How do I become a Psychologist?

A career in psychology

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How do I become a Psychologist?

How to become a Psychologist”?

To become a psychologist, you will need to study a degree at university with psychology as a major subject. After completing an undergraduate degree, you will need to complete an honours in psychology followed by a master’s degree and an internship. The basic minimum qualification for registration as a psychologist is a master’s degree in either Research, Clinical, Educational, Industrial or Counselling Psychology.

How long does it take?

Training will take a minimum of 5 years of academic training at a university, followed by a practical internship of 12 months at an accredited institution. The 5 years is broken down as follows: Undergraduate degree (3 years) + Honours degree (1 year) + Masters (1 year).

Where can I study?

An undergraduate degree can be studied at any university offering a bachelor’s degree with psychology as a major subject - UJ, NWU, UCT, UNISA, UFH, US, UFS, UP, UZ, UWC, UV, UKZN, RU, Wits and SACAP. Read more about where to study an undergraduate degree, here.

Do I need mathematics at school to become a psychologist?

The short answer to this question is, no. However, you will need to meet the university entrance requirements for a Bachelor of Arts degree with Psychology. If you decide to study psychology as part of Science or Business degree however, then you will need maths. Maths is not a compulsory subject but is useful if you want to do psychology at university. The reason is that all psychology degrees do some level of statistical research methods built into the course.

What are the specialisations in Psychology

You can register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as one of the following 8 designations:

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Counselling psychologist
  • Educational psychologist
  • Industrial or organisational psychologist
  • Research psychologist
  • Neuropsychologist
  • Forensic psychologist
  • Registered counsellor

 What is a BPsych degree?

A BPsych degree is a professional qualification that leads to registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a Registered Counsellor. 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:

  • career counselling
  • employee well-being
  • family counselling
  • HIV/AIDS counselling
  • human resources
  • pastoral counselling
  • community mental health
  • psychometrics
  • school counselling
  • sport counselling
  • trauma counselling

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.

What can I do as a Psychologist?

A psychologist is someone who studies human behaviour by observing, interpreting, and recording how people behave and how they relate to one another and the environment. Read more here.