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How to become a neuropsychologist

To become a neuropsychologist, you must complete an accredited Psychology degree and additional neuropsychology training.

What is a neuropsychologist?

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

Starting your career as neuropsychologist

Choosing subjects at school

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 healthcare experience by doing a work placement or volunteering. You’ll get training, increase your knowledge, and learn new skills. This could help you when applying to university, college or a new job with NHSScotland. 

College and university

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

Widening access

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. 

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:

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.

Course search

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

Get to know 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.

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

You’ll need these skills:

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

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

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

You could work in:

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

Learning and development

Once qualified and registered with HCPC, you'll be eligible 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).

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 post-graduate and doctoral programmes.
  3. Chartered membership reflects the highest level of psychological knowledge and expertise.

Find out more on the BPS website.

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.

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