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Transitioning to academia for early career psychologists


The Australian Psychological Society (APS) has featured insights from Dr Jason M. Lodge MAPS MCOP about the challenges early career psychologists face in transitioning into academia. He says that it is particularly difficult for early career psychologists and psychological scientists to effectively transition into an academic role, given the fact that higher education is experiencing profound changes and forces. Opportunities for early career academics (ECAs), which are defined as those within five years of finishing a PhD, are declining in relative terms as more PhD qualified people enter the job market and compete for positions.

Dtransitioning from early career psychologist into academiar Lodge says that the path from PhD to postdoctoral position to lecturing position is becoming less common in psychology, with candidates having difficulty in meeting the expectations of high performing ECAs as the pathways are diversifying and the competition intensifies. The situation is more precarious for ECAs because there are discipline specific characteristics in psychology. The challenge is weighed by the high standard of research required for publication in the top journals along with fierce competition for available grant money.

However, Dr Lodge says that there are substantial benefits of a psychology background. It is relatively easier for psychology graduates to get up to speed on notions of student learning and curriculum design than those coming from other disciplines. Also, the skills and knowledge developed during an extended education in psychological science are the skills that are in high demand in related areas. A solid background in how people think is undoubtedly of use when researching how students learn and attempting to create the conditions for learning to occur. Knowledge and skills in psychology are valued across many discipline areas and in many industries, so there is no reason why early career psychologists cannot have a substantial impact on teaching in higher education.

For more insight and tips from the APS on preparing and transitioning to a career in academia, click here.

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