For those who enjoy learning about human behavior and what motivates groups and individuals during social interactions, a career in social psychology may be a good option for you. Psychology has many branches and can be applied in a wide variety of sectors. Learning about different industries and careers that involve social psychology can help you choose a career path. In this article, we define what social psychology is and list nine jobs in social psychology with salary information and job descriptions to help you choose the right career for you.
What is social psychology?
Social psychology is a branch of psychological study that emphasizes human social behaviors. It has diverse applications in various fields, including psychology, counseling, marketing, research, and business. Since social psychologists have a good understanding of how people think and interact in social situations, they often work in positions where they consult with others and improve processes that promote productivity and engagement. Although the responsibilities and skills of social psychologists depend on their place of employment, some of their duties may include:
Observing human social behavior in controlled or real-world settings
Improving training and onboarding processes for new hires in a business
Developing effective methods for employee recruitment
Designing successful marketing campaigns by understanding consumer behaviors
Teaching and mentoring college students
Assisting politicians with campaign strategies
Providing conflict management services to members of an organization
Constructing surveys and other consumer research materials for marketing
Helping schools design educational programs that keep students engaged
Nine jobs in social psychology
Here are nine careers in social psychology for you to consider:
1. Industrial-organizational psychologist
An industrial-organizational (IO) psychologist is a psychology professional who uses their understanding of human behaviors to improve workplaces. They often work along with a business’s human resources team to assess current policies, develop new ones, and create internal structures that support employee productivity and well-being. To become an IO psychologist, most professionals need a master’s degree or higher. Although there may be some entry-level positions available to those with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, earning an advanced degree can improve your employment options and qualify you for more advanced positions. Master’s degrees take two years on average to complete.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average salary for psychologists is $82,180 per year. However, IO psychologists may earn a different average salary depending on their level of education, experience, and setting of employment. For example, an IO psychologist with a doctorate who owns a private consultation firm may earn a higher average salary than one with a master’s who works for a business’s HR department.
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2. Human resources specialist
A human resources specialist helps businesses manage their internal personnel. They have important responsibilities that include recruiting and training new employees, managing employee relations, taking care of employee payroll and benefits, and enforcing business policies. HR specialists can use their knowledge of social psychology to work well with other members of the HR team and to provide assistance to a business’s employees. Most HR specialists need a bachelor’s degree in HR administration or a related field to qualify for their role. Earning an advanced degree or additional certifications can help HR specialists advance into managerial roles.
The average salary for HR specialists is $49,735 per year. Those looking to earn a higher average salary might consider earning a certification that allows them to advance into an HR manager position. By gaining additional credentials and learning more skills related to leadership and management, HR specialists can continue to grow in their careers.
3. Public relations specialist
A public relations (PR) specialist is responsible for maintaining the positive public image of a company, business, organization, or individual. Their work involves promoting content that connects their clients with their target audience and creates a positive impression to increase sales and engagement. They often create press releases, run marketing campaigns, and use social media platforms to influence public perceptions of a client. PR specialists may use their knowledge of human behavior to design PR strategies that make significant impacts on their target audience. Most of those working in this role have a bachelor’s degree in English, journalism, or psychology.
According to the BLS, the average salary for PR specialists is $62,810 per year. The average salary for this profession can vary by your geographic location and setting of employment. For example, a PR specialist working to promote a non-profit may earn a lower average salary than one who works for a major corporation.
4. Social worker
Social workers have an important job that involves connecting families and individuals with community resources. Those in this profession typically specialize in working with a particular group of people. For example, social workers can work with children and families, people with disabilities, those with mental health conditions, or those in the hospital to provide them with emotional support and various resources. Having a background in social psychology can help these professionals work with people and care for their emotional needs. Some social workers only need a bachelor’s degree to work, but earning a master’s can qualify you for additional duties.
The average salary for social workers is $58,036 per year. However, the average salary for social workers varies by their setting of employment and level of education. Social workers who earn advanced degrees may be qualified to counsel clients and families, and with this additional responsibility, they may earn a higher salary. Additionally, those who work in certain areas, such as health care, may earn more than those working in other sectors, such as family services.
5. Marketing manager
A marketing manager leads the production of marketing campaigns for a business. They use market research to develop advertisements that promote a company’s products and services to their target audience. Having knowledge of social psychology can benefit this position by providing insight into consumer behaviors. As managers, these professionals can also use their social psychology knowledge to promote an effective work environment for their team. Most marketing managers have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, business, or a related field.
The average salary for marketing managers is $63,776 per year. Their average salary can depend on their years of experience, level of education, and setting of employment. For example, having an advanced marketing degree and many years of industry experience can increase your earning potential. Additionally, those working for a large organization or corporation may earn more than those working for a small business or non-profit.
6. Market research analyst
A market research analyst collects information about various market sectors and analyzes their demographics, preferences, interests, and buying habits to determine product demand, pricing, and marketing strategies. They use research strategies like surveys, polls and focus groups to understand consumer preferences within a particular target market. Although many market analysts have degrees in marketing and business, a degree in social psychology can also be an asset in this career. Social psychology students learn about human behaviors and research methods used to study people. This career requires candidates to have a bachelor’s degree, but a master’s can offer advanced opportunities.
The average salary for market research analysts is $59,937 per year. Like marketing managers, market research analysts can earn more by having an advanced degree, having many years of industry experience, and working for a large business or corporation. Some market research analysts also work for consulting firms rather than as internal market researchers.
7. Business Consultant
A business consultant is an experienced professional who offers advice to business executives and owners. They perform in-depth analyses of a business’s goals and target markets and prepare extensive reports that help organizations develop business strategies. Like other marketing positions, a background in social psychology can help business consultants by helping them understand customer habits and psychographics. While business consultants can work with a bachelor’s degree, many industries prefer to hire those with a master’s and many years of experience.
The average salary for business consultants is $64,030 per year. Consultants with advanced degrees and many years of industry experience may earn more than those who have less field experience. Some consultants own independent firms, which can also increase their earning potential as they grow their business.
8. Psychology researcher
Psychology researchers conduct studies and experiments to answer important scientific questions. There are many different branches of psychology research, and those with a passion for understanding human social behaviors may consider a career in social psychology research. These researchers design studies, collect data, interpret results, and share their findings with others by writing publications and presenting at conferences. Although there are some options for working as a research assistant with a bachelor’s degree, most research positions require a master’s or doctorate. Earning a doctorate allows you to conduct independent research and work in high-level positions.
The average salary for a research scientist is $101,989 per year. Social psychologists can work for independent research firms or they may work for an academic institution like a college or university. Those with more experience, advanced degrees, and many publications may earn a higher average salary than those who are new to the field or have less education. Additionally, research scientists who lead research teams or manage laboratories may earn more than research associates.
9. College professor
Finally, becoming a college professor can be a great option for those who want to share their passion and knowledge of social psychology with others. College professors typically have responsibilities that include teaching, mentoring, and conducting independent research. They often apply for grants to gain funding, design and conduct scientific studies, give lectures, meet with students, and publish research as part of their duties. Most college professors need a doctorate to qualify for their positions. Professors are experts in their field and spend many years earning their credentials.
The average salary for college professors is $55,215 per year. Professors with tenure who have worked in their field for many years and have many publications may earn a higher average salary. Additionally, the kind of institution they work for can affect their earning potential. Professors working for esteemed, large research universities may earn a higher average salary than those working for smaller schools.
I hope you find this article helpful.