You may be asking yourself, “What can I do with a business psychology degree?” Well, there are many things that you can do with a degree in business psychology. For instance, a business psychology degree can get you a job in the areas of psychology, business operations, customer services, sales, human resources, and research.
Although a business psychology degree typically includes a specialty in industrial-organizational psychology, it can be applied to a variety of psychology careers. This article can help you decide what you want to do with a business psychology degree.
What Type of Degree Do Business Psychologists Need?
A bachelor’s degree, master’s degree and doctorate in business psychology or a related field is needed to become a business psychologist. You may be able to classify yourself as a business psychologist with a master’s degree, but it depends on your state. It is important to research your state’s requirements before enrolling into a business psychology training program.
You can receive a bachelor’s degree in business psychology within 4 years, a master’s degree within 1.5-2.5 years and a doctorate within 5-7 years. Your degree program will consist of coursework in business and psychology and an internship at an approved business, social services agency or psychological facility. Business psychology programs also focus on understanding and analyzing the psychological factors associated with working at businesses and organizations.
All most all states require that you receive licensure and/or certification before practicing as a licensed psychologist in any capacity. However, one of the main advantages of having a bachelor’s or a master’s degree in business psychology is that it opens up doors for you in a variety of different non-clinical industries.
What Does a Business Psychologist Do?
With a business psychology degree you will be able to supervise business-related research studies, analyze organizational trends and assess the mental health and work performance of employees. You will also be able to explore psychological factors that can affect employees and/or the company, assess a company’s short-term and long-term goals and evaluate the company’s strategies. One of your primary functions will be to create job assessments for companies so they can select candidates that share their values, mission and goals.
Related Reading: 31 Jobs You Can Do With a Psychology Degree
Depending on your specific job title, you may also be required to develop training and leadership programs that support and strengthen management skills and/or help employees utilize their talents and skills. Your main goal, when working with an organization, will be to help improve employee performance and increase the company’s revenue. In some cases, you may also help reorganize the company’s structure so that employees are assigned tasks that highlight their skills and talents.
What are the Careers in Business Psychology?
Human Resources Executive
You may also be able to use your business psychology degree in the human resources field. If you decide to pursue this route, your tasks will include: management functions (management development and employee training), employee performance evaluations, employee personal development, consultation services, behavioral and organizational assessments, fair hiring practices (affirmative action objectives) and employee relations.
You will also be responsible for screening, interviewing and hiring new employees, organizing employee training, supervising time sheets, holiday pay and/or company bonuses, addressing co-worker conflicts and employee-management conflicts. In the human resource department, you may be considered a human resources manager, human resources director, director of employee relations, human resources vice president or president of human resources.
Market Research Analyst
A market research analyst is responsible for studying the current conditions of the marketplace to determine how well (or not so well) a particular product or service might sell. For example, a market research analyst hired by a children’s toy company might be asked to assess the economic climate for a new toy that’s in the works. To do so, the analyst might examine demographic and economic data that gives the toy company an idea of what ages of children might be interested in the new toy and the price at which parents would be willing to purchase it.
As an industrial counselor, you will perform the critical function of using psychological principles to help improve business performance. For example, you might design a screening tool (i.e., questionnaire or survey) that allows hiring managers to better identify workers that are the best fit for a specific position within the business or company. You might also offer counseling services to workers to assist them in dealing with work-related problems that negatively impact productivity, such as conflict-resolution strategies.
A business psychology degree may help you enter into the field of marketing. At a marketing company or agency, you will help the company communicate its message more effectively. You will be responsible for analyzing the consumer’s thought processes and purchasing choices so that the company can reach more people.
In other words, your main goal will be to analyze the motivations of consumers so that the company can improve their message, products and revenue. Your tasks will primarily consist of designing new, fresh and creative advertising campaigns and working with company executives to improve its marketing strategies.
With a master’s degree and/or doctorate in business psychology, you may be able to become an industrial-organizational psychologist. Your business training program teaches you how to analyze and improve company practices, employee motivation, morale, performance and satisfaction, within the workplace. Your main tasks will be to organize new employee training, refresher training, support management objectives and motivate employees to perform to the best of their abilities.
As a corporate consultant, you would lean on your understanding of business psychology to help corporations make positive changes that result in improved performance. For example, if productivity of employees has become an issue, you might develop a program that helps boost employee morale by learning what motivates them to succeed. This might take the form of offering employee bonuses to encourage employees to be more efficient and meet goals more quickly.
Human Factors Specialist
Human factors specialists utilize their understanding of how people learn and interact with their environment to develop products that are simpler to use. For example, if you were employed as a human factors specialist, you might be enlisted by an electronics company to work with engineers and designers to develop a smartphone that is easy for the end-user to interact with.
More specifically, you might consult with the company to determine the sizing, placement, color, and other features of buttons on the phone screen to maximize the phone’s usefulness to the consumer.
Customer Relationship Specialist
In business, the satisfaction of the customer is priority number one. That’s why many companies employ customer relationship specialists, whose job it is to resolve issues that arise out of poor customer experiences. This means that if you worked as a customer relationship specialist, you might be tasked with using your understanding of human behavior to develop programs and services that target the increased satisfaction of customers and do a better job of meeting their specific needs to encourage their loyalty to the company or brand.
Recruitment or Training Specialist
Businesses cannot survive without the right kind of employees in each and every position. As such, a career as a recruitment or training specialist means that you would work to fill vacant positions with the right kind of employee. For example, you might construct an employment test that seeks to identify the specific knowledge and skills of each prospective employee. Then, if a position requires excellent communication skills, you could pursue an applicant that has scored highly in that area to fill the position.
Likewise, if based on your assessment a potential employee has excellent problem-solving skills, they could be funneled into a pool of candidates to fulfill positions that require problem-solving skills.
Employee Retention Consultant
As an employee retention consultant, your primary focus would be on learning what makes employees happy (or unhappy) with their workplace, their co-workers, supervisors, and career in general, and using that information to maximize the likelihood that employees stay with the company.
From a business standpoint, employee turnover leads to higher costs, so using basic business psychology principles to address issues that reduce in diminished workplace happiness is a key factor in mitigating extra business expenses due to turnover.
Professional Development Coach
In a career as a professional development coach, your task would be to help workers in the field of business to maximize their individual growth and development. In that regard, you would use your understanding about learning, development, motivation, and other key psychological principles to foster change that has a positive influence on the worker’s career.
For example, in a counseling setting, you might explore what a person’s career goals are, and then help them outline a long-term plan for achieving those goals.
Customer Service Manager
If you’re adept at understanding other people and empathizing with their needs, then a career as a customer service manager might be a good fit for you. Primarily, you tend to deal with customers that might not have had a very good experience using a product or service from your company. So, it’s necessary for workers in this field to be calm, understanding, and helpful, so as to retain customer loyalty for the long-term.
Change Management Specialist
If you pursue a career as a change management specialist, your primary role would be to help businesses and organizations utilize their employees’ talents to meet company goals. For example, you might conduct a needs assessment to determine how to best help a company move in a new direction. In that context, you would review employee talents, skills, and areas of expertise in order to effect change by assigning employees tasks that make company-wide change a smoother process.
You can become a college professor with a master’s degree and/or doctorate in business psychology. With a graduate degree in business psychology, you may be able to teach classes in industrial-organizational psychology, industrial relations, organizational management, engineering psychology, consumer psychology and/or organizational behaviors. You may also be able to supervise business-related research studies.
If you have a penchant for sales, then you can use your degree in business psychology to be a sales representative. A business psychology degree will not only help you sale more products, it may also help the company gain a better perspective of what the consumer really wants and needs. A good understanding of business psychology may help you convince a consumer why a product is beneficial for him/her.
In addition, a sales representative can find work in almost industry from the automotive field to the medical field. Moreover, this degree will help you better prepare for the stressful and challenging situations at work. Furthermore, psychology-based skills like empathy and perception can help you reassure an apprehensive customer that an item is a good choice for him/her.
References & Further Reading
- MSc in Organisational and Business Psychology | University of Liverpool Online
- Stewart, J. (2002). Recent Trends in Job Stability and Job Security. United States Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Kuther, T. L. & Morgan, R. D. (2009). Careers in Psychology: Opportunities in a Changing World. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning
- Cantore, S. & Passmore, J. (2012). Top Business Psychology Models: 50 Transforming Ideas for Leaders, Consultants and Coaches. Philadelphia, PA: Kogan Page