Organizational psychology, also known as industrial psychology, represents an intersection between traditional psychology and modern business. Professionals in this specialized field apply psychological principles and theories to different areas of business, such as administration, human resources, marketing and general management. Organizational psychologists often assist with projects related to recruitment and hiring, policy writing, employee training and development and organizational evaluation.
'Psychology' and its subfields (including organizational psychology) are among the most popular majors for bachelor's degree-seekers. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, roughly 114,000 psychology bachelor's degrees were awarded during the 2012-13 academic year. However, most careers in organizational psychology require at least a master's degree in this field ― and in some cases, a doctorate degree as well. A bachelor's in organizational psychology will equip students with the foundational knowledge and skills needed to succeed at the graduate degree level. In addition to standard coursework, these bachelor's programs often include internships and/or practicum courses, allowing students to receive supervised training from experienced professionals. A comprehensive capstone project may also be required. Many of today's students are choosing to earn their bachelor's degree in organizational psychology online, rather than in a classroom. Online students follow the same rigorous curricula as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, leading to the same number of employment opportunities for successful graduates. The asynchronous (or self-paced) format of most online programs is also ideal for students with part-time jobs, childcare commitments and other responsibilities that tend to interfere with campus-based learning.
Learn more about what you can do with an online bachelor's degree in organizational psychology and what kind of career opportunities you can look forward to with this comprehensive guide.
Choosing a Program
WILL AN ONLINE ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM PROVIDE ME WITH THE SKILLS I NEED TO ADVANCE MY CAREER?
An online bachelor's degree in organizational psychology can serve as an important stepping stone toward a career in this demanding field. The curriculum will introduce important topics in business like training and development, human resources and management, as well as core principles of cognitive, developmental and social psychology. Internships and practicum courses also give students the opportunity to apply what they have learned in a real-world workplace environment. The best online organizational psychology bachelor's programs prepare students to succeed at the master's level.
WILL AN ONLINE ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE PROGRAM WORK WITH MY SCHEDULE?
Online organizational psychology degree programs offer a flexible alternative to traditional college education. Students can access course readings and lectures, participate in virtual discussions with fellow students, submit written assignments, take exams and communicate with their professors on their own schedule. The latest learning technology also enables them to study away from home using a laptop, tablet, smartphone and other portable Wi-Fi devices. For added convenience, online organizational psychology students can normally coordinate internships and practicum courses at sites near their current residence.
WHAT JOBS CAN I GET WITH MY ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY DEGREE?
Although a bachelor's in organizational psychology will be insufficient for most careers in this field, students may be eligible for other roles related to psychology in the workplace. These occupations include human resources generalists and specialists, training and development coordinators, marketing analysts and social workers. Alternatively, those who choose to advance into a graduate-level program will be ready for the academic demands that lay ahead.
WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE BACHELOR'S IN ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAMS?
Choosing a program is an incredibly personal decision, and only you can properly evaluate whether a target school's strengths match your educational needs. The following ranked list of schools should serve as a helpful starting point in your search for the best online bachelor's degree in organizational psychology programs in the United States. Our ranking is based on the courses schools offer, available specializations, student outcomes, career support services, and other criteria used to determine academic excellence. If you are considering an online bachelor's in organizational psychology, be sure to contact admissions specialists at different colleges and universities to learn more their about specific bachelor's degree requirements and offerings.
Accredited Online Bachelor's in Organizational Psychology Programs
|Irvine, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 79%||
The industrial/organizational track of the bachelor of arts in psychology online at Brandman University focuses on the benefits of understanding psychology in a corporate setting. With this degree, you can promote a positive work environment as a human resources specialist, help colleagues communicate as a training developer, or review community progress as a management analyst. Costing $500 per credit, this 120-credit bachelor's can be completed in four years of full-time enrollment.
Coursework for this BA at Brandman spans introductory to advanced psychological studies, with supplemental requirements in human development, abnormal psychology, and research methods. Students also learn fundamentals of effective leadership in classes on career development and personnel psychology. All classes are taught in eight-week terms on the Blackboard online platform. Finally, Brandman's Center for Instructional Innovation offers multiple resources for distance learning students, including a writing and math center.
Applicants to Brandman should provide high school transcripts demonstrating a minimum 2.0 GPA and a complete application form. For students with lower high school grades, the university offers a program in which students can demonstrate their commitment in the first term of enrollment. Brandman accepts up to 12 transfer credits from an accredited institution, and military personnel and veterans may transfer in up to 46 credits of active duty and specialized training. Brandman University is a private, nonprofit institution accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC).
Concordia University - Irvine
|Irvine, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 65%||
CUI employs a Christian perspective on effective leadership and motivation in its bachelor of science in organizational psychology online program. All classes for this degree are streamed live online and are delivered synchronously, which means students must participate during specific classroom hours. Most courses are taught in eight-week terms; accelerated program courses last seven weeks.
CUI's 120-credit BS in organizational psychology online cost $520 per credit. Students study Christianity and contemporary culture, employee motivation and attitude theory, and business ethics. The degree culminates with two industrial-organizational professional development seminars for which online students come to campus and present real-world development projects. CUI also requires all students to participate in a four-day on-campus orientation, and it strongly encourages participants to watch the university's weekly chapel service, which it live-streams on YouTube.
To increase student success, CUI maintains a career services department in which students can learn more about potential paths and discuss personal career goals with a professional adviser. Likewise, its veterans resource center provides information on how to make the best use of GI Bill support. A Yellow Ribbon Program participant, CUI vows to waive coursework costs exceeding the VA limit.
Eastern Kentucky University
|Richmond, KY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 44%||
Located in Richmond, Kentucky, EKU's online bachelor of science in psychology focuses on a workplace psychology oriented around effective corporate growth. Core classes in this 120-credit program address adolescent and adult development, physiological and cognitive psychology, and the fundamental skills for interviewing and professional reporting.
In the workplace specialization, students study social psychology, the psychology of personality, industrial versus organizational frameworks, and effective testing. In eight-week academic or six-week summer terms, courses are provided asynchronously, meaning you can complete your coursework around a busy schedule. To stay on track, EKU distance learning students can also access several assistance resources online.
To apply to Eastern Kentucky University, applicants should have a minimum 2.5 GPA. They should also supply an ACT composite score of 20 or higher or a cumulative SAT score of 950 (students with a minimum 24 transferable college credits are exempt from submitting official test scores). Students without previous experience must submit either SAT or ACT scores or take the university's placement exam (taken on campus) to ensure appropriate enrollment. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accredits Eastern Kentucky University along with the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
Notre Dame College
|South Euclid, OH||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 37%||
The bachelor of arts in psychology online at NDC offers a concentration in applied psychology that considers industrial and organizational issues. This track also investigates health psychology, forensic and law psychology, and applied cognition and human factors. As a Catholic liberal arts college, all students must complete a theology course; otherwise, all coursework is grounded in the behavioral sciences, biopsychology, and counseling electives. All classes in this program are 100% online, offered on the Moodle platform.
NDC allows students to transfer up to 88 course credits, provided they have earned a minimum grade of "C." To facilitate credit transfers, the school maintains multiple agreements with Ohio State schools, including Central Ohio Technical College and Terra State Community College. With a career services center, counseling center, and academic support center, students of NDC are well prepared to progress through the degree. What's more, the school's Abrahamic center fosters interfaith connections university wide, with Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Jewish representation.
Notre Dame College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU).
What Else Can I Expect from an Online Organizational Psychology Program?
|Timeline||4 to 5 years|
|Program Costs (when available)||$10,000 to $25,000 in annual tuition|
|Concentrations||General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Cognitive Psychology, Social Psychology, Behavioral Psychology, Social Work, Human Resources, Marketing|
|Accreditation||There is no programmatic accreditation for this major field of study at the undergraduate level. Students should defer to the regional/national accreditation of their four-year college or university.|
Learn More About Other Psychology Degree Programs
Psychology is a complicated field that lends itself to concentrated areas of study. If you want to consider your options beyond a general online psychology degree, click through the following list for information about schools that offer specializations within their psychology degree programs.
Employment Outlook for Bachelor's in Organizational Psychology Graduates
According to U.S. News & World Report, the unemployment rate for organizational psychologists is currently set at 1.2%. This relatively low unemployment rate is due to two factors: the specialized nature of the profession; and the historically strong job outlook of the business sector. The following table compares the unemployment rates of industrial psychologists and other business professionals who deal in different areas of management and business analysis.
|Occupation||Unemployment Rate (2016)|
|Operations Research Analyst||2.6%|
|Human Resources Specialist||2.7%|
|Business Operations Manager||3.9%|
Source: U.S. News & World Report
As the table shows, organizational psychologists have relatively low unemployment rates compared to other specialized business personnel. Additionally, this figure is significantly lower than the unemployment rate for all occupations, which is currently set at 4.8%.
However, it's important to note that the job outlook for bachelor's degree-holders in organizational psychology is not as favorable due to the advanced educational requirements of this profession. Candidates with a master's or doctorate in organizational psychology will be better positioned to compete in the job market and launch a successful career in their field of study.
Earning a Living
U.S. News & World Report lists $77,350 as the median annual salary for industrial psychologists in the United States. However, earning potential for these professionals will depend on a number of factors, including educational attainment, experience level, employer size and city/state of employment. The table below looks at the salary range of industrial psychologists working today.
|Percentile||Median Annual Salary|
Source: U.S. News & World Report
As the table shows, organizational psychologists in the highest-paid bracket outearn those in the lowest-paid group by a margin of more than three to one. Additionally, salary expectations in this field often vary based on specific job title. The next table looks at career salary growth for five of the most common careers that are attainable with a bachelor's degree in organizational psychology.
|Occupation||Median Salary for Entry-Level Employees (0-5 years)||Median Salary for Mid-Career Employees (5-10 years)||Median Salary for Experienced Employees (10-20 years)||Median Salary for Late-Career Employees (20+ years)|
|Human Resources Generalist||$48,879||$53,520||$54,969||$56,232|
|Human Resources Specialist||$44,843||$50,172||$53,529||$59,188|
|Training and Development Specialist||$49,807||$57,568||$61,373||$63,596|
|Training and Development Manager||$61,771||$72,295||$81,563||$85,013|
All five careers listed on the table reported a salary growth rate of at least 15% after 20 years in the workforce. Training and development managers experience the highest rate of growth: a 37.6% increase in earnings between the entry-level and late-career stages. Management analysts ranked second with 33.2% career salary growth, followed by human resources specialists with 32% growth.
Career and Further Education Opportunities
Students who leave school with an online bachelor's in organizational psychology will be prepared for the demands of successive master's and doctoral degree programs. However, many bachelor's recipients choose to enter the workforce immediate after graduation without pursuing graduate-level credentials. Three common career paths for candidates with a bachelor's in organizational psychology are outlined below.
Human Resources Specialists: Often working under HR managers, HR specialists typically oversee tasks and activities related to recruitment, screening and hiring of new employees. Depending on the size of their organization, they may also assist with training and development programs, and also assist employees with matters related to compensation and benefits, advancement and retirement.
Human Resources Managers: Human resources managers (also known as HR managers) are responsible for all of the administrative functions of their company or organization. They manage specialists, generalists and other HR personnel, and may play a direct role in employee recruitment, hiring and training.
Management Analysts: Management analysts (also known as management consultants) work closely with top executives to evaluate and optimize various aspects of a company or organization. The changes they recommend ― and eventually help implement ― target specific areas of improvement, such as profitability, efficiency, supply chain management and employee satisfaction.
Training and Development Managers: Training and development managers coordinate various programs designed to equip current employees with various knowledge, skills and work-related competencies. They often study their company to pinpoint specific personnel needs, and then create programs that reflect these findings.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Students who graduate with a bachelor's degree in psychology often go on to pursue a master's degree in the same field. For more information about opportunities for grad students and more advanced careers in this field, please visit our Guide to Online Master's in Psychology Programs.
Making professional connections and learning about different approaches to organizational psychology is crucial to your success. Professional organizations offer a great entry point for students who want to learn more about their chosen career path. Below you'll find three of the country's most prominent organizations established for organizational psychology professionals. These organizations host networking events, provide online trainings, maintain active job boards, and offer other services for career-ready college graduates.
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology: This Ohio-based organization boasts more than 8,000 members worldwide. Member benefits include discounts on SIOP products and services, invitations to conferences and other networking events and online journal subscriptions. The organization also allows students and retirees to become members for only $50 per year.
- Society for Human Resource Management: Considered the world's largest HR-oriented professional organization, the SHRM boasts 285,000 members in 165 different countries. The website features a vast online resource library, as well as links to continuing education opportunities and an events calendar.
- National Management Association: Headquartered in Ohio, this nonprofit organization currently maintains six regional U.S. chapters. The NMA is home to the certified manager (CM) credential, and members can also take part in professional development courses and contests.
Financing Your Online Bachelor's in Organizational Psychology Program
Despite the relative affordability of online programs, most students still need financial assistance. Students should complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to learn more about loans, grants, and other opportunities offered through the U.S. government. Additionally, private grants and scholarships are widely available through nonprofit organizations, companies, and other sources. Check out our collection of resources below to learn more about financial aid options.
Approximately two-thirds of today's college students rely on loans to fund their education, but there are plenty of overlooked financing options you can use to reduce your overall student debt.
Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a crucial first step for any student with financial needs. Our FAFSA guide features a step-by-step rundown on the process and answers to several frequently asked questions.
Financial aid for online learning is equivalent to what you'll find for campus-based learning, but that hasn't always been the case. Learn about the changes that have taken place, as well as the different funding opportunities available to online students.
Online programs can provide an affordable and flexible option for women trying to balance the demands of work, family, and earning their degree. We've curated a list of valuable scholarships specifically for women.
Online college programs can be a flexible, affordable option for single parents who are interested in earning a degree and securing their family's financial future. We've compiled a list of scholarships, grants, and other financial aid options geared toward single moms and dads.
Millions of dollars in free money is available to U.S. military personnel, but much of it goes unused. Learn more about grants, scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities available to veterans, active-duty service members, and reservists.
- Best Online Bachelor's in Organizational Psychology Program of 2018
Ranking School Location 1 Brandman University Irvine, CA 2 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 3 Concordia University-Irvine Irvine, CA 4 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL 5 Notre Dame College South Euclid, OH
- Best Online Bachelor's in Organizational Psychology Program of 2017
Rank School Location 1 Eastern Kentucky University Richmond, KY 2 Florida Institute of Technology Melbourne, FL 3 Notre Dame College South Euclid, OH 4 Azusa Pacific Online University Glendora, CA