Becoming a Graduate Professional Psychologist: In What Ways are Professional Competences Perceived

  •  Matti Kuittinen    
  •  Hannu Räty    


Based on the evaluations of graduate professional psychologists, this study set out to explore perceptions of university training in the development of key competencies and skills required by psychologists. The participants (n=353) were a representative sample of young Finnish psychologists with professional experience of between one and six years. They were asked to rate seventeen different skills according to importance and the extent to which undergraduate training helped develop those skills. They were also asked to evaluate how their undergraduate training had fostered their skills and the work-related contexts that best nurtured their professional skills. The results show that psychology was seen as a profession requiring social interaction skills, whereas university training was seen to stress knowledge, theory and research. Respondents saw practical courses, a practicum, post-graduate education, actual work and reflecting with colleagues and with oneself as the most influential means of professional development; they saw statistical methods as being unnecessary at work. Only half of the participants could name a theory upon which their work was based. Still, graduate psychologists gave a rather positive evaluation of the correlation of their psychology training programme with the requirements of their profession.

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