Employment Outlook & Career Guidance for Consumer Psychologists
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2012, approximately 160,200 psychologists held jobs across the US and 29% of them worked in healthcare and social assistance. A large percentage (nearly one-third) of all psychologists in the US was self-employed. In addition to having their own private practice, consumer psychologists often hold jobs in research or educational-based facilities, with government agencies and private companies, and with media and advertising outlets. A consumer psychologist can play big roles in product manufacturing, from concept to marketing, as they can provide key insight into how certain people will relate to marketing efforts and campaigns as well as end products. Learn more about how to become a consumer psychologist.
What Type of Positions Can a Consumer Psychologist Hold?
Because of the broad range of applications of consumer psychology, these professionals often wear many hats. They often hold positions in education, research, management and in an array of private company and corporation jobs. Just a few career options available to a consumer psychologist include:
- Providing research and analysis to marketing departments in various corporations.
- Being a researcher or consultant for educational facilities, organizations or corporations seeking psychology experts.
- Teaching as a professor in various colleges or universities.
- Working with or assisting government agencies in public health campaigns.
- Authoring informational or self-help books or articles on topics related to consumer psychology.
According to Jonah Harris, VP of Software Architecture at MeetMe.com, “Psychology can contribute significantly to improving the user experience. In a world where psychology plays an ever-increasing role, one of the most frustrating and noticeable things we encounter is the lack of its application.”
Ways for Consumer Psychologists to Increase Desirability as a Job Candidate
One of the most important ways a consumer psychologist can increase their desirability is to earn their graduate degree/s and become recognized as a psychologist. Since most consumer psychologists do not directly counsel patients, it is generally agreed that they do not fall under the same licensing requirements as other psychologists. However, moving forward and obtaining that degree and licensure can increase a professional’s worth in the eyes of a potential employer.
Seeking special certifications may also increase the value of a professional for particular jobs. Those who want to land a job in consulting, for instance, can take the Organizational & Business Consulting Psychology certification available from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).
In addition to these steps, specializing in certain branches of consumer psychology can help professionals become experts in those branches, increasing their job desirability. Some specializations to consider include:
- Social Media
- Corporate Social Responsibility
- Long-term Customer Relations
- Leadership or Management
- Legal Applications
Employers and agencies may also consider other attributes when it comes to the hiring process. Some of these include:
- Analytical Skills
- Communication Skills
- People Skills
- Problem-Solving Skills
Networking Opportunities and Organizations for Consumer Psychologists
Networking with like-minded professionals can provide opportunities to consumer psychologists. There are a number of organizations designed specifically for psychologists that are a good idea to join. The Society for Consumer Psychology (SCP), an affiliate of the American Psychological Association (APA) is a good start. Other organizations include the Association for Consumer Research (ACR) and the Society for Consumer Affairs Professionals (SOCAP).
Conferences geared toward consumer psychologists can help individuals network with others, understand the latest trends and discoveries in the industry and provide unique work-related opportunities. Read what expert Consumer Psychologist, Adam Ferrier has to say about the field.
Consumer Psychology Continuing Education Sources
In most states, accepted sources for continued education credits can include courses, seminars and workshops that are offered by state-approved educational institutions. Also acceptable are seminars, workshops and courses sponsored by the American Psychological Association. Just a few of the courses available through the APA include Consulting Psychology: Selected Articles by Harry Levinson, An Introduction to Statistical Moderation, and The Development of Giftedness and Talent Across the Life Span.