Salary Outlook for Social Psychologist

Social psychology studies how people affect and are affected by others, and by their physical and social environments. Social psychologists help us to have a better understanding of how group dynamics affect choices and actions. The field also provides insight into how social perceptions affect interactions with other people. (

A social psychologist studies interpersonal and group dynamics and social challenges: implicit bias, prejudice, criminal activity, and bullying, for example. They perform research on social interactions and what influences them, including attitudes, group behavior, leadership, and public perceptions.

Social psychologists also may help companies hire and train workers; evaluate training programs; and look for ways to encourage people to reduce pollution. A background in this field provides skills in organizational consultation, market research, and systems design. Many social psychologists may specialize in a niche, such as leadership or group behavior.

With a master’s degree or Ph.D. in social psychology, you may teach or research at a university. You almost always need a doctoral degree to be employed as a college professor in social psychology. Some employers that are not in academia may accept a master’s degree.

Social psychologists also work in the private sector as consultants, researchers, marketing managers, and technical directors. You can work in private companies, nonprofit organizations in education or conflict resolution, and for the government.

Becoming a social psychologist requires a master’s degree or Ph.D. Earning these esteemed degrees takes money and time, so be sure to learn what your salary potential is. Below is more information.

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Social Psychologist Salary Information

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

BLS reports the median salaries for all psychologists is $79,010. The top 10% with the most education and experience make $129,000. Earning your Ph.D. in social psychology and working in the private sector or for a university is probably the path to a higher salary in this field.

All other psychologists reportedly learn $100,700, while clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, and school psychologists make $76,900 per year. ( The top-paying industries for psychologists are:

  • Government: $96,400
  • Hospitals: $86,500
  • Ambulatory: $79,100
  • Elementary and secondary schools: $75,800

BLS also states the median salary for sociologists is $82,050, with the top 10% earning more than $140,000 per year. Top paying industries in sociology are: (

  • State government: $92,000
  • Research and development in social sciences and humanities: $91,800
  • Educational services: $65,200

The American Psychological Association reports social psychologists can make a median salary of $85,800. But the site notes that income in this field largely hinges on location, industry, and work experience. (

This source reports that professionals with a Ph.D. in social psychology earn a median salary of $89,000. Reported salaries are: (

  • Executive director: $82,000
  • Consultant: $235,000
  • Director of Research and Analytical Services: $72,000

This website reports a social psychologist makes an average base pay of $96,100, with a range between $76,000 and $123,000. ( reports an average national salary of $78,200 with a range between $20,500 and $158,000. ( Most social psychologists earn between $46,000 and $99,500.

Job Outlook for Social Psychologists

BLS reports employment for psychologists, including social psychologists, will grow by 14% through 2028. Employment for all psychologists will increase because of the greater desire for people to obtain assistance with their mental health disorders. More psychological services are needed at mental health centers, social services agencies, and hospitals. (

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports job demand for sociologists will increase by 9% by 2028, faster than average. Demand for sociologists is driven by a greater need to apply psychological and sociological research to other disciplines. Social psychologists may work with other researchers, such as economists, survey researchers, and market researchers. (

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A high salary is possible as a social psychologist, with typical salaries ranging from $55,000 to more than $100,000. Earning the highest salary requires a Ph.D. and work in either the private sector or a university. Private practice also is a good option if you want to work independently and determine your salary.