PhD/PsyD Second career thread

Discussion in 'Psychology [Psy.D. / Ph.D.]' started by MamaPhD, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    My ratio of work enjoyment/fulfillment to compensation has decreased to the point that I am giving more thought to a career change. I have some long held second career ideas I've been kicking around, but before deciding on a plan to brush up or acquire new skills, I think some brainstorming is in order.

    I'd enjoy some stories about psychologists who have pivoted into non-traditional/alt-ac type jobs, preferably in a scientific or at least analytic type role. Anything but clinical work, please. Tell me your (or your colleagues') tales.
     
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  3. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    There seems to be a lot of this going around on this board lately?
     
  4. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist

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    I’ve looked into this hard. Long story short: it’s a super bad financial choice and is probably mediated by lack of personal development. If I went to medical school now, I’d be looking at like $250k in expenses, 4 years of completely lost income, 3 years of Income around $50k, and a lack of a likely entrance to a higher paying speciality given my age. If I went full time into instructional finance, it’s arojnd $150k, and median incomes that are overcome by cost of living.


    That being said, I have met or know:

    1) a psychologist that later became a priest
    2) a cognitive psychologist who works in software, assisting in developing GUIs
    3) a few psychologists who became attorneys, not psychologists with jds.
    4) some Psychologists who exclusively work in pharma. Inter rater reliability has a huge effect on fda trials, especially in neuro and psych.


    I consult for a wide variety of industries but I hustle. 90% started through social relationships. If you think about it, you have a ldvanced education in math and human behavior. You just have to identify an industry that could benefit from that, learn about that industry so you can communicate and network. Beware “data scientists”, they’re great at math but have little understanding of theories of human behavior. If you’re a hard core behaviorist, the AI world is very interested in matching law.
     
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  5. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    End-of-year reflections? The things our minds turn to when we're on vacation? I guess both apply in my case.
     
  6. MamaPhD

    MamaPhD Psychologist, Academic Medical Center
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    Yes, I figured out long ago that at my age and career stage pursuing a second degree is not worthwhile, nor does the idea really appeal to me (I wouldn't mind getting more quant/stats training, however). I have friends who have gone into pharma, consulting, and other sectors using their PhDs and prior experience alone. That's more the type of move I'm looking at. I'm a clinical scientist by training and I really miss being able to use those skills. I'd still like to practice part-time.
     
  7. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist

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    Figure out an area that interests you, and what you could offer them. It’ll take a LOT of reading. Go to networking events and get known. Don’t be pushy. Someone will eventually ask you to do something. If someone who I challenged to a drinking contest and asked “what’s your favorite mathematical operation?” hired me, there’s business out there for anyone.
     
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  8. barryggg

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    Mind expanding a bit on why you are considering the career change?
     
  9. barryggg

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    Math? Most Psychologists don't have a math background..if they did..the field would be much more advanced than it currently is.
     
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  10. Psycycle

    Psycycle Psychologist

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    Does anyone have experience with non-academic research jobs such a the one below?

    Health Researcher at Mathematica Policy Research
     
  11. Therapist4Chnge

    Therapist4Chnge Neuropsych Ninja Faculty
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    Uhm....huh?
     
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  12. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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    I assume they meant statistics vs math, broadly
     
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  13. barryggg

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    Yes. I meant math like Algebra and Calculus. These should be mandatory. Heck, these days..knowing a program language should also be mandatory.
     
  14. rerope

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    Intermediate to Advanced Statistics and at least calculus is required by most programs nowadays. With more programs requiring R, stata etc a programming language will be as well (I'm learning R, python, and ruby and my work is counseling-community focused!). The field isn't is as behind as you think.
     
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  15. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    I'm sure there is some variance, but Calc was required for my undergrad degree in psych. Outside of something like R, most don't need to know a programming language. Some subfields (e.g., neuro, psychophys) by necessity will lead to some of us learning multiple programming languages, but if you're not going to actively use it in your research, waste of time.
     
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  17. AcronymAllergy

    AcronymAllergy Neuropsychologist
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    There's likely to be some variance in pre-reqs for psych degrees across universities, of course, but every university I've attended or looked into requires at least introductory Algebra for pretty much any undergraduate degree. My psych undergrad didn't require calculus, but I happened to take it and calc 2. Basic knowledge of programming can be helpful, although I would imagine once it gets to the point of being a very complex piece of software, folks are going to just bring on someone who specializes in that.

    That could be the type of knowledge and skillset that might make one more competitive and marketable in non-clinical settings, though.
     
    #15 AcronymAllergy, Jan 2, 2018
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  18. Ollie123

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    Know some folks who have worked for health insurance, several who are contemplating moves to tech sector gigs and the "academia-lite" type gigs (RTI, RAND, Westat, etc.). The latter group is likely my backup plan should funding dry up (though I'm good for the next 4+ years right now) - I could probably cope with an occasional bout of full-time clinical work to cover a gap, but would take a pretty significant pay cut before I'd make that the long-term plan. I'd take admin work over that.

    RE: math - I think most colleges require calculus, but 1-2 semesters of calculus is not going to accomplish much of anything since you need significantly more to <really> understand the stats than you are likely to get in entry-level undergrad math courses. Some close friends have math/CS/engineering backgrounds and have no earthly idea about most of the stats stuff I do and are ill-equipped to figure it out.

    I go back and forth on programming languages. If we want to get technical, things like R are scripting more than programming and there is actually a pretty big difference in not just the end-products, but how you approach the two. I do think its increasingly important for anyone planning an academic career to be comfortable reading code. Keep an eye on machine learning. I'm not convinced its the panacea everyone is pretending it is, but that is yet another skillset and one that I'd really consider a separate subfield entirely and not an offshoot of traditional statistics.

    Math is a weird tangent. Even for this board.
     
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  19. Psycycle

    Psycycle Psychologist

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    Anyone have a sense of what the academia-lite jobs pay?
     
  20. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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  21. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    I have an acquaintance at Humana with a clinical phd but she does big data, health outcome research for them (or actually one of their subsidiary branches, but her employer is still Humana). She makes mid 100's. Been there 8 years think.
     
  22. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Good friend of mine (Social/Personality PhD) works for Walgreens doing analytics, mid 100's as well.
     
  23. Ollie123

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    Varies, but reasonably close to typical academic (AMC) salaries. Imagine they have to be in order to recruit people. 75-100 starting depending on where, what you bring to the table, etc. Benefits don't seem quite as good (at least compared to my current gig), but still far better than typical industry jobs. My impression is a slightly lower ceiling if you want to stay in research (vs. moving to more admin/management). Meaning I think a full prof at a medical school likely does better than a senior researcher at one of those agencies. That said, I can't say for certain.
     
  24. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    From what I know, OPTUM/UHC has pretty paltry benefits but alot of other big managed care companies (Humana included) have very solid benefits. I'm not really acquainted with AMC benefits packages though.
     
  25. Ollie123

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    To clarify, I was specifically referencing the places I called 'academia-lite' (i.e. the research institutions). Its a different path and <somewhat> closer to an academic job than an industry data analyst position would be, which it sounds like you are referencing. My wife has worked a few different industry jobs - she's now at BCBS with good benefits, worked with some others that were much worse.

    For reference, I get a >10% employer retirement contribution (not match - they would contribute over 10% of my salary to a 403b whether or not I contribute anything). My health insurance is ~ $30/month (individual), family would be ~ $300/month. That is for a pretty solid plan with lower out of pocket costs than I typically see elsewhere. Many other perks too. I share this just to indicate that when I say the benefits "aren't quite as good" that my standards are quite high.
     
  26. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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    State institution?
     
  27. Ollie123

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    Private. Though my internship site (also private) and grad school (state) had relatively comparable benefits. I am assuming (perhaps foolishly) my experiences have been fairly representative of AMC gigs and I didn't happen to land at the only three with good benefits;)
     
  28. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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    Well, I'm aware of similar benefits at my state's institutions. But I have not heard of them being that generous at other AMCs or private institutions within my state. The healthcare cost of $300 for a family is really, really low. Look other places and that can cost 2-3x that amount.
     
  29. Ollie123

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    Yup - huge perk I think doesn't get enough attention in many of our salary discussions. I'd likely need at least a 10% salary bump just to break even in most industry jobs (likely more). I did a bit of googling when I was on the job market and I suspect my current employer is in the upper half of the bell curve for comparable institutions, but it didn't seem like it was off the charts. We don't automatically get a kickback salary bonus from grant indirects, which some places do these days. I might have submitted an R01 already if getting it would pay for a new car;) That said, I was looking exclusively at research heavy ones, so its a limited sample.

    Anyways - take-home summary. AMCs can pay relatively well with awesome benefits. Other industries can pay equal or better, but benefits will range from slightly worse to significantly worse. I'm certain there are many exceptions to both. Many pros/cons on both sides of the fence, but that's really a separate and more detailed discussion. All of this is based on my gut impression, so take it with a grain of salt.
     
  30. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    My "family" health insurance package at my current employer (the premier one) is slightly more than $550/month. And i thought I was getting a deal!? Man!

    I do have a good annual bonus structure though, as well as annual (merit) pay raises.
     
  31. Pragma

    Pragma Neuropsychologist
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    I've seen family health insurance premiums range from $600-1000 per month for people in other industries, and also people within local AMCs (non-state). That's why I mentioned it because when you look at the national numbers, the averages are pretty high compared to numbers thrown around in this thread, and on the rise.
     
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  32. Ollie123

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    To be clear, we have more expensive options too that are in that range. I'm on one of the cheaper plans. $1800 deductible/$6000 co-i max/$25 PCP co-pay/$75 specialist co-pay for the family plan. Restricted to providers within our own health system, but we're absolutely massive and the best local option for most things so its a non-issue for most people unless they have kids in college out of the area.
     
  33. WisNeuro

    WisNeuro Board Certified Neuropsychologist
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    Our non HD family plans are 190-290 per pay period, if we wanted to go HD looking at 130-220.
     
  34. PSYDR

    PSYDR Psychologist

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    My personal insurance is $330/month. No chronic health problems. All my providers are paid in cash.

    @MamaPhD, pm me.
     
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  35. EmotRegulation

    Psychologist Faculty

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    Ooooh, thanks for posting this. Today is the first day of my 4-hr/day intensive two weeks stats course which I start by saying THIS IS NOT A MATH CLASS. They usually don't believe me until the end of the class. Perhaps I will send this around.
     
  36. erg923

    erg923 Regional Clinical Officer, Cenpatico National

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    I had real hard time with advanced mathematics all through high school. But after some proper coaching/teaching and a change in my view point, I found the multiple rounds of multi-variate stats in grad school and as a junior faculty member to be not that bad. It does degrade fast though after grad school (and when you leave academia), and/or if you get away from using SPSS for too long. That's my experience anyway...
     
  37. mlwg1

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    Just wanted to note that the high-paying academia-lite jobs I'm familiar with require or prefer strong academic credentials (research postdoc and/or strong publication record). Perhaps less so if you have very strong quantitative skills and intend to function primarily as a statistical consultant or economist. I know that a local RAND includes an academic-style job talk in the interview process, for example. So this kind of job might be more challenging if one has minimal research background. Pure industry jobs, on the other hand, tend to focus more on concrete skills.
     

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