Careers in Psychology

Helen O’Neill

A headshot of Psychology graduate Helen O'Neill, a white woman with dark hair.

“The key message is to persevere! Believe in yourself and don’t let competition for places dent your confidence.”

Helen O’Neill, MSc Advanced Psychology graduate, now a Trainee Educational Psychologist at the University of East London.

I currently work as a Trainee Educational Psychologist at the University of East London and there are so many things I love about it. I get to promote emotional and social wellbeing through working closely with children, young people, their families and carers, and schools. It is also incredibly rewarding to support young people with learning difficulties in achieving their full potential.

Having obtained my undergraduate degree while working in social services, it was through studying the MSc Advanced Psychology course at Essex that I developed my knowledge of psychological theory in key areas such as developmental and cognitive psychology. What I learned at Essex has been pivotal in my subsequent journey towards becoming a fully qualified Educational Psychologist.

I am currently working towards that goal by completing a Professional Doctorate in Child and Educational Psychology, which will result in registration with the Health and Caring Professions Council.

My advice for anyone pursuing a career in this field would be to gain as much experience as possible. The minimum requirement for the Doctorate is one year’s full-time experience, but most people applying will have considerably more. Take advantage of all relevant opportunities that come your way and, if possible, work as an Assistant Educational Psychologist as it’s the perfect chance to see the day-to-day reality of life as an Educational Psychologist up close.

The key message is to persevere! Believe in yourself and don’t let competition for places dent your confidence. It is very rare that a person is successful in applying for the Doctorate the first time around so keep trying and you can make it, just like I did.