Social Psychology Careers and Salaries
Learn how to become a social personality psychologist.
Social-personality psychology observes individual personality traits while people interact with others on a social level.
Social psychology examines how human beings react to and are affected by social conditions, while personality psychology studies how people differ from each other.
By combining these two fields of study, social-personality psychologists work to understand human nature and how people interact with, relate to and influence each other.
Social-personality psychologists perform the following duties:
- Teach at colleges and universities
- Conduct research in the field, in clinics or through historical archives
- Work as political strategists and union organizers
- Design and evaluate educational programs
- Teach individuals and crowds about nonviolent conflict resolution
- Apply personality tests to individuals and groups of people
- Mediate group discussions
- Educate the population on discrimination, prejudice, intergroup relations, and cultural and human diversity
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for sociologists is $79,750. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors. National long-term projections of employment growth may not reflect local and/or short-term economic or job conditions, and do not guarantee actual job growth. Because of the wide array of career opportunities available to social-personality psychologists, it is hard to accurately estimate the median annual income for these professionals.
Social-personality psychologists are employed in a wide variety of work settings:
- University classrooms
- Research labs and clinics
- Corporations and nonprofit agencies
In these environments they may perform these exceptional tasks along with the above duties:
- Comb historical archives for clues about the social and individual makeup of past societies.
- Concentrate their efforts on current social issues such as organizing peacefully for the group rights of migrant workers, gay and lesbian families, and other minority groups who are socially marginalized.
- Dedicate their time to perfecting and administering personality tests.
Training and Education
Many aspiring social-personality psychologists start with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, sociology or anthropology. Interning with a professor who is researching human behavior and personality provides additional exposure to the field.
While most social-personality psychologists complete a doctorate program in this field, it is possible to find work with only a two-year Master of Science (MS) or Master of Arts (MA) degree. In general, a doctoral degree is preferred by employers and allows candidates more employment opportunities and a higher salary range.
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