CitizenPanda

10+ Year Member
May 18, 2008
13
0
0
Status
Psychology Student
Hi all,

I'm in a clinical PhD program that places a heavy emphasis on clinical training. I seem to have spent the majority of my time in grad school at my various practicums, at my school's clinic, or writing assessment reports, etc.

I really haven't had much time to put a lot of effort into producing research, but I really wish I could. I loved being a research assistant before starting grad school, and I would love to eventually get a job where I'm involved in research (at least in some capacity.)

What's the likelihood that I'd ever be accepted into a research-focused internship or post-doc? I have two publications from before starting grad school, and obviously I hope that I'll eventually publish something related to my dissertation. I have no history of securing external funding.

Would it be realistic to even apply to these types of positions? I have no idea how competitive they are.

I hope someone can give some insight into this!
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,459
2,424
281
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
What's the likelihood that I'd ever be accepted into a research-focused internship or post-doc? I have two publications from before starting grad school, and obviously I hope that I'll eventually publish something related to my dissertation. I have no history of securing external funding.
While I won't say you have no chance, you should not count on getting interviews at the handful of internship sites that attract the research-heavy applicants. With that being said, there are many internship sites that will allow you opportunities to research. Look for sites that offer protected research time and/or a formal research rotation. Other sites will offer a research opportunities, though that time will be in addition to your training requirements. Internship sites ate some of the better known academic medical centers have some nice options, as do some of the VA hospitals with strong academic affiliations.

As for a research post-doc....not sure. I'll defer to some of the more research heavy people on here, though there seem to be quite a few research fellowships out there, and also some nice opportunities to have protected research time. Many fellowships at academic medical centers come with 20/30% protected research time.
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,741
1,226
281
Status
Psychology Student
Post-docs seem to be a dime a dozen, at least in my area of study, which is why I never understood why some people here act like they are impossible to find. A number of places have been actively recruiting me (i.e. every time I see them I get asked "Are you looking for a post-doc yet? I really think you'd be a great fit here and we'd love to have you, please let us know as soon as you are ready") and I haven't even finished my master's yet! My CV isn't bad, but its nothing special at this point. Many places struggle to find qualified post-docs (we apparently went unfilled for several years in a row in my current lab before finding someone decent).

That said, I think it depends on your area. My area probably has a larger portion of funding for a smaller number of researchers compared to say...depression research. From what I can tell, it sounds like my post-doc search is basically going to consist of asking. That said, you need to have the qualifications. I get the impression most places would rather go unfilled then take someone unqualified. Learn everything you can about stats, and find ways to get involved. If you don't have access to data through a lab, there are many public datasets available. Write something up. If you get a few decent publications as a grad student and some presentations, it shouldn't be that hard.

More important though, is networking. Your mentor should be able to help with this. If you are doing work similar to that of people who regularly have large volumes of extramural funding, you will be in much better shape.
 

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,459
2,424
281
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
Post-docs seem to be a dime a dozen, at least in my area of study, which is why I never understood why some people here act like they are impossible to find. A number of places have been actively recruiting me (i.e. every time I see them I get asked "Are you looking for a post-doc yet? I really think you'd be a great fit here and we'd love to have you, please let us know as soon as you are ready") and I haven't even finished my master's yet! My CV isn't bad, but its nothing special at this point. Many places struggle to find qualified post-docs (we apparently went unfilled for several years in a row in my current lab before finding someone decent).
Post-Docs are a funny animal. In certain areas they are definitely competitive (neuro, rehab), while others really need to search out qualified applicants. On the listservs I've seen multiple posting for some great places, but unlike internship....post-doc sites have A LOT of say of who they select. I think part of the challenge is matching the type and area. Clinical post-docs are plentiful, but the numbers really fall once you specify your area of interest. The same can be said for research positions, which often require a multi-year commitment.

Networking is a HUGE part of finding a good post-doc. Most of the places I considered came via recommendation or through a connection, and while I know I was a strong applicant, the connections pushed me to be a finalist. It is great/scary how small the profession is once you find your niche. Ollie123 is most likely modest about his CV, but it shows how important networking is in our profession.
 

Ollie123

10+ Year Member
Feb 19, 2007
4,741
1,226
281
Status
Psychology Student
I don't think I'm being that modest - I do have a number of strong presentations, but I have no publications at this point other than an encyclopedia article!

I should specify that most of the positions I am talking about are not "formal" post-docs. These are generally just large laboratories with substantial funding who have the money to hire people. This is why networking is critical. If I was just looking for advertisements, post-docs in my area still wouldn't seem "scarce" but I might get the impression there weren't quite as many. I doubt most of these places actually advertise for post-docs - its more the kind of situation where you talk to them, and they find a way to pull together funding from one or more sources to create a position for you if they want you. That's how we operate too. They are also generally not traditional "clinical" ones. I could certainly get enough hours for licensure at them if I wanted, but most would also be just as happy to hire someone with no clinical training, which is why its important to have the research credentials. Several of them run specialty clinics out of the lab, or at the very least could find a way for you to get the hours either with them or elsewhere.

As for a multi-year commitment, pay is decent compared to school. We start around 45-50k in a relatively inexpensive city. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's great but a temporary 2 year gig that is additional "training" for 50k seems reasonable to me. Particularly if it means I get an offer for 90k once I leave (which just happened to someone I know).
 
Last edited:

Therapist4Chnge

Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
Moderator Emeritus
10+ Year Member
Oct 7, 2006
21,459
2,424
281
The Beach
Status
Psychologist
I don't think I'm being that modest - I do have a number of strong presentations, but I have no publications at this point other than an encyclopedia article!
I hope you don't let this loley Psy.D. out produce you before you hit internship, especially since I didn't publish anything my last 2 years before internship. ;) The mode is still 0 and 0, so I have a feeling you'll still be well positioned.

I should specify that most of the positions I am talking about are not "formal" post-docs. These are generally just large laboratories with substantial funding who have the money to hire people. This is why networking is critical.
Absolutely true. I'm not as familiar with this side of things, though I've heard that labs will find finding for good research people, and a "formal" advertised position isn't really required.

As for a multi-year commitment, pay is decent compared to school. We start around 45-50k in a relatively inexpensive city. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's great but a temporary 2 year gig that is additional "training" for 50k seems reasonable to me. Particularly if it means I get an offer for 90k once I leave (which just happened to someone I know).
That sounds in line with the NIH guidelines for someone with 5ish years of research experience. I can't picture living in NYC and working at NYU with that, but many places that can work well. I'm a big fan of the Midwest because the cost of living is much more livable than on the coasts.