There are many professional options that professionals can have once we have finished our basic training. But one of them, especially chosen by those looking for a stable and essential job to be able to be a civil servant in the public sphere, is to prepare for competitive examinations.
Several professions and disciplines are represented in the public service, and the figure of the psychologist is one of them. But within this discipline there are many branches that can be accessed. That is why in this article we are going to briefly review some of the different oppositions in psychology, as well as the most basic access requirements and recommendations to prepare them.
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Oppose: what is it and what does it imply?
Before delving into the type of oppositions that exist in psychology and the type of requirements they usually have, it is necessary to make a brief mention of the concept of opposition and what the fact of opposition implies.
The set of selective processes through which candidates who apply aspire to a position within the public administration system or any of the services that are part of it. Oppositions can be called by different institutions, both at the Central Administration level and at the Autonomous or Local Community level, and oppositions can even be found at the international level.
Oppose involves taking one or more tests or exams that serve to evaluate the knowledge and/or skills necessary to perform the position offered. These tests may aim to assess theoretical, practical or both types of aspects.
In order to carry out these tests, it is first necessary to meet a series of conditions or prerequisites without which the access request will be rejected. Among these requirements, training requirements stand out, although in the case of a competition, professional merits and/or languages, among many others, may also be assessed. If the opponent manages to obtain a placeyou may be incorporated into the company or, in the case of public administration examinations, obtain a civil servant position.
It must be taken into account, however, that the fact Successfully passing or passing the tests does not necessarily mean getting a place.: There is a certain number of vacancies, and only those with the best rating in the final calculation between test, merit and other factors will be able to get them. In other words, those with the best final score will be the ones who will achieve the place, the position of each person depending on the results of all the participants (although there may be minimum criteria).
Main oppositions in the field of psychology
Psychology is a scientific discipline that can be divided into different branches. a large part of which are recognized and have representation within the public system. Thus, with some frequency the State and the Autonomous Communities of Spain offer different positions for psychologists, which can be accessed through competitive examination.
Some of the most frequent types of oppositions within the field of psychology are the following.
1. Oppositions to Resident Internal Psychologist (PIR)
We begin this list with one of the best-known processes within the field of psychology and the only one through which clinical psychology can be practiced within the Public Health Network: the PIR or entrance exam for training as an Internal Resident Psychologist. .
This is a somewhat particular case given that in reality it is not a real opposition: those who carry it out do not directly aspire to a job as a civil servant but rather to a four-year training course through which you can qualify as a Specialist in Clinical Psychologytraining after which they will be able to practice in the public health system.
After this training you do not have a guaranteed job, but you will have to apply for the corresponding position. However, and in a generic way, the PIR is usually considered as an opposition, given that the requirements and access to said training follow the same principles.
The person trying to go through this selection process You must carry out a series of prior procedures (fill out and submit the 720 application within the established dates, along with the graduate/licentiate title, academic record and ID, and pay the exam fees) to later take an exam of 225 questions plus ten reserve questions on designated day (generally the last weeks of January or the first weeks of February).
2. Oppositions to Public Administration
Within the field of psychology, the type of oppositions that are carried out most frequently and that offer the greatest number of places are those related to Public Administration. Within this, a wide variety of different subtypes can be found, since They include the entire set of demands that may be made in the different institutions and public services to the civilian population..
Some of the most common functions involve carrying out specific training in different areas and for different types of groups (population at risk, professionals, ethnic or social minorities, population with specific and/or special needs…), carrying out assessments, reports and monitoring regarding the status and situation of users of different devices, the planning and implementation of training, prevention and intervention projects, work with minors and their families, monitoring adoption and foster care processes, the study and investigation of social and community factors and phenomena and their effects, or within the health branch the diagnosis, intervention and monitoring of patients who require it.
Within the different areas of public administration, the exercise may be required in schools, penitentiary and judicial institutions, Social Services and Primary Care Teams or Psychopedagogical Care. Although we could consider them as part of this type of opposition, we are going to break down two of the most frequent
3. Competitions for higher body of psychologists in Penitentiary Institutions and Forensic Psychology
An interesting branch that psychology professionals can oppose is that of Penitentiary Institutions and Forensic Psychology. In this sector, The professional specializes in practice in penitentiary centers and juvenile centers.
Among its functions we can find the carrying out of psychological evaluations of prisoners, their evaluation and interpretation and the assessment of the psychological state of the prisoners. Also the intervention (whether individual or group) with them, the research and design of preventive measures regarding risk factors or relapse into criminal behavior, the implementation of programs to prevent health problems inside and outside the penitentiary environment (use and substance dependence, prevention of risk behaviors…), the planning and development of workshops carried out in prison, behavior modification programs, carrying out counseling, guidance and intervention with other professionals in the field or carrying out interventions or treatment programs for the prison population with certain disorders, as well as in the case of specific problems such as drug addiction or stress or anger management.
4. Competitions by the Ministry of Education: secondary school teachers and technical vocational training teachers
Another area within the public administration that usually offers positions through competitive examination is education, either demanding school psychologists or psychopedagogues. In the second case, it is not essential to have completed a bachelor’s degree in psychology, although a master’s degree in Psychopedagogy is required. This is so since the aforementioned master’s degree also admits professionals who have completed a degree or bachelor’s degree in Teaching or Pedagogy.
Among its functions we could find the planning, development and implementation of policies and dynamics that allow us to face the difficulties present at the educational level, the training of teachers and other professionals in contact with minors, the detection and treatment of educational difficulties. (including the evaluation and monitoring of specific problems and the possible degree of disability of some minors, although the diagnosis as such must be made by a clinician), the prevention and development of strategies and protocols for the prevention of specific problems and advice, guidance and support for professionals, families and minors in various circumstances.
These professionals are part of the Educational and Psychopedagogical Guidance departments.. They can practice and specialize in Educational Guidance and/or Career Guidance.
The functions of these professionals are carried out either in public or charter schools or in specific area centers, such as Psychopedagogical Care Teams. They can also work as counselors in secondary schools, and if qualified, also as teachers.
5. Oppositions to Military Psychologist
In addition to the above, Another area where a psychologist can compete is in the military establishment: the army or the Armed Forces.. Specifically, the military psychologist is assigned to the Military Health Corps and provides support to the different bodies of the Armed Forces, being within the Officer Scale (if they pass the training, they enjoy the rank of Lieutenant Psychologist).
Within this sector, The duties of the military psychologist can vary greatly, incorporating organizational aspects such as Human Resources or entering the Clinical branch (treating, for example, cases of post-traumatic stress disorder). It may also be responsible for providing training to soldiers and instructors or studying and analyzing social phenomena or psychic processes within the army and in relation to the areas where it carries out its activities.
As part of the Armed Forces, military psychologists must also pass physical tests that they must pass to be eligible, and in addition to psychological knowledge, they must complete basic military training.
So far we have been able to see different areas in which a psychologist can become an opposition. However, for each and every one of them It is necessary to first meet a series of requirements.
Although some positions have particular and specific conditions for said opposition, broadly speaking, in order to be able to take the opposition it is necessary to have several characteristics.
First of all, to be able to oppose any of the previous options It is necessary to be Spanish, a citizen of one of the countries of the European Union or have an authorization to reside in Spain according to Organic Law 4/2000 and Royal Decree 557/2011.
It is essential have an official university degree or degree in Psychology, be it Spanish or approved. In some cases, other postgraduate or master’s degrees may be required.
Another of the main requirements is not to suffer from any medical illness or mental disorder that makes it impossible, limits or interferes with the exercise of the professional’s functions.
It is also an essential requirement not having reached or exceeded retirement ageor not reaching it during the period in which the training is carried out.
In addition to these basic requirements, it is also common to demand the absence of a criminal record, especially of intentional or sexual crimes (in the case of the educational, judicial and military sphere), as well as not having been removed or discharged from the public administration. through disciplinary proceedings.
In oppositions such as those for military psychologist, it is required passing physical fitness testsas well as the absence of tattoos and other types of visible accessories (with specified exceptions) and not testing positive for the consumption of psychotropic substances (at least one year without consumption).
Tips to prepare and study
Taking the exam is a process that can provide us with a stable job, but it is undoubtedly a complex challenge and requires extensive preparation in order to be successful. Not in vain, Every year thousands of people apply for each of these competitions, and the places offered are usually small..
In order to prepare, below we will see some tips or indications.
1. Be aware that it will take effort
First of all, it should be noted that taking the exam is a difficult process and requires great preparation: it is necessary to take into account that We’re going to have to spend a lot of time studying for the exam.. For some oppositions there is even talk of one or two years of prior preparation. It is necessary to be aware of this.
We must also put the opposition in its place: it is an opportunity to find a job, but it is not our entire life. Not passing or not getting a place on the first try is not uncommon but is, in fact, the norm.and it usually takes several attempts: it is not a failure, and in fact it is an opportunity to get in touch and get used to the type of process that the opposition entails.
2. Be updated through official pages
Before starting to study it is necessary to inform yourself correctly. For it we must go to the BOE or official and updated pages. Using other types of pages may give us partially incorrect information, or changes may have occurred compared to when the publication in question was made.
3. Manage time well and make plans
Having done the above, it is very useful to plan the time we have: from the moment we are until the date of the exam, it is advisable anticipate how much time we are going to spend reviewing the information and how we are going to divide that time. One option is to divide it by themes and areas.
Likewise, it must be taken into account that although “sprints” can be done, it is advisable for the interested party’s own mental health to reserve at least one day per week to rest, go out and have a social life: we must be ambitious, but also realistic regarding the pace we can sustain.
As for time, although it is not uncommon for those who consider taking the exam to spend periods of up to eight hours trying to study, unless they have enough savings or have just dropped out of their degree, the majority of people must divide their time between preparing and working.
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4. Consider the possibility of going to academies
There are various alternatives to train. Although prices are generally high, It may be useful to join one of the academies that are dedicated to preparing opposition psychologists., since they not only help us with information but also facilitate the structuring of times. In some academies it is even possible to certify the training as a master’s degree.
Another option is to acquire the books from these academies, and a third is to search for the recommended bibliography yourself. In some competitions, the syllabus to be studied is already provided.
5. Rely on a diversity of study materials
As for the study itself, it is recommended not limit yourself to reading but also use and make summaries and diagrams of them. It may also be useful to use graphic material or even employ methodologies that integrate practical elements.
6. Study in a group and resolve doubts together
If possible, it is not a bad idea to form a study group with other psychology candidates who are in the same situation, since it facilitates learning, allows doubts to be resolved, and makes it easier to maintain a rhythm.
7. Perform mock exams
Finally, taking mock exams is a good way to see our level and get used to the exam format that we are going to take.