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How to become a psychologist
Studying to be a psychologist is a lengthy but rewarding process – on average it takes seven years.
The path you take will depend on what type of psychologist you wish to be and what academic level you have reached so far.
To practise as a professional psychologist you need to take a Society accredited undergraduate degree course.
Psychology is a popular career, how do I stand out from the crowd?
Many postgraduate training programmes will require you to demonstrate significant relevant work experience to gain a place on their course. Work experience is a great way to gain insight into a psychology career and can give you the opportunity to find out whether you enjoy this type of work.
It is a good idea to build up work experience as soon as you can. You will often find that you have to work on a voluntary basis in order to gain enough experience to find paid work. Consider what type of people you want to work with and contact relevant local organisations and charities.
You may find it difficult to find placements working directly with psychologists until you have a completed your degree. You can try contacting those working in your area by searching the Society's Directory of Chartered Psychologists. The Society's monthly magazine, The Psychologist, has a Psychologist Appointments section which is sent to members and is also available online.
Unfortunately the Society cannot directly help you to find posts or work experience. Information on the few vacancies open to students before completing their degree is normally sent to university psychology departments. There are a number of useful websites to help you identify local volunteering opportunities such as the ones below:
For more information on the work experience required for specific areas of psychology training, have a look at the appropriate areas of psychology page.