NHS Careers > Explore by career > Psychological therapies > Careers in psychological therapies > Psychologist



Psychology is a science based profession and is the study of people; how they think, how they act, react and interact. It is concerned with all aspects of behaviour and the thoughts, feelings and motivation underlying them.

Psychology can be studied at GCSE and at Post 16 level.

    • GCSE psychology courses are designed to provide students with a basic level introduction to the subject. Each course is different, but all include some simple practical work and an opportunity to explore some of the main areas of psychology.
    • A-level psychology courses aim to provide a basic knowledge of the main areas of psychology. Students look at how the ideas and theories involved in each area have developed, and explore some psychological questions of their own, by undertaking practical research.

To work as a psychologist, you will need to do approved training at degree level, gain appropriate experience and then follow this with approved training at doctorate level. For more information, see our pages on entry requirements and training for psychologists. 

Working as a psychologist

Psychologists deal with the way the mind works and can specialise in various areas such as mental health and educational and occupational psychology.

Psychologists are not usually medically qualified and only a small proportion of people studying psychology degrees, will go on to work with patients. There are a number of areas that people with psychology degrees can move into.

These include:

  • clinical psychology
  • counselling psychology
  • educational psychology
  • forensic psychology
  • health psychology
  • occupational psychology
  • teaching and research in psychology.

From these areas, the majority of graduates entering the NHS will be involved in one of four specialisms; clinical, forensic, health and counselling psychology.

For further information about careers in psychology, visit our psychology links page, which includes contact information for the regulatory and professional organisations.