How To Become A Psychologist In South Africa (2023)

Psychology is a challenging, rewarding and exciting field of study. It is also a broad field with many sub-specialties that you can pursue.

Becoming a psychologist in South Africa requires careful planning and hard work, but it’s very achievable if you follow the steps outlined here:

How To Become A Psychologist In South Africa

1. Get a degree in Psychology

To become a psychologist in South Africa, you need to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. This will allow you to gain entry into the profession. The next step is obtaining your master’s degree which is required in order to be registered as a psychologist. A PhD is also needed for those who wish to become professors or lecturers at universities and colleges.

A postgraduate diploma (PGD) will allow you to practice as a clinical psychologist whereas a postgraduate certificate (PGC) allows you to practice as a registered psychologist

2. Do an Honours Degree in Psychology

To become a professional psychologist in South Africa, you will need an Honours Degree in Psychology. This is a four-year degree that leads to the award of the title “Bachelor of Psychology” and allows you to work as a psychologist.

The Honours Degree in Psychology is also postgraduate, meaning that students are required to do two years of study after completing their undergraduate studies. Students who have completed an Honours Degree can then apply for registration with HPCSA as professional psychologists – this means that they can legally practise psychology professionally under supervision from registered practitioners only.

In order for someone to qualify as a psychologist within South Africa, they need one of two things: either an approved degree from overseas or an approved qualification (such as BPSA) which has been awarded by HPCSA on completion of specialist training at UCT’s Faculty Of Health Sciences (FHS).

3. Register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) by obtaining your Psychology Board Certificate

Before you can register with the HPCSA, you must obtain your Psychology Board Certificate. This is a certificate issued by the Psychology Board that certifies that you have met all of the requirements for registration.

If you are applying for registration in any of South Africa’s nine provinces, then your registration will be processed through your home province’s Health Professions Council (HPC).

4. Apply to master’s degree programme

To become a psychologist, you need to apply to a university that offers a master’s degree in psychology. You must have completed your Bachelor’s degree before applying for the Master’s programme.

Master’s programmes are usually two years long and they can be full-time or part-time. However, it is preferable if you do not work while studying as this may affect your performance in the programme.

It is important that you apply to universities that are accredited by the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The HPCSA regulates all professional health practitioners who provide service within South Africa including psychologists and psychiatrists.

5. Complete supervised internship

The next step is to complete a supervised internship. This is an important part of your training and will give you valuable experience working with clients in all types of settings.

Your internship must be completed before you can register as a psychologist, so it’s important to start planning this early on in your career path.

6. Register as a professional psychologist at the HPCSA

It is important to understand that you will need to be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA).

The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) is the statutory body responsible for the regulation and governance of all healthcare professions in South Africa. This means that it oversees how professionals practice their profession and helps ensure that their work complies with national standards and policies set by them.

7. Becoming a psychologist requires careful planning and hard work.

The first step to becoming a psychologist in South Africa is obtaining a degree in psychology. You can do this by completing the University of South Africa’s Psychological Studies Programme, or any other accredited degree where you have the option to specialise in psychology.

After you’ve completed your degree, you’ll have to register as an HPCSA-registered psychologist with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). To do this, you will need:

  • A postgraduate diploma or master’s degree in clinical psychology
  • Two years of supervised experience working under another registered practitioner or one year for interns who are currently enrolled at a self-accredited institution



If you’re passionate about studying and working as a psychologist, you should be able to enjoy this career. It’s a challenging but rewarding job with great prospects for growth in the future. If you want to know more about how to become a psychologist or want help in planning your studies, contact us today for free advice on how to make the most out of your education!

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