Inside Psychologist Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Fatigue Of Mental Health Workers...
I was surprised at how emotionally draining listening to other peoples' problems can be. It's critical to make sure you have outlets to alleviate your own stress when you do that." (Psychologist; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Iowa, female
School: Studied Psychology at Drake University in Iowa; completed Bachelor degree in 2004

"The Variety Of People I Meet Is Amazing And Always Interesting...
There are never two days the same where I work. I am yet to experience a boring day." (Addiction Counselor; 2014)

Career: , currently based in California, female
School: Studied Psychology at Chapman in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2006

"Working Well With Others Important...
I was surprised by the extent to which the members of a team can get in each other's way instead of working together for a common goal, especially by focusing on past problems rather than moving forward. I was also surprised by how much interpersonal skills play a role even in a research setting - you need to be able to work well with everyone around you, even if you're just working on data collection, or you will have a very frustrating time." (Clinical Research Coordinator; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Psychology at University Of Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Red Tape Gums Up The Works...
I was surprised how intensely methodical and bureaucratic a research job is in psychology. I love to pursue my interests and run experiments, but our creativity is neutered by rules that go beyond being ethical and cause everything to move very slowly at times. My research positions in college never seemed as limited." (Researcher; 2012)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Psychology/Criminology at University Of Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

"I was surprised that being a scientist involves so much writing, which includes writing grant proposals and manuscripts. I was also surprised that to be a good scientist you must also be able to market your research and your ability to conduct that research. A scientist must also be a salesperson in order to secure the funds necessary to carry out their work." (Scientist; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, female
School: Studied Cognitive And Neural Systems at Boston University in Massachusetts; completed Doctorate degree in 2012

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Research Associate: "I really love my job because, as a researcher in human behavior, I get to understand how people work. Whenever I find a new piece of data, I've essentially discovered new knowledge about people. That I can do that is incredibly empowering. The 'leg work' to get this can be pretty brutal, though, which is the worst aspect of my job. It includes sitting at a computer for long hours looking at columns of meaningless numbers. It can be incredibly depressing; sometimes I question the purpose my own existence." (2011)

Career Background


  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Tips

"Just Do It...
Do the school and learn how to apply it to what you want to do. You can never know too much, but you can definitely know too little." (Addiction Counselor; 2014)

"Psychology's Divergent Paths...
Be certain that you have the emotional fortitude to work in the psychology field. It can be emotionally draining if you work in a therapist occupation, and you might find you're better suited for the research side of psychology." (Psychologist; 2014)

"Be Meticulous With Your Research Work...
You should be sure that the day-to-day schedule suits you. It can be boring at times, and it might not be for you. Also, make sure that you care about the 'big picture' of doing research. If this doesn't matter to you, any amount of work is too much. You should methodically re-check your work. Many people will be able to compliment or criticize your work, so you should save yourself embarrassment by making sure you did a good job. It pays horribly. Make sure that you can live on a budget." (Research Associate; 2011)