What Does an Occupational Psychologist Do?

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  • Written By: Geisha A. Legazpi
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 26 February 2018
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An occupational psychologist is primarily responsible for determining the best activities or courses of actions for an organization to achieve goals by obtaining the best possible performance from its employees. He or she is also tasked with identifying the best ways for employees to derive maximum satisfaction from their respective jobs, making them more motivated to help the organization meet its goals. An occupational psychologist deals with the functions and culture of an organization or company as well as the individuals that the company employs as well as the relationships that take place among the employees and between the employees and the company. An occupational psychologist is also known as an industrial or organizational (I/O) psychologist.

Occupational psychologists are often asked to help the human resource department deal with recruitment and job placement. Besides knowledge, skills, and abilities, a person’s suitability for a job is also based on his temperament and goals. Employers will consider all of these factors to ensure their organizations have the most qualified individuals employed in the ideal jobs.


An occupational psychologist may also be called to participate in management meetings in order to help executives determine new activities or modifications that should be introduced to improve productivity and employee satisfaction rates. In other instances, an occupational psychologist may have to schedule one-on-one consultations with employees to discuss the employees’ personal and work-related issues. There may also be situations in which an occupational psychologist would be asked to perform research about emerging trends in human resource management and other similar topics.

Occupational psychologist jobs require licensure. In the United States, those who have passed licensure exams and obtained the necessary certification are referred to as licensed and certified occupational psychologists. They are referred to as chartered occupational psychologists in the United Kingdom.

Becoming an occupational psychologist generally requires both a master's degree in a psychology-related field as well as a doctorate degree. Interested individuals must also pass any required licensing exams offered by their government. Depending on applicable laws, they may also be required to have a certain number of years of experience before gaining licensure. Certifications and educational advancement, which generally lead to higher job ranking and compensation, may be obtained from licensed and officially recognized bodies, such as the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP).


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