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How Can I Pursue a Career in Psychology Research?

If you enjoy experiments, tests, and solving practical problems accompanied by an interest in how the human mind works, you may want to pursue a career in psychology research. Psychology is a vast and broad subject matter even within the confines of research; however, it is a very rewarding career in which you solve problems from the everyday to the complicated variety. So how can you pursue this career path?

General Course of Action

The first step will be to work towards your bachelor’s degree in psychology and include additional classes that cover statistics and applicable science options. The school you choose should have a psychology research department to better your chance for internships and experience during your schooling that will look great on a resume.

While it’s possible to find some work in psychology research with an undergraduate degree, it’s best to complete a master’s or even a doctorate degree for the best position choices and salary compensation. If you haven’t already chosen a school, take the time to research ones that are highly rated for their psychology program, especially for post-graduate degrees.

General Psychology Research

US News & World Report lists the top 50 universities in the world for psychology degrees. Your choice will largely depend on what concentration you might want for your career. If you don’t have a concentration in mind yet, this would be a good place to start for your undergraduate degree. During your undergraduate schooling, you will likely discover a branch of research psychology that appeals to you.

Forensic Psychology

Are you interested in investigation and forensics? Do you love shows like Criminal Minds, Law & Order, and CSI or aspire to investigate for the FBI? Schools that offer a forensic psychology path are your best choice and include law as a concentration. The American Psychology-Law Society is a great resource and provides detailed lists of schools who provide the best options for both master’s and doctorate programs.

Industrial Organizational Psychology

Recently, Industrial Organizational Psychology has become a popular choice for those who seek to apply their knowledge, research, and experiments to the workplace and within organizations. Want to find ways to make equipment safer and perform better? IO is definitely a big piece of the puzzle for your career path in psychology research.

Maybe you will prefer to work with personnel. Your research and studies in psychology will help you match applicants or employees to the job that best suits their talents, provide effective training, or enable a healthy work/life balance.

The Society for Industrial Organizational Psychology, Inc. has an extensive website with helpful information to pinpoint the best schools and programs for this branch of research psychology. According to the US News & World Report, Michigan State University ranks #1 for this program.

There are many avenues that one can take when pursuing a career in psychology research. The field is so vast that a student can pinpoint their passion to a specific field of study or take a broad approach of study that allows for flexible job offers. In either case, choosing the right school is a big part of a successful career path in psychology research.