How to become a chartered psychologist


14th Apr 2021



You might be wondering what a chartered psychologist is? Well, in the UK, in order to practice as a psychologist, you need to apply to the British Psychological Society (BPS) to receive a ‘chartered’ title. It is a legally recognised title that demonstrates the highest standard of psychological knowledge.

Chartered psychologist status is compulsory for most careers in the sector. In this blog, we outline the three requisite steps to becoming a chartered psychologist in the UK.


1. Study a BPS accredited psychology degree

A Google search will bring up thousands of psychology short courses, as well as Bachelors degrees, Masters degrees and conversion degrees. With the vast number of qualifications available to choose from, the decision on what to pick to study can seem a daunting one.

However, if you plan on becoming a chartered psychologist, you can narrow down your course search to only BPS accredited degrees, such as our BSc (Hons) Psychology. Accreditation provides assurance that the course includes content relevant to meet the requirements of the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) curriculum. For more information on the benefits of studying our 100% online BPS accredited psychology degree – check out this blog.

Other psychology courses that aren’t BPS accreditated are just as worthwhile to study, but more suited to individuals looking to pursue careers broadly related to psychology: for example, those in counselling, human resources, or staff training. If you’d like to combine your interest in psychology with a complementary discipline, then BPS accreditation might not be a factor you need to consider, and these other psychology degrees at undergraduate and postgraduate level might be of interest to you:


2. Achieve Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership

Achieving GBC demonstrates that you’ve studied psychology at a sufficient level to progress to the next step: the BPS’s accredited professional postgraduate training, which is required to become a chartered psychologist in your field of choice.

Further training is very specialised, and jobs are highly vocational. Therefore, it is recommended you identify which specialism interests you most and seek to gain relevant work experience. For instance, work experience in a human resource department would benefit those considering specialising in occupational psychology. You may be able to work out your preferred specialism based on your previous work experience or modules you enjoyed during your studies.

On our BSc (Hons) Psychology, provided you gain at least a Lower Second-Class (2:2) Honours degree overall and pass your Final Psychology Project with a minimum of 40%, you will be eligible for GBC.


3. Undertake further training in the field of psychology you want to practice

Undertaking BPS accredited postgraduate study or training in the area you want to specialise in is the final step to becoming a chartered psychologist. These areas include:

  • Academia, research and teaching
  • Clinical psychology
  • Counselling psychology
  • Educational psychology
  • Forensic psychology
  • Health psychology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Occupational psychology
  • Sports and exercise psychology

There are a few routes you could pursue at this stage that is dependent on the area of psychology you want to practice in, such as:

  • A postgraduate taught degree in a specialist area
    You will need to complete an MSc or MPhil with an applied research project, preferably in an area relevant to the field of psychology you want to pursue. Most postgraduate programmes will require you to have significant work experience in order to gain a place on their course, so it’s a good idea to build your work experience as soon as you can.
  • A postgraduate research degree
    Doctorates usually take 3 to 4 years (full-time) or 6 to 8 years (part-time) to complete. For some specialist disciplines, a BPS accredited Doctorate is the only pathway available, such as in clinical psychology and educational psychology. Alternatively, you could complete a PhD in another area that is not accredited by the BPS but could still lead to a specialist career, such as social psychology.

    In order to get a place on a Doctorate programme, you will normally need to have a 2:1 or higher undergraduate degree. Some institutions might accept a 2:2 if you have a relevant Masters or PhD. You should always check with individual course providers to find out their specific entry requirements.

  • A BPS qualification
    This is a good option for those already working in the area they wish to qualify in. The BPS currently offers qualifications in the following applied areas:

    • Qualification in Clinical Neuropsychology
    • Qualification in Counselling Psychology
    • Qualification in Educational Psychology (Scotland) (Stage 2)
    • Qualification in Forensic Psychology (Stage 2)
    • Qualification in Health Psychology (Stage 2)
    • Qualification in Occupational Psychology (Stage 2)
    • Qualification in Sport and Exercise Psychology (Stage 2)

    Through supervised practice from a senior psychologist, these qualifications will help you to enhance and recognise your skills in your chosen field of applied psychology.

If you intend to work within the health or care sector, you will also need to register as a practitioner psychologist with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).

Once you have completed your specialist further training, you will be able to apply to become a chartered member of the BPS. Chartered membership will enable you to use the title CPsychol as well as the Chartered Psychologist logo, and you will be included on the List of Chartered Members. You will also have the opportunity to advertise in the Directory of Chartered Psychologist and/or join one of the BPS’s Specialist Registers. Other benefits include a subscription to The Psychologist and discounts on conferences and events. You can view the full benefits available to chartered members here.
Want to take your first step towards becoming a chartered psychologist? Download a prospectus to learn more about our 100% online BPS accredited BSc (Hons) Psychology. A member of our knowledgeable Admissions team will then get in touch to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Alternatively, if you already know you want to study with us, you can submit an online application. It’s free and straightforward to fill in an application – there are just 5 steps to complete the form – so if you’re ready, apply now!