Healthcare & Medical
Psychologists assess individuals in order to diagnose and subsequently treat their mental, emotional and behavioural disorders.
Bachelor's degree + post-graduate qualification / training
What does a Psychologist do?
Psychologists assess individuals in order to diagnose and subsequently treat their mental, emotional and behavioural disorders. They aim to reduce the distress and improve the psychological wellbeing of their clients.
As a psychologist, you might:
- assess a client's needs, abilities or behaviour using a variety of methods, including psychometric tests, interviews and direct observation
- work as part of a multidisciplinary team alongside doctors, nurses, social workers, education professionals, health visitors, and psychiatrists
- devise and monitor appropriate treatment programs, including therapy, counselling or advice
- offer therapy and treatments for difficulties relating to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, addiction, social and interpersonal problems and challenging behaviour
- develop and evaluating service provision for clients
- provide consultation to other professions, encouraging a psychological approach in their work
- counsel and support carers
- carry out applied research, adding to the evidence base of practice in a variety of healthcare settings.
Psychologists generally specialise in one of a number of areas, including educational psychology, clinical psychology, occupational psychology or sports psychology.
Key skills and interests
To become a psychologist, you would need:
- an interest and ability in science
- excellent communication and listening skills
- an interest in human behaviour
- maturity, empathy and patience
- the ability to deal with people in distress
- the ability to keep confidentiality
- good teamwork skills.
Working hours and conditions
You would typically work a standard number of hours, Monday to Friday. Depending on your specialty, you may need to see clients out of hours. Part-time opportunities may also be available.
You would usually see clients in a consultation room where you are based, or visit clients in their own home. You could be based in a hospital, school, prison, rehabilitation unit, private practice, university or sports facility.
How to become an Psychologist?
Entry Level Education
To become a psychologist you usually have to complete four years of undergraduate study, followed by either an accredited 2-year postgraduate qualification or two years of supervised experience with a registered psychologist.
To get into the degree courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English. Entry to postgraduate courses requires completion of an appropriate bachelor degree.
Psychology is a regulated profession, with people wishing to practise as - and call themselves - a psychologist, are required to register with the Psychology Board of Australia, which is part of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.
Overall employment of psychologists is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Greater demand for psychological services in schools, hospitals, mental health centres, and social services agencies should drive employment growth.
Psychologists will also be needed to provide services to an ageing population, helping people deal with the mental and physical changes that happen as they grow older. Demand for psychologists in the healthcare industry is also expected to increase because of the interdisciplinary nature of psychology treatments.
School psychologists will be needed to work with students, particularly those with special needs, learning disabilities, and behavioural issues.