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PsychologistAlternative titles

Kaimātai Hinengaro

This job is sometimes referred to as:

Clinical Psychologist
Criminal Justice Psychologist
Educational Psychologist
Organisational Psychologist
Health Psychologist

Psychologists investigate, assess and provide treatment and counselling for people's behavioural and mental health issues.

Contact us

Call us on 0800 222 733

Entry requirements

To become a psychologist you need a Master's degree in psychology.

The minimum requirement to work as a general psychologist (including health psychologist and industrial and organisational psychologist) is a Master's degree in psychology, and 1,500 hours of supervised practice approved by the New Zealand Psychologists Board.

Practising psychologists need to be registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board, and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.

Secondary education

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training. Useful subjects include English, maths with statistics, and science.

Additional requirements for specialist roles:

Clinical Psychologist

To become a clinical psychologist you need to follow your Master's degree in psychology with a Postgraduate Diploma in Clinical Psychology, or a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.

Criminal Justice Psychologist

Criminal justice psychologists wishing to work at the Department of Corrections need to follow their Master's degree in psychology with some additional training. This could be either:

  • the Department of Corrections' supervision to registration programme, which involves 18 months of supervised practice
  • a postgraduate diploma or Doctorate in clinical psychology.

Educational Psychologist

To become an educational psychologist you need a Masters in education, psychology, or educational psychology, followed by a Postgraduate Diploma in Educational Psychology, which is available at Massey University and Victoria University.

Teachers who wish to complete a Masters in Educational Psychology while working may apply for a Special Teaching Needs Study Award from the Ministry of Education.

Personal requirements

Psychologists need to be:

  • good at listening to, interviewing, and observing people
  • able to analyse and evaluate human behaviour
  • able to relate to people from a range of cultures and backgrounds
  • concerned for the well-being of others
  • patient, and adaptable in their approaches to people and their problems
  • able to keep information private
  • self-aware, non-judgemental and empathetic
  • good at decision-making and able to influence people
  • able to work well under pressure, and cope with stress.

Useful experience

Useful experience for psychologists includes:

  • work with community groups
  • work with recovering mental health clients living in the community
  • work with criminal offenders 
  • work with people in a helping or counselling role
  • telephone work with support agencies such as Samaritans or Youthline
  • social work or probation work
  • teaching and/or research in related fields. 


Practising psychologists need to be registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board, and have a current Annual Practising Certificate.

You don't need to be registered if you teach psychology, or do research.

Related courses

View information on courses in the course database

Find out more about training

New Zealand Psychological Society (NZPS)
(04) 473 4884 - office@psychology.org.nz - www.psychology.org.nz
NZ College of Clinical Psychologists (NZCCP)
(04) 801 6088 - office@nzccp.co.nz - www.nzccp.co.nz


years of training required

Updated 24 Jan 2014