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How do I become
a psychologist?

I constantly get asked by aspiring students what they need to do or study in order to become a psychologist. This post is specifically meant for South African Students.

I will take you through my journey, and other ways that you can follow, with the hope that it will give you the guidance that you require. There are various routes that one can follow, this is just a guideline.

I completed my degree in Education (BAEd), with majors in English and Psychology. This was to make sure that I get a job as a teacher whilst trying to pursue my dream part-time. During my time we were not as fortunate to have bursaries or grants, so one had to get a job to finance their study, which I think it’s not the case currently.

I then proceeded to study BAHons in Psychology part-time whilst working full-time as a teacher. The difficulty then came when I had to start with my master’s because I did not have funds. The training to become a clinical psychologist requires full-time study. It took me quite a while, but I found a way to survive for 2 years whilst pursuing my master’s full-time at UNISA.

After the hectic two-year study then I was placed at 1 Military Hospital where I completed my internship, which is a paid placement. Thereafter I did community service for another year in the military, this is also a paid independent practice. Finally, I became an independent practitioner! Now I am registered as a clinical psychologist both in South Africa and the UK.

I know that this sounds straightforward forward but it could be a dead end! You must obtain a certain percentage to progress to different levels. Please familiarise yourself with the admission criteria of your university of choice. Thereafter to start with the master’s programme you have to undergo a gruelling 5-day selection process which can either make you or break you. I must say this process is very subjective according to what the university is looking for. Most universities take less than 10 students annually so it is advisable to play it safe by applying for a few places.

There are different routes that you can take. You can choose any undergraduate degree but make sure that you choose helpful subjects like psychology, Anatomy and Physiology, English, Marketing, Statistics and other related subjects.

I hope this helps,

Good luck!

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