How do I become an Educational Psychologist in Scotland?
In Scotland, all psychologists employed by local authorities must be Chartered Educational Psychologists (or probationers on route to becoming chartered). This means that they must have satisfied the criteria for chartering with the British Psychological Society and additionally be a full member of the Scottish Division of Educational Psychology (or the Division of Child and Educational Psychology).
Psychologists already qualified in other areas of the UK, or elsewhere will need to ensure they are Chartered Educational Psychologists with the Society and the appropriate Division in advance of applying for posts in Scotland. Failure to do so may mean that psychologist are employed on a specific pay scale point for Probationer Psychologists, or are unable to be appointed.
Training to become a Chartered Educational Psychologist
In Scotland, the post-graduate training route for Educational Psychology involves;
- A BPS accredited MSc in Educational Psychology (2 years full time)
- One year supervised practice in an accredited Psychological Service
- which leads to, from the 1st of September 2008, an Award in Educational Psychology (Scotland)
The minimum entry requirement for the MSc courses includes:
- Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR) with the Society. The easiest way to achieve this is to gain an accredited honours degree.
- 2 years (minimum) of relevant experience
The MSc in Educational Psychology is available at both the University of Dundee and the University of Strathclyde
The year of supervised practice requires to be in an accredited Psychological Service and Probationer psychologists are paid at salary scale point 0. From the 1st of September 2008 there will be requirements for the probationer and supervisor to provide submissions which will lead to the Award in Educational Psychology (Scotland) for the probationer.
What is relevant experience and how do I get it?
Examples of settings in which relevant experience is likely to be gained include schools, colleges, community education, child care and early years settings. Relevant experience may also be obtained from work in non-education settings such as social work, health and the voluntary sector, provided the candidate can demonstrate they have worked with children and young people.
Voluntary experience of various kinds may assist applicants in demonstrating a breadth of relevant experience. Whatever kind of work has been done, courses will be primarily interested in what applicants have learnt from their experiences that is relevant to work as an educational psychologist, and how they have been able to apply the knowledge of psychology gained through first degrees.
Educational Psychology/Research Assistants
A growing number of Local Authorities in Scotland are employing Educational Psychology Assistants and Research Assistants to support the work of qualified educational psychologists.
These posts are usually available to Graduates who have gained the Graduate Basis for Registration (GBR). These posts are a useful way of gaining relevant experience for those who wish to gain a place on an MSc Educational Psychology course. Salaries for these posts are at the discretion of the employer.
For those wishing to follow a career in Educational Psychology in England and Wales, the Society Careers Section gives further information.
Doctorates in Educational Psychology
There are a number of Universities in Scotland that offer a postgraduate course in educational psychology usually known as a Doctorate in Educational Psychology. These courses do not offer a route to becoming an educational psychologist. They are an additional qualification that educational psychologists (or others) that are interested in an academic exploration of the field of educational psychology can undertake. The difference is that this course is not accredited training in applied educational psychology.
This differs from a Doctorate in Educational Psychology available in other parts of the United Kingdom, which are accredited by the BPS as a course in applied psychology and form the basis of training to become a chartered educational psychologist.
Candidates that are interested should check with the University whether the qualification they are offering is accredited by the BPS as a qualification in applied educational psychology.