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How To Become An Organizational Psychologist: Degree & Career Guide

What makes a company work? It is without a doubt that having people from different backgrounds and different work ethics working together will cause some inconsistency in working and getting a job done. But that is why organizational psychologists exist.

Having many different people working together can cause a lot of difficulties, but it is also what makes a business thrive. Input from different perspectives is invaluable. To make sure that this integration is smooth, organizational psychologists work with companies and businesses to ensure that all duties and tasks are carried out successfully and as desired.

Organizational psychologists utilize the strengths of each person in the company towards achieving the company's common goals.

To become an organizational psychologist, you would need to complete a bachelor's degree, a master's degree, and a doctoral degree. You would also need to obtain a license to become an organizational psychologist and acquire direct experience through an internship.

Let us take a closer look at this career path and the steps you would need to follow to pursue this career.

What Is An Organizational Psychologist?

We know that psychologists work with individuals, and they work in helping individuals improve their overall state of being. Just as the name would suggest, an organizational psychologist does the same in an organization or a workplace setting.

Organizational psychologists work with the individuals and with the company to ensure that there is a smooth workplace integration and that employees improve and succeed in their expected duties and outcomes.

Organizational psychologists also fulfill a variety of roles in the company. Not only do they work with internal employees and work with recruitment divisions in finding and selecting employees that meet company requirements and standards, but they also work with marketing divisions to increase sales.

What Does An Organizational Psychologist Do?

In a nutshell, organizational psychologists apply psychological theories to workplace environments. They use these theories as a way of boosting morale, keeping employees motivated to reach targets, devising appropriate targets and incentives, and hiring people that will integrate well into the existing workplace dynamic.

They also devise ways of improving, remedying, or mitigating any workplace issues that arise or have the potential to arise. Organizational psychologists may notice a lull in motivation during a specific time of the year and they may work with management to devise and execute incentive programs during those periods for sales to pick up.

In successfully fulfilling their roles, organizational psychologists will improve company morale which usually translates to an increase in business and sales, they improve the quality of life for employees by optimizing the environment for workplace satisfaction, they study consumer behavior, they conduct research, and they compile and implement training and development programs within the company.

They may also provide employee counseling services that may or may not be limited to workplace issues, meaning they allow the possibility of counseling employees for issues that go beyond the workplace.

Steps To Become An Organizational Psychologist

Step One: Obtain Your Bachelor's Degree

The starting point in this field of study is obtaining the correct qualification. This means starting with a bachelor's degree. During your bachelor's degree, it may be beneficial for you to take coursework that is related to behavioral psychology, abnormal psychology, and courses specifically related to industrial and organizational psychology.

Step Two: Obtain Your Master's Degree

Next, you would need to work towards obtaining your master's degree. This makes you more desirable when you do begin your employment journey and you begin job seeking.

Step Three (Optional): Obtain Your Ph.D.

In your academic journey, you may consider working towards your doctorate you are hoping to work within a company or an organization, it may not be entirely necessary, depending on the company's requirements. However, if you are hoping to pursue a career in academics, you hope to lecture at an academic institute, or you would like to focus and direct your career towards research, you would need to obtain a Ph.D.

Step Four: Gain Experience

Going hand in hand with academics and qualifications is experience. A great way to gain effective experience is through an internship or learnership which many companies and organizations offer. You may also find yourself completing an internship before assuming a permanent role at the same organization or company.

Step Five: Obtain A License

Depending on state laws and company requirements, you will be required to pass the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP) to earn a license as an organizational psychologist.

Types of Organizational Psychologists

Aside from working in a company in a variety of different divisions such as human resources, marketing, sales, and management, you may also pursue the role of professor or researcher in a more academic field.

What Degree Do You Need To Be An Organizational Psychologist?

You would need a master's degree to assume the role of an organizational psychologist at a company, or you would need a doctorate to pursue a role in academics or in the field of research.

What Is The Average Salary For An Organizational Psychologist?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial-organizational psychologists earn an average annual salary of $113,320 and they earn a median annual salary of $105,310.

What Makes A Good Organizational Psychologist?

To be an effective organizational psychologist, you would first need effective time management skills, superior listening skills, and analytical skills. You would need to remain objective and impartial while making critical and difficult decisions.


How Long Does It Take To Become An Organizational Psychologist?

Depending on the desired role that you wish to fulfill, it would take you between six and seven years to obtain your master's degree, and it would take 10 to 12 years to complete a Ph.D.

Where Do Organizational Psychologists Work?

They are found to mostly work within companies and organizations, employed as an internal employee, or employed by a consulting agency to whom companies outsource their organizational psychology needs.

What Are The Three Major Fields Of Organizational Psychology?

Organizational psychology is divided into three main facets namely the industrial element, the organizational element, and the human element.


Being a psychologist isn't about just sitting in a room with a patient. The role of psychologists is valued in all aspects of society, especially in organizations. If you want to follow the passion of being a psychologist but still want the unique benefits that working for a large corporation provides, then perhaps this is the field of study for you.

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