When groups of people work together as a team, challenges inevitably arise. From idea sharing to deciding who gets promoted, differences in opinion can get in the way of productivity and create tension in the work environment. In addition, disagreements in the workplace can sometimes escalate resulting in the loss of good employees or even litigation. The job of the organizational psychologist is to help promote a work environment that is positive for all, to maintain productivity, and to encourage good working relationships between colleagues and between employee and employer.
Careers for Organizational Psychologists
Many organizational psychologists work in human resource (HR) departments of large businesses or organizations. With a bachelor's degree in organizational psychology, you might qualify as a HR generalist. In this position, your job responsibilities could include interviewing and recruiting potential employees, training new employees, and answering employees' questions about benefits.
In order to advance to senior human resource positions or into other areas of organizational psychology programs, a master's degree in organizational psychology is often necessary. With this degree, you might qualify for employment as an HR specialist, senior research consultant, employee relations manager, or for jobs in consulting firms. In these positions, you should experience greater on-the-job autonomy and you might have the opportunity to branch out into a specialized area of your interest.
Organizational Psychology Salaries and Opportunities
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median salary for organizational psychologists was $80,820, in 2007, with the middle 50 percent earning between $56,840 and $111,180. Salaries vary widely depending on geographical location, company size, education level and experience. Workers with master's degrees had salaries significantly higher than those with bachelor's degrees.
Job opportunities should be excellent for candidates with master's degrees and PhDs in organizational psychology. The BLS predicts a 21 percent increase in organizational psychology jobs from 2006 to 2016, citing concern over worker productivity, retention rates, workplace diversity, and anti-discrimination as reasons for the boost in employees.
Career Training for Organizational Psychology
Business program in Organizational psychology at all levels focus on improving communication skills, as this is a critical success factor for organizational psychologists. You should also take courses in psychological measurement, research methods, social psychology, statistical methods, training and development, and group organizational dynamics. In essence, your organizational psychology degree program should be very specific: you should learn the skills you will need to later fulfill your job obligations. If your schedule demands make it difficult to get back to school in a traditional setting, earning an online degree in organizational psychology should be strongly considered. An online degree program will prepare you for your career in organizational psychology with built-in flexibility.