What Is a Psychometrician? (Definition, Salary and How To Become One)
Updated July 22, 2022
More than likely, you've encountered a personality or aptitude test while in school or when applying for a job. These types of tests are called psychometrics, and the scientists who design these exams are called psychometricians. Becoming a psychometrician requires extensive study and a specific career path. In this article, we explain what a psychometrician is, what they do, where they typically work, how much they make and how to become one.
What is a psychometrician?
A psychometrician is a type of scientist who studies measurements, or specifically, the measurement of people’s knowledge, skills and abilities, also known as KSAs. Most psychometricians perform their work by developing tests and examinations that measure a person's innate or learned KSAs.
What’s the difference between a psychometrician and a psychometrist?
While both careers require extensive training and education, the roles of psychometrician and psychometrist have clear distinctions. A psychometrician is a scientist who engineers, studies and validates psychological tests, while a psychometrist administers and uses psychological testing.
The former uses data analysis and machine learning to research the process and implementation of testing to make it more productive and accurate. A psychometrician often has an advanced degree, such as a Ph.D. in psychometrics, psychology or education and works in a lab or scientific panel environment.
The latter implements and interprets psychological tests using averages, deviation and correlative data. Psychometrists often have a bachelor’s or master’s in psychology or counseling and work directly with patients.
What do psychometricians do?
Psychometricians perform a variety of job duties depending on the organization where they work and the objectives of that group. Common job duties for a psychometrician include:
Gathering data: One of the primary job duties of a psychometrician is research and data collection. Psychometricians study their area of testing extensively before performing any exams.
Designing tests: Psychometricians design all types of tests, for use in their own research and use by other organizations and educational institutions.
Assessing diagnostics: Some psychometricians are responsible for ensuring that the tests they design provide accurate and reliable results.
Administering exams: Many psychometricians design and administer their tests, particularly if they work for a research-based organization.
Reporting on findings: Nearly every psychometrician will write and deliver reports on the findings of their research and testing to internal and external stakeholders.
Managing testing systems: Some psychometricians manage overall testing systems to ensure proper administration and scoring. Most often, these psychometricians work for a school district or other educational institution.
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How much does a psychometrician make?
According to Indeed Salaries, psychometrics specialists—a very similar role to that of a psychometrician—make $38,792 per year on average. A number of factors can impact the actual salary of a psychometrician, including:
Industry: The type of industry you work in as a psychometrician can have an outsized impact on your earning potential.
Experience: The more experience you have as a psychometrician, the more likely you are to make a higher salary.
Education: Many psychometricians earn advanced degrees. The more education you have, the more you can expect to make as a psychometrician.
Location: If you work for an organization in a large city with a high cost of living, you can expect a higher salary than if you live in a more rural area with a low cost of living.
Duties: Some psychometricians work as a part of a team while others oversee a group of test administrators. Higher-ranking psychometricians often make more money.
Where does a psychometrician work?
Psychometricians can work in a variety of industries and for many different types of companies. Generally, psychometricians work in one of two environments—research institutions or assessment centers. An example of a research institution could be a college or university where the psychometrician performs research and teaches students.
An example of an assessment center might be a large corporation that administers aptitude tests to every potential candidate. In both cases, the psychometrician would work on-site to ensure all research or testing practices adhere to industry guidelines and to help other stakeholders make sense of the findings.
How to become a psychometrician
If you are interested in becoming a psychometrician, there are a number of steps to take:
1. Earn a bachelor's degree
A bachelor's degree is vital to work as a psychometrician. Post-secondary training in math and social science is necessary for the daily work of a psychometrician. Most aspiring psychometricians major in statistics, psychology, mathematics or a related field.
2. Complete an internship
While working on your bachelor's degree—or after finishing it—consider completing an internship to help you gain field experience. Many colleges and universities hire students or recent graduates to work in their research centers, so ask your professors if that's an option for you to gain experience.
3. Complete a master's degree
Most organizations hiring psychometricians require a minimum of a master's degree. Most psychometricians earn a master's degree in a psychometrics-specific program. Common degrees include Master of Science in psychometrics, Master of Science in psychology with a focus in psychometrics and Master of Arts in psychometrics.
5. Consider a doctoral degree
Some psychometricians go on to earn a doctoral degree. For leadership and management roles in psychometrics, a doctorate is strongly recommended to be competitive.
6. Apply for positions
After you've earned the appropriate degrees and gathered some real-world experience in psychometrics, apply for positions. When looking for open positions, think about whether you'd prefer to perform more research and development or if you want to administer or oversee a testing program.
Common skills and qualities for psychometricians
Most psychometricians work hard to develop a specific set of skills and abilities to perform their jobs well. Consider this list of common psychometrician skills:
Mathematics: Understanding mathematics, particularly statistics, is absolutely vital as a psychometrician.
Attention to detail: Noticing small details and how they impact the overall quality of a test can make the difference between a successful exam and an unsuccessful exam.
Analytical skills: Psychometricians must have the ability to analyze data effectively.
Collaboration: Most psychometricians work as part of a larger research team or organization, so working well with others is key.
Organization: Keeping information and ideas well organized for themselves and their team is another key ability for psychometricians.
Communication: Many psychometricians have to share reports and findings with internal and external stakeholders. Excellent written and verbal communication is a must for psychometricians.
Here are answers to some questions you may have about the psychometrician career path:
Is a psychometrician a doctor?
While psychometricians often receive doctoral degrees, they typically are not considered medical doctors. They often work under the supervision of a licensed neuropsychologist.
What is the difference between a psychologist and a psychometrician?
Psychologists are trained to work in all of the psychological sciences, whereas a psychometrician deals exclusively with the administration, scoring and evaluating of psychological exams of patients. They typically work under the supervision of a licensed psychologist.
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