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Skills You'll Need

"Different skills are essential depending on the subfield you choose to study," says Lake Michigan College psychology instructor and program coordinator Dr. Denise Scameheorn. "For those fields that deal directly with people, you must be an effective listener and communicator."

Dr. Scameheorn also believes that success will arrive from being sensitive, compassionate and having high performance standards. "You must be willing to be a life-long learner. Research is continually updated, and it is your responsibility to objectively read and study the findings."

If your interests are in psychological research, you must be patient and persistent. Careers involving research require you to work well individually as well as in a team. Having clear verbal and written communication skills are a necessity. "Good research takes time," adds Dr. Scameheorn. "Results are not likely to happen overnight."

Other skills employers look for include the ability to collect, analyze and interpret data; knowledge of statistical principles; ability to set up an experimental design; and ability to adapt to new research findings.

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