If you like psychology but have no interest in working in the field of mental health, what would you do? Fortunately, psychology is a very diverse field, and there are many opportunities in other fields (such as research and applied psychology).
Consider the following question raised by a reader:
“I like psychology, which is why I am currently studying for a bachelor’s degree in psychology. I don’t want to work in mental health, so my ultimate plan is to become a researcher. Although I know this means I may need to go to graduate school, but I am not sure where to start. If I want to do research, what kind of psychology degree do I need? “
Why become a research psychologist
This situation is not uncommon in psychology. Many students like this subject, but are not at all interested in working in a mental health environment. For those who are fascinated by psychology and like to conduct research, the field of experimentation is a good choice.
As a psychology student, you may have experienced the diversity in this field. This may be a good thing because it allows many different career paths and choices, but it may also confuse students when they try to choose an education path.
Like many other fields of psychology, becoming a research psychologist is not a “one size fits all” career. In fact, you can study many different degrees. However, it is important to first consider the type of research you want to conduct and the specific topics that interest you most.
What do research psychologists do?
In order to determine whether this field is suitable for you, you must first accurately understand the work of these professionals:
- Research psychologists, also known as experimental psychologists, study a wide range of human and animal behaviors.
- They design and conduct experiments to explore how people act, think, behave, interact, learn, feel, and behave under different conditions.
- This can cover a wide range of topics, including memory, attention, cognition, decision-making, perception, and almost any psychology topic you can think of.
What degree do you need?
The educational background and requirements of an experimental psychologist may vary depending on where you want to work:
- Many students who are interested in becoming research psychologists start with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. However, some have backgrounds in related fields, such as social work, or even completely unrelated degree fields. Remember, even if your undergraduate degree is an unrelated subject, you can switch to psychology in graduate school.
- In some cases, students may choose to study for a master’s degree in experimental psychology. However, it is important to note that job opportunities for a master’s degree are usually more limited, which is why many people choose to continue to pursue a PhD degree. In psychology.
- Although you may think that you are limited to earning a PhD. In experimental psychology, there are actually many different options for you to choose from. For example, if you are interested in studying the human brain, then you can choose to obtain a degree that focuses on neuropsychology. Have an active interest in social behavior? Then you might want to consider pursuing a PhD in social psychology.
As you can see, research plays an important role in almost every field of psychology. Your goal now is to determine the specific area of expertise you are most interested in and the exact location where you might want to work in the future.
Research psychologists are employed by a wide range of departments, including private research companies, universities, corporations, the military, and government agencies.
Although you may not be sure what type of doctor it is. If you want to study a major, there are many things you can do now to prepare for your future as a research psychologist. First, learn as many undergraduate courses in research methods, statistics, and experimental design as possible. Register for research opportunities through your school’s psychology department and consider registering as a research assistant. This is a great way to gain valuable experience while earning college credits.