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How To Become A Personality Psychologist: Degree and Career Guide

Have you ever wondered what makes someone's personality undesirable? Have you ever wondered why some people are forced to live on the margins of society? Personality psychologists wonder the same thing and they have dedicated their careers to finding out why personalities differ from person to person.

To become a personality psychologist, you would first need to obtain your bachelor's degree, you would then need to obtain a graduate degree, complete an internship, and obtain your license and certifications. You can then successfully fulfill a role as a personality psychologist.

Let us take a closer look at this particular field of psychology and what steps you would need to take to pursue a career as a personality psychologist.

What Is A Personality Psychologist?

Personality psychologists look at why and how people's personalities may differ from each other. They aim to assess the cognition, behavior, emotions, and social interactions of individuals in an attempt to learn why people are the way that they are.

It is completely mind-boggling that siblings can live in the same house and grow up in the exact same environment, but they can form completely different personalities. They each become their own individuals as a result of the unique combination of nature versus nurture.

Personality psychologists delve into these occurrences to determine what causes these distinct differences.

The same goes for people who are marginalized by society or even criminals. Personality psychologists aim to understand what motivates people to not only be separated from the rest of society but why society itself considers them to be outsiders.

To delve even deeper, personality psychologists will assess and analyze people who come from the same community groups, the same backgrounds, and the same cultures, and they will assess how group behaviors and thoughts differ from that of other groups.

With each person being unique, the way we think, act, and process different stimuli are completely different from the way others do. This means that personality psychologists have an endless pool of data into which they can tap.

What Does A Personality Psychologist Do?

Personality psychologists aim to assess and discover the differences in the way people act, think, and behave, and they aim to assess why these differences exist.

Although they work closely in analyzing and assessing patients, their main goal is not to treat patients. In so doing, personality psychologists seek to focus on assessing similarities and differences between people, and how people react to certain situations.

They are therefore often found to work in organizations that assess human interaction, they assess those in leadership roles, and they may work in coaching individuals to best respond to certain situations and handle conflict resolution within an organization.

Types of Personality Psychologists

The duties that a personality psychologist would carry out are greatly determined by the field of focus they choose to pursue. Much like the many other fields of psychology, there are a wide array of options.

The first field of focus for personality psychologists is the field of research. In this role, they would focus on research and the genetic and chemical sources from which behavior occurs and originates. Personality psychology researchers conduct research either by doing experimental research, archival research, observational research, or case study research.

While not actually treating patients, they may work in a clinical setting to closely interact with and study patients. Alternatively, through conducting research, personality psychologists may focus on writing and publishing journal articles, or they may focus on academics and pursue a career in teaching psychology.

Steps To Become A Personality Psychologist

Step One: Obtain A Bachelor's Degree

To gain effective insights into psychological theories and to gain an understanding and solid foundation in psychology, you would need to first obtain a bachelor's degree. This will provide you with the knowledge you will need of well-established psychology theories and an understanding of psychological principles that exist.

Step Two: Complete Your Master's And Doctoral Degree

To practice as a psychologist, whether you are treating patients or just conducting research, you would need to obtain your graduate qualifications in the form of your master's and doctoral degrees. This will equip you with the skills you need to apply the theoretical foundation you would have acquired during your bachelor's degree.

Step Three: Find An Internship

Working toward an internship will help you acquire the practical experience you would need to succeed in the role of a psychologist, but you would need to choose an internship that will guide you in your desired field of psychology.

For example, clinical and counseling psychologists would choose to pursue an internship that will train them in treating and working with patients. If you are hoping to pursue a career in personality psychology, your field of focus would be geared toward research internships where you would gain skills and expertise in research methods, data analysis, and compiling the findings of your research.

Step Four: Obtain State Licensure And Certification

To practice as a psychologist, whether it be in applied or research psychology, you would be required to obtain state licensure and certification. Make sure that you are aware of your state requirements so that all are adequately met before you apply for your licensure. These requirements may also vary from state to state.

What Degree Do You Need To Be A Personality Psychologist?

To practice and conduct field and lab-based research, you would need to have either a master's degree or a doctoral degree. This may vary from state to state, but having a graduate degree is one way of ensuring your success as a personality psychologist.

What Is The Average Salary For A Personality Psychologist?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, psychologists can generally expect to earn a median annual salary of $81,040.

What Makes A Good Personality Psychologist?

Having the ability to collaborate with others is a great trait to have. This is because you will need to work with other researchers, sample groups, and patients with whom you will be working to collect data. You would need to have empathy, understanding, and an elevated sense of curiosity. Good observational skills will also get you far in this career.


What Are The Types Of Personality Psychology Careers You Could Follow?

You could focus on aspects of clinical, behavioral, experimental, or industrial-organizational psychology. You may find yourself working in a research organization or government and university organizations.

Who Was A Famous Personality Psychologist?

Sigmund Freud was a psychologist that studied personality and the human psyche.


If research fascinates you, as well as the human mind, if you have always wondered why personalities differ so vastly, then this may be the best field of study for you to pursue. You may be the person to uncover the next ground-breaking psychological theory.

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