A degree in psychology not only opens the door to the mind, but it can also open the door to a successful, very rewarding career. In South Africa, an undergraduate psychology degree is the first step on the path to being able to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) in one of the professional psychology categories. With a view to helping you get the most out of your education, we take a look at these professions.
Clinical psychology is a broad branch of psychology that focuses on diagnosing and treating mental, emotional, and behavioural disorders. Some of the more common disorders that might be treated include personality disorders, substance abuse, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Clinical psychologists work in a wide variety of healthcare settings, such as private-practice offices and hospitals, but they also work in schools, governmental agencies and industry.
2. Counselling psychologist
Counselling psychologists typically work with people facing life challenges and developmental problems and assist with optimising psychological wellbeing. They often work in the areas of career counselling, martial and family therapy, loss and bereavement to name but a few. They often work in private practice, at schools or at universities.
3. Educational psychologist
An educational psychologist is concerned with helping children or young people who are experiencing problems within an educational setting, with the aim of enhancing their learning. Challenges may include social or emotional problems, or learning difficulties. Work is with individual clients or groups and, in an advisory capacity, with teachers.
4. Industrial or organisational psychologist
An industrial or organisational psychologist applies the principles of psychology to human resources, sales, marketing, administration and management issues in the workplace. His or her job may include recruitment, development and training, policy planning and organisation analysis.
5. Research psychologist
Research psychologists are involved in the planning, developing and applying of psychological research methods. They are often involved in the development of psychological measures. Monitoring and evaluation of psychological interventions usually falls within their scope of practice. Most research psychologists work for universities, government offices and private corporations.
Neuropsychologists are involved in assessing, diagnosing and intervening when psychological disorders are as a result of neurological conditions. Neuropsychologists often work with people suffering from traumatic brain injuries and neurological disorders. If you’re fascinated with the inner workings of the brain and central nervous system and how they relate to human behaviour, you might consider a career as a neuropsychologist.
7. Forensic psychologist
Essentially, forensic psychology involves applying psychology to the field of criminal investigation and the law. Forensic psychologists use their knowledge of psychological principles to understand different aspects of the legal system. Forensic psychology is one of the fastest-growing disciplines within psychology.
Registered counsellors can be seen as ‘emotional paramedics’ in cases of trauma, to intervene appropriately, and to refer when and where necessary. They provide short-term supportive counselling (excluding psychotherapy) in a range of environments with diverse individuals and groups, and identify (but not diagnose nor treat) possible mental health disorders, referring clients to the appropriate professionals. They provide psychological screening and intervention for the purposes of enhancing functioning.
A psychometrist is trained in administering, scoring, interpreting and reporting on psychological assessments (psychometric tests). These assessments include cognitive, interest, aptitude and personality measures. Aside from working alongside a psychologist or psychiatrist, a psychometrist may work independently for a private company, a school or university, or for the government.
SACAP’s Bachelor of Applied Social Science degree is a comprehensive undergraduate psychology degree programme, providing a perfect springboard for those wishing to progress to Honours and Masters in order to become a psychologist.
The college’s Bachelor of Psychology professional degree, meanwhile, is approved by the HPCSA for the education and training of Registered Counsellors. Graduates of this programme will be eligible to sit the National Examination of the Professional Board for Psychology in the Registered Counsellor category in order to register with the HPCSA as Registered Counsellors. As a four-year NQF8 degree programme, the BPsych has a ‘built-in’ Honours equivalent. Graduates are therefore also able to articulate into a Masters programme with a view to becoming a psychologist.
Interested in learning more about psychology? SACAP offers a range of courses, including part-time and full-time as well as distance learning options. For more information, enquire now.
Find out more about the HPCSA’s framework for the education, training, registration and scope of registered counsellors here