Psychologist Kaimātai Hinengaro

Psychologists investigate, assess and work with people who have problems affecting their behaviour, thoughts and emotions, and help them to develop their potential. Organisational psychologists focus on recommending ways to improve workplaces. 

Psychologists who work with individual clients may do some or all of the following:

  • assess clients' problems and strengths through interviews and observation
  • run psychometric and neuropsychological tests (which measure people's mental abilities and style, and how their brains function)
  • develop treatments and interventions (other actions designed to bring about change) with individuals to help them develop themselves
  • help clients understand themselves, their needs, motivations and resources
  • evaluate interventions and write reports on clients, including risk, educational and mental health assessments.

Psychologists who work with groups and for organisations may do some or all of the following:

  • assist with or run group therapy, workshops and courses on social skills, anger management or assertiveness
  • take part in dispute resolution, and provide counselling and advice to people or organisations
  • provide expert opinion to courts
  • undergo their own therapy and supervise colleagues.

Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA)

To gain the international qualification of Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst from the Behaviour Analyst Certification Board, you need:

  • postgraduate qualifications in psychology – usually a Master’s degree, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Applied Behaviour Analysis, available from the Universities of Auckland and Waikato
  • to pass the relevant exam to become a board-certified behaviour analyst.

Clinical Psychologist

To become a clinical psychologist you need a:

  • Master's degree in psychology
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology, or a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Criminal Justice Psychologist

Criminal justice psychologists wishing to work at the Department of Corrections need to follow their Master's degree in psychology with some additional training. This could be either:

  • the Department of Corrections' supervision to registration programme, which involves 18 months of supervised practice
  • a postgraduate diploma or Doctorate in clinical psychology.

Educational Psychologist

To become an educational psychologist you need a:

  • Masters in education, psychology, or educational psychology
  • Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Psychology, which is available at Massey and Victoria Universities.

Teachers who wish to complete a Masters in Educational Psychology while working may apply for a Special Teaching Needs Study Award from the Ministry of Education.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for psychologists includes work with:

  • community groups and recovering mental health clients living in the community
  • criminal offenders 
  • support agencies such as Samaritans or Youthline.

Other useful background includes employment in: 

  • social work or probation  
  • teaching or research in related fields
  • talent management or recruitment companies.

Personal Qualities

Psychologists need to be:

  • good at observing and relating to a wide variety of people
  • respectful of people from different cultures
  • able to analyse and evaluate human behaviour
  • concerned for the well-being of others
  • patient and adaptable
  • able to keep information private
  • self-aware and non-judgemental but able to influence others
  • able to work well under pressure, make decisions and cope with stress
  • able to balance professional ethics with commercial realities.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for psychologists includes work with:

  • community groups and recovering mental health clients living in the community
  • criminal offenders 
  • support agencies such as Samaritans or Youthline.

Other useful background includes employment in: 

  • social work or probation  
  • teaching or research in related fields
  • talent management or recruitment companies.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, maths and science.

Psychologists can earn around $51K-$56K per year per year.

Chances of getting a job as a Psychologist are good due to a shortage of people interested in this type of work.

Psychologists can move into research, teaching, policy development, clinical work, advisory, and management roles.

Psychologists usually specialise as a:

Clinical Psychologist
Clinical psychologists assess and treat people's behavioural and mental health problems.
Community Psychologist
Community psychologists assess and improve the ways people and their communities affect each other.
Criminal Justice Psychologist
Criminal justice psychologists work with offenders to help them make life changes, and reduce the risk of reoffending.
Educational Psychologist
Educational psychologists work with students, parents, educators and mental health services to develop supportive environments for students with learning difficulties
Health Psychologist
Health psychologists assist people to manage diseases they suffer from and to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Organisational Psychologist
Organisational psychologists help organisations to achieve their goals through areas such as staff recruitment and development, safety and wellbeing, conflict resolution and workforce planning.
Psychologist and Board-Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA)
Psychologist and board-certified behaviour analysts work to reduce challenging behaviours, or to increase skills in order to improve a person’s quality of life.
Sports Psychologist
Sports psychologists work with sportspeople to help them succeed in their sport.
Psychologist