Edit to Add: In the end, I didn’t submit my application for the bpsych equivalence programme. More information about my thinking here.
I started studying towards a career in industrial psychology, as a single, working mother in 2008. My first goal was to become a registered psychometrist. This would be followed by a career change, and finally, I would continue studying towards a masters degree in order to become a registered industrial and organisational psychologist.
My goals were long term in nature. Very long term and even though some days I didn’t think I’d be able to finish my degree, I really hoped and trusted dedication and hard work would pay off!
And so far it has. Here’s a breakdown of what has been completed and what is lying ahead for me.
- Estimated Years to Completion: 5 Years
- Year Started: 2008
- Year Completed: 2015
- Total Number of Years: 8 Years
I enrolled for my B.Com. degree with a major in Industrial and Organisational Psychology at UNISA in June 2008. This was after I briefly considered a major in accounting. Luckily I came to my senses soon after…
In the beginning, finances were really tight, at times I took 2 or 3 subjects, mainly due to finances. A whole bunch of things happened in between the first enrollment and getting my degree. Some of these include surviving a retrenchment and starting two new positions at different organisations, getting married and having a baby. I failed some subjects (3 to be exact, right after I had a baby and spent some time in Neo Natal ICU). I took a break from my studies for about a year. After the break, I changed my major from industrial and organisational psychology to informatics, but because I had very little time to practise any coding, I switch back to industrial psychology. After making a career change from a travel agent to a systems specialist, I received a bursary and completed my studies.
It was a roller coaster ride, of nearly giving up plenty of times, but I am so grateful I persisted.
- Estimated Years to Completion: 2 Years
- Year Started: 2016
- Year Completed: 2017
- Total Number of Years: 1 Year
After I had completed my degree I gave myself a 6-month break, things were hectic at home. Last year, I plucked up the courage and decided to complete my honours degree in a year, to make up for the time I wasted while doing my degree. I also really needed something to keep my mind occupied while sorting out the details of my divorce.
Doing a full-time qualification, while working full time and parenting full time, wasn’t the best decision. Even though I passed all my subjects, I put myself under a lot of pressure and didn’t obtain the marks, I knew I was capable of.
Practicum to become a Psychometrists,
I understood the implication of doing a practicum when I enrolled for my degree. An unpaid 6-month full-time or a 12-month part-time practicum. This was the requirement needed to obtain a B.Psyc or equivalent qualification in order to register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) as a psychometrist. I also knew, when I enrolled for my degree, in 2008, UNISA’s B.Psyc programme was under review with the council. But I honestly thought, by the time I had completed my degree and honours degree, things would look up and I would be able to continue my education.
I had a couple of things wrong…
Firstly, the B.Psyc or Equivalent is more than just a practicum. It is a combination of a practicum and practical training. Which is great, because let’s be honest – there’s a big difference between theoretical knowledge and practical application. And also, not so great!
Secondly, UNISA’s B.Psyc course has still not been accredited by the HPCSA. Which is forcing me to look at alternative educational instituted.
B.Psych or Equivalent Qualification
Due to the fact that I have already completed my degree and honours degree, I now fall in the equivalent category. There is a hand full of universities around the country that offers the equivalent option for like-minded people who want to become a psychometrist. For example, the University of Johannesburg, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Stellenbosch University and the University of the Western Cape.
UJ really is the only viable option for me here in Pretoria, however, their programmes is a 6-month full-time course. Which in all honesty isn’t really an option for me, because of my financial commitments.
Brave + Broken
The theme of being brave and broken seems to be a recurring theme in my life. I have a couple of things up my sleeve. Whether they will pan out as I hope is a different story. Thankfully I know I have a Father in Heaven that has placed a dream and a passion in my heart and He has the bigger picture available, even if I don’t.
Anyway, registration for the course closes on the 1st of September. After registration, I will need to write an entrance exam and attend an interview if I am one of the top candidates.
Health Council Board Registration, as a Psychometrist
If I get accepted for the B.Psyc Equivalent qualification, I can register with the HPCSA as a student psychometrist. I will need to complete a total of 760 hours of assessments under the supervision of a registered industrial psychologist. I will need to complete the university’s practical training and classes and successfully complete their final examination.
Once I have completed the B.Psyc qualification, I will write the board examination. And if all goes well, become a registered psychometrist.
Plan B – Post Graduate Diploma in Organisational Development
Plan B would be to enrol for a post graduate diploma in Organisational Development or OD. Organisational Development is such an enriching field in organisational psychology. OD was one of my 3rd-year subjects and I have been intrigued ever since the introduction. Here’s a cute video explaining the scope and nature of an OD consultant.
Plan C – Masters, Practicum, Board Exam, Registration as an Industrial and Organisational Psychologist.
Registration as an industrial and organisational psychologist has been the main goal since the beginning. Logically, (and I may just be seeking excuses here, so correct me if I am wrong) I need experience in my field of study. I work in the tourism industry, as a systems and process specialist. Ideally, I would have to change what I do, to gain experience in the I/O psychology field, to avoid being overqualified with limited experience.
My idea is to climb the corporate ladder a bit, gain experience in my area of study. And then grab the books, in pursuit of the last puzzle piece in my career journey.