Psycholinguistics Career Information

Psycholinguistics is the study of cognitive psychology based on communications and language. This is an important subfield of cognitive psychology, which is a growing branch of clinical psychology. Language usage, communications skills and related competencies are core functions of psychological processes.

Technical Fields of a Linguist Career

The technical fields covered in this area of psychology include branches of psycholinguistics and related fields of work:

  • Neuroscience
  • Social work
  • Speech therapy
  • Autism
  • Cognitive disorders
  • Special education
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Communication deficiencies related to brain function
  • Biochemistry
  • Anatomy.

Although this field contains much emphasis on autism, the broader spectrum includes advanced neurological issues and cognitive/communications situations which affect a large number of people. Linguistic and cognitive deficiencies are serious social and physical handicaps, often requiring extensive treatment.

The Work Environment

Although clinical work is the norm, the career can involve many other types of environments, including labs, hospitals, schools and other academic settings. Some professional also work in a mix of several types of work environments.

Psycholinguistics is also a diagnostic practice, required in cases of people with injuries that affect their cognitive functions. Psycholinguists are among a range of treating practitioners who may assist in these cases.

Academic Studies in Psycholinguistics

The most visible public face of academic psycholinguistics outside the purely medical-psychological and therapy fields is in the sciences. Neuroscience, anthropology and sociology are the main areas of scientific research in psycholinguistics.

These areas of study include the following:

  • Evolution and development of human languages
  • The human use of speech since prehistoric times
  • Dialects
  • Language relationships
  • Etymology
  • Comprehension
  • Dead languages
  • Speech center development and related issues
  • Neurological disorders and research, some of which is pure research into the extremely complex speech center functions. 

This range underlines the fundamental complexity of psycholinguistics as an area of employment. Psycholinguistics involves both the high levels of qualifications in psycholinguistics and a required range of additional qualifications and specializations.

Salary

Salaries are highly variable, depending on qualifications, experience, type of practice or academic role. Earnings may also include income from publications, lectures and media products.

Hours

The work schedule usually conforms to standard business hours, unless you encounter high workloads, fieldwork or other circumstances.

Specializations and Career Progression

The large range of possible specializations in psycholinguistics creates a unique career environment. Some areas of the discipline naturally overlap; some don’t. At graduate level, the psycholinguist must make many choices. Clinical psychology is the most obvious and straightforward career track, but even this area involves specialization. However, cognitive psychology is one of the most diverse areas of psychology, and by far one of the largest in the employment market.

The major areas of career development, however, are more strategic. Areas of career progression may include academic roles, research, and private or clinical practices as broad themes for career advancement.

New discoveries and new methods of treatment in psycholinguistics regularly make news around the world and attract considerable public attention. Media products, books and lectures in fields like autism generate a further area of career advancement.