Aspiring applicants to the PGDipPsychPrac programme

These pages provide information for aspiring applicants to the PGDipPsychPrac programme, including planning your degree, getting advice and finding internships.

So you want to be a Registered Psychologist

If it is right for you, being a Registered Psychologist is an excellent career choice.  Not only are projected needs for Psychologists continuing to be strong but it is also a field in which new opportunities are still opening up.  It is also a profession in which it is possible to redefine your career in different directions over time.  In comparison to some more narrowly defined jobs, Psychology is also relatively ‘portable’ making it possible for you to move locations if you wish, or find work if you need to move for other reasons.   The training is, however, a significant investment of your time, and of social and material resources.  In New Zealand, it requires a minimum of six years at University including a final year of supervised practice.  

Early exit or stopping points

Fortunately, there are also strong job opportunities after Bachelor, Postgraduate Diploma/Honours or Masters degrees in psychology (without becoming Registered).  As a discipline, psychology provides students with a grounding not only in transferrable skills such as advanced literacy and numeracy, but also a particular knowledge base about people and their behaviour; a knowledge base that is useful in a wide range of work.  If six years at university seems too daunting, is currently unaffordable for you, or becomes impossible to complete in immediately successive years, take heart – there are multiple points at which you can graduate with a degree and move into work - and if you find later you want to and have the opportunity, you can return and extend your study.  In fact, many registered psychologists have done exactly that, and have found that their prior experience in the workforce contributes very positively to who they become as a psychologist.

If you are ready to become a registered psychologist now . . . 

Becoming a registered psychologist is more than just enrolling in a final few courses at University.  Achieving masterate or doctoral level in Psychology is a necessary prerequisite, but in and of itself, such a degree does not make you a practicing psychologist.  Such a degree does mean that you have acquired a solid academic foundation in the knowledge-base of the psychology discipline as well as having demonstrated competence in conducting research.  To become a psychologist, you also then need to have a period of supervised practice, learning to apply that knowledge base to actual needs and problematic situations.  Even if you have completed a number of courses in applied topics, you still need this additional step which is quite different from taking an applied course, doing an applied thesis or undertaking a brief practicum. 

Registration is a formal legal process which in New Zealand is managed by the Psychologists Board.  Their website psychologistsboard.org.nz  specifies the process. 

In addition, the internship year involves considerable personal growth; for many students it is a quite surprisingly transformative year.

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