If you've reached the end of your psychology degree and you're not sure what step to take next, you're not alone. Becoming a clinical psychologist is a big commitment, and the ultimate goal for some - but not for everyone. For psychology students, becoming a registered psychologist means a four-year undergraduate degree and a two-year master's degree followed by further registration and training. It's a lot to take on, not to mention a massive time and financial commitment.
For students who are passionate about following a clinical psychology pathway, this commitment is worth it. But if you're feeling a little wary of going back to the books and want to kickstart your career now, exploring other non-clinical options may be a great idea.
The only problem you may encounter now is deciding just which career path to follow... but that's a pretty great problem to have.
Where can your psychology degree take you?
You're inquisitive. Human behaviour intrigues you, and you love delving into the human mind. You are also no doubt highly empathetic, and passionate in helping people thrive within their mental health and wellbeing.
You're also a clear communicator. You know how to talk to people and understand their points of view. You are patient and a natural problem-solver.
These are highly sought after qualities in a range of different jobs and industries. These jobs may not be top of mind after completing your degree, but they're out there - you just need to know what to look for.
If you’ve reached the end of your psychology or behavioural science undergrad and you’re not sure you want to continue on to a Masters degree to become a registered psychologist, you could consider undertaking post grad in rehab counselling.
A specialised Allied Health discipline, rehabilitation counselling allows you to work in a myriad of different areas, including in disability, vocational, drug and alcohol, and other rehabilitation work. A lot of the time, you’ll be helping your clients return to work. You’ll be helping your clients reach their health and wellness goals and get back on their feet.
In human resources, your main focus is on people - which is why psychology grads are such an ideal fit for working in the HR world. A human resources manager is responsible for the hiring and management of employees. As a psychology grad, you know the ins and outs of human behaviour, and how and why people think and act the way that they do. Understanding these motivations is an ideal skill to have when working in human resources, because communicating with people effectively is a key part of your role, and crucial in resolving any potential employee disputes or managing disciplinary action.
Psychology is generally an ideal background to have in understanding employee wellbeing and providing the best support possible. You can apply your psychology background to increasing employee productivity and happiness, and ultimately make a company a better place to work. Super rewarding! Consider adding to your degree with a diploma in human resources management, to give you great edge when looking to break into this space. Alternatively, you could look to gain experience in this sector by applying for junior roles and progressing your career by learning on the job – however these opportunities are not always easy to find.
Within the same realm of workplace culture is organisational psychology. As an organisational psychologist, you'll be responsible for studying human behaviour in the workplace, and improving employee motivation, wellbeing, and job performance.
There are quite a few similarities between organisational psychology and human resources. Both are focused on the people of an organisation, and working to improve motivation and job satisfaction, as well as overall employee wellbeing. The differences can often depend on the individual business settings, but organisational psychologists are often responsible for researching and developing programs for their organisation, whilst HR professionals will generally be the ones implementing these programs and ensuring they are a good fit for the company.
As such, organisational psychologists are often external consultants, meaning you may work for a variety of companies and organisations, in a range of different industries.
As a career counsellor you’ll be advising clients on their career choices and professional development. There are so many factors that impact someone’s career choices, including lifestyle, values, personality, and abilities, in addition to general education and career so far.
You’ll be helping your clients figure out what they want from their careers and lives, and talk through their options with them so that they can continue developing their careers and determine next steps.
Rehabilitation consultants assist those who are managing physical or mental injuries or disabilities. Your goal is to help your clients recover and achieve independence, ideally getting back into the workplace and community. As a rehabilitation consultant, you’ll be working in a case management capacity, coordinating your client’s care and collaborating with the rest of their care team to ensure the best possible results.
You’ll also be working alongside government agencies, insurers, and employers to provide assessment services. It’s an incredibly varied role, and a degree in psychology can be an asset in understanding how your clients and those surrounding them are thinking and feeling.
So where to next?
The above jobs are just a handful of options available to you as a psychology undergraduate. If your goal is to continue to progress to become a registered psychologist, but you’re a little apprehensive about the additional time and cost associated with getting your supervised hours and your registration, consider joining a company like APM.
You can start working once you’ve completed your undergraduate degree, gaining experience in a variety of different roles and presentations. Through your time with APM, we’ll support you through the registration and supervision process, helping you get closer to your goal of being a registered psych.
Sound good? Check out our first ever Allied Health Graduate Program. It will give you the opportunity to work with people from many different Allied Health disciplines, offering further insight into the Allied Health industry and ultimately making you a more well-rounded health practitioner.