Business Psychologist: Career Info, Job Duties and Requirements

Business psychologists require significant formal education. Learn about the degree programs, job duties and licensure to see if this is the right career for you.

A career as a business psychologist requires a master's degree in psychology. Business psychologists may be required to be licensed and need to adhere to their state guidelines.

Essential Information

Business psychologists, also referred to as industrial-organizational (I/O) psychologists, use the training and methodology learned from academic study and observation to recommend changes in a company, such as ways to increase productivity. Business psychologists must hold graduate degrees, and licensure requirements vary by state. The number of jobs for industrial-organizational psychologists is expected to increase greatly over the next few years, but because this is a relatively small field, that won't equal too many additional positions.

Required Education Master's degree is sufficient for I/O psychologist positions; doctoral programs are available
Licensure License required in some states; others require registration
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 19% for I/O psychologists
Median Salary (2015)* $77,350 for I/O psychologists

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

Career Information for a Business Psychologist

Business psychologists typically work as consultants. They often meet with business leaders and upper management to assist with implementing and improving personnel strategies, including hiring methods and training programs, and evaluating the success of the organizational structure.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the overall growth rate for industrial-organizational psychologists was expected to increase by 19% from 2014-2024 (www.bls.gov). The BLS reported that the median annual salary for industrial-organizational psychologists was $77,350 in 2015.

Job Duties

In their efforts to improve a business's structure and performance, business psychologists might analyze trends and perform research to determine the relationship between psychological characteristics, employee performance and organizational success. After assessing a company's goals and strategy, business psychologists could develop tests or interview questions designed to screen potential employees for desirable traits and skills. They might also create leadership or training programs to assist current employees with developing latent talents or new skills, advising changes to improve performance and motivation based on the results. They could assist businesses with reorganizing existing employees into positions that best utilize their skills and talents and determine whether gaps in talent or skill exist in the current workforce.

Job Requirements

A master's degree is typically sufficient for working as a business psychologist, though some go on to earn a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.). Education and licensing requirements vary by state, with some mandating business psychologists obtain the same licensure as any other psychologist, while others might only require registration with the state. Additionally, business psychologists might need academic training specific to the field they practice. Professionals in this field should have an interest in analyzing and understanding organizational culture. Strong listening skills and the desire to improve employee wellbeing are also necessary attributes.

Business psychologists, also known as industrial-organizational psychologists, focus on workplace dynamics and how they affect employees. They may make recommendations about how to improve employee morale and performance, and how the company can improve their hiring process and training programs to secure staff who have desirable traits and skills that suit their workplace.


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