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.
What are the best organizational psychology programs of 2020? Here are our top 4:
|1||Palo Alto University||Palo Alto, CA|
|2||Concordia University Irvine||Irvine, CA|
|3||Eastern Kentucky University||Richmond, KY|
|4||Brandman University||Irvine, CA|
'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
Palo Alto University
|Palo Alto, CA||Cost: $$$$$||
Founded in 1975, PAU specializes in psychology and counseling. The school's values focus on social justice, student-centered learning, and service. PAU strives to accommodate diverse learning needs and has a few degree options available online.
PAU offers an online bachelor's degree in business psychology. This transfer program targets learners who have already completed their first two years of college. Courses include employee motivation and satisfaction, fundamentals of accounting and finance, research methods and data analysis, and multicultural studies. Students also complete a senior seminar during the last quarter of their program.
Participants can opt for an entirely online option or follow a hybrid format. Faculty deliver coursework synchronously, and Students engage in live, weekly videoconferences. PAU holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Concordia University Irvine
|Irvine, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 63%||
CUI offers postsecondary coursework from a Christian perspective. Its students gain access to a diverse student body and an active alumni network.
Individuals interested in understanding employees in the workplace can earn a bachelor's in organizational psychology at CUI. This online program does not require in-person attendance, and full-time students typically earn their degree in four years. Participants complete a total of 120 credits, including 45 general education credits, 42 organizational psychology credits, and elective credits. Courses include competence and character model for personal and professional growth, Christianity and contemporary culture, measurement of human performance, and social psychology.
Applicants need a minimum 2.4 GPA. CUI holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
Eastern Kentucky University
|Richmond, KY||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
EKU values personal growth, equal opportunity, and inclusion. The school also ranks among the top regional universities in the South, according to U.S. News & World Report. Students can choose from over 100 majors, and enrollment exceeds 16,800 students from around the world.
The online bachelor's in workplace psychology at EKU provides students with fundamental knowledge and skills about psychological theories and practices in the workplace. This degree requires 120 credits. Courses include sensation and perception, cognitive development, and comparative psychology. Students can also enhance their degree by earning a minor certificate.
Online courses follow accelerated, eight-week sessions. EKU provides six start dates each year, and students can bring in up to 90 transfer credits from other accredited institutions. EKU holds accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
|Irvine, CA||Cost: $$$$$||Graduation Rate: 47%||
Brandman embraces innovation, civic engagement, and inclusion. The school's enrollment exceeds 13,000 students, and learners can access over 90 programs.
Students interested in earning a psychology degree they can apply in business settings should consider Brandman's online bachelor's degree in industrial/organizational psychology. Students can choose a fully online or hybrid format. This program requires 120 credits. Courses include, critical thinking, history and systems of psychology, and human development across the lifespan. Participants also complete a culminating psychology capstone.
Admission requires a minimum 2.0 GPA, and transfer students from accredited institutions may apply. Brandman holds regional accreditation from the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
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.
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