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I finished my psychology degree… now what?

Updated: Feb 8

You did it! You have completed your psychology degree! Yet you have this feeling of emptiness and curiosity which leads you to ask yourself ‘now what?’ Do I do a masters? Do I look for a job? How do I get an assistant psychologist job?


Career paths in psychology is something I think should be more widely spoken about on psychology undergraduate courses. Many students often come to the end of their undergraduate degree and are not sure which way to turn or which path will take them in the correct direction for their desired career.


First things first, stop and think!

What do you actually want to do as a career? What types of people would you like to work with? Where do you see yourself working? Is that what you actually want to do?

Asking yourself these types of questions before you begin the searching and applying process will help you to narrow down which direction you want to go in. Often, we get so caught up in what other people are doing that we end up being sheep and following the crowd. Deciding what YOU want for your career is a crucial process after your degree.


I don’t know what my options are?

Another area I think should be covered more widely within undergraduate programmes. Psychology careers can be a minefield, there are lots of options and all have different routes to get there, so you need to be clear on your destination.

Firstly, you don’t have to work in a psychology field just because you have a psychology degree. The psychology undergraduate course may have been enough for you, in which case that’s fine too. The beauty about psychology degrees is they can be very flexible for other careers too and they can come in very handy within multiple fields. Business, marketing, human resources and teaching are just a few of the options you can pursue with a psychology degree.


If you do wish to work within a psychology field but are not sure which ones are available here are some that might take your fancy;


Clinical Psychologist

Counselling Psychologist

Educational Psychologist

Forensic Psychologist

Health Psychologist

Occupational Psychologist

Sports and Exercise Psychologist

Psychology teacher or lecturer

Researcher

Psychotherapist or Counsellor


As you can see psychology has many areas which is great because it means you can find out which one is right for you just by doing some research into what they job entails.


Despite which field you wish to go into within psychology one commonality between most psychology jobs is they often require higher education or training (yes, unfortunately more study). These higher education or post-graduate courses often also require at least 1 year’s relevant work experience, so finding some experience would be your next task!


Types of work experience that might be useful to look into are: Assistant psychologist, Psychological Well-Being Practitioner, Healthcare worker or assistant, teaching assistant or work in a school (particularly if you want to work as an education psychologist or with children). You can look into these roles within charities, NHS, private practices and schools. Lots of undergraduates often try to seek out shadowing work (where you watch a psychologist day to day), this is something I would advise against and many places do not offer this due to the confidential nature of a psychologist’s job. Sometimes you may get shadowing experience once you are an assistant psychologist, but this is something that has to be agreed by the psychologist and the service user or client. Some opportunities might also be on a volunteer or unpaid basis, if you can, don’t turn these opportunities down just because they are unpaid, as you might find they open doors to other roles or positions. (I worked as an unpaid intern for 8 months before being offered a paid assistant psychologist role, it was hard financially but I learnt a lot and knew eventually it would lead to another opportunity).


Don’t give up!

Psychology graduate jobs or postgraduate courses are hard to come by, which leads to them to be competitive. Don’t give up if you fall at the first hurdle, keep applying and searching and the right opportunity will come to you.


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