How to Become a Therapist in the UK

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Becoming a therapist or counsellor in the United Kingdom takes a certain amount of schooling and study. Similar to standards in other countries, it can take many years of undergraduate work at the university and then a graduate program to become a therapist.

There are different rules and requirements throughout the United Kingdom, which includes England, Ireland and Scotland.

Obtain your GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education). This certification is provided to students usually between the ages of 14 and 16. It is provided in a specific area of study. Psychology is an area of study to begin the process of becoming a therapist.

Following the GCSE, students ages 16 to 18 will take the "FE", or Further Education study. This area of study will prepare students about psychology or their respective area of study as they prepare for college.

Apply to a four-year college in the United Kingdom to receive an undergraduate degree. Successfully completing your GSCE and FE, also called your A-Level education, will offer an understanding of the field before studying at the collegiate level.

Obtain your psychology degree. This degree, also called a bachelor's degree in psychology, requires four years of full-time study at an accredited university. The psychology degree includes a variety of curriculum: biological psychology, cognitive psychology, social psychology and developmental psychology. Biological psychology describes how the brain works. Cognitive psychology teaches about the brain's function: memory, thinking, learning. Social psychology shows how the brain is affected by social context, while development psychology focuses on how the brain develops and functions as a child grows to become an adult.

Take postgraduate classes to obtain your graduate's certificate in psychotherapy. These courses take up to two years and are the equivalent of a master's degree in the United States. An empirical research study project, an independent research study relative to the field of psychology, is also required. This can be done with the university's research facilities. Once you graduate, you're eligible to begin working as a therapist.

Become British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP)-certified. Although schooling is the only training needed to be a therapist in the United Kingdom, BACP-certified therapists go through 400 hours of skill development, theory and practical work. The certification is fast becoming a requirement of many employers looking for therapists.