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What Are the Career Prospects for a Psychology Graduate?

By: Maggie Lonsdale BA (hons) - Updated: 3 Jun 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
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Q.

I am a psychology student at University although I have to choose what subject I need for honours soon; either chemistry or psychology. I am wondering due to the number of psychology graduates and the overall limited number of jobs available, if a psychology degree really means anything these days. What are the career prospects for a psychology graduate in the police, other psychology fields etc?

(J.B, 19 May 2009)

A.

Hello and thank you for your question.

Speaking as a psychology graduate myself, I have to say that there is seemingly no set career path for psychology graduates. This can be daunting or positive, depending on how you look at it. It seems as though you do not have a clear career path in mind, which is no bad thing, as you can be open-minded as to what you may do after you have graduated. Perhaps you could see if you could do some work experience to understand potential paths a little clearer before you commit?

Essentially, a knowledge of psychology is helpful in the vast majority of jobs. It helps your communication skills, interpersonal skills, nunchuck skills (oops, sorry a bit of Napoleon Dynamite sneaked in there)... you get my drift. Psychology helps you develop strong reasoning ability, too, which is useful for both commercial and vocational occupations.

If you're particularly set on a career in the Police force, the types of role that a psychology qualification could be useful for would be forensic and criminal areas, victim support roles and community support roles. Be aware that you will still be required to pass the 'standard' initial recruitment tests. It's worth looking online at your local council website as they always advertise all their roles, including teaching and police positions, although sometimes they've already been filled internally and the advert is just a formality.

Outside of the police force, career possibilities are endless. It's probably better to think about what you actually want to do, as there is very little that your choice will restrict, assuming you get the required grades. Many psychology graduates go onto community or social work, mental health support or working in rehab, either in the public or private sector. But outside of these 'caring' fields, psychology graduates can also thrive in industries where it really helps to know 'what makes people tick' - like sales, corporate training, human resources and advertising.

If you really love chemistry, go for a chemistry honours, but if you're really not sure, you may find that psychology leaves more doors open for you.

Good luck!

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Hi there. I am a graduate student and have studied a BA Honors in Sociology with Criminology. I am beginning my MA in July, studying Criminal Law and Criminal Psychology. I was wondering if anyone could advise me about getting unpaid work experience in these sectors?
theresa361 - 3-Jun-17 @ 11:29 AM
@SJB. It depends whether you want 'chartered' status or not. If you intend working for yourself or progressing in a field where chartered status is a real requirement then studying again is really your only route. At masters level marketing and assuming your undergraduate degree was also in a similar subject - there will be elements of your previous study that covered behavioural and business psychology so you may find you are expempt from certain modules. Some universities are now offering online courses (such as this one at Derby) which enable you to gained BPS accredited qualifications whilst working.
CareersInPsychology - 29-Jan-15 @ 11:51 AM
Hello I have a healthy interest in Psychology having studied a lot around the subject and have studied to Masters level in Marketing from a UK University. I looked in to studying to retrain as an Occupational Psychologist for which I would intend to gain Chartered status and was informed this would likely lead to 5 years or so of study at a financial cost of £20k +. Having read some articles on this website theres a suggestion that entry into the field may not require this route. Can one of the experts guide on as to how this could be attained please ? I am considering other qualifications in business psychology, with Psycometric training being a main focus this year as I work in the recruitment sector and have an aptitude and interest in developing into a psychology/executive coaching capacity and would really appreciate some realistic pointers as to what, if anything, may help this in terms of additional qualifications etc ? Thank you for the help Best Regards sb
SJB - 27-Jan-15 @ 12:18 PM
@Eamsey. There's a lot of competitition for jobs in psychology, but do persevere if you are interested (and more to the point, qualified). Have you tried sending speculative CV to organisations? Examine the type of work of various organisations (crime, health, education, business etc) and identify where your skills and parts of your degree course/experience relate to that. In your cover letter refer to those specifically to personalise and make it more targeted. You could also ask for the advice of those already working in psychology, they may be able to point you in the direction of journals etc so you can keep abreast of new jobs and upcoming areas of specialisation.
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Eamsey - 19-Nov-14 @ 12:29 PM
@fally. Your university is the best place to ask about this. If you have achieved a sufficient degree level to undertake a masters they will be able to give you an idea of the opportunities. Failing that, take a look at some of the other universities and see what masters programmes are available and what the requirements are.
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fally- falove - 29-Aug-14 @ 9:36 AM
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I am an undergraduate of psychology i want to know more about how i can enhance my study in psychology after graduating and what field of study is advisable for me to pursue in my post graduate study?
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