Career Options for a Bachelor's in Social Psychology

Social psychology deals with the ways people interact with one another. Continue reading for an overview of the career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

A bachelor's degree in social psychology can lead to a career as a probation officer and correctional treatment specialist, a market researcher, a public relations specialist or an advertising sales agent. Although jobs for advertising sales agents are expected to decline slightly from 2014 to 2024, job growth for market researchers is expected to be much faster than average.

Essential Information

Social psychology involves studying how certain situations and other people influence an individual's behavior, thoughts and feelings. Topics related to this field include group behavior, social perception, emotions, prejudice and socialization. Bachelor's degree programs in social psychology can prepare students to pursue a variety of careers.

Career Probation Officer and Correctional Treatment Specialists Market Researcher Public Relations Specialist
Recommended Education Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree Bachelor's degree
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 4% 19% 6%
Average Salary (2015)* $54,080 $70,030 $65,830

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Those who study social psychology concern themselves with the behaviors of people under different situations. By studying human behavior, social scientists can prepare themselves for careers in several diverse industries. Read on to learn about job descriptions for four such careers.

Probation Officer

Courts place criminal offenders who receive probation rather than time in jail under the guidance and supervision of probation officers. The duties of probation officers include developing treatment plans, meeting regularly with offenders, writing reports and providing testimony in court.

Probation officers typically hold a related bachelor's degree in psychology, criminal justice or social work. Probation officers with a background in social psychology can develop effective treatment and counseling plans for offenders to understand how different environments influence human behavior.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job opportunities for probation officers are expected to increase by 4% between 2014 and 2024 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2015, probation officers and correctional treatment specialists earned an average wage of $54,080 per year.

Market Researcher

Market researchers gather and analyze consumer information for organizations to help them make informed decisions. Researchers use methods, such as focus groups and surveys, to decide what products and services the public may want. These researchers may also examine competitors' prices, analyze demographic information and identify factors that impact product demand.

The BLS notes that students can prepare for this career by taking courses in economics, psychology and sociology during their bachelor's degree program. A social psychology degree can benefit market researchers by providing a background in social attitudes and public opinion, data analysis, research methods and group dynamics.

The employment of market research analysts is expected to increase by 19% from 2014 to 2024, which is much faster than the national average for all jobs, according to the BLS. Market research analysts were also listed as earning an average annual salary of $70,030 in 2015.

Advertising Sales Agent

Social psychology majors can use their communication, research and analytical skills for this career. These agents sell advertisement programs to television and radio stations, newspapers and websites. Before meeting with potential clients, sales agents usually gather information about the clients and the products being sold.

After meeting with the client, the sales agent develops an advertisement plan that includes cost estimates and advertisement proofs. Other duties include monitoring competitors' prices and drafting contracts.

The BLS lists the expected change in employment opportunities for advertising sales agents as a decline of 3% during the decade of 2014 to 2024. In addition, the average annual wage of advertising sales agents is listed as $61,690, as of May 2015.

Public Relations Specialist

The goal of public relations specialists is to promote organizations and people by sending a positive image to the public. The duties of public relations specialists include writing press releases, preparing speeches, informing the public about an organization's activities and planning conventions. According to the BLS, courses in psychology and sociology are beneficial to public relations specialists to help them understand the attitudes and concerns of the public, as well as the clients they represent.

Public relations specialists should see an increase of 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is in line with the average for all careers in the United States. The BLS reports that the average annual salary of public relations specialists was $65,830 in 2015.

A bachelor's in social psychology is ideal for those interested in advertising, as an advertising sales agent, or determining how to effectively sell products as a market analyst. The public relations field is similar, although the focus is not on selling goods but rather on public perception of a company or person and how to maintain or improve their public image. Probation officers deal direction with individuals who are adjusting to life in society after being in prison.

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