Social psychology professionals analyze the correlation between human behavior and the social environment. Learn about degree programs, areas of study, salary info and licensing requirements.
Social psychology is the study of how people relate to one another and the environment in which they live and work. It's a research-based discipline that could allow you to focus on certain areas, like social behavior, interpersonal relationships and self-perception. Social psychology might appeal to you if you're interested in exploring such questions as how people interact in groups, make decisions or react to stress.
Working in this field, it's likely that much of your work will involve research that's based on observing people's behaviors and assessing the causes. This requires you to be detail-oriented and patient with your subjects. Like most psychologists, you'll use testing to form a hypothesis about human behavior, with the ultimate goal of helping people perform better and lead happier lives. However, using social psychology concepts and practices, you can also lend insights into several fields, such as politics, law, business and advertising.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that employment opportunities for all psychologists will grow by 12% between 2012 and 2022 (www.bls.gov). Like most professions, the more education you have, the better your employment opportunities could become. However, the BLS specified that you might have an advantage over the competition with education and experience in quantitative research methods.The median annual salary for all psychologists was $69,280 as of 2012.
If you would like to become a social psychologist, you can obtain foundational training in a bachelor's degree program in psychology. The opportunity to specialize in social psychology is usually available in graduate programs. A doctorate in social psychology might include courses in social cognition, gender roles and attitude development.
To become a clinical psychologist, you must become licensed, especially if you work directly in patient care. Requirements vary from state to state, but usually include evidence of professional training and competency, as well as passing a state licensing exam. You might also choose to earn a specialty certification, like those offered by the American Board of Professional Psychology, which requires a doctoral degree, state licensure, a specified number of years of experience and passing the certification exam (www.abpp.org).