Psychology is the study of human behavior and mental processes. One branch of psychology, organizational psychology, applies research methods and psychological principles to the workplace environment. An organizational psychologist may work with the management of a company to increase productivity, interview and screen job applicants, counsel or train employees, or work to improve a company's culture. Organizational psychologists may be employees of a company or may be self-employed consultants working on specific projects or problems for a company.
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How to Prepare for an Organizational Psychology Career
To be a successful organizational psychologist requires postgraduate study. After receiving a bachelor's degree in psychology, you should apply for a master's degree in organizational psychology. Although a doctorate is required in many other branches of psychology, an organizational psychologist with a master's will be in high demand in business and industry. Master's organizational psychology programs include classes in small group behavior, motivation and leadership, assessment of human performance, statistics, performance appraisals, job analysis, employee selection, and organizational consulting skills. Armed with this knowledge and skill set, the organizational psychologist is prepared to assist companies with issues such as workplace diversity, team building, employee communication, and others. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 34 percent of organizational psychologists are self-employed, working as consultants or private practitioners. The BLS projects that organizational psychology is the branch of psychology most in demand, with a projected 26 percent increase in jobs in the field by 2018. Although the job market is excellent, acceptance to graduate programs in organizational psychology is highly competitive. The median annual income for an organizational psychologist as of May 2008 was $77,010, according to the BLS. Annual income ranged from $38,690 to $149,120.