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Working as a Psychologist, NOC 4151

Job Description

Many psychologists work directly with clients or patients but the field of psychology is extremely broad.

Working as a Psychologist you will perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Assess clients’ psychological needs
  • Provide treatment through individual counselling, group therapy or other techniques
  • Take notes, and maintain records and files
  • Use standard psychological tests for assessment
  • Plan intervention programs and conduct program evaluation
  • Some teach, conduct research and perform experiments
  • May specialize in counselling, clinical, or another area of psychology
  • Deliver presentations at conferences, workshops or symposia
  • Provide consultation services to government and other organizations.

Most psychologists specialize in particular sub-fields such as: behavioural psychology, child psychology, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, industrial psychology, neuropsychology, or sports psychology.

Sources: NOC 4151 and   Career Cruising database (Profiles for Psychologist and Industrial-Organizational Psychologist).

Industry Overview

There is growing demand for Psychologists in British Columbia. The highest demand is in neuropsychology and forensic psychology. However, there are few permanent full-time positions. You may be offered contracts for set periods of time or combine various part-time positions, for example, between public institutions, private practice and teaching.

As a Doctoral graduate interested in research you are more competitive if you have extensive training in quantitative research methods and a computer science background.

Employment is concentrated in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island regions, where the population density is highest but northern B.C. also requires more practitioners.

Sources: WorkBC Career Profiles

Job Outlook in BC

job outlook for psychologists

Chart from: Work BC

The Employment Outlook for BC provides job openings projections for

Psychologists within BC regions:

            Region 2010
Estimated Employment
Estimated Employment
Avg Annual % Change,
5 Yrs, 2010 to 2015
Vancouver Island 310 340 1.9%
Lower Mainland / Southwest 1,400 1,530 1.8%
Thompson-Okanagan 160 170 1.6%
Kootenay 40 40 2.9%
Cariboo 50 60 2.8%
North Coast & Nechako 30 30 2.3%
Northeast 20 20 3.4%

Source: Regional Employment Projections, BC Stats. Projections for development regions. [accessed October 2014]

Types of Employers

Psychologists work in many settings including:

  • Private or public clinics,
  • Correctional facilities
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health facilities
  • Rehabilitation centres
  • Community service organizations
  • Businesses
  • Schools and universities
  • Government and private research agencies


In BC the average annual salary for psychologists is between $66,000 and $95,000 a year. By mid-career psychology professors often make between $60,000 and $110,000 a year.

Full-time, salaried psychologists usually receive benefits in addition to their salaries. Benefits generally include paid vacation time, paid sick leave, and dental and additional health insurance.

Source: WorkBC

Job Bank Canada provides hourly wages for Psychologists in BC regions:

psychologists regional wage

Source: Job Bank, Canada

Working Hours

Typical working hours depend on the specific job and level of responsibility. Some psychologists have a standard 40-hour week; others may work more.

Psychologists working in private practice or in clinical, school or counselling psychology tend to set their own office hours. They often work evening hours to accommodate client schedules

Those employed in institutions, such as correctional facilities, hospitals and other health facilities, may be required to work evenings and weekends on an as-needed basis. Psychologists employed by academic institutions generally have flexible schedules but may work long hours.

Source: WorkBC Career Profiles

Skills, Education, and Experience


  • excellent listening and interpersonal skills
  • creative approaches to problem solving
  • ability to work independently and as part of a team
  • excellent analytic skills
  • patient and detail oriented
  • emotional stability
  • interested in caring for people

Education and Experience

  • A Doctoral degree in psychology is required for the designation ‘Psychologist’ in British Columbia
  • A Masters degree in psychology is required for the designation ‘Psychological Associate’ in British Columbia
  • A period of supervised practical experience is required
  • Successful completion of the written and oral examinations is required
  • Registration with the provincial regulatory body is required



Psychologist is a regulated occupation in British Columbia

Licensing Requirements for Psychologists and Psychological Associates

You must be licensed by the College of Psychologists of British Columbia in order to practice the profession or use the title Psychologist or Psychological Associate. An applicant may apply to be registered as either a Psychologist (a person who has a doctoral degree in psychology that meets the registration criteria) or as a Psychological Associate (a person who has a master’s degree in psychology that meets the registration criteria).

Further details about the registration process are available at:

Internationally Trained Psychologists

In addition to meeting the above requirements, applicants trained outside of Canada or the United States must provide documentation showing their degrees have been reviewed by an international credentials agency acceptable to the Registration Committee, and must provide documentation attesting to the foreign training being equivalent to a Canadian degree.

The academic credential evaluation service in BC is:

More information about international Psychology Professionals is available at:

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, electronic sources, and through professional associations.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily and the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: Access at VPL locations only

Online Job Postings

  • BC Provincial Health Services Authority
    Operates agencies that provide province-wide health care services including, BC Mental Health and Addiction Services, BC Cancer Agency, BC Children’s Hospital, BC Womens Hospital)
  • Providence Health Care
    A Catholic health care community operating four hospitals in the Metro Vancouver region.
    Find jobs posted on a multitude of company career sites and job boards

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a wide range of different job titles that are relevant. For psychologists, look at these related job titles (from NOC 4151):

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Experimental psychologist
  • Psychological associate
  • Behaviourist
  • Research psychologist

Source: NOC 4151

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of potential employers in the Lower Mainland or BC. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • The Red Book: directory of services for the Lower Mainland
    Also available at the Central Library, 360.6 C734di
    Browse listings under “Counselling”
  • Directory of Canadian healthcare personnel
    Available at the Central Library, 362.11025 C21a
    Provides contact information for hospitals, clinics and other health facilities in BC and Canada
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “psychology” and click LOOKUP.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume (curriculum vitae) and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.
Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.
To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, use the following pathfinders:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

There are associations for psychologists in BC and Canada. These associations provide assistance to individuals working in this sector.

  • Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB)
    Creates the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology, which is used by licensing boards to assess candidates for certification, ASPPB also offers mobility programs to assist in licensure of psychologists already licensed in another state or province.

Industry Journals

Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession. For example, available at the Central Library:

  • British Columbia Psychologist / British Columbia Psychological Association
    Available at the Central Library 150.5 B862a