Careers in Psychology
Becoming a psychologist
In order to qualify as a psychologist, a three year undergraduate Bachelor’s degree must be completed. Thereafter, a one year Honours degree must be undertaken. Some universities offer a four year BPsych degree instead. In most universities, the selection process for the Honours degree is rigorous, with a relatively small number of graduates being accepted for this training. Upon completion of the Honours degree, the graduate may choose to register as a psychometrist (which allows one to administer and interpret certain psychological tests) or a registered counsellor (who provides basic psychological screening, assessment and counselling). Psychometrists and registered counsellors are required to complete a six month Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) accredited practicum and a national board examination.
In order to qualify and practice as a psychologist, the graduate needs to also complete a Master’s degree in psychology (following a further rigorous selection process). Master’s degrees are offered in Educational, Counselling, Clinical, Research and Industrial/Organisational Psychology. Once the Master’s degree coursework has been successfully completed, an HPCSA accredited internship of one year is undertaken. In the case of a clinical psychology qualification, an added year of community service is mandatory, hence professional training can take up to seven years
What else can I do with a psychology degree?
Many psychology undergraduates do not pursue an Honours or Master’s degree in the field of psychology. A psychology background assists people in many work fields as it provides them with a basic understanding of human behaviour and social dynamics. As such, an undergraduate training in psychology can equip one to excel in diverse contexts.
Contact the career advising office or the psychology department at your closest university for more information. You can also perform an online search of relevant universities’ training programmes in order to familiarise yourself with the entry requirements, course modules and registration costs.