An experimental psychology degree program teaches you how to use scientific research methods to study thought-processes and behaviors. In other words, it teaches you how to analyze the human mind through a variety of research methods (experiments, case studies, surveys, observation, interviews and/or questionnaires).
This type of training program also teaches you how to investigate genetic and environmental factors that can affect the way a person thinks and behaves.
While in college it is important that you enroll in a variety of research and psychology courses. It is also important that you understand statistics because you will need this skill to analyze your research results.
It can be confusing when trying to decide what to do with your experimental psychology degree, but thankfully, there are several different career paths you can choose with a degree in experimental psychology.
What Type of Degree Do Experimental Psychologists Need?
Experimental psychology training programs are designed to help you develop strong research skills, learn ethical research principles and supervise research studies. Although you are required to have at least a master’s degree in experimental psychology to seek employment in the field, some employers prefer that you have a doctorate.
For instance, if you are interested in becoming a college professor or a university researcher, you will need a doctorate degree in experimental psychology or a related field, but if you want to work at a business in the human resources department, you may be hired simply with a master’s degree in the field.
It is important to note that you do not have to have a degree in experimental psychology to work in the field, but you must have a degree in a related field like industrial-organizational psychology, health psychology or clinical psychology.
If you decide to further your education and enroll in a post-graduate experimental psychology program, you will spend the majority of your time increasing your research knowledge and strengthened your research skills.
Courses that you may take include: research design, research methodology (quantitative and qualitative research studies), statistics, experimentation, research tools, etc.). You may also take courses in human development and life cycle development.
It will take you approximately four years to obtain a bachelor’s degree in psychology (any psychology program is acceptable), two and a half years to obtain a master’s degree in experimental psychology or a related field and up to seven years to obtain a doctorate in experimental psychology or a related field.
Career With a Degree in Experimental Psychology
Human Factor Psychologist
You can become a human factor psychologist with a doctorate in experimental psychology. Many government agencies and organizations hire psychologists with an experimental psychology degree to help increase employee morale, productivity, quality and satisfaction. Your main goal will be to help employees have a better job experience.
Another career path you can pursue with an experiential psychology doctoral degree is educational psychology. You will be able to use the skills you learned through your post-graduate degree program to develop more effective educational assessments (standardized tests). You will also consult with teachers, parents and school administrators to improve the learning process for all students (healthy, ill and delayed and disabled).
With a master’s degree and/or doctorate in experimental psychology, you can provide psychological services to companies, agencies, corporations, colleges, etc.
Your main responsibilities will be to help companies hire and promote qualified candidates and employees, organize and train new employees, develop “refresher” training modules for established employees, resolve workplace conflicts and provide advice and guidance on how to improve company practices, procedures and policies.
If you decide to use your degree for consultation work, you will perform experiments on how to improve the individual’s experience.
Product Development Specialist
A growing career path that you can pursue if you have a bachelor’s degree in experimental psychology is product development. If you decide to purse this career path, your main responsibilities will be to help companies improve their products so that they are more user-friendly, functional and efficient. You will work with business executives to create products that will appeal to consumers.
If you have a master’s degree in experimental psychology you may be able to enter the medical field as a medical researcher. You may work with other medical professionals (psychologists, psychiatrists, physicians and nurses) to create psychotropic medications (Prozac, Haldol, Celexa, Adderall, etc.) that can treat a variety of psychological disorders and mental illnesses like clinical depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, manic depression, phobias, etc.
If you have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in experimental psychology, you may want to pursue a career in research. You can perform research studies and publish your results in scientific and research journals, books and periodicals. Your main goal will be to study the human mind (learning and memory, behaviors and thought-processes).
In other words, you will use scientific methods to assess and analyze why people think the way they do and behave the way they do. You will spend the majority of your workday testing humans and animals in a controlled setting (a laboratory) or in the field (observing in a natural habitat). You may work for a college or university, research laboratory or government agency.
Counseling psychology encompasses a broad range of practices that help clients of all ages alleviate stress, improve their well-being, resolve crises and increase their ability to function in a healthful manner.
Counseling psychologists specialize in counseling patients whose issues are related to social, vocational, emotional, health, developmental or organizational concerns. Counseling psychologists normally focus upon patients who have life issues, like adjusting to changes in career or marital status. These professionals often help people deal with everyday problems.
Military psychologists help soldiers and their families manage a variety of adjustment and psychological issues such as: depression, anxiety, generalized stress, stress-related combat issues and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Military psychologists provide specialized care to soldiers and their families. Their main goal is to help these individuals heal from stressful and traumatic experiences. Soldiers returning from overseas are especially vulnerable to stress-related psychological disorders.
Military psychologists treat a large number of soldiers with PTSD, so specialized training in psychological disorders is required. In addition, military counselors also work on a military base so ones needs to be mentally prepared to see injured soldiers and comfort grieving families.
Military psychologists need a strong background in psychological disorders and therapy approaches, techniques and methods. Military counselors are expected to treat an array of psychological issues such as: substance abuse, PTSD, anxiety, depression, stress, family-related issues and job-related issues. They may also be required to administer and analyze personality, psychological and career assessments.
If you have a doctoral degree, you may want to consider becoming a college professor. If you decide to pursue this career, you may be required to teach courses in research methods, statistics and/or research studies (quantitative and/or qualitative research studies).
Your classroom will more than likely be set up like a lab and your students will perform experiments under your guidance. In addition, you will more than likely also supervise research studies for the college or university. Moreover, you may be required to publish research results in peer-reviewed scientific journals once or twice a year.