Careers in Neuro Psychology
Neuro Psychology is a very specialised discipline with an interest in the working of the brain. This involves studying the biological basis of issues such as depression. In consequence the work involves dealing with brain injuries or neurological diseases such as stroke or dementia.
Neuro psychology is a discipline where clinical practice and academic research are very closely linked. A career can involve working with clinical neurosurgeons in an acute surgery environment, with other health professions to assist rehabilitation after surgery or supporting patients after they have left hospital. In effect neuro pyschologists almost inevitably work in multi-disciplinary settings with other health professionals.
Further detailed information on the work and career options for neuro psychologists can be found at the BPS website.
It is also common to be expected to present evidence in court given the extent that many traumatic injuries may involve either insurance payments or the criminal law.
Training to work as a Neuro PsychologistThe basic pattern of psychology training to prepare for a career in Neuro Psychology is initially similar to other careers in psychology. At its most basic you will need to have an undergraduate degree from a psychology course approved by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This will lead to what is technically called the Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR).
Following this you will need to complete an approved postgraduate degree (and relevant training) leading to the status of Chartered Psychologist. As with other psychology programmes, competition is very intense for places on undergraduate and postgraduate programmes so it is important to be able to display interest so as to ensure selection.
At the undergraduate level most degrees follow a broadly similar curriculum. However, given the specialised nature of the career it is probably a good idea to study at a university that offers psycho-biology and/or the ability to study biological sciences alongside your psychology degree.
Post graduate study in Clinical Neuro Psychology is only offered at four universities (based in London, Glasgow and Nottingham). The programme leads to a one year (full time) MSc. Once you have completed this, you will need to undertake further study for the BPS' "Practioner Full Membership Qualification". At this stage you can opt to specialise in Adult or Paediatric (or combine the two).
If you lack an approved degree in psychology you may still meet the first requirement to working as an Clinical Psychologist (i.e the GBR referred to above). You will need to complete either an approved conversion course or study for the BPS' own qualifying examination.
All Neuro Psychologists need to have completed a relevant postgraduate degree although it is possible for people who have studied as a Clinical or Educational psychologist to transfer to Neuro Psychology by taking the "Practioner Full Membership Qualification".
If you have studied outside the UK, you will not only need to ensure that your underlying qualifications are seen as meeting the BPS' requirements.
SummaryMost neuro psychologists work in the NHS. The nature of the work is very specialised with a focus on the internal workings of the brain. This involves the full range of neurological diseases, including traumatic injury, degenerative diseases, strokes and tumours. This means that most of the work is also connected to acute medical care in hospitals and there is a need to work with other health professions.
The training model is similar to other psychology professions. Essentially a sequence of an approved psychology undergraduate degree, suitable work experience and an approved post graduate degree. At the end of this training process, your likely starting salary will be around £25,000.