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Non-academic jobs for a PhD in Cognitive Psychology?

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I'm wondering what kind of non-academic jobs there are for someone with a masters or PhD in cognitive psychology? Or any of the other areas of psychology (like social or Industrial/organizational). I'm sure there are plenty of non-academic jobs for I/O, but what about the cognitive or social? What do you think the income would be for non-academic jobs in those fields?

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People in each respective area would be more familiar than I am, but I have seen cognitive and social psychologists in two non-academic areas. One area is applied government research and the other area is working for organizations as a consumer psychologist.

If you are dead set on not going academic and are not interested in applied research either I would strongly consider other options. I'm sure applied positions that want those backgrounds are out there, but I have not seen many of them.

Edited by iopsych

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Probably hospitals and pharmaceutical laboratories. That's all I can think about, but I believe there should be more non-academic position possibilities.

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As far as I know in cognitive science/ cognitive psychology, there are a lot of research positions in industry (visualization, education-oriented research). For example, you have cognitive scientists being hired right out of graduate school by medium and large educational technology companies (Pearson, ETS, etc). I also know that there are a good amount of cognitive psychologists employed by Sandia Labs, government labs, private companies that are contracted by the government to do defense -related projects, and the list goes on and on. I think if more academics were open to encouraging students going in different career paths, there would be more people going non-academic. My advisors are pretty gung-ho about me going in an academic path that suits me, but not them. Not everyone is that lucky though. I think it also depends if you want to be a full-time research scientist or something more...corporate/cubicle-oriented. I want to be a research scientist wherever I go afterwards, but maybe not at an R1 institution.

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Cognitive Science has a lot of computation and software design, human interface technology etc. But social psychology is very much research oriented. Cognitive Psychology specifically, is also very heavily research oriented.

a phd in those programs EXPECT you to be involved in academia, they focus on publication and research. but again, as far as cognitive science goes, if you also have a great background in computer science, there is definitely applied fields for that. again, from my experience, a lot of phd programs will not want you if they don't think your goal is to find a career in academia, thats what they are training you to become.

If I were you I would definitely talk to the faculty in the program and ask them what they expect their graduates to do. getting a phd in a program that doesn't train you on applied work will NOT land you a job even after you graduate.

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Most cognitive psych people I know end up in jobs that are either in academia (researching topics related to their PhD) or in human factors or other applied research settings, including for the dept of defence.

Most social psych people I know end up in jobs that are either in academic or government jobs. The government jobs tend to be either stats, social/health related research, or policy.

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I have to politely disagree, donnyz89. It depends on a variety of factors, and with the academy and economy being the way that they are now, departments and faculty need to be open to other career paths for their students. I love cognitive psychology, but think that not everyone is meant to go into an R1 environment. I think having the attitude that the only thing that an experimental psychology phd is good for is the Ivory Tower is what produces unhappy graduate students that feel that they need to follow in the steps of their advisors and compete for hypothetical tenure-track jobs that are nonexistent.

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I don't think that's what he's arguing.

It's like saying the auto industry is failing, you go into a mechanic apprenticeship, and hope to get a job as an electrician because you don't want to be a mechanic. The training you're given in an experimental psychology PhD program isn't so easily translated into industry (this deals more specifically with what your research is on, though).

This rigidity in career path is what pulled me towards business schools instead of psychology or even decision sciences. The professors at my school make a good chunk of change consulting for corporations and consulting agencies while still enjoying (or surviving) the life of academics. Furthermore, they also reap higher salaries than professors in psychology -- which is one of the reasons why you see a lot of psychology PhDs seeking business faculty positions, but not vice-versa.

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I have to politely disagree, donnyz89. It depends on a variety of factors, and with the academy and economy being the way that they are now, departments and faculty need to be open to other career paths for their students. I love cognitive psychology, but think that not everyone is meant to go into an R1 environment. I think having the attitude that the only thing that an experimental psychology phd is good for is the Ivory Tower is what produces unhappy graduate students that feel that they need to follow in the steps of their advisors and compete for hypothetical tenure-track jobs that are nonexistent.

ok, to maximize your training as a phd experimental psychologist, academia is the typical route. Are there people outside of academia? of course, could those people get to that job with out a ph.d in experimental psychology? probably. Point is, there aren't many jobs outside of academia that would say "Seeking PhD in Experimental Psychology", so if someone wants a job in that field, why spend 5-6 year in a degree that isn't made for that field?

my point is, if your goal is to work outside of academia, think about what those jobs may be, and ask yourself, is a phd in experimental psychology the most productive use of my time to get that job? hoping that the infrastructure of academia changes or the program will accommodate you because you don't like what you signed up for is just being overly optimistic and doesnt sound like someone that went into a phd with a good idea of what it is about.

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... a bit late coming in the thread (!), but some thoughts nonetheless, for others perhaps.

I've just started work in industry with a cog psych PhD, for various reasons which aren't germane to the discussion. I preferred an academic career from the outset.

I definitely do not need a PhD to do what I'm doing, and I expect it is much the same for most industry positions. 4+ years experience in this industry (the time I spent doing a PhD) probably would have been better.

A PhD is for doing research. Academic research. Period.

One can make use of a PhD for other purposes, in much the same way that one can use the heel of a shoe to hammer a nail. It works, but it isn't the best use of it, and a better tool exists.

Think very hard about doing a PhD, if you already know you're not interested in the academy.

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... a bit late coming in the thread (!), but some thoughts nonetheless, for others perhaps.

I've just started work in industry with a cog psych PhD, for various reasons which aren't germane to the discussion. I preferred an academic career from the outset.

I definitely do not need a PhD to do what I'm doing, and I expect it is much the same for most industry positions. 4+ years experience in this industry (the time I spent doing a PhD) probably would have been better.

A PhD is for doing research. Academic research. Period.

One can make use of a PhD for other purposes, in much the same way that one can use the heel of a shoe to hammer a nail. It works, but it isn't the best use of it, and a better tool exists.

Think very hard about doing a PhD, if you already know you're not interested in the academy.

I agree to an extent. I/O psych seems to be an exception in that many of them go into industry and it seems to be a pretty accepted option (and they get often get a lot of training in applied work/things related to applied work). If you are dead sure you want to go into industry there are many ways to get there that do not involve the many hardships of PhD student life and you really owe it to yourself to investigate them. If you research it and still think the PhD is your best route then go for it, but then at least you'll know you made the right choice!

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Thank you for starting this thread. I've lost many sleepless nights over this issue. For me the fear is that TT jobs are far and few between. Academia is what I really, really, really want to do, but it would comfort me to know that there are other options out there than becoming the perpetual adjunct in the case that I don't get to where I really want to go. I'm doing the adjunct thing now. It was fun for this first semester, but I WILL NOT let this become my life. I witnessed a job search effort and it scared me to death (and I don't go to an tier 1 school... not by a long-shot).

It's good to know that there are industry jobs out there.

I assume many others who ask this question are probably in the same boat as I am?

Edited by randompsychologist

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This thread has not seen action in a while, but I thought it might be worthwhile to give it a shake and see what comes out. I'm a candidate in Cog Psych, expecting to get my degree in a year or so. I would like to get a research job in academia, but I think I'd rather work in industry than end up as adjunct or teaching in community college my whole life. In sounds like some other posters had similar thoughts. So ... Does anyone here have words of wisdom for someone in that position?

 

I realize that question is vague, so some more specific ones could be - Specific industries or types of jobs where a PhD in Cog Psych could be most useful? General likelihood of continuing to do 'real' research in an industry job? Tips for how to go about looking for / landing such jobs?

 

I'm also curious if any of the worried PhD students who posted earlier in this thread would like to update the community about their current status. If you've graduated since posting, did you end up going academic or industry? If industry, what industry, and how was the job seeking experience? Anything you wish you'd known earlier that you do know now?

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I wanted to "bump" this thread. Does anyone have any suggestions for non-academic jobs for cognitive psychology/neurocognitive psychology people?

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