Psychologists see clients for psychological assessment, psychotherapy and counselling. They work with a broad range of people including individuals, couples, families, and employees in the workplace and business organizations. Psychologists gather information about people’s interests, abilities and behaviour using psychological tests and other methods in order to understand, explain and predict human actions. In doing so they seek to identify the source of problems and to determine treatment.
Psychologists may help individuals to deal with the problems of daily living, provide psychotherapy or conduct behaviour modification programmes in mental clinics and hospitals. They study human behaviour in terms of the environment or individual development.
Psychologists may also move out in the community and act as consultants or be involved in preventative work. This entails guiding people in the development of skills for dealing with problems before they even arise. They train various helpers in the community in skills to be applied in serving that community. In the forensic field the psychologist can play an important role in custody disputes and criminal offences.
There are a number of specialised fields in psychology:
Schooling & School Subjects
Complete your National Senior Certificate (Matric) or equivalent with a Bachelor's pass. In addition, meet the university minimum entry requirements.
Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended subjects: Mathematics
Degree: Training consists of 5 years of academic training at a university, with an internship of 12 months at an accredited institution. The basic minimum qualification for registration as a psychologist is a Masters degree in Research Psychology/Clinical Psychology/ Educational Psychology/Industrial Psychology and Counselling Psychology. Firstly, a B-degree must be obtained with psychology as a major subject - UJ, NWU, UCT, UNISA, UJ, UFH, US, UFS, UP, UZ, UWC, UV, UKZN, RU, Wits and SACAP.
After completing this degree the prospective psychologist must apply for selection for a Masters degree in one of the five fields: clinical, counselling, educational, industrial or research psychology. The selection is a very intensive process and only a limited number of students are selected.
Masters degree in Psychology: The duration of this degree is 2 years. The first year is predominantly theoretical but includes supervised practical work. In the second year an internship has to be done under the supervision of a registered psychologist. A short thesis must also be written.
Registration: After complying with all the requirements for the Masters degree and successfully completing the internship, the prospective psychologist has to apply for registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa in one of the five recognised categories of clinical, counselling, educational, industrial or research psychology.
An alternative path to becoming a psychologist is to become a registered counsellor.
Registered Counsellors: Registration as a Registered Counsellor is contingent on completion of:
An accredited 4 year BPsych or equivalent degree in Psychology and an approved minimum six-month’s internship in the designated practice area.
The six months practicum included in the BPsych must be done under supervision of a registered Psychologist according to criteria set by the Professional Board. This practicum may occur from the third year of the degree and shall be not less than 2 months. The practicum may also occur after completion of the degree.
Practice areas for Registered Counsellors include:
Registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is mandatory for this occupation. Consult the HPCSA website for the most up-to-date information relating to accredited qualifications and registration requirements. This information can be found in the relevant sections under the Professional Board for Psychology.
Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA)
(553) of Hamilton and
Tel: (012) 338-9300
Psychological Society of South Africa (PSSA)
Oakhurst Office Park, North Wing
13 St Andrews Road, Parktown, 2193
Tel: (011) 486-3322
To become a Psychologist can take a minimum of 5 years of study.
The first step is to do a Bachelors degree with Psychology as a major.
Thereafter an Honours degree in Psychology needs to be completed.
The final academic step is to do a Masters degree. Competition to get a place in a Maters degree programme is stiff and person needs to do well in their Bachelors and Honours studies.
In order to be recognised as a Psychologist a person needs to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). This will require that an internship is completed at a recognised organisation or institution. An internship is 1 year.
Below are the Bachelor degrees that one can begin with.