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How to Become a Consumer Psychologist

Puja Lalwani
Consumer psychology is a very important field for every business. With this importance becoming more apparent, recent trends indicate that the demand for consumer psychologists is largely increasing. What should you do to become a consumer psychologist then? Find out here.
Be it any business, whether a product or a service, the consumer is always considered the king. Without the consumer, there is no business, which is why understanding consumer psychology becomes imperative for its success. To be able to understand exactly what the consumer is looking for and catering to those needs builds the foundation of any successful business venture. This is what a consumer psychologist does.
Consumer psychology revolves around analyzing the consumer's response to a particular product or service. Then the causes of these responses are analyzed, i.e. emotional responses, responses based on general factors such as general opinion, personal beliefs, advertising methods, and marketing tactics.
By researching the market, analyzing buying trends through surveys and other methods, and connecting with the consumer and his needs at different levels, a consumer psychologist makes valuable predictions about buying behavior and suggests methods to boost productivity and profitability.
Consumer psychologists may work with marketing agencies, in advertising, as full-time employees with specific organizations and industries, as well as in government institutions.

Educational Requirements

Unlike the common belief associated with the term 'psychologist', a consumer psychologist does not work even remotely close to the field of mental health care. On the other hand, a degree in psychology still forms the base of a solid career for a consumer psychologist. So to become one, follow these steps.
  • The career of a consumer psychologist begins with a bachelor's degree in psychology. However, those who attain degrees in field such as marketing and research analysis with sufficient coursework in psychology may also be able to develop a career in consumer psychology.
  • The next step is gaining an internship in the field. A consumer psychologist may work in a variety of settings; so at this stage, you can venture into various fields to see which one interests you. For instance, you may work in the field of fashion or may work with a marketing agency that is tied up with several industries for exposure to different areas.
  • An internship lays a solid foundation for a master's in consumer psychology, for which most universities have a full-fledged program. While a master's degree is not mandatory, it definitely gives any student an edge over someone who does not have one.
Moreover, the combination of prior work experience combined with a graduate degree will definitely get you better job prospects than those who don't have this.

Other Important Skills

Now, pursuing a career as a consumer psychologist does not only rely on your education. Without the necessary skills to execute the job, there will be no value for the highest degree holder.
A perfect combination of skill, education and experience is what will give you an upper hand wherever you go and get a job. What kind of skills do you need? For one, you have to be a perceptive person and understand human behavior well.
While this is a quality that not everyone is born with, it can definitely be developed. Once you have made up your mind that you want to associate yourself with the field of psychology, you should start analyzing human behavior and seeing how they behave in various situations. This should be done in the consumer's context if you are sure of becoming a consumer psychologist. 
Apart from this, the ability to conduct thorough research, communicate these results effectively (through statistical presentations), and the patience to carry out a job that is definitely time-consuming, are imperative. Excellent communication skills are mandatory.
Armed with the aforementioned package, there is no way that you cannot attain a successful position as a consumer psychologist. Remember that most of the training in the field is attained on the job, but a solid education gives you the foundation you need to enter the field.
You have to be receptive and absorb all kinds of knowledge (educational and hands-on) in order to mold yourself to fit into the job description well. Upon doing so, you will find yourself to be in the right position and a greatly satisfying job. Good luck!