Psychologist Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Psychologist, or Psychotherapist uses psychological techniques and principles to help people control or overcome mental and behavioural issues. Their duties include observing and recording patients’ behaviour, performing controlled laboratory experiments and using psychotherapy and psychoanalysis to create treatment programmes.


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Psychologist duties and responsibilities 

Psychologists may work alone counselling patients, consulting with clients or doing independent research. Others work as part of a team with Social Workers, Physicians and other medical professionals to treat illness and promote overall wellness. Their duties and responsibilities vary depending on their work setting, but can include:

  • Interviewing, observing and surveying people to assess their emotional state
  • Conducting controlled experiments in laboratories and scientific studies to better understand behaviour and brain function
  • Testing patients to identify patterns that will provide more insights and understanding of their behaviours 
  • Helping clients set realistic mental and behavioural health goals and tracking their progress
  • Discussing treatment and control measures with clients 
  • Developing treatment programmes or using psychotherapeutic methods such as cognitive behavioural therapy to improve clients’ psychological health 
  • Supervising other psychological health professionals such as Clinicians and Counsellors 
  • Writing research papers and articles to disseminate findings with other professionals and contribute to the body of knowledge


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What does a Psychologist do?

Psychologists try to understand and explain feelings, emotions, behaviour and thoughts. They do this by observing, recording and interpreting people’s relationships with themselves and their environment. They also perform experiments and assessments to develop theories about the feelings, thoughts and beliefs that influence psychological health. 

Psychologists administer a wide range of tests to assess intelligence, personality, aptitude and cognitive performance. The work of a Psychologist may depend on their area of specialisation, such as developmental, clinical, rehabilitation, forensic, counselling or educational psychology. 


Psychologist skills and qualifications

A successful Psychologist candidate will have various prerequisite skills and qualifications to perform their duties effectively. These skills and qualifications include:

  • Exceptional listening and written and verbal communication skills
  • Strong diagnostic and observational skills 
  • Empathy, compassion and sensitivity to the issues of clients
  • Expert analytical skills
  • Ability to keep clients’ information confidential
  • Professionalism and patience
  • Ability to remain calm in tense situations 
  • Excellent interpersonal skills


Psychologist experience requirements

The type of experience Psychologists must have depends on the area of psychology they specialise in. Many employers prefer candidates who have worked as an Assistant Psychologist or in areas such as mental health work, social work or nursing. Some employers accept candidates who have worked as a Research Assistant. 

If you’re looking for an Educational Psychologist, look for candidates who have experience working with children in childcare, educational or community settings. While not essential, teaching experience is useful. If you’re looking for an Occupational Psychologist, a candidate who has experience in business and management or personal and human resources is preferable. 


Psychologist education and training requirements

Psychologist must have a bachelor’s degree in psychology. They must have completed the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership and obtained an accredited postgraduate qualification in a specific specialism such as forensic or educational psychology. 

If you are looking to hire a Psychologist specialising in neuropsychology, the candidate must have a postgraduate qualification in clinical or educational psychology and completed specialist training in neuroscience. Candidates must also register with the Health and Care Professions Council. Candidates must also have completed additional psychology training from the British Psychological Society.  


Psychologist salary expectations

According to Indeed Salaries, the average salary of a Psychologist in the UK is £32,729 per year. Actual salary varies depending on several factors, including the Psychologist’s work experience, qualifications, specialism, employer and geographical location. 


Job description samples for related positions 

If a Psychologist is not quite what you’re looking for, here are other job description samples that may fit your needs:


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Psychologist job description FAQs


What qualities make a good Psychologist?

A good Psychologist possesses a great deal of patience. In many cases, a Psychologist helps people work through challenging issues, which can take much time and effort. It’s important to let patients work at their own pace, and this can be a tiring task without possessing a great deal of perseverance. 


What makes a good Psychologist job description?

A good Psychologist job description starts with an attention-grabbing headline that includes the specific job title. It also describes the work environment and the type of patients candidates will be dealing with. It also highlights the exact job duties and responsibilities and includes information about salary and benefits, including health insurance, career progression opportunities, travel reimbursements and housing benefits. It also mentions an application deadline to create a sense of urgency. 


Do Psychologists have different responsibilities in different industries?

The responsibilities of a Psychologist will depend on the industry in which they work. For example, Forensic Psychologists use psychological techniques to help Police, Lawyers and Judges solve cases. Educational Psychologists help diagnose and treat education and developmental issues and disorders.  

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