Psychologist Oppositions (PIR, administration and military): everything you need to know

When you’ve just finished your degree in Psychology, you often have big doubts about what to do now. Get to work? Where? With the number of psychologists graduating from each promotion, career opportunities are becoming more and more complicated.

In this article we will learn about an option available to psychologists: the psychologist examinations available in Spain. We will see what they are, their characteristics, requirements for presentation and functions of the psychologist once they are accessed.

Psychologist Oppositions: Which ones can we study?

As we said, the psychologist’s job opportunities are not easy. In addition, it is now practically impossible to work as a psychologist without a specialization (i.e. a master’s degree, postgraduate degree, etc.).

Without forgetting the experience; however, if I have just come out of the race, how can I have experience? We end up in a vicious circle, but let’s not despair. There are other alternatives! The psychologist’s oppositions.

Throughout the article we will know what oppositions exist for psychologists within the health, administrative and military fields.

Oppositions to the PIR (Resident Internal Psychologist)

Perhaps the most well-known oppositions of psychologist are the PIR (Resident Internal Psychologist).. In reality, the PIR is not an opposition strictly speaking, since it does not allow access to an indefinite public position, but it is about access to 4 years of training in clinical psychology. However, its examination has an opposition format, and as it is one of the best known and most demanded, we include it.

The PIR is found within the health-hospital environment. This is a specialization in clinical psychology, where the psychologist, after passing an exam with high marks and completing his 4 years of training as a resident in a hospital, becomes PEPC (Psychologist Specialist in Clinical Psychology).

1.1. Characteristics

The PIR consists of a multiple-choice test, which until now had 225 questions. (+ 10 booking questions), although for the year 2020 this has changed, and will consist of 175 questions (+ 10 booking questions). In addition, the duration of the exam is increased from 5 hours to 4 hours. The call for this exam is annual (usually in January/February of each year).

Once the PIR exam has been successfully passed, a position of internal psychologist resident in any hospital in Spain is obtained. We must emphasize that the PIR is a highly complicated exam to overcome, not so much because of its difficulty, but because of the few places offered and the large number of opposing psychologists who present themselves. This makes the grade for a place very high (between 9 and 9.5 out of 10).

In fact, there has been a great movement on the part of psychology professionals to increase the number of PIR places; to have an idea, in 2019 141 places were offered, and more than 4,000 opponents presented themselves.

1.2. Residence and functions

Once a place is obtained, a 4-year training plan is accessed as a hospital resident.. The square is located anywhere in Spain (usually in large cities); the more you score in the exam, the more priority you have in choosing the hospital.

In these 4 years of residence, he or she already works as a psychologist and has his or her own patients. As it is a training period, but, there is the figure of the tutor who accompanies the resident psychologist in his or her training. The functions developed by the clinical psychologist, broadly speaking, are to diagnose, evaluate and treat different mental disorders. To give us a general idea, it offers clinical psychological care to patients.

On the other hand, these 4 years of residence include numerous rotations by all the units of the hospital (neuropsychology, infantile, addictions…). This makes it a very enriching and complete training for the psychologist.

1.3. Requirements

The most important requirements for access to the PIR are as follows:

  • Have a degree in Psychology.
  • Spanish nationality (you can also be a member of a State of the European Union, of another State party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area, of the Swiss Confederation, or those linked to them, according to what corresponds to the B.O.E.).
  • Pass the entrance exam to the PIR square.
Clinical Psychology

2. Military Psychology Oppositions

Other oppositions of psychologist are those of military psychology. These, like the PIR, consist of a multiple-choice test, in addition to different tests (psycho-technical, physical, personality…). These last tests are not required in the PIR.

The oppositions of Military Psychology are destined to those psychologists who want to access the military corps; once their position is obtained, the psychologist will have the function of intervening in any field of the army. Psychological care in this area is provided in various sectors.

2.1. Characteristics

Some of the requirements for these oppositions is to have a minimum height.Do not wear visible tattoos with the uniform and have certain physical conditions.

On the other hand, the functions developed by a military psychologist once the oppositions have been overcome can belong to different areas of psychology: organizational psychology, operative military psychology, preventive psychology, expert and forensic psychology, clinical psychology, educational psychology, social psychology… In other words, the areas are numerous, and in each one of them the military psychologist will exercise some functions or others.

One option that the psychologist has, after accessing the military corps, is to carry out the PIR, since the Armed Forces have some place(s) where only military psychologists can access.

2.2. Requirements

Some of the most important requirements for military psychology examinations are:

  • Have a degree in Psychology.
  • Spanish nationality.
  • Have a maximum of 30 years (do not turn 31 the year you present yourself)
  • No civil rights privacy.
  • No criminal record.
  • Not to be in any type of accusation or judicial procedure for fraudulent crime.
  • Not have been issued or disqualified from any of the Public Administrations, or constitutional bodies, or statutory bodies of the autonomous communities.
  • Possess the degree of Graduate / Bachelor in Psychology.

3. Oppositions of psychologist for the Public Administration

Paradoxically, although the opposition to public administration are the ones that offer more places throughout Spainare not among the best known, at least among recent graduates.

In addition, another positive aspect they have is that they are called several times throughout the year.

3.1. Characteristics

Each autonomous community and each town hall convenes a certain number of places for psychologists in the public administration. Specifically, the places belong to institutions financed with public funds.

These institutions include: schools, social services, penitentiary institutions (prisons), juvenile centres, training centres, etc.

3.2. Functions

The roles of the psychologist in this case will vary widely from case to case, depending on the institution in question.

However, the “general” functions of the psychologist will include follow-up in adoption casesThe aim of the study was to assess the seriousness of patients coming from different administrations and public services, to assess cases of mistreatment, to carry out follow-ups, to carry out interviews with families of patients, to carry out psychological attention in penitentiary institutions, etc.

3.3. Requirements

The requirements for access to the psychologist examinations for the public administration are:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology.
  • Have Spanish nationality (or be part of a state of the European Union).
  • Not be physically impeded from performing the functions of the post.
  • Not reaching retirement age.

Concluding Remarks

Whichever field you want to settle for, it is important that you realize that some oppositions are usually very hardbut that with effort are achieved and worth it.

The main benefit of the competitive examinations (except in the case of the PIR) is obtaining a fixed place (for life), as well as a recognized work position, doing what we like, with good economic conditions.

Although the psychologist’s oppositions are not the only option, it is an option available and that can fit with what we want to do. Before beginning to study, it is necessary to carefully consider which option we choose and once decided, to fight for it until the end!

Bibliographic references

  • CEDE Academy (Centro Documentación de Estudios y Oposiciones). Guide Pir 2017. (2017).