How to Become a Researching Psychologist

Researching psychologists typically work in academic settings or in private industry. Those working in academia may fill roles as teaching both undergraduate and graduate course work, serving as academic advisors, or training graduate students in clinical techniques and/or research methods. One must first fulfill the requirements of an accredited psychology degree program prior to gaining licensure in this field.

What degree is required to become a researching psychologist?

Those seeking to become a research psychologist must complete several psychology degree requirements, including a bachelor’s in psychology, as well as a doctoral degree. The Ph.D. is a common pathway to this career; however, some clinical psychology students may also consider completing a Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) instead.

In addition to the psychology degree requirements, candidates must also complete a post-doctoral fellowship or internship. It is during this time that an individual can refine their specific interest toward a particular area of research psychology and then complete the research that is needed to complete their doctoral dissertation. Licensure is required in most states in order to practice psychology.

How long does it take to become a researching psychologist?

When one is completing a doctoral degree in psychology, it can typically take between four and seven years, depending upon whether the student attends their educational program on a full-time or a part-time basis. There may also be a time factor involved with the completion of the individual’s dissertation, as well as a period of time that must be spent fulfilling clinical and/or internship requirements. Today, students have several options with regard to completing their degree requirements. For example, in addition to on-campus learning, there are many online psychology programs that may help in fulfilling a student’s degree requirements. These distance learning psychology degree programs could help an individual to obtain their degree in psychology much faster than if they attend on-campus course work, as the time allotted for their required study may be more flexible.

An individual may also become board certified. According to the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP), a professional can gain public and peer recognition of demonstrated competence in their specialty area. Doing so also provides an individual with increased opportunities for career growth. The time needed to become board certified will depend upon how long it takes the individual to apply, study, and successfully pass the necessary exam.

What is a researching psychologist’s salary?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for all psychologists as of May 2010 was $68,640. This, however, can vary a great deal depending upon the psychology degree that is obtained by the individual, as well as the specific job requirements and the individual’s demographic location. For example, while the national salary trend for those who are researching psychologists can be difficult to nail down, in 2012, the average annual salary for these professionals overall is $70,000. Those who work as a personnel research psychologist, however, earn closer to $89,000 per year.