glasscandie

10+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2008
142
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Near Baltimore, MD
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Psychology Student
How many hours/week did you work? Were you paid?

I've been e-mailing around for some lab. experience, because although I've been interning at a psych. rehab. clinic, the research I'm doing isn't in a lab. I was contacted by a neuropsychology/cognitive psych. lab., who said they might have a spot for me. I e-mailed them back asking for more info, but I'm curious what the general experience was. I guess my dilemma is that I'm already interning 2 days/week, and I have a 2-year-old daughter. My ultimate offer would be 1 day/week at the lab, or 1 day as an intern, 2 days at the lab, but I don't want to be thinking unrealistically.

Thanks!
 

WannaBeDrMe

10+ Year Member
Apr 14, 2008
296
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Status
I think it varies tremendously depending upon the project's needs, schedule, funding, number of participants, population studied, etc...

I have considered positions where I would be a field assistant traveling from county to county basically working a public mental health epidemiological study... and other positions where I would hand out pencils and instruction sheets to people who walked into a bare bones room.

There are positions where they only want you to work on their number crunching and others where they are still in study design process and will be open to ideas...

Without knowing more about this specific lab, I can't say more...

My last research position was under a prof with a dual appointment in two schools within the university so I had my hands in a lot of different projects where I never did the same thing twice while at the same time working another project where all I did was hand portable dvd players to cancer patients starting chemo and then handing them a survey right after...

Clear as mud?

sorry I can't be more help...
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,759
1,263
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Psychology Student
Well, are you talking about being an RA in a lab as an undergrad? This is something most folks do generally either for course credit or for free. In my experiences most labs require "about" 10 hours a week though exceptions may be made if you come in with great credentials and can make a convincing argument you would be a great addition to the lab (e.g. you come across as exceptionally personable in the interview, or have something unique to offer that the lab needs such as computer skills, extensive experience with x population or y technology, etc.).

After graduation, many people accept half or full-time positions in labs that are paid. Pay is kinda crappy (25-30k generally, though that can be more or less depending on location). Those tend to be at least somewhat competitive though and without experience volunteering I'd say odds of finding a paid research position are very very slim. On rare occasion there are per diem positions that can be just a few hours a week and are paid. Don't bank on getting one, most of the time professors either need someone at least 20 hours, or can get by with free labor from undergrads.

I think your situation is doable, provided you plan to make that one day a full day. It won't be easy and you may need to shop around a bit even to find someplace that can let you volunteer on such a tight schedule, but there is a good chance you can find something.

Hope that helps? If I misunderstood what you were asking, let me know.
 

ClinicCase55

10+ Year Member
May 19, 2008
15
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Status
Psychologist
Hi. I am assuming you are talking about working at a university in a research assistantship position at the graduate level.

We have two levels of assistants.

(1) These usually work 20 hours per week and get their schooling paid for. They generally do everything from patient contact, to surveying, to testing, to analyzing data, to crap work like data entry and folder organization.

(2) The other group of research assistants are those that are paid hourly. These assistants do not get school paid, and they get an hourly wage. They usually work 10-30 hours per week. They may do all the same work as the above mentioned RAs. The universities have set rates for what they can pay hourly workers.

For example, on one of my projects, I have 4 students. Two PhD students who work 20 hour per week, one MS student who works 10 hours per week, and one MS student who works 15 hours per week. I also have a study coordinator who works full-time.

At universities there are many opportunities for working in a lab and most are flexible. For example, I do not care when my students/workers get their work done, as long as I know it gets done by X day. Good luck.
 

PsyTiger

10+ Year Member
Feb 26, 2008
21
0
San Francisco
Status
Pre-Psychology
I guess the main question you need to answer for us to really help you is - do you need to get paid? If the answer is no (but, of course, it would be nice), then I would recommend contacting some professors/labs at your local university. I have found that most labs have websites or at least bulletin board postings - if you go and skulk around the psych building, you should be able to find it.

Most labs are willing to take on volunteers, especially if you have related skills, interests and/or are working towards your grad psych degree yourself. After volunteering for a few months at my lab, I was actually offered a well paid, part time position, so you never know...
The publicized paid RA positions are very competitive, and honestly, they often already have someone in mind for it but have to go through the act of taking apps just to be fair. Volunteering is a great way to get your foot in the door.
 

Thrak

RU experienced?
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Dec 16, 2007
304
1
Queens, NY/Edison, NJ
Status
Psychology Student
I've gotten 35-45k per year, for 40-50 hours of work per week. This is for psychophysical vision research though. And it's in the Boston and NYC areas, so factor a higher cost of living with that.
 

paramour

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Jan 16, 2007
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I've worked 10, 20, 30, & 40 hour paid assistantships and I've worked 10 hour non-paid assistantships.

Unsure whether you're an undergrad/grad student, but my current university allows students to register for unpaid assistantships for course credit, with 2 credits equivalent to 6/6.5 hours and 3 credits equivalent to 10 hours.
 

moonflwr

Former Cincinnatian
10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2008
95
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Florida
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MD/PhD Student
I've worked 10, 20, 30, & 40 hour paid assistantships and I've worked 10 hour non-paid assistantships.

Unsure whether you're an undergrad/grad student, but my current university allows students to register for unpaid assistantships for course credit, with 2 credits equivalent to 6/6.5 hours and 3 credits equivalent to 10 hours.

My UG also gave us course credit for unpaid assistantships. Currently I'm working 40 hours as a research assistant at a local hospital but I seem to remember you saying that you just wanted one day? I would go for a lab in a university as they seem to be more flexible when it comes to the amount of time you can commit.

BTW, I don't recommend securing an RA position in pediatric dentistry, BORING. Great research experience, not even remotely related to psychology. :D
 

Cosmo75

Post-Doctoral Fellow
10+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2008
443
0
Chicago
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Post Doc
I worked about 20 hrs/week at mine and was paid a whopping $10/hr :D
 

schoolpsych

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Jan 23, 2008
65
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Psychology Student
As an undergrad research assistant I got course credit during the semester and $11/hr during winter and summer breaks. The amount of hours varied from week to week, but during the semester it was probably about 15-20 and during breaks I would work full 8 hour days.
 
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glasscandie

10+ Year Member
Apr 7, 2008
142
0
Near Baltimore, MD
Status
Psychology Student
Thanks for all the responses! I did find another lab position that would let me do 10 hours/week (I'm an undergrad. intern), so as long as that works out, the problem is solved! My other internship also is going to start paying me, because one part of the internship is an actual job position there already (PRS position). I really feel like I'm getting some lucky breaks!
 

myelin

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Feb 25, 2008
422
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Status
Psychology Student
I worked 20+ hours a week, unpaid. I actually paid the university to receive course credit for "independent research." It paid off as I was able to obtain great LORs as well as research experience (2.5 years with 3 research teams).