There are number of different fields of Psychology. One of these is Occupational Psychology. Occupational Psychologists apply psychological knowledge, theory and practice to the world of work. They aim to help an organisation get the best performance from their employees and also to improve employees’ job satisfaction. There are several areas of occupational psychology, including organisational culture and change, personnel selection, training and development and ergonomics. With the many changes in society, economy and technology, the services of occupational psychologists are increasingly in demand.
In order to become an Occupational Psychologist you need to do a Master that is accredited by the British Psychological Society (BPS). The University of Leicester offers an accredited part-time Distance Learning course in Occupational Psychology. This flexible course allows students to fit their studies around their work or home commitments. Completing an accredited Masters enables individuals to be eligible for stage one chartership by the BPS.
In order to become a chartered Occupational Psychologist the BPS requires that individuals demonstrate their competence in several areas. These include:
- Identifying abilities and developing potential – through using tests and job-relevant exercises at selection, and in career counselling.
- Motivating people – such as designing reward systems, training and development and succession planning.
- Assessing performance both on and off the job – by designing appraisal systems wellbeing and stress management.
- Helping people and organisations adapt to change – by measuring and advising on how to change and improve organisational culture, attitudes and behaviours.
- Designing effective organisations – by advising on the best type of management systems, identifying effective human resources strategies, designing jobs to fit peoples’ skills and human factors.
Once qualified Occupational Psychologists can be employed in a wide range of industries, public or private sector either based internally in organisations or externally in consultancies. For example here in the Occupational Psychology Department at the University of Leicester most of the team holds both academic and practitioner roles and are employed as Occupational Psychologists in private consultancies or like myself in the public sector, where I’m an Organisational Development Manager in the NHS and work across three hospitals.
Speaking from personal experience the role of an Occupational Psychologist can be varied and challenging; working in an organisation with over 12,000 employees has allowed me to apply a broad range of occupational psychology principles in the workplace. I have assisted the organisation in almost every area of occupational psychology from supporting wide scale organisational change, to developing an online 360 degree feedback tool, to leading the internal reward and recognition scheme ‘Caring at its best’. Being able to apply the knowledge, theory and methodologies I have learnt from my Masters in Occupational Psychology and PhD to support the three Hospitals and its employees in has been hugely rewarding experience.
If you want to find out more about studying Occupational Psychology then contact the team on firstname.lastname@example.org or +44 (0) 116 223 1486.