available, undertake a two-year is also very helpful, either via vacation work, work placements or shadowing. Some of the larger
accelerated course in their chosen branch of nursing. These courses are open to graduates with employers may offer students paid summer placements. Volunteering is also an effective way to gain
degrees in a range of subjects, such as psychology. valuable experience.
6 Other Careers 7 Action plan
6.4 Psychology Involved Roles 7.1 My Career?
a Technician Through reading the information provided you should now have gained some insight into the available
career destinations open to you. This next section should be used to help develop a career path and
The role mainly involves providing technical support, ensuring that equipment is functioning properly
prepare your career ambition.
and is ready to use, and that the right materials are available for particular lessons. Sometimes
laboratory technicians work closely with students to demonstrate experiments, help teachers with a Deciding what branch of Psychology to enter should be balanced somewhat between what skills you
class, and support individual students on research projects. The range of typical starting salaries is possess, your interests and your capabilities. However, you may decide that there is no particular
£13,000 - £16,000. It is possible to enter the field with any degree, however certain qualifications and division of Psychology that you wish to pursue, and that you would rather utilise the skills you have
experience will be useful, e.g. a degree in psychology with computing. obtained in another desired profession. It may be wise to conduct some research into the career
options that you may be interested in and the feasibility of entering such a profession. For example if
you hope to become a forensic psychologist you will first have to obtain a relevant accredited Masters
b Secretary in forensic psychology. There are many different institutions which offer this course, however you will
A secretary or administrator provides both clerical and administrative support to professionals, either have to select which one appeals to you and determine if you can gain entry to this course. Once this
as part of a team or individually. The role plays a vital part in the administration and smooth-running has been finalised there are other issues which have to be satisfied, such as funding etc.
of businesses throughout industry. Secretaries/administrators are involved with the co-ordination and
implementation of office procedures and frequently have responsibility for specific projects and tasks
7.2 What do I want?
and, in some cases, oversee and supervise the work of junior staff. Secretarial/administrative work has
changed significantly over the years, and the role varies greatly depending on sector, the size of the Before deciding what to do next you must determine what career you hope to pursue, and how you
employer and levels of responsibility. Most work involves both written and oral communication, word are going to achieve entry into that profession. A useful exercise is to highlight your chosen career
processing and typing, as IT and typing skills, organisational and presentation skills, and the ability to and identify the relevant key stages in the necessary path you must take. You can do this for all
multi-task and work well under pressure, often juggling several tasks at once. Within specialist sectors the careers you are interested in. For example, if you wish to become a fully qualified occupational
such as law, many secretaries/administrators are required to have relevant, high-level qualifications psychologist you will have to complete an BPS accredited undergraduate degree in psychology, then
and/or experience. The range of typical starting salaries is £14,000 to £18,000 for jobs outside London; a BPS accredited masters/postgraduate qualification in occupational psychology, and then acquire at
£19,000 to £25,000 in London. Jobs in the media, not-for-profit sectors and small organisations are least two years of supervised experience whilst obtaining Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership
at the lower end of the pay scale; employment in banking, finance and law firms is at the upper end. (GBC).
Requirements for formal qualifications vary according to employer and sector, and qualifications tend
You will find that in order to become professional psychologists that most routes involve similar stages/
to be more desirable than essential.
steps. However it should be noted that there are alternatives to such professions e.g. you may wish to
work as an occupational psychologist for a number of years (more than 3) and then take the equivalent
BPS accredited exam. You can read about the major career professions in Sections 5 and 6 in order
to help you decide which careers that you may be interested in.
Researchers plan, design and manage social research projects. They collect and analyse information,
using a variety of computer software packages to organise the data, which they present in writing
and/or orally. A variety of methods, such as interviews, questionnaires and focus groups, are used to
investigate the views of population samples on specific issues. The range of typical starting salaries How to become a Chartered Occupational Psychologist
is £16,000 - £24,000, depending on sector and level of extended study or experience. It is possible
to move into a career in social research immediately after obtaining a degree in a relevant discipline,
Step 1 Step 2 Step 1
particularly if your course includes social research methods and statistics. Although this occupation
is open to graduates of all disciplines, most employers prefer a relevant social science discipline, such
Obtain a BPS Obtain a BPS Gain two years
accredited accredited supervised
Undergraduate Postgraduate experience Qualified
d Assistant START degree in qualification in to become Occupational
Psychology Occupational a chartered Psychologist
An assistant psychologist works with a qualified senior psychologist of a given division of psychology Psychology Occupational
e.g. clinical psychologists. They will therefore assume some of the responsibilities of that role, at Psychologist
the supervisory psychologist’s discretion. Referring to the example of clinical psychologist a job
description may be to reduce psychological distress and enhance the psychological well-being of
clients. Many posts are offered on fixed, short-term contracts, and salaries can range from £10,000 -
£18,000. The British Psychological Society (BPS) produces guidelines on the employment of assistant
psychologists. Entry to jobs is very competitive and successful applicants often have previous
experience of working in that particular division of psychology. It is common for those hoping to
secure senior status in their preferred discipline to work at assistant level and gain experience in a
setting prior to commencing full training.
7 Action plan
7.3 How do I do that? 7.4 Progress …
Once you have identified each stage of the career path, for each of the possible careers you may be It is usually a good idea to start planning as soon as possible for what you want to do next, as in some
interested in, you can now start to plan for the next stage of your career path. In most cases it will be cases applications for postgraduate qualifications can close as early as November. When applying/
necessary to gain a postgraduate qualification. You will have to research these courses online as there researching careers it is very helpful to keep a record of your progress. This can also serve as a record
are many postgraduate courses and options available (see Section 8 for a list of all the postgraduate of when you have applied, closing dates interview dates etc. Functioning as a strategic manual, and
search engines). Once you have highlighted all the courses that interest you, use the following table giving food for thought if your first plan is not successful. Below is an example (depending on desired
(filling in the necessary information) to help decide what career you want, and if it may be achieved. career path) which you may find useful when applying for Masters level degree courses (MSc).
Job E.g. forensic psychologist E.g. Social worker Course Msc in Health Msc Political
Do you need a postgraduate Yes Yes Psychology Psychology
Can you gain entry to the postgraduate Yes Yes Identified Postgraduate Yes Yes
course using your degree? degree
Do You need work experience to gain No Yes
entry? Institution University of The Queen’s
Ulster, Magee University,
Do you have the relevant work No No Belfast
Applied to Postgraduate Yes Yes
Can you fund your study? Yes No degree
Are you willing to move? Yes Yes
Closing Date May 2010 December
1) First of all identify all the careers which From the example provided, the hypothetical
interest you. individual has identified two career choices. Upon Interview and date Yes, 12 June No
assessing the information contained in the table 2010
2) Then identify whether you need a
the individual decides that a career in forensic
postgraduate qualification, and if you can
psychology is more viable.
gain entry to the postgraduate course based Place Gained Yes No
on your psychology degree award.
3) It may be necessary in some cases to obtain
work experience before you can gain entry In some cases, you may not wish to apply for a job which requires a postgraduate qualification or
to a postgraduate course. minimum criteria of previous experience; therefore you may wish to complete a CV and prepare for
4) Most postgraduate courses, e.g., Masters interviews. Both these topics are outlined in the next section.
are self-funded, therefore it is not uncommon
for intuitions to enquire how you intend to
5) Unfortunately, opportunities in Northern
Ireland are scarce regarding postgraduate
study in psychology; therefore it may be
necessary to move closer to an institution
which provides your desired postgraduate
6) Once you have completed the table for all
the occupations that interest you, you may
find it easier to make a career choice.
7 Action plan
7.5 Your C.V and Cover Letter… Example CV 2
To complete a good CV and cover letter see If your grades aren’t excellent don’t worry, John Smith
section 3.3. A few examples are presented you can chunk them to save room and Street, City, County, Postcode
below. cover discrepancies e.g. 8 GCSE’s grade A Phone: 555-555-5555
- D in Math, English, Science, R.E, French, Mobile: 555-666-6666
Example CV 1 Your Name email@example.com
Email Address Computers, Geography and History.
Contact Number Objective: Assistant Professor, Psychology
EMPLOYMENT Education: Ph.D., Psychology, University of Minnesota, 2006
Concentrations: Psychology, Community Psychology
PERSONAL STATEMENT Provide a list of your key achievements.
Dissertation: A Study of Learning Disabled Children in a Low Income Community
Your personal statement is perhaps the M.A., Psychology, University at Albany, 2003
single most important part of you CV. Get it Concentrations: Psychology, Special Education
KEY SKILLS GAINED
wrong and your chances of being invited to Thesis: Communication Skills of Learning Disabled Children
interview are drastically reduced. Show that you have the relevant knowledge B.A, Psychology, California State University, Long Beach, CA, 2000
required to succeed in the position.
Its aim is to highlight your professional
attributes and goals, summarising why For example include computer software that Experience: Instructor, 2004 - 2006
someone should consider your application. you are familiar with. University of Minnesota
Course: Psychology in the Classroom
PERSONAL SKILLS PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS Teaching Assistant, 2002 - 2003
University at Albany
• Include some of your main attributes Professional Body - Location - Course Title Courses: Special Education, Learning Disabilities
that are vital to the role. - Grade
• Flexibility, problem solving abilities, Add any professional associations of which Research Skills: Extensive knowledge of SPSS and SAS statistical programs.
good communication and creativity you are a member
are qualities that all employers look Presentations: Smith John (2006). The behavior of learning disabled adolescents in the classrooms.
for. Paper presented at the Psychology Conference at the University of Minnesota.
• If you are changing career these PERSONAL INTERESTS
transferable skills add weight to your Outside interests enable a potential employer Publications: Smith, John (2005). The behavior of learning disabled adolescents in the classroom.
application. to gain an understanding of what motivates Journal of Educational Psychology, 6, 120 - 125.
you, what personal skills you may have and
how you will integrate into the team. Grants and RDB Grant (University of Minnesota Research Grant, 2005), $2000
CAREER HISTORY (chronological order) Fellowships: Workshop Grant (for ASPA meeting in New York, 2004), $1500
Look at how job advertisements stipulate
Job Title - Company Name - Dates
certain personality traits required for Awards and Treldar Scholar, 2005
Job Title - Company Name - Dates positions. Identify what they are and Honours: Academic Excellent Award, 2003
Job Title - Company Name - Dates show how your hobbies can relate to their
requirements. Skills and Microsoft Office, Internet
EDUCATION HISTORY (chronological order) Qualifications: Programming ability in C++ and PHP
Fluent in German, French and Spanish
University Name - Location - Course Title - REFERENCES
Grade References are available on request. References: Excellent references available upon request.
Explain how your course helped you develop
your knowledge in the areas that are relevant
to the position you’re applying for.
Secondary School - Location - Courses - 7.6 Your Interview...
Grades In order to prepare yourself for interviews see section 3.4 for a comprehensive overview.
8 Useful Links, Materials and References
The following links will help you search for a The following links provide more information
postgraduate-related degree: on psychology and some non-psychology,
The following links will help you compose a good The following links provide more information
CV and cover letter: on the skills you have acquired as a
The following links will help you prepare for an DegVal/degval.html
Landrum, R. E. (2001). I’m getting my
bachelor’s degree in psychology—What can I
do with it? Eye on Psi Chi, 6 (1), 20-22.
Yorke, M., & Knight, P. (2006) Embedding
employability into the curriculum.
York, Higher Education Academy.