Career Spotlight: Organizational Psychologist

What is industrial psychology and what do organizational psychologists do?

Do you have a background in psychology and want to work in a business-related field? The field of industrial psychology combines the best of both worlds. Check out this guide to find out how to start your career in the field of industrial psychology.

What Is Industrial Psychology?

Industrial psychology connects the principles of psychology to business-related fields such as human resources, administration, sales, marketing, management, and more. It is the scientific study of human behavior in organizations or the workplace. Some areas industrial psychology focuses on within an organization include:

  • Employee recruitment and placement
  • Training and development
  • Workplace motivation, reward system, and morale
  • Employee retention issues
  • Performance measurement
  • Quality and structure of work

What Does an Organizational Psychologist Do?

An organizational psychologist uses quantitative research and evaluation methods to create best practices for organizations and teaches people how to work better together. They spend a lot of time researching employees through observation or surveys that are designed to identify issues within the workplace. The research can be used to increase employee productivity, lower turnover rates, improve recruitment tactics, and more. Many people don’t realize that the study of psychology is extremely useful for organizations, especially for members in leadership positions.

How to Become an Industrial Organizational Psychologist

While paths to a career can vary, ideally an industrial organizational psychologist would follow these steps:

  • Step 1:
    • A bachelor’s degree in psychology. Psychology is the study of human behavior, thought, and feeling. A BS in Psychology from Excelsior University can provide you with scientific principles and ethical practices to prepare you for a variety of careers, including human resources, organizational leadership, community development, and marketing.
  • Step 2:
    • Experience working in the field. Work experience is key to any successful career. Candidates interested in a career in industrial psychology should look for positions in human resources or at leadership consulting firms, research facilities, and other settings where they have a chance to improve the success of an organization by improving the workplace.
  • Step 3:
    • Earn your Master in Business Administration. An MBA can open doors to many careers. The MBA at Excelsior University can ensure you are ready for a long and rewarding career in the industrial psychology field. Start your MBA today and focus on classes in organizational leadership, management, operations, and other fields related to industrial psychology.
  • Step 4:
    • Earn your PhD. With a master’s degree, you can enter the fields of human resources, administration, sales, marketing, and management, but to become an organizational psychologist, you must earn a PhD in organizational psychology or psychology. This is a requirement for the position.

What Makes a Good Organizational Psychologist?

A good organizational psychologist is a critical thinker, a leader, and a researcher. They are scientific practitioners who focus on the design, execution, and interpretation of psychology in the workplace. They use their findings to help improve human and organizational problems.

Whether you work in the field of industrial psychology or already are an organizational psychologist, your job responsibilities may include the following:


  • Identify training and development needs, and implement training programs
  • Optimize job, work, and quality of work life
  • Coach employees and evaluate individuals’ performance
  • Research consumer preferences, customer satisfaction, and market strategies


When it comes down to it, organizational psychologists work to improve the workplace for employees, consumers, and leadership teams. If this sounds like something you are interested in, chat with an Excelsior University admissions counselor today to get started!