Psychology is such a broad degree, that there are loads of areas you can get into after you graduate. However, almost all jobs these days require you to have some sort of work experience, so it’s best to get this as soon as possible.

We’ve made a list of how to find psychology work experience opportunities depending on the area you want to get into!

Educational psychology work experience

educational psychology work experience

To get into the educational sector of psychology, you will definitely need work experience working around children or in an educational setting. There are a lot of ways to get this experience, such as working as a teaching assistant, and even being a mentor or tutor to a child.

There are always people wanting tutors for their children, and so this would be an easy way to gain invaluable experience for your CV. Another relevant job would be a social care worker, and there are loads of job postings online.

Clinical psychology work experience

how to get psychology work experience nhs

The best type of work experience you could get as a clinical psychologist would be working as an assistant psychologist. It’s the most relevant work experience to the role, and would look amazing on a CV. These positions can be found on the NHS Careers website, and it’s always worth checking regularly to see if something pops up that would suit you.

Of course, there are other ways to gain clinical psychology work experience:

Work within the prison service

If you’re looking for clinical psychology experience, His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service (HMPPS) is actually one of the largest employers of forensic psychologists. While it’s not technically ‘work experience’ before you complete your degree, the HMPPS does offer graduate roles in psychology, including assistant psychologists and intervention facilitators.

Interested in working in the criminal justice system? Trainee placements can be a great place to start if you’re interested in clinical psychology.

Trainee placement opportunities within the prison service

Whilst the above clinical psychology opportunities are for graduates, the prison service does have trainee placement opportunities available, if you’re interested in clinical psychology. Have a look at the Youth Custody Service Trainee Counselling Psychologist Placement programme.

Mental health support roles

If you’d like to work with people with mental health needs, there are a variety of psychology graduate opportunities in both the private and public sectors. This includes GP surgeries, hospitals and local authorities. It’s also worth looking for opportunities within a mental health charity for further experience in a mental health role.

There are also often volunteering opportunities within mental health charities. In some instances, you may be able to work alongside permanent psychology staff to gain first-hand work experience.

Shadowing a clinical psychologist

There’s no denying that it can be tricky to get psychology work experience, especially before you graduate. However, shadowing a clinical psychologist could be a great way to understand how clinical psychologists work.

Although it’s unlikely you’d be able to attend sessions of a confidential nature, job shadowing can help you get to grips with the day-to-day of being a clinical psychologist.

Substance misuse recovery roles

Not too dissimilar to the above, working within rehab centres, the criminal justice system and community settings can give you plenty of experience working with people with mental health and substance issues.

There are a variety of mental health services around that cover substance misuse, if you’re keen to explore this avenue of psychology.

Occupational psychology work experience

psychology work experience

If you’re looking to get into occupational psychology, then a HR department would be the best place for work experience. It could be trickier to get work experience in this department, and instead of applying to jobs on a website, it might be worth emailing companies and asking them directly for work experience. However, any work experience working with people would be beneficial, whether that be working with students or in offices.

Internships in psychology

internships in psychology

Participating in an internship offers you the opportunity to enhance your understanding in a professional environment, working side-by-side with seasoned psychologists and assuming similar roles and tasks.

What are psychology internships?

Psychology internships play a pivotal role in the academic and career journey of psychology students. These internships allow students to witness firsthand how the concepts and theories they’ve learned are applied in real-world settings. Whether an integral part of your curriculum or an elective addition, internships offer valuable hands-on exposure to the field of psychology.

While interning, you’re expected to operate at a professional level. Employers anticipate the same level of dedication, professionalism, and commitment from interns as they would from qualified professionals.

How to find psychology internships

Our tip tips for finding psychology internships:

  • Identify the area of psychology that interests you the most
  • Start researching online for practical experience
  • Network with psychology professionals
  • Speak to your uni about their connections and resources

Websites such as Springpod post work experience opportunities, including ones that are psychology related. With psychology, there are also lots of opportunities to go abroad to do an internship. The website Intern Abroad HQ has a variety of psychology work experience opportunities abroad, which is another great way to make your CV stand out against others!

What skills will you gain from a psychology internship?

Whether you’re looking to step into clinical psychology or another area, completing an internship will help you to gain valuable skills and experience, including:

  • Communication skills
  • Empathy
  • Working as a team
  • Analytical skills
  • Professional self care

Volunteering for psychology experience

volunteer for psychology work experience

Although it can be frustrating not getting paid, volunteering is a fantastic thing to put on your CV, and will definitely help you stand out when applying for jobs. Websites such as Royal Voluntary Service offer psychology volunteering opportunities in a variety of different areas.

Depending on what area you want to get into, there are loads of volunteering opportunities available. If you want to be a counsellor, then volunteering for a mental health organisation such as Mind or Samaritans will really boost your CV. If you want to work with children, then you could volunteer at a children’s charity.

Where to find job postings

British Psychological Society
Source: The British Psychological Society

There are loads of websites that post psychology work experience opportunities. There are obvious places like LinkedIn and Indeed, but there are also other websites that only post psychology-specific roles. These websites include, The British Psychology Society, Jobs in Psychology, even the Government website post psychology jobs! If you’re struggling to find jobs, it’s always worth talking to your University’s employability department (if you have one!). Emailing companies themselves is also worth doing, as some smaller companies don’t usually online applications, and require you to email them anyway.

Finding work experience may take a while, so never get disheartened if you don’t get every opportunity you apply for! If you’re looking for websites that post these types of opportunities, read our article on websites to help you find an internship or work experience!

Do you need psychology work experience for a postgraduate course?

If you’ve already completed your degree, and now you’re considering a postgraduate course, you may find that it requires relevant experience – whether paid or unpaid. In health psychology in particular, psychology work experience into the health field is often an acceptance requirement from universities.

Health psychology work experience can be difficult to obtain. If you find it difficult to gain relevant experience that’s hands-on, it may be worth shadowing someone within health psychology. Shadowing can give valuable insights into this unique area of psychology, and also give you the confirmation that you’re looking to study the right area!