An education psychologist helps children and young people deal with mental health problems within an educational setting such as a school or college. By observing and then working with children through talking, testing and setting tasks they aim to help their mental wellbeing so that they can progress through education. Educational psychologists also work with teachers to develop strategies for helping reduce stress levels as well as altering teaching methods for those students who need help.
To become a fully qualified educational psychologist you will need to have completed both an undergraduate degree and a doctorate. There are many different degrees in either general psychology or educational psychology specifically; some involving pure academic learning and others offering a placement year within the area. Once you have completed you bachelor degree you may gain Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) which, after finishing a three year doctorate, will enable to become a chartered psychologist.
The first step on the way to becoming an educational psychologist is to have gained five GCSEs graded A*-C. After this you should go on to complete at least three A levels, including one in psychology, totalling at least 280 UCAS points. When choosing a degree course you should find out whether they offer a placement or other practical training as this will help after graduation. To gain a place on a doctorate course you will need to hold at least a 2:1 degree in psychology or educational psychology as well as having some practical experience. You may then apply to the British Psychological Society (BPS) for chartered psychologist status.
You should try to gain experience as soon as possible in order to increase your chances of gaining entry to degree and postgraduate courses. Try approaching your local NHS trust to see if you can visit a local psychology department and gain first-hand experience. You could also try asking at your school or college to see if you can talk to an educational psychologist who may be working at your school. You should try to choose a university course that will offer a placement or a heavy emphasis on practical training to stand you in good stead for when you graduate; make sure you research each course before applying.
Career pathways after graduation
Upon graduating from your university course you will have gained GBR and, with the required degree level, be able to go on to complete a doctorate. This will take three years and involve further academic training as well as the practical experience you will need to become a chartered psychologist. Once you have gained chartered status you can find employment within local education or NHS services or even within the private sector.