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Becoming a teacher & researcher in psychology
What do teachers and researchers of psychology do?
What they do
Teaching and research in psychology usually go hand in hand. Some teaching staff will have qualified in one of the applied psychological fields. They may return to teaching to develop professional practice and conduct research or simply to share their knowledge. All university lecturers are expected to help extend their subject by gathering psychological evidence on key research questions and telling others what they have found by publishing articles.
Administration is a large part of a lecturer’s life. It includes student selection, devising new teaching programmes, sitting on committees which allocate resources and coordinating aspects of the life of the department.
Many schools and colleges of further education now offer psychology as a subject at GCSE, A level, A/S level and as part of a general studies programme. Teachers prepare students for published syllabuses set by the examining bodies, so their work is not as flexible as that of teachers of undergraduates. Nevertheless, there is considerable choice in what to offer within the syllabus and an enormous range of possible studies in practical and laboratory courses.
Where they work
Lecturers and researchers work in universities, colleges and schools. 'Research scientists' may also work in research units (such as the MRC Applied Psychology Unit). However, few people are able to develop careers consisting solely of research.
How do I become one?
To become a Chartered Member of the Society in the field of teaching or research in psychology, you will need the following qualifications:
- Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). This is achieved by completing a Society accredited degree or conversion course.
- Five or more years supervised and assessed professional activity. The research route will normally include taking a PhD or equivalent research experience.
How much will I get paid?
Information about the latest teachers’ pay scales is available from the Times Educational Supplement.
Contact individual universities for lecturers’ pay scales.
Where are jobs advertised?
- In Psychologist Appointments which is part of The Psychologist, the Society's monthly magazine.
- In national newspapers (e.g. The Times, The Guardian, The Independent)
- In specialist publications such as Health Service Journal and the Department of Health website
What if I'm a mature student?
Mature students often ask us if their age will prevent them from succeeding in a psychology career. You can find out more information under the Change of Career section.
Where do I find out more?
- The Society's Division of Academics, Researchers and Teachers of Psychology offers access to publications, conferences, and special interest groups and chat rooms with membership.
- Careers resources: published work covering teaching and research in psychology.
- BPS Shop: find an array of teaching and research psychology publications through our online shop.
- Contact us: request form for further specific information.