Psychology

Recruitment & HR

In order to become a Chartered Psychologist, you will need to gain GBC (Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership) by studying a BPS (British Psychological Society) accredited degree and then complete a further three years of BPS accredited postgraduate training in one of the following disciplines:

Clinical Psychology

Forensic Psychology

Education and Child Psychology

Occupational Psychology

Counselling Psychology

Health Psychology

Sports and Exercise Psychology

Neuropsychology

General Information and Vacancy sources for Psychology Related Careers

Non-psychology roles

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To research the various qualification routes for Chartered Psychology visit The British Psychological Society (BPS) and the Prospects website

If your degree is not BPS accredited then you need to undertake a BPS accredited conversion course. For a full list of qualifying courses see the BPS Accredited Psychology Courses

Due to the entry requirements for postgraduate training courses, many psychology graduates spend a year or more gaining work experience before embarking on further study. The purpose of this resource is to provide you with a range of ideas and resources to help you gain relevant work experience before commencing postgraduate study.

Gaining Experience overview

As relevant experience is so crucial before applying for postgraduate study, it's a good idea to build up your work experience as soon as you can. You will usually need to work on a voluntary basis first to get enough experience to apply for a paid job. 

Gaining work experience - through a placement, internship or even volunteering - is a unique opportunity for you to network and make contacts with potential employers that could help you when developing your future career. Many employers recruit directly from internships, placements or other kind of work experiences. For this reason alone, undertaking some relevant experience is invaluable.  Work experience can be paid or unpaid, undertaken during holidays, through a placement year of your degree module or alongside your studies. 

Applying for volunteering and paid opportunities can be in the traditional way, for example completing an application form. However there are other ways to look for work experience which include being creative and resourceful and approaching employers directly.

For example, if you are interested in working with a particular organisation / within a particular area, then approaching the organisation/employer directly is probably your best tactic.  If you decide to approach an organisation make sure you have researched them thoroughly and you convey the qualities and experience you have that would make you an asset to their organisation. You can find out more about how to create a targeted CV, that stands out from the crowd, through the Careers and Employability website.  

If you wish to arrange experience via a work placement you should contact the Psychology Department Placement office located in Room 3.05a, King Henry Building or by emailing: julie.udell@port.ac.uk  

You can also speak with your tutor and lecturers to find out about potential opportunities to gain relevant experience through working alongside PhD students or research active members of staff in your department. 

The Directory of Chartered Psychology can be a used as a source of contacts to find people working in a specialism that interests you.  Think about contacting experienced professionals to find out about their job and how they got into it and ask if you can do some work shadowing experience. 

The type of experience needed depends on the area of psychology you're interested in. Please refer to the individual area of psychology you are interested in to discover more information to help you obtain relevant experience.

Clinical pyschology

Working as an assistant psychologist or research assistant psychologist is the best starting point if you wish to become a Clinical Psychologist. 

You can find work experience in different settings such as: 

  • hospitals
  • local clinics and health centres
  • care homes
  • community mental health teams
  • social services, schools and prisons 

Try to look for work experience that gives you the opportunity to work with different groups of people as this can help you build up your portfolio of experience. You could be looking at opportunities to work with adults with mental health issues, older people, and children with psychological and or learning difficulties, offenders, and people who suffer with substance abuse.  

Roles which can give you relevant clinical experience include: 

  • Care worker
  • Assistant/support worker in various settings (e.g. community mental health, learning disability service)
  • Teaching assistant in special schools (working with children with learning disabilities)
  • Volunteer in a variety of roles such as helpline assistant, befriender, project worker with clients with disabilities / mental health issues: (e.g. MIND, Relate, SANE, Drug helpline) 

Useful resources for finding work opportunities 

  • Jobs in Psychology - contains an array of job opportunities for graduates.
  • NHS jobs - useful career information and advice for job roles and entry requirements, in addition to a jobs board for careers in the NHS in England.
  • Nacro - a national social justice charity operating in England and Wales.
  • Mind - mental health charity. Check their latest vacancies.
  • Police Recruitment - routes into policing and more information on entry programmes requirements and eligibility. 
  • Psychminded - jobs board features job opportunities from assistant psychologist to occupational therapist.

Examples of voluntary roles that may provide useful experience include: 

  • Adult Befriender - Enable Ability
  • Dementia Friend Volunteer - Alzheimer's Society
  • Sessional Worker Volunteer - Headway
  • Family Support Volunteer - Hampshire County Council's Children's Services
  • Dementia Walk Support Volunteer - Portsmouth City Council
  • Cancer Support Centre Befriender Volunteer - Wessex Cancer Trust
  • Group Session Support Volunteer - Shaw Trust
  • Horticultural Volunteer - Shaw Trust
  • Family Intervention Project Volunteer Barnardo's
  • Mobility Aids Volunteer - British Red Cross
  • Residential Social Support Volunteer - Revitalise 

All these roles have been previously advertised in the “Volunteering Bank” and on MyCareer .  If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team by emailing volunteering@port.ac.uk

Another source of local volunteering opportunities is offered by Portsmouth Together.

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Forensic psychology

Building up as much work experience as possible, especially in a forensic setting, is important for forensic psychology. You'll have an advantage if you can showcase that you have mentored young offenders or carried out voluntary work with organisations who offer victim support.

Roles which can give you relevant forensic experience include:

  • volunteering/working with youth offending service
  • working with people with substance misuse problems
  • working in rehabilitation services
  • involvement with prison visitor schemes
  • assistant psychologist in a forensic setting
  • working in prisons/secure units
  • research assistant in a relevant area/perhaps as part of your final year project
  • youth worker
  • befriender
  • helpline volunteer – e.g. with organisations such as Drug helpline

 Useful resources for finding work opportunities 

Examples of voluntary roles that provide useful experience include: 

  • Ex-Offender Mentor Volunteer with Prison Advice and Care Trust (PACT) 
  • Domestic Abuse & Sexual Violence Helpline Volunteer (Aurora New Dawn)
  • Volunteer Prevention Mentor with Portsmouth Abuse & Rape Counselling Service (PARCs)
  • Hampshire & Isle of Wight Youth Commission Volunteer with The Office for the Police & Crime Commissioner
  • Restorative Practitioner Volunteer with Portsmouth Mediation Service
  • Circles Volunteer with Circles  

All these roles have been previously advertised in the Volunteering Bank and on MyCareer.  If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team by emailing volunteering@port.ac.uk.

Another source of local volunteering opportunities is offered by Portsmouth Together.

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Education and Child Psychology

If you wish to become an education psychologist, you should try to demonstrate that you have gained significant relevant experience of working with children and young people. Gaining relevant work experience can be very important and it could involve working with children and young people within an education, social care, childcare or health and community setting. 

Roles which can give you relevant experience include:

  • volunteering in a variety of areas / organisations which focus on service provision for children and young people such as Barnado’s, NSPCC
  • holiday club worker
  • classroom helper (special needs) in a school
  • learning mentor
  • child-minder or play worker in early years setting
  • camp counsellor/residential carer (e.g. National Citizen Service programme)
  • care worker
  • social work assistant
  • befriender
  • assistant to a psychologist researcher or a PhD student in your Faculty

Examples of voluntary roles that provide useful experience include: 

  • Conductive Education Saturday Club Volunteer - The Rainbow Centre
  • School/ College Volunteer Support Worker - Motiv8 
  • Play worker /Nursery Volunteer-  Salvation Army
  • Education Assistant Volunteer-  Staunton Country Park
  • Hampshire Teenage Project Volunteer - Enable Ability
  • Missing Children Return Interviews Volunteer - Hampshire County Council Children Services

Please come in to the Careers and Employability Service to have a look of our volunteering opportunities folders or alternatively search the volunteering bank online via MyCareer

If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team by emailing volunteering@port.ac.uk.

Another source of local volunteering opportunities is offered by Portsmouth Together

Useful resources for finding work opportunities 

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Occupational Psychology

Work experience in a variety of settings e.g. private, public and government organisations can be useful in preparation for a career in occupational psychology particularly in human resources, training or management consultancy projects. Taking part and developing new assessment centres for psychometric test publishers provides valuable experience for this area of psychology. 

Roles which can give you relevant experience include: 

  • temping in an administrative role
  • work within an HR / personnel department
  • administration support 

Examples of voluntary roles that provide useful experience include: 

Employment Mentor Volunteer - Radian Horndean

Volunteer Admin Assistant- The Rainbow Centre

Advice Service Receptionist Volunteer -Citizen Advice Bureau

Administration Volunteer -EC Roberts Centre

Trainee Generalist Adviser Volunteer - Citizen Advice Bureau 

All these roles have been previously advertised in the “Volunteering Bank” and on MyCareer.  If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team by emailing volunteering@port.ac.uk

Another source of local volunteering opportunities is offered by Portsmouth Together

Useful resources for finding work opportunities

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Counselling Psychology

Work opportunities in a supportive role, especially in a mental health role, can offer valuable experience. Although it is difficult to get paid counselling experience prior to qualification many organisations provide excellent training and support to their volunteers. Search for opportunities in the not for-profit, and health services sectors.

Roles which can provide counselling experience include: 

  • Volunteering for organisations such as Relate, Childline, Release, Mind, Off the Record/Samaritans
  • Working in a capacity where you are providing some advice and information e.g. Citizen Advice Bureau
  • Mentoring schemes 

Examples of voluntary roles that provide useful experience include: 

Advice and Advocacy Volunteer - Hampshire County Council's Children's Services 

This role has previously been advertised in the “Volunteering Bank” and on MyCareer.  If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team by emailing volunteering@port.ac.uk.

Another source of local volunteering opportunities is offered by Portsmouth Together

Useful resources for finding work opportunities: 

  • British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.
  • NHS jobs - useful career information on job roles and entry requirements, as well as a jobs board for careers in the NHS in England.
  • Health Jobs - a jobs board with a variety of roles across the health care sector.
  • Health Service Journal - jobs board that gives you access to the private, public and not for profit organisations and a wide range of healthcare jobs. 
  • Psychminded - jobs board advertising vacancies in clinical psychology.
  • Pulse jobs - a leading UK recruitment agency with temporary and permanent healthcare jobs and the widest choice of shifts across the NHS and private healthcare sector.

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Health Psychology

If you are interested in gaining some relevant work experience in health psychology it might be useful to search for opportunities within a health promotion department. It could be via the local council, or through local health groups, but also possibly contact your local doctors’ surgery even for voluntary roles.

Another way to get experience in health psychology could be helping in hospitals or other healthcare organisations, such as Healthwatch, to understand and respond to the psychological needs of patients and their families.

If you want to specialise in this area then it would be good for you to work in an appropriate hospital environment; or some have formal work shadowing programme where you might have the opportunity to work alongside health visitors, speech and language therapists, healthcare support worker roles. 

Roles which can provide relevant health psychology experience include: 

  • worker in a variety of health care settings such as hospitals or working alongside health visitors,    
  • care assistant in a care home or hospice

Some paid care home positions are available on the MyCareer

Examples of voluntary roles that provide useful experience include:

Residential Social Support Volunteer - Revitalise

Mobility Aids Volunteer - British Red Cross

Sessional Worker Volunteer - Headway 

All these roles have been previously advertised in the “Volunteering Bank” and on MyCareer.  If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team by emailing volunteering@port.ac.uk

Another source of local volunteering opportunities is offered by Portsmouth Together

Useful resources for finding work opportunities: 

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Sports and Exercise Psychology

To give yourself a competitive edge when beginning your career, try to gain as much work experience as possible while you are at University.  Experience of coaching, fitness and exercise coaching and PE teaching is advantageous. You can start obtaining extra qualifications whilst still at university.  The Department of Sports and Recreation at the University of Portsmouth offers coaching qualifications. You could also enquire about other qualifications such as British Association of Sports and Exercise Sciences or UK Coaching.

Roles which can provide relevant experience:

  • coaching experience (team and / or individual)
  • PE teaching
  • volunteering experience on fitness and exercise programmes
  • placement opportunities alongside your studies 

Examples of voluntary roles that provides useful experience include:

  • Premier League for Sport Volunteer- Pompey in the Community
  • Sports Coach- Pompey in the Community
  • Sports Club Volunteer-  Enable Ability
  • Sports Volunteer - Energise me

All these roles have been previously advertised in the “Volunteering Bank” and on MyCareer.  If you have any questions regarding the volunteering opportunities available to you in Portsmouth then please contact the Volunteering Team by emailing volunteering@port.ac.uk

Another source of local volunteering opportunities is offered by Portsmouth Together

Useful resources for finding work opportunities: 

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Neuropsychology

To become a Neuropsychologist you first need to be a Chartered Psychologist within the field of clinical or educational psychology as this is a post qualification discipline. 

For more information on the routes of how to get into Neuropsychology please check the BPS Division of Neuropsychology.

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General Information and Vacancy sources for Psychology Related Careers

  • Do-it.org - national volunteering website, use the searchable database to find current opportunities in your area.
  • Portsmouth Together  - search and find volunteering opportunities in Portsmouth to undertake alongside your University studies.
  • MyCareer (University of Portsmouth) - search on the link to access current voluntary opportunities or visit the Careers and Employability Service to take a look at ‘The Volunteering Bank’ which lists all the ongoing roles available with local charities.
  • Mental Health jobs - specialised psychology jobs directory.
  • Health Care jobs - useful website for job search, latest news and updates.
  • Psych Minded jobs - search for relevant vacancies in psychology jobs.
  • www.communitycare.co.uk - Community Care news, updates and developments.
  • Portsmouth City Council - search for relevant vacancies in areas of children’s social care.
  • Yell.com- online directory, which is a good starting place for employer’s information.
  • Careers in Psychology- visit the ‘Specific Career Options’ category which provides details on specific career options entry routes, work opportunities and career progression.

Related Roles and Careers

There are other roles/routes to choose from if you're looking to start a career involving psychology. 

Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners are trained to assess and support people experiencing common mental health problems – principally anxiety disorders and depression – in the self-management of their recovery, via a range of low-intensity, evidence-based interventions, informed by underlying cognitive/behavioural principles.

The PWP role was originally developed to work within Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) services in England, providing assessment and low-intensity interventions designed to aid clinical improvement and social inclusion, through the provision of information and support with everything from physical exercise to medication adherence.

You don't have to have a degree in psychology to get onto a PWP training programme, however many psychology graduates do pursue this role as a career in itself. Experience of working with people with mental health issue is essential. For more information visit the NHS PWP Careers Page.

Assistant Psychologist

The precise duties of an Assistant Psychologist can vary depending on the specific area of psychology involved, but in general they will involve tasks such as:

  • preparing/administering psychological tests and assessments
  • observing and recording behavioural observations
  • implementing specific treatment and intervention programmes
  • research and information gathering
  • and many more...

In order to become an Assistant Psychologist you will need an undergraduate degree in psychology - ideally one which is accredited by the BPS. Assistant Psychologists in the UK typically work in the healthcare field, often for the NHS, however other opportunities for employment can also be found in human resources, education, forensic settings, and the non-profit sector. For many the role of an Assistant Psychologist serves the opportunity to gain practical, hands-on experience in their chosen field, while working under the direct supervision of an experienced professional, as part of a dedicated multi-disciplinary team.

 

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Non-Psychology Roles

Studying psychology gives you a broad range of skills that opens up opportunities with a variety of employers. For job options not directly related to your degree in Psychology, have a look at the Prospects website.

Examples of other job roles include: 

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Need more help and information?

How can the Careers and Employability Service help you?

The Careers and Employability Service offers support to students throughout their studies and provision for graduates up to five years after graduation, with advice and guidance on:

  • Career options
  • Further study
  • CV and covering letters
  • Application forms
  • Job search
  • Interviews
  • And more......

Please visit our services for you section for more details about our support and services.

The Careers and Employability Service has an online Jobsboard advertising a variety of graduate jobs across different sectors and locations. We also have a dedicated in-house Graduate Recruitment Consultancy that delivers a personalised job matching service. 

Remember if you are not on campus you can still access our services via telephone or Google Hangouts appointments - please contact us to discuss your needs.

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