A person interested in a degree in psychology may wonder, “what is the salary potential in social psychology?” The different branches of psychology may offer slightly different average annual salaries, and a person may want to have those details before they choose a concentration or area of expertise. Understanding the salary potential could play a role in a person’s coursework, licensing, accreditation or job search process.

Pay Based on Psychology Specialty

There are some salary differences based on the area of psychology that a person practices. Social psychology is part of the category called “other” by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average annual salary for these psychologists was $100,770 in 2018. The lowest 10 percent of these psychologists earned less than $43,800 per year, and the highest 10 percent of earners brought in more than $129,250 per year.

Salary Potential Based on Industry of Employment

It is also important to consider the industry or type of employment when looking at the potential earnings of a social psychologist. Those who work in government earn the highest median salaries, followed by those who work in hospitals, ambulatory healthcare services and educational systems. Those in government employment earned a median salary of more than $96,410 per year in 2018, and those in educational systems brought in a median salary of $75,890 per year. Social psychologists are less likely than other types of psychologists to be in private practice. However, those who do some private practice in addition to working for an employer have the potential to add to their annual earnings. Working overtime or working as a consultant could also expand a person’s earnings.

Salary Based on Geographic Area of Employment

Another important way to look at earnings is by the geographic area of employment. Some places have a higher cost of living than others. For example, cities tend to have a higher cost of living compared to a small town or rural area in the same state. Some states have higher costs of living than others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the cities with the highest average annual pay for social psychologists include Sacramento, California, Baltimore, Maryland, Dayton, Ohio, Seattle, Washington, Washington, D.C., New York, New York, and San Francisco, California. All of those metropolitan areas have median salaries of more than $100,000 for social psychologists. The states with the highest salaries for social psychologists include California, Maryland, Kansas, Washington and New York.

Related Resource: Top 15 Most Affordable Master’s in Social Psychology Online Programs

Expected Growth in Salaries for Social Psychologists

The number of jobs for psychologists is expected to grow by 14 percent from 2018 to 2028, explains the BLS. If there are not enough licensed and trained psychologists to fill those jobs, employers may offer higher than average salary increases or other incentives, such as sign-on bonuses, more paid time off or improved benefits packages. Psychologists with a doctorate and those who are bilingual may also command higher salaries.

Knowing the salary potential for a job in social psychology facilitates the decision-making process for graduate school. It could help a person plan their student loan payments and make other financial decisions. The answer to the question “what is the salary potential in social psychology?” could also help a job applicant know if the salary offer they receive is a fair one for their experience, education and location.