Pros & Cons of a Career in Cognitive Psychology


Cognitive psychologists are experts in how the brain processes information. These psychologists study brain functions and research on the brain, and may carve out a career as a researcher. Cognitive psychology does pay well and can be a fascinating career for those interested in how the brain works. There are career opportunities for academics and clinical psychologists as well as researchers in this field.

Market Advantage

Psychology Degree Online says that cognitive psychologists may find it slightly easier to find jobs than other psychologists because their training emphasizes computer use and research methods. Thus, these psychologists already have the skills to work in research-oriented positions or to work in clinics that use databases to keep track of patient information.

Lower Pay

Cognitive psychologists more often work in academia than in research. As of May 2011, college professors and other academic psychologists make less money than those who work in the research field. Cognitive psychologists who work exclusively in research make about $96,000 per year, while those who work in academia make only approximately $55,000 per year.

More Job Opportunities

Cognitive psychologists have a variety of job opportunities. They can work in the academic field or research field; in addition, some cognitive psychologists go into clinical practice. Cognitive psychologists may be self-employed as well as work in a hospital or already-established private practice. These psychologists therefore can almost always find a job somewhere in their field, even if it is not their ideal job.

Higher Education Requirements

Cognitive psychologists often must have a doctorate in cognitive psychology to qualify for jobs in academia, research or some clinics. Clinical psychologists also must pass exams to be granted a license and must work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist as part of the application process. It will take clinical psychologists longer to complete their educational requirements before they can begin working. They may have more student loans to pay back once they enter the work force.

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