Since its birth, Psychology has been arousing more and more interest in the population, and more and more students have decided to dedicate their lives to the profession of psychologist.
However, despite the fact that in many other professions, university education alone is sufficient to start working, it has been observed that in Psychology it is increasingly necessary to continue with postgraduate studies or even a master’s degree. But is it essential? Is it possible to practice Psychology without a Master’s degree in Spain?
Let’s see it throughout this article going case by case, depending on the different career opportunities there are.
Being a psychologist without a Master’s degree… is it possible?
To answer the question of whether it is possible to practice psychology without a Master’s degree in Spain, it is first necessary to see what is established by the current legislation and the existing training plans .
In this sense, and as indicated by the Official College of Psychologists, it is established that obtaining the degree of Degree or Bachelor in Psychology qualifies the person who obtains it to carry out the professional practice as a psychologist, something that legally allows the graduate to exercise all the competences and functions of the profession with the only exception of those linked to the health sector . Thus, the answer to the question that gives its name to this article depends largely on what it is.
There are many sectors and branches of psychology in which a recent graduate can technically practice. One of them is the educational and psycho-educational field : with the graduate or bachelor’s degree one can work in different types of centers and give diverse orientation and training.
In addition to this other area that can be exercised only with the degree , the sector of Human Resources and organisational psychology , which allows for entering elements such as performance assessment, counselling and guidance or personnel selection.
Research is also a sector to take into account, as well as legal, social and psychosocial psychology or areas such as sports psychology. In short, in practically any field.
But this is not the case with what is probably the most popular field of psychology: Clinical and Health Psychology. In the end, many of the people who wonder if it is possible to practice psychology without having a Master’s degree do so based on the idea that this discipline is mainly oriented towards mental health.
Working in Clinical and Health Psychology
In this case, the degree or diploma is not sufficient to be able to practise (except for those who have received the health qualification before 2014, even though obtaining it required meeting certain requirements). In order to work in the health field, it is necessary to have passed the Master’s degree in General Health Psychology or to have obtained the degree of Specialist in Clinical Psychology after having passed the public competitive examinations and the PIR training.
Beyond this, other professionals could work as psychotherapists as long as they do not carry out clinical activities (neither assessment/diagnosis nor intervention/treatment typical of clinical or health psychology) and carry out their work based on a theoretical model and validated methodology.
A yes, but with difficulties
Can someone with a college degree or a bachelor’s degree in psychology call themselves a psychologist? As we saw before, technically the graduate in Psychology is qualified to exercise the tasks of a psychologist in most areas.
Now, the fact that I can legally not mean that a graduate has it so easy to do it . In the end, almost all companies will highly value the application or services of someone who can prove that they have been trained in a more specific and specialised way in the sector for which they are required than someone who has a generalist knowledge of the discipline.
It is necessary to take into account that Psychology is a discipline that awakens great interest in a great number of people, something that makes that every year there is a great number of people enrolled in the university degree of Psychology. This implies that once they have finished their studies, there will be a large number of psychologists willing to look for work . Despite the fact that they are increasingly needed in more and more areas, in general the demand for employment exceeds the supply: there are many possible candidates for each position, that is, there is a lot of competition with a similar level of training.
This does not mean that it is impossible, since after all, not only training is important, but also work and life experience, personality and the suitability of the profile to the needs of the employer. But in most cases there is a strong sieve in the job offers that makes many candidates who do not have a post-graduate education not as valued as those who do.
In short, it is likely that sooner or later graduates will be able to find some employment, but it is true that in general those with more training such as postgraduate and masters students will have a great advantage when it comes to being hired.
One more requirement
In addition to the above, and regardless of whether we have a Master’s degree or only a Bachelor’s degree, we must take into account that the professional practice as a psychologist requires a minimum requirement in addition to university training.
It has been established that the practice of psychology requires the professional’s membership in the Official College of Psychologists , as long as their services are directly dedicated to the citizen (other actions may not require such membership). Depending on the case, civil responsibility insurance may also be required (as long as we are working with patients) and/or self-employment (if we are self-employed).
- General Council of Psychology of Spain. (2014) Questions and answers on the professional practice of Psychology in Spain, after the approval of the Law on Consumers. InfocopOnline [Online]. Available at: http://www.infocop.es/view_article.asp?id=5074.