Psychology Careers: First Jobs After University

Guest blog by Eleanor Holmes

There are many good roles to apply for when just starting out and considering careers in psychology! A degree, as with many careers, is the starting point, but where do you go from there? Here are three examples of potential roles you could go for.

Mental Health Support Worker

Description: Mental health support workers are involved in the day-to-day care of those with mental health issues and developmental disorders. They can work within residential settings such as hospitals, particularly specialist mental health wards, as well as healthcare centres, or visit clients at home.

Becoming a Mental Health Support Worker: The qualifications required vary between roles. Most, however, require GCSEs in English Language and Maths. Employers also look out for relevant experiences gained within the mental health sector. 

Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner (PWP)

Description: A PWP works within an IAPT service (Improving Access to Psychological Therapies), providing evidence-based treatment to those experiencing mental health issues; most notably anxiety and depressive disorders. They work closely with other professionals such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapists, Psychological Researchers, and Counsellors. A PWP is trained to provide a range of treatments, including low intensity CBT and self-help guidance. Their responsibilities may include carrying out both mental health assessments (including risk) and treatment, whilst liaising with other services and completing administrative tasks. 

Becoming a PWP:  To apply for a PWP role, you will need a BPS accredited degree (or equivalent qualification). You will usually need a year’s experience in the mental health field too. This might be obtained during a placement year or after finishing your undergraduate degree. All aspiring PWP’s must complete accredited IAPT training within whichever service they have applied for.  This training includes both academic work and assessment, as well as supervised clinical practice.

Research Assistant

Description: It can be beneficial to gain experience as a research assistant, if you are interested in psychological research. This involves working alongside researchers and assisting with the completion of their research projects. Responsibilities may include clerical tasks such as mailing surveys and organising study resources such as consent forms, as well as data handling and analysis. They may be asked to help set up and carry out the experiment and assist in recruiting participants. They are usually situated at a university. 

Becoming a Research Assistant: Research assistant roles are available at most levels on the way to becoming a Psychological Researcher, so the necessary qualifications vary between research projects. There are both paid opportunities for postgraduates, and unpaid roles for undergraduates.  Obtaining (or on the way to obtaining) a Psychology degree is commonly a requirement. A master’s degree is also preferable.

Can Brighter Life Therapy help you with a psychology career?

There are many jobs out there, within the psychology field. Within Brighter Life Therapy, many of our therapists specialise in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, which is a popular career path for many aspiring psychologists.

If you are looking to build upon your career, particularly within CBT, check out our CBT Career Mentoring opportunity.  This is provided by Brighter Life Therapy’s Clinical Director, Anjali Mehta. She can provide key information and advice on starting out, what roles to go for, and much more. For even more information regarding CBT careers, see the BABCP website

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