Careers in Media Psychology: Job Options and Requirements

Oct 04, 2019

Media psychology is generally not found as an individual degree program, but as part of related degree. Continue reading for an overview of the degree programs, as well as career and salary info for some career options for graduates.

Research psychologists, market research analysts and school psychologists all work in the field of media psychology. While market research analysts need a bachelor's degree to begin their careers, research psychologists and school psychologists typically need a master's or doctoral degree. School psychologists normally need a teacher's license as well.

Essential Information

Media psychology is a field that allows professionals to research the connection between our society and different types of media. Media psychologists examine how people interact with media, human behaviors, and more. While few degree programs for media psychology exist, many academic programs include training, courses, and opportunities to learn about the field. Common career paths include research, marketing, and education related jobs.

Career Research Psychologist Market Research Analyst School Psychologist
Education Requirements Master's or doctoral degree Bachelor's degree Specialist or doctoral degree
Licensure/Certification Required in most states n/a State teacher's license required
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 12% (for all psychologists) 20% 15%
Average Salary (2018)* $95,610 (for all non-specialized psychologists) $70,960 $85,340

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Options

Studying media psychology can lead to careers as research psychologists, market research analysts and school psychologists. Education and training requirements for these careers vary greatly. Read to learn more about each career.

Research Psychologist

Research psychologists scientifically investigate questions that involve media psychology. Since media psychology is interdisciplinary, the researchers may be social, cognitive or developmental psychologists. An example of a media psychology research area is examining how watching TV affects the perceptions of viewers. Researchers also investigate how people communicate and form relationships through social media platforms.

Potential positive, as well as negative, effects of media consumption are studied. For example, media psychology research questions involving video games may address possible benefits for learning or the consequences of prolonged exposure to graphic violence.

Requirements

Psychologists typically need a Ph.D. to perform high-level research. Graduate programs in media psychology are rare; however, some graduate psychology schools have faculty who specialize in this area. Flexible programs allow students to pursue their particular research questions in media psychology while studying related psychology sub-disciplines. Some schools also encourage interdisciplinary studies and facilitate psychology graduate students taking courses in other departments to explore the intersection between media technology and human subjects.

Coursework specific to media psychology in dedicated programs covers a broad range of studies in psychology, including developmental, cognitive and biological psychology. After acquiring a foundation, graduate students explore the intersection between media and several psychology sub-disciplines. The spectrum of potential study and research in media psychology is immense. Students may focus on individuals or mass culture, examining, for example, how national identities are expressed through the media. Curricula also emphasize development of strong research methods and analytical skills.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics included research psychologists in its employment outlook predictions for all psychologists, and it expected these professionals to see a 12% growth rate in employment between 2018 and 2028. The average salary for non-specialized psychologists was $95,610, the BLS reported as of May 2018.

Market Research Analyst

Marketing is media-directed and based on knowledge of consumer psychology. Marketing professionals can gain insight into how consumers are affected by different types of advertising through graduate studies in media psychology. Advertising through product placement in movies and TV, for example, may be more efficacious. Marketing and public relations via social media may also be enhanced with by more in-depth understanding of how consumers use social media and how it affects their perceptions. Marketing professionals may work in media or media technology industries, as well; for example, their insights into how consumers interact with media may help a company improve its product.

Requirements

Work in public relations, marketing or advertising generally requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in these respective areas. Completing a media psychology graduate program and gaining a specialized understanding of how media affects consumers may lead to carving niche careers. Programs in media technology also teach about laws and ethics in the field, and some provide courses in leadership and managing change.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Market research analysts earned $70,960 as an average salary as of May 2018, the BLS reported. BLS predictions indicated that market research analysts could see a 20% increase in employment from 2018 to 2028.

Careers in Education

New media tools, including virtual worlds and video games, influence how people learn and teach. These tools are becoming more integrated into K-12 classrooms, higher education, distance learning and corporate training. Students with special needs also use different forms of media technology to learn and socialize. This leaves open a wide field of occupations in education or corporate training, working with media technology and learning. Media psychology can be paired with jobs in educational technology, special education, education administration, education policy, human resources and instructional design.

Requirements

Careers in education have varying requirements, depending on the place and specific type of employment. A degree in media psychology isn't a requirement for any field in education. Even those who teach courses in media psychology may have their graduate degrees in a related field, such as psychology, social psychology or mass communications. Media psychology for practitioners, versus those who perform research in the field, may best be described as a particular focus brought to another career.

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

While the BLS doesn't provide predictions or data for media psychologists, it did note that school, clinical and counseling psychologists earned an average salary of $85,340 as of May 2018. These professionals were projected to see a 15% employment increase during the 2018-2028 decade.

Research psychologists study how different forms of media affect their audience, while school psychologists evaluate how forms of technology affect the education process. Market research analysts focus on advertising, and how different advertising strategies impact their audience to determine the best approach for selling products to their target audience. A bachelor's degree may be sufficient to work as a market research analyst, but school and research psychologists must hold graduate degrees.

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