Careers within mental health can vary massively. It can be hard to know what psychology jobs appeal to you and which ones don’t, and sometimes it can be even harder to know what you need to do to make yourself employable for a certain role. In this article we will look at how an education and career in psychology unfolds.
Your career in psychology can start as early as when your sixteen when you choose psychology as an A level. More often than not though, most people will start their academic psychology career at university. By the end of your first year it is a good idea to start to have an idea of what area of psychology you wish to specialise in such as clinical, business, sports etc. The reasoning for this is that after your first year there is a larger choice of modules to choose from, these different modules will often be related to a specific field of psychology rather than the broader modules that would have been studied up to that point. Thus, this is the time to start the foundations of the area of psychology that appeals to you most.
Once you have graduated, your degree will be accredited by the British Psychological society. At this point, your career path is not set in stone from the modules you did at university, however you will find work placements and/or masters in a specialised area to be easier to get onto with modules taken that relate to them. A masters in psychology is usually a necessity at some point in a career, when in the career is less clear. Of course, it very much matters on your own personal circumstances, whether you are enjoying the academic side of things or if you want to get into the world of work. A psychology masters will usually take the form of one of the subsets of psychology, for example you could do a MSc in Clinical psychology, and build upon clinical psychology modules from your undergraduate degree. A masters can also help you gain experience if you wish to change to a different area of psychology than that which you built upon in your undergraduate and/or jobs since university.
A doctorate can also be undertaken, this is a lot more of a commitment than a masters, and can be impractical to do so when you find yourself embedded in a career. However, many psychologist find the time to go back to their doctorate at a later part in their career. It is less vital to psychology career than a masters might be; yet will never hinder one. The main thing to consider is the cost and time of a PhD, and whether there is something you wish to specialise on up to a doctorate level.