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Graduate careers advice: you and your psychology degree

17 Aug 2023, 10:17

The range of skills garnered from a psychology degree spans both science and the arts, making a range of employment opportunities available.

You and your psychology degree

Graduate careers advice for what career options you can pursue with your psychology degree.

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Work experience

Before taking on postgraduate study, many psychology graduates will spend a year or more gaining practical experience.

It may be necessary to gain experience in an unpaid voluntary role before you will be considered viable for paid work, so don’t waste time seeking out relevant work.

The experience necessary will vary depending on the area of psychology you wish to pursue. Experience as an assistant psychologist is vital, and can be found in areas like social work, nursing, mental health, prisons and social services.

Experience of working children and young people in such settings as childcare, educational or community welfare is essential for a career in educational psychology.

If occupational psychology is your goal, experience in human resources, personnel and business and management is required.

You may wish to choose an alternative career area. If so, seek out part-time work during your degree, or shadowing roles, internships and summer placements.

More information on work experience can be found here .

What sectors?

Psychology graduates may become professional psychologists, but a range of roles in related fields is open.

The main employers include:

  • financial organisations;
  • commercial and industrial companies;
  • human resources;
  • marketing firms;
  • government;
  • the media;
  • the HSE;
  • police and prisons;
  • schools;
  • social services.

Your psychology CV

The transferable skills you will acquire include:

  • information technology;
  • communication, both oral and written;
  • analytical research;
  • data and statistics;
  • teamwork;
  • problem solving.

Thanks to the scientific skills acquired - like problem solving, data manipulation and reasoning - a psychology degree can equip you for a career in healthcare, IT, finance or law enforcement.

Other skills - like the ability to analyse a problem from a critical basis, innovation, and understanding of human behaviour - are valuable for careers in law, government and education.

Postgraduate study

If you wish to become a chartered psychologist, postgraduate training and study is a necessity.

Postgraduate study can be taken in such areas as counselling, clinical psychology, education, sports psychology and forensic psychology.

While not essential, a teaching qualification offers a route into educational psychology.

If you wish to enter an academic career, combining research with teaching, you can undertake research through a Masters or PhD.

More information on postgraduate courses can be found in our Further Study section.

gradireland editorial advice

This describes editorially independent and impartial content, which has been written and edited by the gradireland content team. Any external contributors featuring in the article are in line with our non-advertorial policy, by which we mean that we do not promote one organisation over another.

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