How to become a professional psychologist
Curious about the human mind? Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting accreditation in Australia through Swinburne.
Key career takeaways
- Salary of A$1,857 (median rate per week)*
- High expected growth rate over the next five to ten years
- Multiple career pathways, across multiple industries.
Professional psychologists work across a number of industries and settings, including hospitals, sporting teams, corporate offices, schools and universities.
*Data sourced from https://joboutlook.gov.au/
Do you have what it takes?
If you have a general interest in what makes humans tick, and have the skills to think analytically, critically and logically, then you’re well set up to become a psychologist. Of course empathy helps too, especially if you’d like to work one-one-one with others in a clinical setting.
Step 1: Study an undergraduate psychology sequence
To start, you’ll need to complete a three-year undergraduate degree approved by the Australian Psychology Accreditation Council (APAC). At Swinburne, there are a number of course options available.
Firstly, there is the Bachelor of Psychology Science. The contains 12 core units and 12 electives, allowing you incorporate studies from other disciplines.
For those looking to specialise in either psychophysiology or forensics, there is the Bachelor of Health Science (with a major in Psychology and Psychophysiology or Psychology and Forensic Science). These contain 24 core units.
For those with a high ATAR. there is also the Bachelor of Psychology (Honours). This degree automatically qualifies you for honours with the right third-year grades.
Step 2: Complete fourth-year studies
For graduates of the Bachelor of Psychological Sciences and Bachelor of Health Science (Psychology) degrees, this means applying for, and completing an honours year. This will qualify you as a provisional psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia.
If you’re studying the Bachelor of Psychology (Honours), this means finishing the course.
Step 3: Complete postgraduate studies
Once you have your provisional registration there are several pathways to apply for general registration. These include:
- Doctoral higher degree (fifth to seventh year accredited degree)
- Standard higher degree (fifth and sixth year accredited degree)
- 5+1 (fifth year of study plus one year internship)
- 4+2 (two year internship)
For more detailed information, check out the Psychology Board of Australia website.
After you successfully complete your chosen pathway, you will be eligible to apply for general registration as a psychologist with the Psychology Board of Australia.
General registration makes you eligible for endorsement in a specific area of practice within psychology. After completing an APAC-accredited postgraduate course, a registered psychologist must undergo supervised practice in a registrar program of the Psychology Board of Australia.
Are you eligible for a scholarship?
Swinburne scholarships are about providing opportunity, promoting equity, and recognising excellence and achievement. Our scholarships can help ease the financial burden of your study and help you to achieve your goals.
Interested in studying Psychology?
Search all our psychology courses available for you to study.