When you search for the essentials of organizational development, you will find a list that includes a clear business strategy, strong leadership, transparent and consistent communication, a motivated workforce, and a stable financial portfolio. Seems easy enough, right? Let’s factor in what the organization consists of — human beings. Human beings are complex — we each bring different strengths and challenges to the table, which ultimately impact the future of an organization.
As society has evolved with advancements in technology, so has the workplace. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we quickly adapted to a remote environment and swapped physical office phones for an app on our laptops. We’re easily accessible through instant messaging, with immediate notification to signal if we’re in a meeting. However, with the successes also come the challenges. We miss human interaction. We miss the hallway chats, or the collaboration opportunities when we overhear a coworker in another cube. Some employees may feel disconnected from the company culture.
The organizational psychologist has entered the chat.
What is Organizational Psychology?
Organizational psychology, sometimes referred to as industrial-organizational psychology or I-O psychology, applies important psychology principles and concepts to address human behavior in the workplace across many industries. Organizational psychology dates back to the 20th century and continues to serve as an important field to organizations across industries – especially during the post-pandemic world.
What Does an Organizational Psychologist Do?
Organizational psychologists, also referred to as I-O psychologists, assess human behavior to address organizational challenges and develop solutions to foster a positive work environment. In a professional setting, organizational psychologists’ responsibilities will extend across many disciplines, including human resources, instructional design and training, ethics and compliance, and research and development. They will assess employee satisfaction to identify and resolve workplace issues, evaluate professional development opportunities, assess recruitment strategies, implement new policies, and more. In academic positions, organizational psychologists facilitate courses, mentor students, and conduct extensive research to deliver insights on trending topics within the field.
How Do You Pursue a Career as an Organizational Psychologist?
To become an organizational psychologist, you will start by obtaining a degree from an accredited institution. At a minimum, you will want to receive a bachelor’s degree — you may major in psychology or business studies. However, many employers require organizational psychologists to hold a master’s or doctoral degree. These positions typically receive a higher average annual salary, in addition to opening new doors in research, science, and academic fields.
Top Qualifications and Graduate Programs in Organizational Psychology
If you’re interested in continuing your education with a graduate degree in organizational psychology, you may consider our Master of Science in Organizational Psychology or our Master of Business Administration in Organizational Psychology.
Master of Science in Organizational Psychology
Our Master of Science in Organizational Psychology degree prepares students to think critically and solve complex organizational issues. Students will develop career-related knowledge, hard and soft skills, and experiential learning in human resources, government, business, non-profit, marketing, and many other professions.
Students will enhance their knowledge and develop their skills with courses such as Talent Development, Coaching and Consultation Skills, and Attitude and Motivation in the Workplace. In addition, students will complete two capstone courses and apply program skills and knowledge to current organizational challenges.
Master of Business Administration in Organizational Psychology
Our Master of Business Administration in Organizational Psychology sets you apart. You will stand out as a leader who not only understands the foundations of business, but also what drives human behavior, attitudes, and motivations in the workplace.
Students will enhance their business acumen with courses such as Financial Management, Operations Management, Effective Leadership, as well as develop their understanding of human behavior Team Dynamics, Organizational Psychology, and Talent Development.
According to recent Emsi data on the top qualifications for organizational psychology job postings, a majority of positions require a Project Management Professional Certification, in addition to an MBA, and a bachelor’s degree.
Common Job Titles in Organizational Psychology
Next, you’ll want to explore a variety of job titles within the field. Organizational psychology continues to evolve as businesses become more complex — especially navigating our post-pandemic world. Organizational psychologists will explore these new challenges, develop solutions, and work with company leadership to create a productive workplace. With these new challenges may come new job titles; however, common titles in organizational psychology include:
- Project Manager
- Program Consultant
- Management Trainer
- Technical Recruiter
- Human Resources Specialist
- Human Resources Manager
- Research Analyst
- Behavior Analyst
Top Skills for Organizational Psychologists
Finally, let’s understand the skills I-O psychologists exemplify. Employers recruiting for organizational psychology positions expect candidates to demonstrate proficiency in several hard and soft skills. Hard skills can be taught and quantified with training materials, certifications, or technical measurement, whereas soft skills are often subjective and require experience to develop.
According to 2021 labor market data, job postings for organizational psychology roles list project management, finance, auditing, applicant tracking systems, talent acquisition, and process improvement among the top hard skills for candidates. Additionally, candidates should demonstrate communication, management, leadership, operations, and customer service soft skills.
Are Organizational Psychologists In Demand?
Yes, organizational psychologists are in demand! The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the field to grow 8 percent from 2020 to 2030.
Especially today, as we all navigate a post-pandemic work environment, organizations will rely on organizational psychologists to understand how to manage a hybrid workforce, meet the unique needs of this workforce, and foster a productive culture.
What Salary Can You Expect as an Organizational Psychologist?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports an average annual salary range for organizational psychologists between $86,000-$150,000. However, salary levels may vary based on experience, credentials, job title, industry, and location. For example, an organizational psychologist working for a state government averages an annual wage of $86,460, whereas research and development service psychologists average $150,910.
With a career in organizational psychology, the opportunities are endless — each day will differ, keeping you excited and engaged while you positively impact the lives of many employees and workplaces.
Ready to take the next step in your career?
Our Master of Science in Organizational Psychology or Master of Business Administration in Organizational Psychology may be for you. We prepare our students to tackle trending workplace issues, develop diverse and global perspectives, and incorporate career-related knowledge, skills, and experiential learning.