The best graduate assistantships for psychology provide students with financial support and helps them develop skills that will help them when working in counseling and other fields. Colleges offer assistantships to students who have a high undergrad GPA and a strong understanding of psychology terms and concepts. The positions that are open to you depend on where you go to school, but there are some programs you may want to apply for after getting your acceptance letter.
Working as a research assistant is one of the best jobs out there for graduate psychology students. These positions often pay your tuition in exchange for you agreeing to work 20 hours or more each week on a research project done by a tenured professor. You may work on a project that looks at how a lack of sleep impairs memory, the way light impacts animals or how personal bias can change the way participants answer a survey. While some programs require that you work with real students, other programs may require that you work with animals like mice and rabbits.
If you enroll in grad school because you want to work as a psych professor, consider looking at the teaching assistantships available at your school. Teaching assistants handle some of the same duties that professors do. Their work allows those professors to spend more time on their research or writing projects and with their families. As a TA, you are responsible for passing out and grading assignments, monitoring students during exams and meeting with students during posted office hours. Some grad schools even let teaching assistants teach introductory psychology classes.
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Though not all colleges offer academic assistantships, these programs are great for those interested in working as career and academic counselors. Many of the responsibilities that you handle are similar to the things you would do in your future career. You'll often work in the department of student services and meet with undergrads who are uncertain about the future. The position requires that you talk with them about their goals, give them brochures and information about different careers and assist them in transferring colleges or finding part-time jobs. Though you pass give them career tests, licensed professionals will generally need to grade those tests.
Though some psychology assistantships provide you with valuable skills that you will need in the future, others can teach you strong organizational skills that you can use in school and on the job. One example of this type of program is one that trains you to work as an administrative assistant. Administrative assistants work in various offices and departments on campus and provide assistance to professors and the office in general. You may spend most of your time answering phones, writing down messages, filing paperwork, contacting students and doing other basic tasks.
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Working as a resident assistant or adviser is a great option for psychology grad students who want to work with teenagers and college students in the future. According to Jenna Mosley of Seventeen, benefits of RA programs include that you get time off from school, the college will pay you for your work and that you get free room and board. In exchange for those perks, you agree to handle problems between students, maintain special programs for residents and contact the authorities or school with serious problems.
Assistantships are programs that universities offer for graduate and doctoral psychology students and those studying other topics. The top graduate assistantships for psychology cover your tuition and may come with free room and board or stipends for your expenses.