• Question: Is becoming a psychologist worth the amount of time and effort required to do it?

    Asked by RuaryW on 20 Nov 2023.
    • Photo: Malwina Niechcial-McKenna

      Malwina Niechcial-McKenna answered on 20 Nov 2023:

      Hi Ruary. I would say absolutely. Especially if this is the career you want to have. If you’re just studying psychology because you can’t think of anything else to do then it may be different. But for me, I wanted to be a psychologist, so obviously all the time and effort paid off. I do love to study as well, so it’s not that much of a problem for me either and I do not see it as a waste of time. Plus, to do some things as a psychologist you do need to have a PhD, so that was the plan all along. Do what is right for you and good luck! 🙂

    • Photo: Jaime Benjamin

      Jaime Benjamin answered on 20 Nov 2023:

      I think the most honest answer is “some days”. There are days were I get a genuine buzz from doing this job. It uplifts my spirits in a way I can’t explain. The days were I check off things on my list and make amazing progress – I feel like I was really on my A-game and feel a great sense of achievement. The days when I see my students have those moments of sincere awe inspiring eye-popping realisation, growth, and the light bulb just clicks on for them – it makes me so proud of them. All the effort and all the time – it is so very worth it.

      Then there are days where I face barrier after barrier,rejection after rejection, and nothing gets done. There are days where I can’t help the students who are genuinely struggling with their work or life. Students who are angry at me for something I said, did or didn’t do, gave them a mark they felt is unfair, or give negative unhelpful feedback. Those days I feel like no – its not.

      I think these ambivalent feelings – that it is both worth the effort and not worth the effort – can be found in any job or in any task. I know I also feel this way about cooking. I keep an eye on the ratio of good:bad days, and when the bad days start out numbering the good, I put the effort in to how I can increase the good days.

      It is not what you do – its the manner in which you do it. Even though sometimes it feels like the effort wasn’t worth the outcome, I am still going to put in the effort. You can’t know the outcome until after it happens. 🙂

    • Photo: Ed Morrison

      Ed Morrison answered on 20 Nov 2023:

      Probably not for everyone. Psychology is a very popular subject at A level and degree level. This means there are thousands of psychology graduates every year, several times more than there are professional psychology jobs or training places.

      The good thing about studying psychology is that don’t have to become a psychologist (most don’t). Instead, you can go into many different careers but still enjoy studying a fascinating subject and learning useful skills like scientific thinking and statistics.

    • Photo: David McGonigle

      David McGonigle answered on 20 Nov 2023:

      Hi Ruary. I guess we could equally ask that of any profession: each requires different time and effort during your training. There are several paths to becoming a psychologist, each dependent on which aspect of the subject interests you the most.

      You can find out about them easily enough from the BPS, so my general advice is to try to get some experience or get a feel for the job. Your local careers officer (teacher) should be able to go through what opportunities are available. Good luck! Dave

    • Photo: Rachael Hulme

      Rachael Hulme answered on 20 Nov 2023:

      If you are interested in it and you think it will be a rewarding career for you, then yes! 🙂 To help you decide you can talk to your school careers advisor and do some research to find out more about different jobs (I’ve found this website helpful: https://www.prospects.ac.uk).

    • Photo: removed scientist

      removed scientist answered on 20 Nov 2023:

      For me the answer is yes. I think it is a good idea to find out as much about it as possible before you decide. Doing a degree in psychology does not tie you down career wise as lots of different jobs will use the research skills you learn

    • Photo: Berengere Digard

      Berengere Digard answered on 21 Nov 2023:

      Doing a degree in Psychology is very useful and can open many, MANY career doors for you, and not all of them will need you to do many more years of studying and training.

      If you want to specialise in Clinical Psychology, the path is long, but all those I know who have taken this path are passionate and don’t regret it one bit.

      If you want to become a researcher in Psychology, you also have to do a PhD. Again, we are passionate about our research so of course it’s worth it, but it is also a very competitive job, so it is definitely not for everyone. If you are not happy in this job, just change and get a job that makes you happy! Luckily, a degree in Psychology means you can work in so many different jobs!

    • Photo: Emma Sullivan

      Emma Sullivan answered on 11 Dec 2023:

      I think that some days you will think so but other days as with any other job you will go through the motions of why am I doing this. If you enjoy it and are motivated I definitely think so though :).