Study and practice psychology in Canada

A guide to the opportunities presented by a psychology degree from the Canadian Psychological Association.

The study of psychologyPsychology courses and majors are among the most popular undergraduate courses and are available at all Canadian universities. If you want some career direction or advice about what in psychology to study at the graduate or undergraduate level, you should contact the psychology department at the university where you are considering studying. Not all university psychology departments offer the same courses or engage in the same kinds of research — both are factors that might influence your choices of where to study. Psychology departments usually have a faculty member or other staff person who acts as a counsellor or adviser to help students with course and programme selection.

At the graduate level, there are several specialities and subspecialities of psychology. Common ones are industrial-organisational psychology, experimental psychology, clinical psychology, counselling psychology, neuropsychology, forensic or correctional psychology, developmental or child psychology.

The Canadian Psychological Association (CPA) maintains a Graduate Guide which lists and describes graduate programmes in psychology in Canada.

It typically takes four years to complete an honours bachelor’s degree in psychology, two years to complete a master’s degree and up to another four years to complete a doctoral degree. Doctoral degrees in any of the professional areas of psychology (for example clinical psychology, counselling psychology clinical neuropsychology) have practicum and internship requirements in addition to coursework and research requirements.

Competition for admission to graduate programmes in psychology can be stiff. Doctoral programmes in professional areas of psychology.

What are the training and credentials psychologists need to practice psychology?To practice psychology in Canada, one must be licensed. Alternate terms for licensure are registered and chartered. When considering the services of any professional, it is always wise to seek the services of someone who is licensed. Licensure helps to protect the public by ensuring that the professional has met, and is accountable to, rigorous standards of practice.

In Canada, psychologists, like other health care professionals, are licensed to practice by regulatory bodies in each Canadian jurisdiction. A listing of all the Canadian regulatory bodies of psychology can be accessed from the CPA website.

The requirements for licensure vary between jurisdictions. In some jurisdictions, the doctorate degree is required for registration and in others it is the master’s degree. Psychologists with a doctoral degree can use the title ‘Dr ’. A listing of all the provincial and territorial regulatory requirements can be found on the CPA website. For psychologists already registered in one Canadian jurisdiction wanting to practice in another jurisdiction, their mobility might be facilitated by the Mutual Recognition Agreement.

For those trained in psychology outside of Canada and who want to move to a Canadian jurisdiction to practice psychology, they should contact the regulatory body in the jurisdiction in which they want to practice to determine if they have the necessary qualifications for registration.

For those wanting to study psychology outside of Canada and then return to work as a psychologist in Canada, they should also contact the regulatory body in the jurisdiction to which they are likely to return, to ensure that the foreign studies they are planning to undertake would give them the necessary credentials for registration to practice psychology in Canada.

Courtesy of the Canadian Psychological Association (CPA)