Now: Principal Psychologist
What’s it like to help change the story of a troubled life, and to work with some of the most fascinating cases in New Zealand? What’s it like to show someone the path that could help rewrite their future?
The role of a psychologist at the Department of Corrections is a highly rewarding experience that delivers the answers to these questions. Our psychologists conduct quality clinical risk assessments and deliver treatment to some of the most complex and challenging people in a unique environment.
- influence policy
- enjoy stimulating research projects
- and gain professional development opportunities
Most importantly, your work will impact upon the safety of our country by helping to reduce re-offending, reduce the number of victims and keep our communities safer.
As a core member of a talented psychology team, you’ll directly support the effective and efficient delivery of psychological services to prisoners, and support them back into the community. Psychologists also work with offenders on community based sentences. In addition to the core clinical work delivered by psychologists, there are opportunities to provide advice, education and training across the sector. You may also have the opportunity to develop and review new rehabilitative programmes or conduct research that will advance your career as a psychologist.
At Corrections, psychologists have a strong professional identity and have a wealth of knowledge to call upon from colleagues. Working in a team environment that is open and inclusive is one of the big reasons why our psychologists find the role so stimulating and rewarding.
Hear from those who know
“Nowhere else do you get this type of challenge, it is a unique role and a very interesting group of people…” - Stephen
In this video, our psychologists talk about the positive impact Corrections has had on their careers and personal development.
“I think maybe the biggest factor is working in a team of psychologists, constant peer supervison, sharing of information…” - Peter
Psychologists talk about the rewards of working within Corrections.
“Seeing their faces as they come into the graduation, so proud that they had achieved something for the first time, with their Tamariki looking up at them…that’s the really lovely moment.” - Mel
Corrections psychologists talk about the incredible differences they have made to the individuals and groups they work with.
What we are looking for:
- Work with offenders with complex psychological issues
- Provide assessment and treatment services based on best practice
- Contribute to team development and foster co-operation
- Treat a range psychological conditions
- Provide one-on-one and/or group treatment
- Monitor and evaluate the delivery of services
- Conduct research
- Mentor colleagues in their team and across the sector
- Contribute to public safety by helping to reduce re-offending
What qualifications do I need?
You will need to be registered with the New Zealand Psychologists Board in the clinical scope of practice if trained in New Zealand, or general scope if you completed your qualification overseas. We have internships available for students completing a post-graduate diploma in clinical psychology at a New Zealand university. Placements are organised directly between the university clinical programmes and the Department of Corrections.
If you have a bachelors or masters degree in psychology, but have not completed the post-graduate programme, you may like to consider other frontline roles within Corrections. Many of our programme facilitators and probation officers have psychology degrees. For more information click here.
Corrections has an accredited Supervision to Registration programme open to those with a masters degree in psychology: however, places on this programme are extremely limited. Applicants must be employed by the department in the role of programme facilitor working within a Special Treatment Unit at one of our prisons.
Many of our psychologists have joined us from other countries. You will need to be registered in clinical and/or forensic scope of practice in your home country and will need to obtain registration with the New Zealand Psychologists Board in either the clinical or general scope of practice. Check out whether or not you would be eligible for registration in New Zealand by visiting Psychogist board website.
You will also need a work visa. However, provided you meet NZ Immigration eligibility criteria this shouldn’t be a problem, as Corrections holds Accredited Employer status with New Zealand Immigration.
The salary range for registered psychologists is from NZ$71,707 to NZ$110,448. Starting salaries and salary progression are based on a 5-step competency system.