Occupational psychologist job profile
Occupational psychology is concerned with the performance of people at work and with how individuals, small groups and organisations behave and function.
Learn more about this career path
Occupational psychologists aim to increase the effectiveness of the organisation and improve the job satisfaction of individuals.
The speciality is broader in scope and less formalised than many areas of psychology and it touches on diverse fields, including ergonomics, personnel management and time management.
Work can be in advisory, teaching and research roles, and to a lesser extent, in technical and administrative roles.
Occupational psychologists work with organisations and businesses of all sizes across the private, public and third sectors.
You will find Occupational psychologists working in government and public services, in leadership development centres and consultancies
They work alongside other professionals such as managers, HR, union representatives, training advisors and specialist staff within client organisations.
The Civil Service is one of the largest single employers of occupational psychologists.
The Prison Service, the Home Office, the Employment Department Group (including the Employment Service), the Ministry of Defence and the Civil Service Commission all employ occupational psychologists.
To become a Chartered Member of the society through the occupational psychology training route, you will need the following qualifications:
- Graduate Basis for Chartered Membership (GBC). This is achieved by completing a society accredited degree or conversion course and
- Society accredited Masters in Occupational Psychology
- Stage 2 of the Society’s Qualification in Occupational Psychology (two years supervised practice)
In order to use the title Occupational Psychologist, you will need to be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC).
This will involve completing Stage 2 of the Society's Qualification in Occupational Psychology or equivalent qualification that has been approved by the HCPC. Contact the HCPC for more information on the entry requirements for their register.
The universities offering the accredited Masters courses for Occupational Psychology will decide upon the type and nature of experience required.
Your first step should be to identify the courses you are interested in and then approach the course tutors directly to see if they can provide you with a profile of the type of experience a successful applicant is likely to have gained.
With the many changes in society, economy and technology, the services of occupational psychologists are increasingly in demand.
Opportunities exist in both the public and private sectors although most occupational psychologists are employed in the private sector. Salaries can vary enormously.
Jobs advertisements may be found in the following locations:
- In national newspapers
- In specialist publications from the Civil Service
What to do with a 2:2?
Admissions tutors will not normally accept graduates with a 2:2 unless they have achieved some higher qualification too.
Any psychology Masters degree would be relevant: the main thing is that the MSc demonstrates applied research ability
A taught MSc would be less relevant unless there is a heavy emphasis on research methods.
Courses are looking for evidence that the person has the required academic and research ability.
Usually this means an MSc or MPhil in which the candidate has successfully completed an applied research project.
Contact the universities directly for more specific information on their entry criteria.
What funding is available?
Course organisers are usually best placed to give advice on funding. There are a number of websites that offer information about postgraduate funding.
A few examples are listed below: