Clinical neuropsychologists are concerned with the assessment and rehabilitation of people with brain injury or other neurological disease.

Starting your career

Subject choices

To become a neuropsychologist, you need a good standard of education. Useful subjects include:

  • Psychology
  • Religious, Moral and Philosophical Studies
  • English
  • Human Biology
  • Maths

Work placements and volunteering

You may find it helpful to get some experience of working in healthcare by doing a work placement. There may also be opportunities to volunteer. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland.


Foundation Apprenticeships

A Foundation Apprenticeship could give you valuable work experience. Find out about Foundation Apprenticeships in:

College and university

Neuropsychology is a post-qualification discipline, available to chartered psychologists within the field of clinical or educational psychology.

Accessing a psychology degree

Most universities accept a wide range of qualifications, giving you the option of applying directly from school or going to college first.

At college, you could do a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) to set you on the right path. These include:

Widening participation supports adult learners who want to go to university. If you’re an adult with few or no qualifications, you could get into higher education through the Scottish Wider Access Programme (SWAP). Many universities also provide access programmes to help you get the degree entry qualifications you need.

Search for college or university courses on My World of Work.

Accessing neuropsychology training

In order to undertake any neuropsychology courses, you'll need one of the following:

On completion of training, practitioners will usually work for at least one year in a specialist service and then undertake the BPS Qualification in Clinical Neuropsychology (QiCN), or the equivalent accredited route via a university provider, which confers eligibility for entry onto the society’s Specialist Register of Clinical Neuropsychologists.

Criteria for the QiCN and accredited routes involves completing a post-doctoral diploma in clinical neuropsychology and an examination of a portfolio of clinical neuropsychology cases.

The role

Clinical neuropsychologists are specially trained to understand the relationship between brain and neuropsychological function. They require not only knowledge of the broad range of mental health problems, but also specialist knowledge in the neurosciences.

What you’ll do

Tasks include:

  • providing specialised clinical neuropsychology intervention service to people with acquired damage to the brain
  • conducting cognitive screening and highly specialised neuropsychological assessments, with appropriate clinical supervision
  • maintaining an accurate record of clinical work
  • initiating, organising, and undertaking research work

Top skills

You’ll need these skills:

  • active listening
  • empathy
  • compassion
  • persuasion
  • planning
  • teamwork
  • relationship-building
  • patience
  • attention to detail

Who you'll work with

You’ll work with a range of people, including:

  • doctors
  • nurses
  • allied health professionals
  • mental health professionals

Working environment

You could work in:

  • hospitals
  • community health centres
  • schools
  • social services
  • prisons
  • psychiatric units
  • rehabilitation units

Useful information

To work as a neuropsychologist in NHSScotland, you’ll need to:

Learning and development

Once qualified and registered with HCPC, you'll be eligable to work in NHSScotland as a practitioner psychologist. You will then be eligible to apply to become a chartered member (CPsychol) of the British Psychological Society (BPS).

Regulators and professional bodies

British Psychological Society (BPS)

The BPS is the professional body for psychologists in the UK. They offer 3 levels of membership:

  1. Student membership is open to everyone studying on a BPS accredited undergraduate degree or conversion course.
  2. Graduate membership of the society is the starting point to your career as a psychologist. It is a prerequisite for many accredited postgraduate and doctoral programmes.
  3. Chartered membership reflects the highest level of psychological knowledge and expertise.

Visit the BPS website to find out more.

Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC)

The HCPC is an independent, UK-wide regulatory body responsible for setting and maintaining standards for health, psychological and, in England, social work professionals. It maintains a public register of qualified professionals and works to improve industry standards and education.

Find out more on the HCPC website.