General Organizational Psychology

The organizational psychologist assists with motivation, training, communication and other job-related issues to help keep employees happy and businesses running smoothly. Read on to learn more about job duties and outlook, salaries and education for organizational psychologists.

Is General Organizational Psychology for Me?

Career Overview

Psychology as a field involves the study of human and animal behavior. General organizational psychology, also known as industrial-organizational psychology, involves the use of scientific methodology to enhance the effectiveness, productivity and satisfaction of employees in the work environment.

Professional Duties and Skills

Industrial-organizational (I/O) psychologists may help businesses deal with a variety of issues, including recruiting and placement, employee morale and motivation, leadership development and organizational change. They may also be responsible for training and evaluating staff members, analyzing job descriptions and managing conflicts. Most I/O psychologists have excellent communication skills and an ability to relate to others.

Career Options

Completion of a degree program in organizational psychology may help you prepare for a position with a corporation, government agency, research institution or consulting firm. As an I/O psychologist, you may also work in the human resource department of a large company.

Employment and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for industrial-organizational psychologists are expected to increase by 53% between 2012 and 2022, which is significantly faster than average. As of May 2013, the median annual wage for industrial-organizational psychologists was $80,330 (www.bls.gov).

How Can I Become a General Organizational Psychologist?

Educational Requirements

According to the BLS, a master's degree in a relevant field of study is the minimum educational requirement for working as an I/O psychologist. Completing a doctoral program can also prepare you for a career as a university professor. Admission into a graduate I/O psychology program is competitive. It may be advantageous to hold a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, rather than a bachelor's degree in a related field, when applying to a graduate program, such as a Master of Business Administration in Organizational Psychology.

A master's degree program generally takes two years to complete and includes studies in personnel law and selection, statistical research methods and performance appraisal, as well as the application of chaos theory in organizations. Some of these programs are available in an online format.

Licensing

The Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology reports that some states expect I/O psychologists to be licensed; clinical, counseling and school psychologists are also required to obtain licensure (www.siop.org). Educational requirements include a doctoral degree in the field.

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