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Social Psychologist: Education and Career Information

What does a social psychologist do?

Social psychology is a great field to work in for the right person. Social psychologists work based on the specific environment where they are employed. When they are employed at a college or university, they may research social issues pertaining to the culture around them, such as conflict management, gender equality and race relations in a controlled setting or natural environment around campus.

Other social psychologists in academia may focus on teaching and training students to become psychologists. They will teach or conduct research in the psychology department, but they may also work elsewhere due to their training in human behavior and research methodology. You can find social psychologists working in education, law, business, political science or health science.

Social psychologists do well working in the private sector, conducting research for the government or private agencies. They work to evaluate public perception on programs and regulations, can help develop online polls for public opinion, help develop public policies addressing social concerns such as homelessness, poverty or obesity, and other situations where public opinion is very important. They may also work with agencies to develop public awareness campaigns to bring attention to social issues. You will find social psychologists working as consultants in a number of venues to help companies design and market their goods, and in assisting the understanding of interpersonal and inter-group dynamics.

Social psychologists also work with educational systems in evaluating their practices on their programs and human resources elements. School districts frequently hire them to examine their educational programs for effectiveness amongst different groups of children based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or some other factors. They may also work to develop more suitable hiring practices for companies, or assist in developing design performance review procedures to aim for improved productivity.

How much does a social psychologist earn?

There is not a specific annual salary range for this position, but social psychologists are expected to make about $69,280. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook is good. There is a 12 percent expected job growth rate over the next decade. The level of pay is contingent on location, education and experience. The higher the level of education, the more opportunities will become available. Due to the nature of work examining social issues, social psychologists working in the private sector will continue to be in high demand.

What types of skills are needed to become a social psychologist?

There are a number of skills needed to be successful as a social psychologist:

Active listening: Being able to give full attention to what others are saying, and taking the time to fully comprehend points being made. Being able to ask questions to extract the right information.

Social perceptiveness: Being aware of the reaction of others and understanding why the patient is reacting certain ways.

Service orientation: Looking for ways to assist others with a calm and helpful demeanor.

Critical thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Speaking: Speaking clearly and effectively to convey information.

Coordination: Being able to coordinate processes and procedures, adjusting actions in relation to others.

Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Judgment and Decision Making: Using judgment to assess resources and patient care, and making informed decisions to help improve quality of life and personal healthcare.

Time Management: Being able to juggle a number of things at one time, coordinating healthcare and keeping patients on a regular schedule.

Writing: Being able to communicate and convey information in written form, keeping the patient chart up-to-date.

Internship Requirements

Internships are based on program. In the graduate program, internships are usually 30-35 credit hours of coursework, in addition to placing the student in teaching or research settings. Practicum experiences require several hundred hours, while standard internships are usually around 1,000 hours.

Educational Requirements

This role take a number of years and dedication in order to become a psychologist. The first step is to obtain a degree at the undergraduate level. This is a four-year degree program, preferably in psychology. Coursework in this program includes psychology, statistical methods in psychology, research methods, mental health & interventions, and mathematics.

Once this degree has been obtained, the student must be prepared to move forward to an advanced degree. This requires enrolling into a master’s level psychology program. A highly competitive field, the student must study and sit for the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) prior to getting accepted into the program.

Once the student completes the master’s level program, they must prepare to enter into the doctoral program, as a psychologist is a licensed doctor. This program may take another five to seven years to complete, along with a year of formal internship, and a year of supervised professional practice after receiving the degree. The doctoral program requires a lot of research and defense of a dissertation. They must also pass a doctoral candidacy exam to graduate from the program. A license is required to practice. The requirements include graduating from an APA accredited doctoral program, supervised experience under a licensed psychologist, and passing the licensure examination.

This can be a very interesting and consistently changing role. With the adaptation of social media and other technology that can help gauge public opinion, a social psychologist has the tools and experience to assist a number of industries in improving the public perception of a number of issues. They can also utilize these tools to gather information and data in which to make their other assessments. This can also be a very lucrative role for the right person, and is largely based on dealing with others.

Psychology Scholarships

American Psychological Foundation Scholarships Association of Black Psychologists Epilepsy Foundation
Elizabeth Munsterberg Koppitz Child Psychology Graduate Student Fellowship Future Counselors of America Scholarship Gallagher Koster Health Careers Scholarship
Kay Wilson Presidential Leadership Award NIH Undergraduate Scholarship NAJA Graduate Scholarship
National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Psi Chi Awards and Grants Wayne F. Placek Grants
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