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Should I become a Psychologist?

29th May 20

The human mind is remarkable, not least because it is akin to an organic supercomputer for its sheer processing power. And ability to run something as complex as our bodies without any conscious thought from us.

More than that though, it possesses a deeply complex psyche that forms our personality. Including all our neuroses, anxieties, and other quirks.

But for all we know about the human mind, there is a treasure trove yet to be discovered. And even the theories around what we do know are changing and growing.

It is for this reason that psychology is one of the most fast-moving areas of study in the world.

Becoming a psychologist is something of a catchall term but includes the study of cognitive, emotional, and social processes to better understand the human mind.

There are also incredible career opportunities that include forensics and criminology, psychotherapy, and occupational psychology.

More than 72% of all psychology students go straight into employment within a relevant field upon graduation, so the career prospects are excellent.

But what if you want to become a psychologist but you don’t have the right qualifications to get into University?

Learndirect | Become a Psychologist without A Levels | What does it mean to become a Psychologist

What does it mean to be a Psychologist?

Psychology is a broad church under which a range of specialisms sit.

Depending on the route you take your professional career – and your average day – can look very different from one job to another.

If you’re a psychologist within the NHS your role could be to deal with emergency mental health issues, supporting people who experience breakdowns. Or you may need to assess someone for sectioning.

Alternatively, you could be hospital based, delivering support through CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), psychotherapy or one of the other recognised approaches to mental health.

A psychotherapist on the other hand will work with someone with severe or enduring mental health issues on an ongoing basis.

They will work with people with bipolar disorder, negative behaviour patterns and personality disorders in order to help them function and live as fulfilling a life as possible.

Psychology can also lead you down the criminology and forensics route, which can involve examining crime scenes and developing criminal profiles.

So, becoming a psychologist isn’t quite as clear cut as one might think.

Learndirect | Become a Psychologist without A Levels | How to become a Psychologist

How to Become a Psychologist

Not all careers in psychology require qualifications in psychology. Or at the very least a degree in it.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, for example, is a talking therapy. It helps individuals with mild to severe anxiety and depression work through their challenges in a holistic way.

It’s highly effective and has helped millions of people. However, you don’t need a degree in psychology in order to practice it.

However, having a psychology degree will allow you to offer that alongside other therapies and approaches to help your future clients.

Similarly, mental health nurses aren’t necessarily qualified psychologists. And they don’t have to be either to provide care. They also work with psychologists to ensure they are providing the best possible support.

If, however, you want to become a ‘chartered psychologist’ to either operate a private practice or to work for the NHS then you will need a qualification approved by the British Psychology Society (BPS).

This means studying an undergraduate degree in psychology that leads to the Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) and a suitable postgraduate qualification. This is mandatory for pursuing a career in psychology.

Therefore, if you’re contemplating embarking on a psychology degree soon, you’ll need to get a foundation level of knowledge. Or run the risk of being left behind.

Learndirect | Become a Psychologist without A Levels | Getting the Qualifications

Getting the Qualifications

If you’ve left school without A Levels, or relevant A Levels, you may struggle to get accepted on to a degree course.

However, an Access to Higher Education Diploma in Psychology will help you move your studies forward.

Access to HE Diplomas are open to anyone, including individuals with A Levels – or equivalent – who want to retrain.

The Diplomas are designed not only to give you the foundational knowledge in your chosen field but also to give the skills you need to tackle university-level study.

Depending on the area of psychology you wish to focus on there are different Access to HE Diplomas with psychology at their core, including social sciences and criminology.

Both are relevant to degree level study; they will merely inform the direction your studies will take in the long term.

This isn’t a reflection on other courses or any one person’s ability to learn. It’s entirely down to the course content and how steep the learning curve can be.

If you already have an idea of which universities you would like to apply to in the future, study their prospectus so you have a good grasp of what the course contains.

Remember, universities create their own courses so while there will be similarities, they won’t be the same.


Online learning gives you the freedom to study what you want, at a time and place that works best for you.

You still get the benefit of tutor support, the qualification and expanding your knowledge but without the hassle.

You can organise your learning around your circumstances and tailor your studies in a way that works best for you.

And don’t forget, online learning usually offers a flexible way of paying for the course so you can manage your finances better too.

To enrol on your Access to Higher Education Diploma in Psychology click the button below.

Learndirect | Become a Psychologist without A Levels | Enrol Today

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