Managerial Psychology Education and Training Program Overviews

Oct 10, 2019

Managerial psychology, a sub-discipline of industrial and organizational psychology, focuses on the efficacy of individuals, groups and organizations in the workplace. Related educational programs are available at the certificate, master's, or doctoral levels.

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Essential Information

Managerial psychologists train and screen job applicants, assist with organizational development, and consult with corporations on a problem-solving basis. Emphasizing topics such as employee relations, human resource management, and personnel psychology, programs offer flexibility in scheduling or feature some online coursework. Students should be prepared to complete field work, internships, thesis or dissertation requirements prior to graduation. Aspiring licensed psychologists must obtain doctoral degrees and pass relevant examinations.

Certificate programs help students gain a working knowledge of psychological research, interpersonal and group interaction, and leadership skills. Many certificates can be earned in a year or less and courses are held on-campus or online. Graduates with master's degrees utilize their skills in psychology, problem solving, management and human resources to help corporations and their employees maintain a high level of productivity in the workplace. Doctoral degree programs take up to five years to complete, and students need to write research dissertations and successfully pass oral examinations.

Certificate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Though certificates in organizational psychology are not mandatory, they are beneficial in the business sector. Students wishing to obtain a certificate do so either in conjunction with other studies or as a stand-alone program. Certificates are awarded at various educational levels, such as to students who have completed either a bachelor's degree or various undergraduate psychology courses. Those who hold or are working toward a master's degree are also qualified for certificate programs. In some cases, students with a high school diploma, or its equivalent, and work experience are also eligible for entry into a certificate program. Requirements vary widely per school, so students should check with specific institutions.

Coursework varies by program, and in certain instances, college credit is given for certificate coursework. Courses include:

  • Introductory psychology
  • Human resources and management
  • Cognitive methodology
  • Applied social psychology
  • Employee-management relations

Master's Degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

While there are no specific master's degrees given in managerial psychology, industrial and organizational psychology master's degree programs are available at many colleges and universities. Both Master of Science (M.S.) and Master of Arts (M.A.) degrees are available. These programs require at least a 2-year, full-time commitment and are held on-campus. Some specific managerial psychology courses and accelerated degree programs at the graduate level are offered online.

Specific educational requirements vary per school, but most students will need to hold an undergraduate degree and choose to earn their degree in psychology or in a related field. Also, certain courses are mandatory and students are recommended to check with prospective colleges and universities of interest. Specific courses vary per school, but students are asked to participate in fieldwork and complete a thesis in addition to their classroom work. Courses include:

  • Organizational diversity
  • International business
  • Workplace dynamics
  • Psychology of personnel
  • Job analysis
  • Leadership

Doctoral Degree Programs in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Managerial psychologists seeking more in-depth training pursue Ph.D. or Psy.D. degrees concentrating on subjects such as personnel psychology and organizational psychology. Degree programs vary, and some schools offer combined master's and doctoral programs, so programs are open to those with a bachelor's degree and satisfactory Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores. Research training and internships are required. Prerequisites vary per school, but some schools require a specific number of course hours in subjects such as psychology or statistics. Master's degrees are required, although not in programs offering combined degrees. Also, depending on school policy, doctoral students who fail to maintain satisfactory grades are placed on probation or dismissed from the program.

Industrial and organizational psychology courses include proper teaching and research methodology in addition to management training. Courses include:

  • Statistics
  • Organizational assessment
  • Employee performance assessment
  • Psychometric theory
  • Cross-cultural management practices

Popular Careers

Career options may vary by education level, but students with certificates in industrial and organizational psychology may be employed in fields such as:

  • Human resources
  • Management
  • Employee recruitment and training
  • Organizational development

Managerial psychologists who hold doctoral degrees may have a wide range of employment options. Some positions may include:

  • University professors
  • Senior consultants in government or industry
  • Research directors

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage of industrial and organizational psychologists as of May 2018 was $97,260 ( The BLS also reported that between 2018 and 2028, the number of jobs for psychologists in general was expected to increase by 14%, which is faster than average. This high demand may be due to the increase of workplace cultural diversity and anti-discrimination policies. Organizations such as the American Psychological Association and the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologists can be a source for job listings and other information.

Continuing Education

The Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB) is an organization responsible for licensure of psychologists in the United States and Canada. Requirements for licensure may vary per state for industrial and organizational psychologists, but candidates who wish to be licensed need to hold a doctoral degree, have supervised job experience by a licensed psychologist, obtain a passing score on an oral examination, and show satisfactory performance on the ASPPB's Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). Other examinations and assessments may be required, so checking with specific states may prove beneficial.

If you are interested in becoming a managerial psychologist, industrial and organizational psychology programs include a sub-discipline in managerial psychology. A certificate, master's or doctoral level program provides training in this field, which focuses on the efficacy of individuals, groups and organizations in the workplace.

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