Business Psychology is a psychology subspecialty that seeks to improve productivity and interpersonal relationships within the workplace. Professionals may focus on personnel issues, ergonomics, professional coaching and organizational relationships. They typically work for consulting firms or large businesses.
A business psychologist may also choose to venture out on their own and work for-hire on a contract basis. Those with a knack for business psychology tend to be the best equipped for private consultation work because they have an understanding of entrepreneurship and specialize in a more customer facing way with their clients.
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Of particular importance to the business psychologist are the application of organizational psychology principles, the nurturing of teamwork and ethics, motivation of employees, mental health in an employment setting and the basic theory and methodology of traditional psychology.
What Does a Business Psychologist Do?
A business psychologist focuses his or her efforts on three areas of industry and occupation: employees, workplaces and organizations. Particularly, business psychologists make a study of how all three of these areas interact in an effort to boost productivity.
Their methods may include job analysis, recruitment, performance appraisal, training and training assessment, assessing the organizational culture as a whole and delineating productive (and counterproductive) behaviors in the workplace. The business psychologist also studies how ergonomics, environment and group dynamics affect the performance of the individual (and vice versa).
Careers in Business Psychology
Many organizations employ business psychologists to help improve corporate culture and employee morale. These professionals are particularly in demand in tough economic environments because organizations that can enhance the productivity of staff in tough job environments are sure to keep it up in an easier economic climate.
Businesses must often make changes to improve their bottom lines, and transitions, if handled improperly, can have an adverse effect on the employees, who make change possible. Business psychologists are invaluable here as well.
A business psychologist working for a mid- to large-sized organization can make north of $100,000 per year. Consultants can do well, too, considering they can set their own price, choose clients and work around OSHA laws regarding salaried employees at an organization. The median annual salary of business psychologists comes in at around $77,000, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Obtaining a Business Pschology Degree
If you are certain that business psychology is the career path you wish to pursue, it is advised to try for at least a master’s degree in business psychology from an accredited institution. The master’s degree is often enough to make you eligible for a teaching position. It is also advisable to work simultaneously for professional organizations to maximize earnings.
While doctorates in business psychology are more in demand with bigger organizations, it is possible to attain a very lucrative career in this field with less.