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Career in Social Psychology

Career News August 7, 2013

Social psychology is a truly specialized subsection of psychology in which we study how people’s thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns seem to respond to the presence of other people. The social phenomenon is often observed, but not usually understood. The discipline of social psychology involves not only the actual phenomenon of people reacting to other people, but also the imagined and implied presence of other people, how these perceptions affect an individual’s behavior.

What is Social Psychology?

Social psychology combines aspects of general psychology as well as sociology. In recent years, the category has even developed subfields, such as social structures. When you learn about this field, you will study how important social influence is and how people are motivated to act as individuals and in groups.

Social psychologists may work in research, or perhaps in an educational setting, such as a college or university. They can also find work within a corporation or a government agency. They can be employed as full-time staff or consultants to oversee the hiring of employees, or even to evaluate educational programs to determine areas for improvement. There is much to be done in the way of environmentalism and causes. Companies, government offices, and non-profit groups are always interested in ways to motivate people to become more involved with reducing environmental damage. Sometimes there is conflict between employees and other employees or management and employees, so mediation is required from a knowledgeable source.

Salary and Education Information on Social Psychology

If you prefer, you could break into niche areas like group behavior and leadership theory. The job field is diverse, and it’s certainly up to you to determine what type of environment best suits you. There are academic settings, as well as laboratories and research facilities, if you have a particular preference. You could even look for work in a hospital, social service office or working with a non-profit group.

When it comes to money, social psychologists are well taken care of. These specialists made a median salary of over $76,000 at the university level and even higher in research facilities, at $80,000 annually. The highest income was reported by research and educational social psychologists that made well over $115,000 per year.

You can start working with a master’s degree, or you can go for your doctorate degree. This means a bachelor’s degree is your starting point, along with a focus in social psychology or in a related field. A Ph.D. program will take about four to five years, in addition to undergraduate work. It’s nice to report that the field itself is growing, as more companies seek to understand their audience, whether for marketing or non-profit reasons.

If you enjoy working with people and studying social trends, this is an ideal career path for you. You can start learning at the bachelor’s degree level, with a school like University of Phoenix, Walden University, Kaplan University, or other schools near your home city, and work your way up to a promising career in social psychology, one of the most important career paths for shaping the future generation.

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