Thursday, March 24, 2011

A College Psychology Degree Can Be Earned From Home

By Michelle Conner

Getting a degree in psychology doesn't mean your only career option is mental health. Studying the behavioral sciences actually has an incredible array of career options outside of the health care world, some quite exciting. For instance, if you love working in the world of media and celebrity, one very glitzy career is public relations (PR).

Public relations, at its core, is about getting mass media to pick up your message as news or internet coverage without having to pay for advertising. It can be anything from handing out free samples of shampoo to social marketing campaigns. By getting coverage you then hope to convince the general public to see things your way.

Public relations account managers generally work for one of two kinds of operations. The first is for an agency or consulting firm who takes on a corporation or non-profit as a client. The other is actually for the company or agency, oft times guiding the outside firm, if not doing all the work themselves.

Psychology comes in handy because knowledge of human and consumer behavior gives a PR manager the knowledge to help spread their message effectively. They can shape and distribute messages in ways that should cause interest in whatever they literally are selling. For instance, whether it's Sarah Palin or Barrack Obama, you better believe someone with courses in psychology looks over every speech they make before it's delivered. Students should research free college classes to learn about all the options available to them.

It is true that a student doesn't need a BS in Psychology in order to land their first job in the field. On the other hand, it would be rather difficult to find a single "flack" in the industry who hasn't taken their share of courses, even if they are only the basic ones. After all, one can glean a lot of handy information about the human condition from this discipline.

As it is, there is an incredible need for more PR personnel. The Bureau of Labor Statistics published a report stating the U.S. currently as of 2008 employs approximately 275,000. It also estimates an additional 66,000 jobs will be created by 2018. This is a projection of amazing growth; the increase in the different mediums that disperse information makes it understandable.

As for salary, much is dependent on how successful the account manager is. The average wage ranges from $51,000 to nearly $60,000 a year. There's a lot of room in this though. Those who work for PR firms can make much more as they their wages are dependent on commissions. Handle the right number of accounts and it can easily escalate into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Those who work internally for a corporation or non-profit organization tend to be paid a flat rate.

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