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Research vs Clinical Work Split as a Clinical Neuropsychologist

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Slowtown-21

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Hello,

I'm an 3rd-year undergraduate studying psych with a specialization in neuroscience. I'm very interested in pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology and career in clinical neuropsychology.

I have a question about the split between research and clinical work in academic medical center (AMC) settings in particular. I have read from different sources that it is possible for neuropsychologists to do both research and clinical work but I don't have an idea of the ratio spent between research and clinical work. I assume that a split of 50/50 for research and clinical is not realistic or feasible. What are some common ratios of work done in research compared to clinical work within an AMC setting for neuropsychologist? 70 for clinical work and 30 for research? Vice-versa? What might this look like on a day-to-day basis?

I ask these questions because I seriously considering becoming a neuropsychologist and I feel like lately I have been so focused on the journey to neuropsychology in terms of becoming a competitive applicant for Clinical Psych PhD programs and starting the process of applying. Although it's good to start these beginning steps, I want to have an idea of what life can be like once I actually begin my career. I think knowing what my destination will be in this long, duanting process of becoming a clinical neuropsychologist will 1) help solidify my interests in going down this career path and 2) will provide clarity on feasibility of my career goals because I know neuropsychologists can wear many different hats.
 

AcronymAllergy

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Speaking broadly, as I don't have direct personal experience, I would say it can vary pretty significantly. I've seen splits from 90/10 in both directions and everything in-between. Most commonly, the split does seem to be more heavily-weighted toward clinical work (e.g., 80/20), at least initially. However, from what I've heard and seen, it's not unusual for folks to have the option of buying out additional clinical time via bring in more research funding. This would just need to be negotiated during the hiring process.
 
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WisNeuro

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Speaking broadly, as I don't have direct personal experience, I would say it can vary pretty significantly. I've seen splits from 90/10 in both directions and everything in-between. Most commonly, the split does seem to be more heavily-weighted toward clinical work (e.g., 80/20), at least initially. However, from what I've heard and seen, it's not unusual for folks to have the option of buying out additional clinical time via bring in more research funding. This would just need to be negotiated during the hiring process.

80/20 was pretty much the split for my supervisors during prac at an AMC. There was one faculty in particular who had a much higher research percentage, but he as also pulling in huge grants to collaborate with NCAA and other national groups.
 
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summerbabe

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This is putting the cart way ahead of the horse but for folks who are interested in specializing or looking for a pretty specific type of job/work setting, I think it's also important to consider factors like your geographical flexibility and whether you can/could/want to move to pursue an ideal career in the future.

For example, I live in a state with a single AMC so while there are often openings for entry level positions, people in desirable/specialized jobs might stay until retirement so it wouldn't be uncommon for residents of my state to have to make some sacrifices either with one's work or where one would live.
 
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AcronymAllergy

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80/20 was pretty much the split for my supervisors during prac at an AMC. There was one faculty in particular who had a much higher research percentage, but he as also pulling in huge grants to collaborate with NCAA and other national groups.

Yeah, I imagine in the absence of significant grant funding as a PI, you're probably looking at 90/10 or 80/20 at most.
 
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szymk1sm

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I'm an ECNP at an AMC in a primarily research position. My split is 80 (research) / 20 (clinical). This split may change if I don't secure a grant this year, etc.

Another colleague who is primarily research is 90 (research) / 10 (clinical). Clinical colleagues in my department range from 80 to 100% clinical. Neuropsychologists in other departments range from 50 to 100% clinical.
 
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Slowtown-21

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I'm an ECNP at an AMC in a primarily research position. My split is 80 (research) / 20 (clinical). This split may change if I don't secure a grant this year, etc.

Another colleague who is primarily research is 90 (research) / 10 (clinical). Clinical colleagues in my department range from 80 to 100% clinical. Neuropsychologists in other departments range from 50 to 100% clinical.

Thank you for the insight. How hard was it for you to obtain a research position and secure grants? Also what's an ECNP?
 

Therapist4Chnge

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Across academic positions I was 80%-100% clinical / 0-20% research. I didn't necessarily want more than 1 day per WK for research, and generally anything less than that turns into 100% clinical w/o any official buy-out time. I see this split going the other way w research too, but I've rarely seen 50/50.
 

szymk1sm

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Thank you for the insight. How hard was it for you to obtain a research position and secure grants? Also what's an ECNP?
ECNP = early career neuropsychologist (so within 10 years of graduation)

This is my first job. I did a clinical neuropsych postdoc and was getting burnt out on full-time clinical work, so I looked for opportunities to return to research (I had a strong research background from graduate school - 10+ publications, small foundational grants that fully funded my dissertation, etc.).

I'm in a weird position (technically getting more research "training" by an expert in my research area but am also a fully licensed psychologist, so I'm faculty). I had to consciously sacrifice a few things (like desirability of location and department set up) in order to get research mentorship by this person (which I know was a smart career move and I've already reaped some benefits). It actually wasn't too hard for me to secure this position, as I had a solid / well-liked mentor in graduate school and networked hard throughout my training. I actually met my current mentor the year prior and they were interested in adding a neuropsychologist to their research team - so it was kind of perfect timing. Point here is that networking throughout your training is important and you don't know how those relationships will pan out and affect your future.

To date, I have applied for 2 foundational grants (one I did not get and the other I'm waiting to hear back from), with a goal of submitting a NIH K award within the next year or so. Grants are competitive (some harder to get than others, depending on where you're applying). I'm still early on, so I can't really say how "hard" it's been to obtain a grant yet.

I would say one of the largest parts of a research career is getting used to hearing "no" and pivoting / recrafting your ideas for resubmission. You have to grow thick skin and not be (largely) bothered by delayed gratification. These are just my experiences - others may have different opinions.
 
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