Education and experience are required to become a comparative psychologist and although a bachelor's degree may gain you entry level employment in this field, you may want to consider working on a master's or doctorate degree. This profession involves studying animal behavior, which requires years of experience and training. Most universities do not have a specific degree program to become a comparative psychologist, and students often opt to receive their bachelor's degree in a broader psychology discipline. There are graduate programs that focus specifically on comparative psychology, however, and you may want to research these programs in order to determine the undergraduate program required for graduate school admission.
Once you have chosen an undergraduate program in a psychology field, you will need to enroll in electives that will prepare you to become a comparative psychologist. Aside from fundamental psychology courses, you will typically need to take courses in bio-psychology, evolutionary psychology, and psychological research studies. Some of the topics that these advanced courses may cover include hormones and behavior, biochemical models of behavior, and biological bases of cognition. These courses can prepare you for the fieldwork needed to become a comparative psychologist. Internships may also be important to entering this profession and most companies may prefer that you have completed certain courses before applying.
Most of the internships in this field last at least eight weeks and are focused on extensive research procedures. You should be comfortable interacting with various animals, because most internships will require interaction during research projects. These experience opportunities will heighten your research and analytical skills which can increase your chances to become a comparative psychologist.
Upon completion of your undergraduate studies, you may want to seek an entry level position in this profession to enhance your experience background while you continue your education. A graduate program in comparative psychology may include coursework in psycho-biology, fundamentals of comparative psychology, and anti-predator behavior. The majority of your coursework in these graduate programs will be heavily based on fieldwork and laboratory work. Studying the development of animals and humans will be important to become a comparative psychologist and future employers may want recommendation letters from previous laboratory directors.
There are many career options available in this field including research psychologist, animal behaviorist, and comparative psychologist. Research facilities and medical laboratories are some of the places that you may want to inquire about employment. Due to the highly specific nature of this career, you may want to perform an Internet search for positions in your area.