If you’re interested in working in disability services, a psychology degree is a great first step to take before specialising in this area. 


The disability services industry is crucial across the globe. There is high job security and the possibility of finding job listings in nearly every community. We’re looking at two rewarding career paths in this area that you could consider as a psychology graduate.

Special educational needs (SEN) teachers

Educational psychology is used to plan appropriate learning environments and lessons based on the needs of students. A psychology background is highly relevant for teachers working in special education.

Any student can be distracted in the classroom. Some students may be sensitive to their surroundings while learning. Knowing how to keep students focused in group environments can be of real benefit in this role.

Developmental psychology is key to how SEN teachers plan lessons and understand their students. These teachers must have a deep understanding of different developmental stages, and how to engage students to reach social and educational targets both in and outside of the classroom.

SEN teachers may assess students to decide whether further attention or specialised learning plans should be used. Students might not be diagnosed with disabilities such as Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), dyslexia, or sensory processing disorders until later in their education, if at all, without proper attention being given to them by a trained professional.

A psychology degree can improve your odds at moving into an administration role, which will allow you to work with others one-on-one, and in larger committees. Administrators must make tough decisions and manage a large number of employees across departments. An understanding of human behaviour can help you do this efficiently while also avoiding unnecessary conflict.

Social work

In the social work aspect of disability services, employees provide specialist care for individuals and communities through a variety of services.

This role can involve assisting people with disabilities in their daily lives, such as coordinating transportation or ensuring access to buildings. Disability social workers can find employment at human service agencies, mental health clinics, schools, or through a private practice.

Applicants typically need a bachelor’s degree in social work, though it is possible to be hired in the social work field with a related degree, such as psychology. It is important for social workers to understand the effects of biological, social, psychological, and environmental factors on an individual, and how to address these factors to best care for their client.

A degree in psychology makes the transition to social work much smoother. Understanding human development and behaviour helps social workers create a more comprehensive picture of an individual and their situation. Your degree will also develop your ability to ease difficult situations, which is a vital skill in the field of social work.

Choosing your path

You can earn a degree in psychology on-campus, or through a more flexible online university programme, which allows you to earn your degree without disrupting your career or personal life.

Arden University’s online BSc (Hons) and MSc Psychology degree programmes are accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS), which makes graduates with at least a lower second class honours eligible for the Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC) of the BPS. This is the basic requirement for aspiring psychologists to train as professionals in the field, and membership costs are covered by the school while you are studying.

Earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree in psychology can be a great springboard into the disability services industry, or a way to progress in your current position. A psychology degree prepares you for a variety of careers, including:

  • Clinical psychologist
  • Counsellor
  • Occupational psychologist
  • Educational psychologist
  • Health psychologist
  • Research and development consultant analyst

The foundation you establish while studying a psychology degree can also put you in a position to earn other qualifications for related careers, such as:

  • Case manager
  • Mental health social worker
  • Special education teacher
  • Social worker
  • Accessibility specialist
  • Rehabilitation counsellor
  • Academic support manager
  • Behavioural consultant
  • Everyday support provider
  • Disability specialist

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in disability services, or want to have a more solid foundation in your current position in the field, then explore Arden University’s online BSc (Hons) Psychology (BPS) or MSc Psychology (BPS).

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