How To Qualify as an Educational Psychologist

1-2 minutes

Educational Psychologists work with children and young people from birth to age 25 to fulfil their potential. Tasked with assessing, monitoring and assisting children and young people with learning or emotional difficulties, Educational Psychologists collaborate with families, schools, social workers and other stakeholders to promote learners' learning, emotional, social and behavioural skills.

In our latest blog, we delve into how to qualify as an Educational Psychologist and the skills needed to be successful in this field. 


Qualifications required to become an Educational Psychologist in England, Wales and Northern Ireland

There is a highly prescriptive route to becoming an Educational Psychologist in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Here are the steps you need to complete to start your career as an Educational Psychologist:


Complete a BPS-approved psychology degree

The route to becoming registered begins with completing a psychology degree or conversion course accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). This will make you eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS, enabling you to enrol in postgraduate training. 


Three-year postgraduate training, including a doctorate

If you graduate with a first-class or 2:1 degree and can demonstrate at least one year's full-time experience working with children and young people in an education, health, social care or childcare setting, you will then need to undertake a three-year postgraduate training programme that includes a doctorate. 

 Thirteen universities in England, including  Cardiff University and Queen's University Belfast, offer doctorate courses in educational psychology. The Association of Educational Psychologists (AEP) manages the process for courses in England which are eligible for funding. 

Courses in Wales and Northern Ireland have their own admissions processes and are funded by the Welsh Government and the Northern Ireland Department of Education, respectively. 


Qualifications required to become an Educational Psychologist in Scotland

In Scotland, the two-step training process for becoming an Educational Psychologist involves a two-year master's degree at the University of Dundee followed by a one-year doctoral Qualification in Educational Psychology (Scotland), which includes supervised practice at a Local Authority educational psychology service. North of the border, fees are paid by the Scottish Government.


Professional accreditation for educational psychology doctorate graduates

Completing a BPS-accredited doctorate or the QEP(S) makes you eligible to register with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) and apply for chartered membership of the BPS. In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, you can apply for full membership of the BPS Division of Educational and Child Psychology. Meanwhile, in Scotland, you can apply for chartered membership of the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology.    


Skills needed to become an Educational Psychologist

As well as academic qualifications, there are a number of other things that make a good Educational Psychologist, including a wide range of soft skills. Some of these skills include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills
  • Assertiveness and persuasiveness
  • Tact, diplomacy and sensitivity
  • An enquiring mind and strong analytical skills
  • The ability to work independently and in a team
  • Self-awareness, self-knowledge, security and self-belief
  • Time management skills and the ability to work under pressure


Career prospects for Educational Psychologists

There is a clear and defined pathway for progression in most Local Authority settings, moving towards the ultimate endpoint of becoming either a senior or Principal Psychologist. Some practitioners choose to specialise in a specific field, such as autism, or become self-employed to manage their own caseload. Continuing professional development (CPD), essential to retaining HCPC registration, can help hone specialisms and career paths. 

Most Educational Psychologists in England and Wales are employed by children's services departments within their Local Authority. The principal employees in Scotland and Northern Ireland are Local Authority Psychology Services and the Education Authority, respectively. Other potential employees for EPs include NHS trusts, nurseries, schools, colleges and charitable organisations.

Educational Psychologist salaries can vary dependent on experience, specialism and location. 


Latest Educational Psychologist jobs at Spencer Clarke Group

If you’re searching for your next Educational Psychologist job, why not take a look at all the vacancies currently available at Local Authorities across the UK? 

Can’t find what you’re looking for? Why not upload your CV or contact our SEND specialist, Richard Shorrock, to discover more about upcoming opportunities. 


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