How Do I Become an Occupational Psychologist?

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  • Written By: C. Webb
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 20 July 2019
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Occupational psychologists use their training and knowledge of human nature to work with the professional world, including individual employees, teams, and members of management. Typical goals of occupational psychology include boosting employee morale and productivity. Occupational psychology is a specialized field. To become an occupational psychologist, you must have the proper education, specialized certification, or licensing and training. Once you are qualified, the career outlook can be very bright.

A bachelor's degree in psychology from an accredited four-year university is the first step to become an occupational psychologist. In addition to general education courses, choose classes that will assist you in entering a graduate school program. Examples of such classes are psychology, human development, and sociology. Your course work should blend classwork and laboratory hours to give you a rounded view of psychology. Pick a university well known for preparing psychology students for graduate work.

For those who wish to become an occupational psychologist, it's important to get accepted in a graduate program at the best school possible. While a master's degree in psychology will usually help you get a job, choosing a well-respected school for the field will open more doors. In choosing the graduate program, be sure to gather letters of recommendation from former professors and clinicians who can attest to your ability to complete the program.


Spend school breaks interning for local occupational psychologists. If this is not possible, secure an internship with a clinical psychologist to gain experience working with evaluation tools and research data. Request letters of reference from the psychologists who take you on as an intern. Ask them to write letters detailing why they believe you should become an occupational psychologist. Such letters will help you land the first job after you complete your education and regionally required licensing exam.

Pass the regionally required licensing exam and become a licensed psychologist. Put together a resume that highlights strengths and experiences you had during your school career. Focus on achievements that pertain to the ability to relate well to people.

You should also showcase projects or coursework that focused on employee relations and morale-boosting success. Send resumes out to every company you are interested in working with. Subscribe to trade newsletters and magazines to get tips about who is hiring and how to land the positions.

Join psychology trade associations. Such memberships provide networking opportunities with experienced occupational psychologists. Offer services to nonprofit organizations free of charge. Working as a mediator with employees at these organizations builds experience and gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your abilities to successfully help resolve employee-employer issues. Building such relationships during and after completing school will help you become an occupational psychologist.



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