Careers in Psychology


There are several career opportunities in psychology. Most students are interested in becoming a psychology clinician or a registered psychologist - a practitioner that provides mental health services to patients or clients. The minimum educational requirement to become a psychologist in Alberta is a master's degree in psychology, but some provinces and countries require a doctoral degree. Psychologists must be registered or licensed with their Canadian provincial regulatory body. For those outside Canada, consult the professional regulatory body for your country or state. In most provinces and territories, you must pass a written Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology and, in some instances, complete oral or online examinations in jurisprudence and ethics or board interviews. You will also need to complete a period of supervised practical experience.

Non-clinician psychology includes work in research, teaching, the legal system, government, industry, and the non-profit sector. Possibilities are broad and include everything from data analysis to shaping corporation best practices for workers, policy and evidence review, generating evidence-based practices or recommendations for non-profits or health organizations, and providing assessments.

Psychology is a diverse discipline. If you wish to specialize in a specific area of psychology, you may need additional training and experience. Typically, it will take 4 years to complete an undergraduate degree in psychology, 1 to 3 years for a master’s degree and, if required, another 3 to 4 years for a doctoral degree. Most university graduate programs require a 4-year undergraduate degree and formal research experience in the form of an Honours or Honours-equivalent program as entrance requirements.

To learn more about research requirements or to find a research supervisor at AU, contact the Director of Bachelor of Arts or the Chair of the Centre for Social Sciences.

The next step would be to enter a graduate program in psychology. According to the Canadian Psychological Association Study of Psychology, the most common graduate programs are Industrial-Organizational Psychology, Experimental Psychology, Clinical Psychology, Counselling Psychology, Neuropsychology, Forensic or Correctional Psychology, Developmental or Child Psychology, and Health Psychology. Athabasca University offers a Master of Counselling degree specializing in counselling psychology.

*NOTE: Information in this resource is general in nature. Admission requirements for the various graduate psychology programs vary from university to university. You are responsible for ensuring that the AU courses or degree you complete meet the university's admission requirements and the graduate program you wish to attend.

The Canadian Psychological Association's Graduate Guide lists most of the graduate psychology programs in Canada. Research the licensing requirements in your province and ensure that you account for the necessary prerequisites in your undergraduate and graduate program. You may need certain undergraduate and graduate courses to qualify for licensing.

Next Steps

1. Research career information

Decide what type of psychologist you would like to become (e.g., clinician or non-clinician) and your specific subfield of interest. These can include:

  • clinical psychologist
  • counselling psychologist
  • developmental psychologist
  • educational psychologist
  • forensic psychologist
  • health psychologist
  • industrial/organizational psychologist
  • neuropsychologist research and experimental psychologist
  • school psychologist
  • social psychologist
  • sports psychologist

Click below to learn more about duties, working conditions, skills, education, salary, and employment prospects.

A Guide to Psychology and its Practice

Alberta Learning Information Service (ALIS)

Canadian Psychological Association: A Career in Psychology

Working in Canada

Marky Lloyd’s Careers in Psychology Page

American Psychological Association

2. Contact your provincial or national psychology boards for registration requirements.

To become a practicing psychologist in Canada, you typically need to be registered or chartered. The educational requirements for registration may vary from province to province. A doctoral degree in psychology is required in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia. A master's degree in psychology is required in Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec, Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

For Alberta:

College of Alberta Psychologists

For those elsewhere:

Provincial/Territorial Licensing Requirements for Psychologists

Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards

3. Research graduate program options

Research program and admission requirements. For information about graduate degrees in psychology:

Alberta Learning Information Service

CPA Graduate Guide:

Description of Graduate Psychology Programs in Canadian Universities

4. Contact an AU counsellor

If you have further questions regarding this career path or wish to book a telephone appointment to speak with a counsellor, please contact us.

5. Become an AU student

Once you complete these steps, you are ready to become an AU Student.

6. Contact an academic advisor

Once you have applied to AU and selected a program of study, contact an academic advisor if you need help selecting courses for your program.


The College of Alberta Psychologists (2022). What Does a Psychologist Do. Retrieved December 2, 2022 from

Alberta Learning Information Services (2017). Alberta Occupational Profiles. Retrieved October 30, 2017 from

Canadian Psychological Association (2017): Study of Psychology. Retrieved October 30, 2017 from

Updated May 01, 2023 by Digital & Web Operations (