Research Psychologist Career Guide

Job Duties

A field of study through which human and animal behavior is comprehended is known as research psychology. A lot of analysis and experimentation about natural causes and effects occur within the field of research psychology. For this purpose, a research psychologist conducts a significant amount of experimentation and research. Individuals who have excellent analytical and investigation skills could assist many organizations in the future by providing these outstanding services. They do need to acquire formal education as mostly employers prefer people with a doctoral degree while selecting candidates for job positions on their staff.

Experimental psychologists are another name given to research psychologists. They may not be involved in the treatment process directly but conduct a number of experiments as the name suggests. For a better understanding of behaviors, they also carry out observational studies to identify the characteristics related to behavioral change. Their projects are focused on sensory processes, motivation, thought, attention, learning and memory.

Related Reading: How to Become a Research Psychologist.

Research psychologists also study the role substance abuse and genetics play in behavioral changes. Candidates should only enter into this exciting field if they have a craving for information regarding animals and human behavior. Such students consequently do exceptionally well in this area. They study, conduct surveys, prepare questionnaires for deep analysis, and eventually prove or disprove their theories. It further includes case studies, intensive research, detailed observations and hours of interviews that may take years. On the basis of analysis, these researchers report their findings to the governing bodies of the psychological community for review.

Job Outlook

Psychologists are classified as research psychologists if they don’t treat patients but instead spend most of their time conducting scientific research.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website, the rate of increase in jobs for the “all other” category (which includes most research psychologists) is projected to increase by about 11% from 2012 to 2022. This figure is similar to the average figure for all occupations in the US.

But this website also said that jobs for industrial-organizational psychologists are projected to increase by 53% from 2012 to 2022, especially for researchers in this field, so this field offers great opportunity for researchers.

However, competition for jobs in psychology in general is also expected to increase because of an over-abundance of qualified candidates, so some of these candidates will probably have to branch out and find work in related fields, such as advertising.

Salary Outlook

As suggested by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, since 2011, the annual mean wage for research psychologists is $98,910.

Educational Requirements

To fulfill the educational requirements, candidates need to collect relevant information to opt for an appropriate degree. Candidates need to have at least a bachelor’s degree in psychology (or other field) of four years to be eligible for a master’s degree. Many positions require a doctoral degree since most employers look for more qualified individuals to conduct authentic and accurate research.

A master’s degree needs a minimum of 2 years to complete in which specialized areas of study are included. A doctoral degree takes 5 years of study in most cases. Qualitative and quantitative research methods are taught in this program. The completion of a dissertation on their own is mandatory for which they perform their own original research.

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