A chartered psychologist is a person recognized by the British Psychological Society (BPS). In the UK, the term psychologist isn’t protected like it is in the US. In order for people to prove they possess all qualifications to work as psychologists, they apply to the BPS to receive the “chartered” title. However, there are many steps to become a chartered psychologist and just as many or more requirements as it takes to gain licensure in the US.
First off, it is very important to note that as of 2009, there have been changes to registry and chartering in the UK. The Health Professions Council now registers psychologists and may have oversight on BPS chartering or registry policy. It’s always wise to check out current information from the HPC and the BPS to make certain that anything attempted in the endeavor to become a chartered psychologist meets with current rules and regulations.
In general though, UK citizens on the path to become a chartered psychologist begin by completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at an approved university. It is possible to do these studies outside of the UK provided the BPS approves the university and the degree earned is equivalent to a BS psychology degree in the UK. In terms of degree units or credits, at least 50% of them must be in the study of psychology.
Once students have completed a recognized bachelor’s degree, they can register to be members of the BPS and can then begin a course of postgraduate studies. These are usually like in the US, doctorate level studies. Sometimes people may skip this step if they are extremely gifted in this subject, and they could take an examination demonstrating their abilities as a psychologist. Most people are best off receiving their doctorate, completing supervised training and then demonstrating their ability to work unsupervised.
There are different types of chartered psychologist specialties. If a person plans to practice in a specialty field, he will have to prove to the BPS that he possesses additional training specific to that field. When this material is presented, people apply for chartering. They will have to pay a fee, can expect a review of their educational and training records, and will need to sign an ethics agreement. Should these documents be approved, the person has become a chartered psychologist, and has permission to use the letters C. Psychol after a name in any written documentation. There are several other terms that may become protected by the HPC and these include practitioner and registered psychologist.
It’s usually not enough to simply become a chartered psychologist. A person must rigidly adhere to the ethics code, maintain membership with the BPS, and occasionally be subject to case review. The BPS and others feel that this is an oversight that can help to assure the public of the qualifications of the psychologist and the right to use the term chartered.