Becoming a Psychometrician
A psychometrician designs, scores, and analyzes tests that measure psychological characteristics, such as intelligence. These professionals' main task is to ensure that a test appropriately measures the intended characteristic and that its results can be relied upon. They may work for hospitals, universities, testing companies, or the government. Many psychometricians work concurrently as psychologists with a specialization in psychometrics. Psychometricians work in office settings and interview settings, such as private offices or meeting rooms in order to conduct tests. Most work full-time, although some may be employed by private practices and are able to set their own schedules.
Psychometricians require at least a master's degree, though some employers prefer a doctoral degree in psychometrics, psychology, statistics, psychological measurement, education measurement or another quantitative/qualitative area. Employers typically require 3 to 5 years' experience in data or test analysis, psychometrics or education. People wanting to becoming psychometricians should be skilled in communication, leadership, and probing and information-gathering skills, as well as being detail-oriented and able to perform statistical analysis. As of January 2016, Payscale.com reported that the median salary for all psychometricians was approximately $76,000.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that many psychometricians earn a bachelor's degree in psychology, mathematics, statistics or a related field. These programs provide instruction in the psychological, measurement, analysis and mathematical skills that psychometricians commonly need to work in the field. Students in psychology programs may study psychological methods, psychological research, learning theories and neuroscience. Those in statistics and math programs study topics such as computational statistics and mathematical methods, discrete mathematics, multivariate calculus, differential equations and linear algebra.
Step 2: Gain Practical Experience
Psychology bachelor's degree programs may allow students to engage in research under faculty supervision. Gaining this type of experience can introduce students to the type of tasks they may perform as psychometricians. Psychology programs may also offer internships that give students the opportunity to obtain hands-on experience and network with scientific and research professionals. Additionally, students can learn about conducting research and performing statistical analysis through senior programs found in statistics degree programs.
Join a Student Aassociation
Some schools may host psychology- or math-focused student organizations. Participating in one of these associations allows students to stay abreast of developments in the field and interact with fellow aspiring psychometricians.
Step 3: Earn a Master's Degree
Most employers seek candidates who have at least a master's degree. Master of Arts (M.A.) in Psychometrics, Master of Science (M.S.) in Psychology with a concentration in psychometrics and Master of Science in Psychometrics degree programs are available. Programs in psychometrics provide students with a foundation of advanced knowledge in psychology and psychometrics. Classes include measurement and research, applied statistics, analysis of variance, factor analysis and regression analysis. Psychology degree programs include classes in the theories of learning, psychopathology, intelligence testing and research methods. These programs may require working in a lab and writing a thesis prior to graduation.
Step 4: Consider a Doctoral Degree
Although employers are willing to hire candidates who possess master's degrees, some prefer to hire candidates who have doctoral degrees. Individuals can prepare for advanced positions in psychometrics through Doctor of Education programs in psychometric methods, research methods and educational statistics or one that specializes in qualitative, quantitative and psychometric methods. Some of these programs are offered as joint master's and doctoral degrees in psychometrics. Upon graduation, students may be eligible to participate in fellowship opportunities, which may impress prospective employers.
Join the Psychometric Society. The Psychometric Society offers members discounted rates for attending annual conferences and access to published articles related to the field. Joining this society allows a psychometrician to interact with other professionals and remain aware of changes or developments in the field.
Psychometricians design, score, and analyze tests that measure psychological characteristics, such as intelligence. Most employers want prospective psychometricians to have at least a master's degree, if not a doctoral degree.