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Earning an advanced college degree is generally the best way to become a consumer psychologist. Depending on the type of work, this degree could be either a master's or doctorate. As a fairly high level of education is usually necessary, it is important to determine if consumer psychology is the field one wishes to pursue because the time commitment may be intensive. Researching the job duties of a consumer psychologist is one way to decide and is a step that should be taken before committing to an educational program.
Consumer psychologists generally study the behavior of consumers, for example, why they purchase the products they do. Using this type of information, consumer psychologists can help organizations and companies create marketing plans that effectively target specific consumers. A person who wants to become a consumer psychologist should be interested in people, brands, advertising, and business.
If these interests are present, the next step to become a consumer psychologist is to earn a bachelor's degree. It is generally best to have a degree in psychology as this provides a strong foundation for advanced education in the psychology field. Some undergraduate courses that could be taken in addition to psychology may include marketing, advertising, statistics, or business.
Researching graduate programs is the next step to become a consumer psychologist. A master's degree in consumer psychology is often enough for someone who wants to work with businesses or in government, for example. Some of the specific areas to focus on within a master's program could include business, data analysis, or survey research; other course work in a master's program may include statistical analysis or experimental methodology. These courses are important because part of the job of a consumer psychologist may be to conduct experiments and analyze data to determine the most effective ways to market to consumers. In order to get a job in an academic or research field, a doctorate degree is usually required.
After completing the educational requirements, the next step to become a consumer psychologist is to get a job in the field. Performing job searches will help someone get an idea of the types of skills and education needed for specific jobs, as well as the different types of careers and industries one can choose. Organizations such as the Society for Consumer Psychology post jobs on their websites and often offer additional resources within the field. Another option is to read academic journals to get an idea of the different kinds of research being done. Jobs could be in the field of market research or strategic planning in an advertising agency, for example.
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