A person who is interested in earning a psychology degree may want to know, “What is a psychometrist?” Psychometrics is the study of the theories and techniques of psychological measurement, and it has several streams or theories contributing to it from a historical perspective. People who do this type of objective psychological measurement for a living are psychometrists.
Administrator of Psychological Tests
Much of a psychometrist’s time is spent conducting or administering psychological tests on the patients of psychologists and psychiatrists. This is typically done as a part of the initial intake process for a patient. There are dozens of psychological and personality tests that a psychometrist might administer. Some only administer a few types of tests because they work with a specific population of individuals. For example, a psychometrist who works at a career counseling center might focus on administering the Myers-Briggs Personality Test, and a person who identifies gifted children might spend almost all of their work time administering intelligence or cognitive ability tests.
Scorer or Researcher of Psychological Tests
Psychometrists primarily score the psychological tests that are administered to patients. These tests include objective and validated psychological instruments. Some examples include the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Quotient test, Minnesota Multi-phasic Personality Inventory, Five-Factor Model and Myers-Briggs Personality Test. Some psychometrists research psychological tests. They might work on the development of questions for tests or the measurement tools used for scoring the tests. For example, they might compare the validity of responses given on a Likert scale compared to those that are given on a hyperbolic cosine model.
Interviewer and Assistant Office Administrator
Many psychometrists are also responsible for interviewing patients during the initial intake or scheduling process. Although they do not inquire about the reason why the patient is seeking psychological care, they generally do collect demographic information. For example, they might collect the person’s personal history of mental illness, get the contact information of past care providers and ask for insurance information. These professionals may also handle the scheduling and billing of services for psychologists.
Educational Requirements for a Psychometrist
According to the National Association of Psychometrists, the minimum required level of education to work in this profession is a bachelor’s degree in psychology. A related field, such as social work or neurobiology, may also be acceptable education for some employers. In 2006, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the American Medical Association created specialized billing codes to reimburse for the psychological test scoring services of a psychometrist. Doing so frees a doctoral-level psychologist for more time writing reports or providing diagnostic and counseling services.
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Psychometrics is a sub-specialty of psychology, and not a lot of people spend all of their time studying psychological tests, writing them or scoring them. However, most psychologists will spend some of their time conducting psychological testing, scoring the tests and evaluating their results. A person who particularly enjoys this area of expertise may be able to get a job doing this for most of their working hours, but it is a highly specialized field. Knowing the answer to, “What is a psychometrist?” could help a person choose electives within a psychology major or hone their doctoral dissertation in a way that makes it easier to do this type of work.