A psychology master’s degree can give you the opportunity to branch out into many different fields, including clinical psychology, educational psychology and counselling. Some of these careers require additional training and a professional licence to practice, but an MSc is a good starting point, especially if you want to change direction and switch to a psychology career.

Career change

It’s not uncommon for people to discover a passion for psychology after working in a different field. In the UK, changing into a psychology career can start with getting a psychology master’s that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS) and designed for individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in another subject.

The University of Liverpool’s online MSc in Psychology is BPS-accredited and its fully online format means you can start the process of changing to a psychology career while continuing to work in your current role. After graduation, you have the option of applying for Graduate Basis for Chartered (GBC) Membership of the BPS, and pursuing further study in psychology so you can practice as a psychologist.

This psychology career map explains the steps required to change careers. If you’re not based in the UK, the requirements for registering and practicing as a psychologist may be different.

Using psychology in your job does not always require professional registration. A master’s degree in psychology can give you psychology knowledge and research skills that you can apply in a huge variety of fields including recruitment, education and training, sales and customer service, healthcare, and management.

Dr Ricardo Tejeiro, Director of Online Studies for the University of Liverpool’s School of Psychology, took the time to talk about what being a psychology graduate really means and about the kind of career path you can expect with a psychology master's degree.

Psychology jobs and careers

Dr Ricardo Tejeiro explained that studying psychology can lead to a wide variety of psychology jobs and psychology career paths but the one common element that psychology students share is the desire to gain a deeper understanding of people and human behaviour.

“Psychology is a degree that provides many possibilities. It involves human behaviour, so it is applicable in most contexts where human behaviour plays a role – which is practically everywhere! All sorts of businesses and organisations, charities, public institutions, teaching, you name it. Even in our own life, we all want to know more about ourselves and others,” says Dr Tejeiro.

Some of the more traditional psychology careers people tend to associate with psychology are clinical or counselling psychology but there are many other varied jobs for psychology graduates, including: wellness and life coaching, behavourial analysis, training and recruitment, and occupational and organisational specialists– which is where the University of Liverpool online psychology degrees are more focused.

Generally speaking, more traditional psychology careers can include:

  • Psychotherapy,
  • Clinical psychology,
  • Educational psychology,
  • Occupational psychology,
  • Forensic psychology,
  • Counselling, including mental health and paediatric counselling,
  • Genetic counselling,
  • Wellness therapy and life coaching,
  • CBT and mindfulness,
  • Social and community work,
  • Teaching,
  • Sport and exercise psychology,
  • Criminal justice,
  • Marketing and market research, including e-commerce and customer behaviour.

Dr Tejeiro explains that there is a vast array of ‘types’ of psychology and people can apply their psychology knowledge to many different industries but outlined below are some career paths that are associated with a more traditional psychology degree:

Clinical psychology

One of the most traditional psychology careers. Clinical psychologists are specialists that individuals are referred to, usually by a doctor. Clinical psychologists deal with mental and behavioural issues, typically in their own office or in health organisations. They listen, make their diagnosis through interviews, questionnaires and other tools, suggest a treatment and support the client – or patient – throughout their path to recovery. They are qualified to work with severe mental illness and symptoms, such as personality disorders, schizophrenia and suicidal behaviour.

Counselling psychology

Counselling psychologists however, focus more on how people function both personally and in their relationships. This includes depressive incidents, eating disorders, marital breakdown and anxiety. Counseling psychologists help people with physical, emotional and mental health issues improve their sense of well‐being, alleviate feelings of distress and resolve crises.

Organisation psychology

Organisational psychologists provide a completely different type of service: they work in businesses and other types of organisations dealing with personnel selection, motivation, assessment, training, and leadership. Any process dealing with human behaviour in the workplace.

Forensic psychology

Forensic psychologists are concerned with the psychological aspects of legal processes in the courts of justice. Some forensic psychologists also work to understand criminal behaviour and everything around it, from police procedures to offender treatment.

Educational psychology

Educational psychologists are interested in how we learn and develop. Educational psychology is all about how learning takes place and how performance can be enhanced through our understanding of learning.

Educational psychologists are widely involved in curriculum design and in giving advice and guidance on the latest research into how children learn. They are also involved in educational assessments – investigating learning disabilities, dyslexia and even autism.

Skills that support employability

The University of Liverpool offers three different online psychology programmes: MSc in Psychology, MSc in Mental Health Psychology and MSc in Organisational and Business Psychology so you can find the right online psychology degree for you to help you reach your career goals.

All three online psychology programmes offer a myriad of skills, as Dr Tejeiro explains, “On our mental health programme you acquire the ability to analyse the suitability of different treatments to a given psychological problem. On organisational and business psychology you identify and develop the key aspects of being a leader. But all of our programmes share a strong focus on research and on critical analysis.

We don´t see our students as future ‘psychology robots’ who will just apply the procedure X in the face of the problem Y. When our students graduate, they possess a deep and critical knowledge of a variety of theoretical and methodological approaches, and they are able to autonomously adapt that knowledge and skills to their specific context.

Our graduates are able to generate and explore hypotheses and research questions, to carry out empirical studies involving a variety of methods of data collection, and to use a variety of psychological tools.”

Having an online master's degree in psychology means gaining a plethora of skills which may not only help your career but can also be useful in many areas of day-to-day life including:

  • research,
  • analysis,
  • problem-solving,
  • data handling,
  • reasoning,
  • team working and independent learning.

All of these skills may help you become more attractive to potential employers.

“Employability and skills for a successful career in psychology are key elements we considered when we designed our online psychology programmes. For instance, the Master in Organisational and Business Psychology is focused on those aspects that we know are especially valued by companies and organisations, such as: leadership, coaching, organisational change and the management of talent,” says Dr Tejeiro.

Find out more about the University of Liverpool’s online psychology degrees and see how studying psychology could be beneficial for your career.

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