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How To Become A Social Psychologist: Career & Salary Information

Have you ever wondered how mass hysteria spreads throughout a population? Have you noticed that people behave differently when they are with their friends, families, and work colleagues? The changes that occur in a person's mind depending on the company they surround themselves with have become the focus of social psychologists.

Social psychologists look at how a person's social environment impacts their behavior, their decisions, and other aspects of their personality.

To become a social psychologist, you would need to pursue a bachelor's degree and a master's degree or doctoral degree, depending on whether or not you wish to pursue a career in academics or not, and you would need to obtain the appropriate certification.

Take a closer look at the career path of social psychology and what steps you would need to take to pursue this career path.

What Is A Social Psychologist?

Social psychologists can branch off into either teaching psychology at an academic level, they can conduct original theories, or assessing existing psychological theories in the field of social psychology.

Social psychologists may conduct research to assess if societal norms are present in a wide variety of different populations and cultures, and if not, they will assess these deviations and what such deviations may entail for the population.

The reality is that each society and each culture vary in norms. What is normal, expected, and required by one community may be questioned and even ridiculed in another.

Social psychologists may also conduct research on sub-groups within communities and they will assess how social interactions will impact the behavior and the decisions that individuals may make as a result of these social relations.

What Does A Social Psychologist Do?

The role of a research psychologist is extremely research heavy. Social psychologists may find themselves recreating real-world scenarios for lab-based experiments to assess how certain factors may impact an individual's or a group's responses to certain stimuli.

The research that social psychologists do can help marketing divisions of corporate companies to improve and enhance sales. They may also work with political parties in conducting population analysis and collecting data on the greater population in an attempt to pinpoint what appeals to society.

Steps To Become A Social Psychologist?

Step One: Obtain Your Bachelor's Degree

The first step toward becoming a social psychologist is to obtain a bachelor's degree in psychology. Taking coursework in the field of social sciences, sociology, or even social work will propel your career in the direction you are hoping to pursue.

Step Two: Obtain A Graduate Degree

Depending on the path you are hoping to take, and what exactly it is that you are hoping to do with your social psychology qualification, you may choose to obtain just a master's degree, or you may choose to go ahead and work towards a doctorate.

If you are hoping to pursue a career in academia and you plan on conducting research and fulfilling the role of a social psychology lecturer or professor, you would need to obtain your doctorate. If you are hoping to focus closely on research, then a master's degree may be sufficient for you.

Step Three: Obtain Certification

To successfully conduct research and to successfully be able to collect data and work with a variety of different populations, you may be required to work towards, and obtain, specific certifications by approved boards within the psychology industry.

Step Four: Conduct Research

Once you have all your qualifications and your certifications, you can then head out and conduct either field-based or lab-based research. This can be done from both a practical standpoint, as well as from a theoretical standpoint where research can entail collecting and assessing new data, or it can entail comparing and assessing results from existing research studies.

It is important to note that no matter which facet of research you hope to pursue, each makes a valuable contribution to the field of psychology and the field of social psychology.

What Degree Do You Need To Be A Social Psychologist?

If you are hoping to pursue a research-driven field, you would need to obtain a master's degree. However, If you are hoping to impart your valuable knowledge, skills, and research expertise to others at an academic level, and if you are hoping to be a social psychology professor, you would need to work towards achieving your doctorate.

What Is The Average Salary For Social Psychologists?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), within the field of psychology, you can expect to earn a median annual salary of $81,040.

What Makes A Good Social Psychologist?

To succeed as a social psychologist, you would need to have superior research skills and the ability to effectively analyze data, as well as the ability to execute statistical analysis.

You would also need to have the ability to effectively communicate with a wide variety of social groups to effectively covey and understand the research objectives.

To effectively execute your duties in an objective way, you would need to have some form of detachment that allows you to look at your research and social groups without getting directly involved with the test subjects in a personal way.


What Does A Social Psychologist Do?

They study interpersonal group dynamics and relationships between groups of people and how people interact with each other. They look at situations that involve bullying and substance abuse and they look at how social interactions may impact these occurrences.

Where Do Social Psychologists Work?

They work in marketing agencies, consulting firms, universities, and colleges as professors and lecturers, and at schools.

Do Social Psychologists Conduct Therapy Sessions?

In most instances, social psychologists conduct research, but they may be called in to consult on therapy sessions where social interactions play an important role. This may be in instances where individuals find themselves using illegal substances as a result of peer pressure.

Why Should I Study Social Psychology?

It gives you a better understanding of the world around you and the role that you play within the space that you occupy.


As much as psychology occurs within our minds, there is an intricate and important social element that exists. If you find yourself endlessly fascinated by social interactions among people, this may be the role for you.

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