OFO No: 2634 





What is a Psychologist? 

Psychology is a very wide subject. There are many career paths in psychology. It’s advisable to read up on the different paths so that you can make an informed choice for yourself. You obviously don’t want to study for years down the wrong path. 

You can use psychology as a base for some careers (for example teaching, social work, nursing, advertising, policing or HR etc) or you could specialise in a particular field of psychology. 

Examples of specialisations:

Clinical Psychologists (OFO No: 263401) – CLICK HERE

  • Generally work in hospitals or in private practice providing diagnostic and therapeutic services to patients

Clinical Neuro-Psychologists (OFO No: 263401)

  • Generally specialise in brain damage and how it affects all aspects of the patient (human behaviour, movement, thinking, speech etc)

Developmental or Educational Psychologists (OFO No: 263402)

  • Generally work with learners and students and those patients who are having developmental problems.

Counselling Psychologists (OFO No: 263407)

  • Generally work in the community, for NGO’s or in private practice. They tend to assist individuals, couples or groups of people who need help dealing with day to day stresses which are made worse by other emotional factors, for instance couple problems, rape, financial problems etc.

Industrial Psychologists (OFO No: 263403)

  • Generally work in a business or industrial setting. They focus on people functioning effectively in relation to their working environments. They are often found working in the HR department.

Sports Psychologists (OFO No: 263406)

  • Work with individuals or sports team to help them focus mentally on their sports potential.

Forensic Psychologists (OFO No: 263401)

  • They work alongside law enforcement and give expert testimony in court with regard to the mental status of a victim or accused and also give evidence on various forms of human behaviour with regard crime.

Research Psychologists (OFO No: 2634 05)

  • Do a lot of research and collate and analyse data that could assist various industries such as Architects, government departments, advertising agencies, & market research companies, etc.

Community Psychologists (OFO No: 263408)

  • Generally work in communities focussing on specific community problems like overcrowding, gang related issues, homelessness, drugs & alcohol abuse, women & child abuse etc.

What does a Psychologist do? (this will depend on what direction you take)

  • meets and talks with patient or patients
  • makes patient feel relaxed and safe
  • tries to illicit (draws out) information from patient
  • asks patients ‘leading’ questions (tries to get patient to open up)
  • does research
  • keeps up to date with psychological discoveries and developments
  • writes reports
  • attends conferences or even presents at conferences

Are you . . . ?

  • interested in human behaviour?
  • intelligent?
  • open minded?
  • caring?
  • patient and understanding?
  • emotionally stable?
  • inquisitive?
  • a problem solver?
  • able to keep patient’s information confidential?
  • a good communicator?

How do I become a Psychologist?

There are 2 basic paths you can choose:


Study psychology subjects so that you can use it as a base for career in teaching, social work, nursing, advertising, policing or HR etc.


Make psychology your actual career. You will need a 4 years Bachelors of Social Science Honours degree from an accredited university. During this degree, you will study various psychology subjects and later specialise in the direction you’d like to go.

Examples of subjects during your degree (this is not definite):

Ist Year

  • Psychology research methods
  • Biological psychology
  • Principles of learning
  • Social psychology
  • Developmental psychology
  • Cognition
  • Personality
  • Psychopathology
  • Psychotherapy

2nd Year (it could be divided like this)

  • Research in psychology I
  • Psychopathology
  • Personality and human development
  • Social psychology and intergroup relations
  • Learning language and cognition

3rd Year

  • Brain, behaviour and health
  • Research in psychology II
  • Clinical and community psychology

Once you have completed your B.Soc.Sci (Hons) you will need to complete 2 years course work as well as a 1 year internship with a thesis. You will then be a Registered Psychologist.

Some Registered Psychologists may continue studying and complete a 5th, 6th or 7th year of studying and go into research.





OTHER CAREERS TO CONSIDER: Counsellor or Audiologist

Is becoming a Psychologist the right career choice for me?