The ins and outs of becoming a research psychologist
Launch your career as a research psychologist and benefit from a wide range of interesting employment opportunities. From statistics to research design, there are plenty of skills you’ll need to master if you want to succeed in this field. Find research psychology vacancies on Job Mail and get your career off to a great start.
The job description of a research psychologist
Research Psychologists in this field are hired to conduct explorative studies with the aim of developing theories that are connected to different facets of human behaviour. They’re required to observe human behaviour as part of their data collection and they gather a variety of information depending on the focus of their research. This may include observing people’s attention spans, motivations, and learning processes. The psychologists in this field carry out research to find solutions to real-world issues. They use psychological principles as well as data collection to get the job done. Another area of focus is developmental psychology, which involves researching the changes that occur across a person’s lifespan. Researchers in this field typically choose to focus on a specific developmental stage.
With a diverse range of employment opportunities, research psychology offers you an interesting career. You can even choose to be self-employed.
Research Psychologists can be employed by:
- Research centres
- Non-profit organisations
- Government departments
- Consulting agencies
- Medical institutes
- Market research companies
If you’re planning on studying to become a research psychologist, you’ll need a National Senior Certificate that offers you entry to a degree course. While the specific entry requirements vary according to the educational institute, it’s advisable to have subjects like mathematics and life sciences at school. You’ll need to complete five years of studying to obtain a Master’s in research psychology. Once you’ve qualified, it’s necessary to complete an internship and register with the Health Professions Council of South Africa.
You can study the following:
- Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology – You can study at most universities and tertiary education institutes.
- Honours Degree in Psychology – Available at most universities.
- Master’s Degree in Research Psychology – Available at selected universities
What skills do research psychologists need?
Research psychologists need a broad range of skills to complete their duties. It’s important to know what is required by prospective employers so that you can emphasise your strengths on your CV and look for opportunities to develop your weaknesses. Research psychologists should have the following skills:
- Understanding of statistics
- Knowledge of research design
- Computer literacy
- Data analysis capabilities
- Analytical capabilities
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Problem-solving abilities
- Interpersonal capabilities
- Ability to pay attention to detail
Tips on kicking off your career in research psychology:
- Create a professional CV that stands out from the crowd
- Gain relevant work experience by looking for internships
- Find a mentor who can help you develop the necessary skills for the job
- Attend conferences, workshops, and other academic events
- You can also write and publish articles about your research and findings
A career in research psychology is both rewarding and challenging. If you’re interested in people and you’re academically inclined, this may be the right career for you. So, if you’re looking for research psychologist positions, visit Job Mail today to find exciting job opportunities.