Personality psychologists often act as advisers and professors in academic settings.
Personality psychologists examine the social, biological, environmental and psychological factors that influence the development of personality. They also study specific traits, attitudes, behaviors and situations that affect an individual's personality. In most cases, personality psychologists have doctoral degrees in psychology, but some may have master's degrees. While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not specifically list salary data for personality psychologists, the average salary for psychologists was $68, 640 as of May 2010.
Research is one of the most common career paths chosen by personality psychologists, according to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, or SPSP. Researchers in this field may focus on basic or applied research. Basic research examines the primary factors that influence personality, such as how an individual's personality is formed and whether it is inherited or environmentally influenced. Applied research takes the answers provided by basic research and further examines issues of personality. Researchers in this field might focus on personality as it relates to specific areas, such as work, environment, law, business and education. Personality psychology researchers may work in universities and colleges, though some may work for private research organizations.
Private Sector Jobs
Some personality psychologists work in the private sector as consultants or advisers to businesses, corporations or consulting firms. In these settings, personality psychologists use their unique skills and knowledge in diverse ways. They provide advice to companies and human resources departments regarding issues such as hiring and retaining workers or recruiting employees with the right personalities for certain jobs. They might also help politicians with campaign strategies. Personality psychologists may work for advertising companies. They provide advice and direction about marketing campaigns and sales strategies, taking into account the influence of consumer personality types for specific products.
Related Reading: Transpersonal Psychology Jobs
Government and Nonprofit Jobs
Personality psychologists may also work for government and nonprofit organizations, such as educational institutions, community centers and hospitals. They may administer pre-employment personality tests, consult on personnel issues, advise managers, train staff about conflict resolution and other interpersonal areas. They also might help with public policy analysis. Personality psychologists are also often involved with researching, formulating and conducting public education programs on topics such as anti-discrimination or diversity.
Many personality psychologists teach at the college or university level. Some of these professors combine teaching with research or consulting work. Personality psychology professors may teach undergraduate or graduate psychology courses, advise students or assist doctoral candidates with dissertation and research proposals. Sometimes, they may also teach in other departments, such as departments of business, education, health sciences or political science, to study and incorporate theories and research from personality psychology, according to the SPSP.