According to 2015 estimates, the average psychology PhD graduate is 31.2 years old and has spent the last seven years in graduate school. What’s next? Approximately 32% plan to complete a postdoc, and 23% have definite employment lined up. This employment is more likely to be in non-academic sectors—industry, government, or non-profit—than in academia. It seems that the path that graduate students typically pursue at the start of graduate school; namely, PhD to postdoc to tenure-track academic job, is anything but the norm.
Why do trained experimental psychologists leave academia and how do they make the transition out? What are their new careers like? And how can their experience help inform others who will soon be going down the same path, leaving the clear academic track that may no longer be available or desirable to people currently in graduate school? This Digital Event of the Psychonomic Society explored these issues. Eleven former experimental psychologists and cognitive scientists answered questions, including many sourced from Psychonomics readers, to cover two themes:
1. What is it like to be an experimental psychologist working outside of academia, and
2. How do you go about pursuing a new career outside of academia?
Answers to those questions are provided in 10 separate posts:
- (The good) life beyond academia
- #beyondAcademia: What are the motivations for a career switch out of academia?
- #beyondAcademia: What skills can experimental psychologists offer?
- #beyondAcademia: “I can get … a lot of … satis-fffaction”
- #beyondAcademia: Gratitude, surprises, and ambition
- #beyondAcademia: Work-life balance
- #beyondAcademia: How to go beyond academia
- #beyondAcademia: turning research into “actionable insights” (and a job)
- #beyondAcademia: Advice and mistakes
- Preparing for #beyondAcademia in graduate school