What Do You Need to Start a Career in Comparative Psychology

Psychology is an extremely broad field of medical science and has various sub categories including abnormal psychology, social psychology, clinical psychology, developmental psychology and so on. One such field is comparative psychology which is primarily the study of the mental framework and processes of animals. It deals with the exploration and analysis of the mental processes of different animals and even insects.

A portion of comparative psychology deals with relating and comparing psychological processes among different species which may include humans as well. If you are bored of studying the mental processes of humans and would want to explore other boundaries, then you should become a comparative psychologist. This will allow you to study mental processes and behaviors across different species which is extremely interesting.

Importance of Higher Education

One cannot possibly discount the value of higher education. After all, educational qualifications and standards open doors of success and opportunities for advancement in the corporate world. With the right academic training and exposure, employers and headhunters are able to place you well in the job market.

A solid academic degree is proof and guarantee of the hard work and effort you have put in. it reflects your ability to learn, absorb matter and perform against high standards of excellence. A degree attests to your knowledge, intellect and competency. A resume that boasts respectable academic standards also looks good among the pile of other applicants and may improve your chances of employment.

Degree Options and Requirements

As a student you may find degree options at almost all levels of comparative psychology which includes undergraduate and graduate programs. You may find some doctorate level programs for comparative psychology as well, although they may be hard to come by. Educational qualifications are extremely important when you are pursuing a career in the field of science, and psychology is no exception.

At the bachelor’s level, it is important to have a high school diploma as an entrance requirement. Students should have some science background in their high school studies which may include courses in biology, sociology, psychology, chemistry and so on. A bachelor’s level program provides students with a solid foundation in psychology. It is necessary for students to first get familiar with the field of psychology in general. Courses may include principles of psychology, behavioral patterns, chemistry, sociology, research methods and so on. Students may opt for elective courses in comparative psychology.

At the master’s levels, students should be able to pursue the niche of comparative psychology more extensively as the courses may be more focused. Here students can study very detailed concepts regarding animal individual behavior, reproductive behavior, social behavior instincts, and movement patterns. At this point, to enter into a master’s program in psychology, it is necessary for students to have a bachelor’s degree in psychology from a reputable and recognized program.

It is preferred that students of this field possess a doctorate in comparative psychology to progress further. The entry requirements for a doctorate program vary, but most often students are required to have some practical exposure to comparative psychology, and of course a master’s degree. Practical experience can take the form of internships, research based projects or assistant level positions.

The behavioral neuroscience and comparative psychology division at the American Psychological Association can shed some light on the industry trends, requirements and academic certifications in comparative psychology.

Career Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the growth in employment of psychologists is estimated to be 22% during the course of 2010 to 2020 – which translates to roughly 37,700 new jobs. The average annual salary for comparative psychologists is roughly $62,000 (indeed.com). This figure is likely to rise as you gain market experience after working on a number of cases.

With new species of animals and primates being discovered, it is becoming imperative that comparative psychologists help study and discover how these species exist and function for the sake of scientific exploration, survival and preservation. The field of comparative psychology overlaps and integrates with many popular fields including animal cognition, evolutionary neuroscience, experimental analysis of behavior, and so on. This goes to show how interlinked psychological niches really are.

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