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How to become a Psychologist

Psychologists are health professionals who use their knowledge and skills to diagnose and help people manage a variety of mental health problems. These can be cognitive, behavioural or educational disorders, and some psychologists may choose to specialise in a specific area.

If you are patient with great listening skills, want to make a difference in people’s lives, and are a fantastic communicator, a job as a Psychologist could be perfect for you.


About you:


  • Excellent communicator
  • Active listener
  • Great problem solver
  • Patient and empathetic
  • Rational and calm
  • Socially perceptive
  • Emotionally resilient
  • Critial thinker


The job:


  • Identifying potential cognitive, behavioural and educational disorders in patients
  • Administering diagnostic tests to confirm a diagnosis
  • Collecting information about a patient’s health and history
  • Developing treatment plans personalised to each patient’s needs
  • Consulting with other healthcare professionals
  • Conducting research through interviews and observations
  • Providing emotional support to patients
  • Engaging in lifelong learning as healthcare advances
  • Referring patients on to other specialists if necessary


Lifestyle Impact: Low


  • Part Time opportunities: High – around 48% of Psychologists work part-time (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Average hours for full-time workers: 43 hours a week, which is average (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • Psychologists’ salary (average) $110,000* per year (source: seek.com.au). *Salaries vary depending on your skills and experience.
  • Future career growth: Very strong (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au).
  • You will be spending most of your time indoors.
  • You will also need to consider that you may be dealing with very vulnerable people, and hear things that may be confronting.


Psychologists are most in demand in these locations:


This is a large occupation, with around 36,100 people working as Psychologists in 2020 (source: labourmarketinsights.gov.au), with very strong growth expected over the next five years. Demand for Psychologists is highest in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. Most Psychologists work in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry.

Your duties as a Psychologist can vary depending on which field you’d like to specialise in, such as child psychology, forensic psychology, sports psychology, and more.


How to become a Psychologist in Australia


To work as a Psychologist in Australia, you will need to complete a minimum of six years of combined education and/or training.


Step 1 – Complete Year 12 with a strong focus on English and Sciences.


Step 2 – Study an accredited undergraduate level course at university, typically a Bachelor of Psychology or Bachelor of Psychological Science. You can see a full list of Ahpra’s approved programs of study here.


Step 3 – After finishing your undergraduate degree, you can either choose to continue with 2 more years of study with a Master’s/Doctorate level degree; or 1 further year of Master’s level study combined with a 1 year internship. See approved postgraduate programs of study here. If you choose the 5+1 internship pathway, you will also need to complete the National Psychology Exam.


Step 4 – Apply for general registration with the Psychology Board of Australia. Make sure you meet any requirements set out in the registration standards.


Step 5 – Start working as a qualified Psychologist. You will need to renew your registration each year, as well as participate in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) throughout your career.


Step 6 – If you’d like to specialise in a particular field, you will need to complete further postgraduate study and apply for endorsement.


Find out more here –





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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


What do Psychologists do?


Psychologists help to diagnose and treat people with a variety of mental health disorders, and help them to have a better quality of life.


Which industries employ Psychologists?


Psychologists are usually employed in the Healthcare and Social Assistance industry.


What options are there for career progression?


You will usually start working out as a general psychologist, and can then choose to do further study to specialise in a particular field.


Do I need to go to university to become a Psychologist?


Yes, you will need a combination of both undergraduate and postgraduate study, as well as potentially training, before you can work as a Psychologist.


Where do Psychologists work?


Psychologists are needed all across Australia, particularly in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. They mostly work indoors.


What are 3 things I can do right now to help me become a Psychologist?


If you’re in high school and you’d like to find out if a career as a Psychologist is right for you, here’s a few things you could do right now:

  1. Get work experience in a healthcare-related setting, such as a hospital, doctor’s office or even nursing home. This can help you get exposure to the industry and even start forming networks.
  2. Do lots of research on the university degrees you would like to study and make sure they’re approved by Ahpra, or you might not be able to register once you finish.
  3. See if you can talk to someone who works as a Psychologist to get an idea of what a day in their life is like, or find some ‘day in the life’ videos to watch.

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