Research psychologists typically rely on psychology technicians to help them perform their experiments by administering psychological tests, collecting and coding data and maintaining computer records. Most psychology technicians have at least a bachelor's degree, although some have a master's degree. Although your degree doesn't necessarily have to be in psychology, you should have a background in psychology and statistics. The position is ideally suited for an organized, independent and careful worker.
An office runs smoothly based on the administrative support of individuals such as psychology technicians. The psychology technician may be in charge of managing psychological test inventories, scheduling research subjects and scanning psychological assessments into the computer. Office tasks, such as typing, duplicating and distributing memos might also be included in the job responsibilities.
Typical research for a psychologist involves using psychometric tests, such as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory, Beck Depression Inventory or the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale to differentiate between treatment and control groups. The psychology technician is typically responsible for administering and scoring these tests. Administration must follow test protocols "to the letter" or they are invalid and cannot be interpreted against normative data, so precision is key.
Once data is collected, the psychology technician is responsible for key-entering responses into a data management system, typically on the computer. Many data-entry systems in psychology require double key-entry to prevent error. The technician might be responsible for producing a written summary of the response including scale scores and computer generated analyses, but cannot independently interpret test results as they do not have a clinical license.
The psychology technician functions as part of a multi-disciplinary team organizing, coordinating and scheduling activities. She must have excellent communication skills and be able to complete her work in a timely fashion. She also needs to be flexible since situations will arise that will warrant a shift in priorities.
Brenda Scottsdale is a licensed psychologist, a six sigma master black belt and a certified aerobics instructor. She has been writing professionally for more than 15 years in scientific journals, including the "Journal of Criminal Justice and Behavior" and various websites.