A degree in psychology gives you a wide range of skills, and can open the door to numerous careers. But if you have recently graduated it can leave you without a clue where to begin.
For a career into psychology, psychiatry or mental health services, a psychology degree is often just the beginning. You are likely to need to undertake further education and training just to get your foot on the ladder.
Alternatively if you didn’t want to go down that path, you could use your degree to get a post graduate job in an area not relating to the psychology field.
If you plan to continue on the psychology career path, your next step would be to choose the branch of psychology you want to specialise in. The options are broad and varied, and you could go into anything from developmental to social psychology to clinical and counselling and many more.
Once you have decided on the route you are going to take, you should then undertake a postgraduate qualification in your specialist field. While grants and scholarships do exist, there is a high chance you will have to fund your studies yourself. This is something to bear in mind if you are an aspiring psychologist.
Work experience is incredibly important in the field of psychology, voluntary work is a good way to gain this while you are still in education. This will give you invaluable experience, and will also look good on your CV when you come to apply for psychology positions too.
Search mental health charities for voluntary positions, or if you don’t mind prolonging your career route you could even take a year out between your degree and masters to volunteer in another country.
Psychologists tend to be very well paid, and on the NHS you can expect to earn in excess of £40k a year in band seven. However it is impossible to know exactly how much specific roles will pay.
Comparing salaries from advertised job vacancies is just not accurate, since you can’t tell what the job’s compensation package includes. Salary benchmarking surveys are the only way to get around this problem as they compare factors such as allowances, bonuses and commission from job titles across the region.
But you can expect an excellent wage once you have qualified and landed a career. If you set up your own practice and it did well, then the sky’s the limit in regards to earnings.
As a psychologist you could expect to end up working anywhere from a prison to a hospital to an army base, or even a private clinic depending on what you specialise in. Regardless of where your career takes you, a psychologist is a very rewarding role.
You will be helping people to make huge positive changes in their life and completely change their way of thinking. You will help people through major obstacles such as death, divorce, illness and abuse.
It’s a long path, but one that is extremely worthwhile.
This post has been contributed by Ryan Gatt, it may contain affiliate links.