A Guide to Becoming a Psychologist

Working as a psychologist can be very rewarding as you help clients of all ages and abilities live happier, healthier and more meaningful lives.

If you’re considering pursuing a career as a psychologist, make sure to read our handy guide on how to become a psychologist.

How to Become a Psychologist

Understanding What Psychologists Do

Psychologists are allied health professionals who focus on human behaviour, cognition and emotion. Through a range of therapies, they can also help with a range of mental health issues.

From how people think privately to how they behave socially, psychologists are able to assess, diagnose and then provide ongoing therapy to help clients live and function better.

Psychologists can work in a wide variety of workplaces. Some may consult in private practice (like One Central Health), whilst others might work for a hospital, a corporation or even a school. Depending on where you practice as a psychologist will determine the type of clients and presenting issues you’re likely to be faced with on a daily basis.

Tasks and Duties

  • Counselling – counselling involves a psychologist helping clients to modify their thought processes, manage emotion and change their behaviour.
  • Diagnoses – psychologists are trained to identify and diagnose a range of mental, emotional, developmental and behavioural disorders, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some of these diagnoses may inform forms of psychological tests.
  • Therapy – psychologists design and implement therapy and treatment plans.
  • Research – some psychologists focus mainly on research either through experiments, observations or interviews.

Qualifications and Registration

Study

Typically, psychologists in Australia study an undergraduate degree such as a Bachelor of Psychology or Psychological Science. If you’re hoping to graduate and become a registered psych, your course of study will need to be accredited and recognised by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council or APAC.

Once you have finished this degree, you will need to pursue a fourth year honours year or postgraduate diploma.

Most universities in Western Australia offer courses in psychology so you should directly contact the institution you’re interested in to find out specific details about their degrees.

Provisional Registration

At this point you currently have two options to kick start your career. Either you can choose to register as a provisional psychologist and undergo two years of practical work under supervision. Or you can study for an additional year, which is then followed by one more year of supervision. For more information about provisional psychologists and fully registered psychologists, read our article on the topic.

Masters and Doctorate

If you decide to continue studying instead of begin working as a psychologist in a clinic or hospital (or other organisation), you might choose to complete an accredited Masters program or complete your Doctorate in a more specialised are of study.

Registration

All psychologists are required to register with the Psychology Board of Australia. Before you apply, you will need to have completed your studies (whether the 4+2 or 5+1 pathway) and passed the national psychology exam.

Membership

You may want to consider signing sign up as a member of the Australian Psychological Society as well. From keeping informed of developments in the industry and psychological work, to receiving support and access to resources and tools, there are many benefits from joining such a community.

Psychologists at One Central Health

At One Central Health, we have a team of experienced, professional and trained psychologists who are dedicated to helping our clients live their lives in the most meaningful, happy and healthy way possible.

Whether you’re looking for advice on your psychological career, want to find out more about our services or looking for potential employment as a psychologist, get in touch with us today!

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