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Earning a degree in organizational psychology

A psychologist and client work together in a session

To many people, earning a degree in psychology can help them learn the skills to identify mental, psychological or emotional issues in individuals. But that is not the only path within the psychology field. Those earning a bachelor’s or master’s in psychology can also study and treat organizational issues to promote employee well-being and improve performance. As such, earning a Bachelor of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology degree can provide the foundation to impact organizational health.

If you do not have a psychology degree and are looking into bachelor’s degree programs, consider an online university, which can set you on a path to pursue a career in this field without having to commute or completely disrupt your existing schedule. Once you have an undergraduate degree, you may even choose to pursue a graduate degree in psychology or industrial-organizational psychology.

Those who pursue a bachelor’s or master’s degree in organizational psychology may even have the opportunity to join professional organizations like the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). SIOP’s members give speeches to companies and organizations about their research methods and workplace organization structures, and advise on best practices to run effective and regulation-compliant human resources departments.

Read on to learn what jobs you can pursue with an organizational psychology degree and the skills you will learn in this degree program.

What jobs can an organizational psychology degree prepare you for?

Careers as a compliance coordinator

Are ethics very important to you? If so, you might consider using your Bachelor of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology degree to pursue one of several career paths as a compliance coordinator or compliance manager working in organizational development. This career is ideal for anyone who believes strongly in the value of implementing ethical codes within the workplace.

Compliance managers supervise, handle the strategy for and are responsible for making sure companies comply with ethical and/or regulatory standards. This is a vital role. Without compliance coordinators and managers, companies open themselves up to problems with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the federal government and local municipalities and city councils, which could potentially result in heavy fines, declining stock values and other financial and legal problems.

As a successful compliance manager or coordinator, you might earn anywhere between $38,920 and $109,950 annually, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Salaries vary by location, although the mean annual salary was $72,850 in 2019.

Careers as a human resources specialist

Human resources teams are responsible for keeping up with employee demands for diversity, privacy and better working relations among staff and supervisors.

While human resources specialists are not independent (they report to the organization), their job is to listen to and address employee concerns, especially if those concerns relate to a particular employee’s behavior or to how a department is being managed.

HR specialists work to ensure companies create environments that enable their employees to thrive. And with a background in industrial-organizational psychology, HR specialists can recognize how to improve the overall psychological welfare of an organization.

Many organizations require that potential new hires in human resources have at least a bachelor’s degree, and an industrial-organizational psychology degree offers skills that are especially relevant. The 2019 median salary for a human resources specialist was $61,920, according to BLS.

Careers as a training and development specialist

Do you like the idea of training employees and helping them grow? Training and development may be the field for you! After landing a job with this title, you should expect to create programs to train employees, oversee the explanation of said programs and monitor the budgets for initiatives. You’ll basically make sure your company’s staff is always learning new skills or honing their existing ones, and thus improving their effectiveness on the job and contributing to morale at your workplace.

This is a rapidly growing field. According to BLS, job growth is expected to increase by nine percent between 2019 and 2029, far faster than most industries. Training and development specialists earned a median salary of more than $61,000 in 2019 (salary depends on experience and location), according to BLS. A bachelor’s degree can help prepare you for a career in this field, but keep in mind that some programs may not lead to licensure as a clinical psychologist.

Careers as an organizational development specialist

Organizational development is closely related to training and development. The difference is that an organizational development specialist thinks big picture, examining departments or the company as a whole for structural problems or weaknesses. Objectives might include finding ways various departments (or groups within departments) can work and grow together, or deciding how to allocate budget dollars to help vital departments and priority projects.

An organizational development specialist may have an easier time finding a role if they have an organizational psychology degree. According to ZipRecruiter, the 2021 average annual salary for an organizational development manager in the U.S. was $91,542. As salaries depend on experience and location, the range for this field is approximately $42,000 to $141,000.

What you will learn with an Industrial-Organizational Psychology degree from University of Phoenix

University of Phoenix pairs self-paced, always-on learning with career-relevant skills designed to aid students on an upward trajectory within their chosen profession. The Industrial-Organizational Psychology bachelor’s degree exemplifies this by covering more than just general psychology. Students also dive into the following:

  • Group dynamics
  • Organizational cultures
  • Innovative leadership
  • Social psychology

Get started with your Organizational Psychology degree

An Industrial-Organizational Psychology or other Organizational Psychology degrees can provide the foundation for a career in this field. A Bachelor of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology can prepare you to become a compliance coordinator, a human resources specialist or a training and development specialist.

In fact, according to BLS, graduates of this type of degree program who work in organizational psychology, human resources and related areas earned a median salary of $92,880 in 2019.

Frequently asked questions

Q: Can I get my Industrial-Organizational Psychology degree online?

A: Yes, you can! The Industrial-Organizational Psychology degree program at University of Phoenix is available through fully online courses, with some optional on-campus classes.

Q: Why should I get my degree from University of Phoenix?

A: In addition to our online courses (which include electives in human resources, diversity, culture and communications), University of Phoenix offers a wide variety of student incentives. All of these are available to graduates of any of our online degree programs, including Industrial-Organizational Psychology:

  • Career Services for Life™! A degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology can prepare you for a number of potential careers in this industry — but you may not know which one to pursue. That’s where Career Services for Life™ comes in. Graduates of University of Phoenix enjoy lifetime career assistance, whether it’s to find the right professional path or identify the next opportunity.
  • Exceptional flexibility. Finding time for school can be tough when you factor in work and family commitments. That’s why University of Phoenix offers flexible class schedules and on-demand courses.
  • Transferrable credits and experience. Already have course credits? You may be able to apply them to a degree at University of Phoenix, which can save money and time. Get in touch with us to see how you may be eligible.
  • Earn your degree without starting from scratch. Starting over can be daunting, but if you have course credits elsewhere, we may be able to help you. Get in touch with us to see if you have eligible transfer credits or experience, which can save you money up front and help you graduate faster!

Q: How much do organizational psychology majors make?

A: Salary ranges often depend on location, experience and competition. According to BLS, graduates of this type of degree program who work in organizational psychology, human resources and related areas earned a median salary of $92,880 in 2019.

Discover how you can take the next step toward a fulfilling and meaningful career! Get started on a new, rewarding path today.

Portrait of Michael Feder


Brian Fairbanks is a freelance writer with a background in SEO content creation and blog article development

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