Advanced Certificate in Organisational Psychology

Study organisational psychology online at home for a rewarding career in human resources, as an industrial psychology advisor or personnel manager.

Course Code: VPS047
Fee Code: AC
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 900 hours
Qualification Advanced Certificate
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Learn How to Apply Psychology in the Workplace

Organisational Psychology is also known as occupational psychology and industrial psychology. It is the study of people at work - an important area of study for anyone operating within a workplace.

Learn how to optimally manage and utilise personnel, improve the functioning of organisations, and ensure the maximum wellbeing of workers.

Study organisational psychology to improve your workplace - whether you are an employee working in human resources, running your own business, or just have an interest in this area or the desire to work as an organisational psychologist.  


Become a valuable member of the personnel department of an organisation or company

Organisational psychology is concerned with optimising work conditions to improve employee satisfaction and productivity. Those with an understanding of this area may assess individual factors such as employee motivation and morale, leadership qualities, physical and mental health of employees, and factors associated with group work. They may also review the physical aspects of a workplace such as improving ergonomics, sensory stimulation, optimising light, and reducing noise. In larger organisations personnel officers may use aptitude tests in order to match the right person to the right role.  

Organisational psychology calls on a range of different psychological theories from different areas of psychology to understand and explain people in work situations, including - developmental, educational, personality theories and social psychology.

An organisational psychologist is involved in:

  • Selection, supervision and training of personnel

  • Managing and organising employees

  • Motivating and improving morale

  • Developing tests for personnel selection

  • Studying and providing training for management communication and effectiveness

  • Relating all of the above to increasing production and efficiency

Study this course to:

  • Learn about workplaces, commerce, industry and understand how people think in the context of these and other organisations to improve company performance.

  • Develop knowledge which is valuable to anyone working in the management of people in a work context from personnel managers to business owners, and marketing staff to careers advisors.

  • Help motivate employees so that they gain more satisfaction in their work.

This course delves into all aspects of organisational psychology to produce a graduate with skills that can be applied directly to the workplace environment.

The learning package in Organisational Psychology is comprised of five core modules, including Industry Project (which is work experience or industry related experience or project). Then finish the course with four electives. This mix gives the student a strong foundation in organisational psychology whilst allowing the student to specialise in an area that most interests them.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Organisational Psychology.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Industrial Psychology BPS103
 Introduction to Psychology BPS101
 Motivation VBS111
 Personnel Management VBS107
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 19 modules.
 Business Operations VBS006
 Biopsychology I BPS108
 Business Studies BBS101
 Counselling Skills I BPS109
 Educational Psychology BPS105
 Leadership BBS110
 Management VBS105
 Marketing Psychology BPS107
 Psychology & Counselling BPS102
 Stress Management VPS100
 Supervision VBS104
 Workplace Health & Safety VBS103
 Careers Counselling BPS202
 Conflict Management BPS201
 Relationships & Communication Counselling BPS208
 Social Psychology I BPS205
 Business Coaching BBS304
 Life Coaching BPS305
 Psychological Assessment BPS308

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Organisational Psychology is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Learn to Understand how People Behave in the Workplace


In order to prepare a selection of tests for specific jobs, first analyse the job to be performed

  • By interviewing people who actually do the job
  • By observing people doing the job 
  • If it is a new job, by defining, then analysing the elements which comprise the job; then determining the skills required to perform the job.

The observation of people at work requires a comparison between the participants with a view to comparing efficiency and effectiveness of the better workers with those not as adept. The observation should take note of the component actions required to perform the job.The next step is to determine the abilities necessary for good performance. This can be approached either of the following ways:

1/ The investigator may learn how to do the job, noting all difficulties and mistakes, the effects of the environment and the amount of fatigue which is felt in carrying out the task.

2/ The investigator may observe operatives being taught the work and note how they react to the task with reference to difficulties, mistakes, accidents and the environment.

It isn't enough for the investigator to just stand around making notes! This could incur hostility from workers. He must interact with the workers, gain their confidence and see that they understand what is trying to be achieved. By doing this, the possibility of obtaining a good work study will increase.

Once useful data has been obtained, the investigation can then prepare a series of tests designed to measure abilities, temperaments, and special traits required for a job. When the tests have been compiled they are then tried out on selected personnel. The selection of these personnel is based upon such items as input, accident ratios, losses due to error and breakages, length of service, level of responsibility, their qualifications and their professional status. The results of these tests are then examined and from these results a mean is taken which is then used as the criterion for future employees.


The basis of vocational guidance is - "What vocation is this person most suited to?"

Before appointment to a position a medical doctor should examine an applicant andinform the Personnel officer/department of any conditions which might affect the performance of the job (examples follow).

Physical Characteristics to be considered in determining a person’s suitability for a job include:
  • Muscular strain
  • Constant walking
  • Constant standing
  • Constant sitting
  • Constant stooping
  • Right handedness
  • Left handedness
  • Hot working conditions
  • Cold working conditions
  • Damp working conditions
  • Exposed working conditions
  • Acute hearing
  • Acute vision
  • Discrimination between colours
  • Dry (non sweaty) hands
  • Food handling Safety (sinus, sniffles, coughing)
  • Dusty work conditions
  • Indoor work
  • Nervous strain
  • Climbing
  • Risk of falling


Such testing can be time-consuming, and may have limitations; but can also be a useful tool in selecting an appropriate person for a job. Intelligence testing is mainly devised to obtain an intelligence quotient for the individual concerned.

The Nature of Intelligence

Though intelligence might be easy to identify, it is not easy to describe. We all may be very sure that a certain individual is intelligent, but unable to explain why. Each of us also has assumptions about what intelligence is. Some of us automatically label people with highly mathematical and scientific minds as highly intelligent. Some of us are more impressed by people who are well read on politics and philosophy. Others invest a lot of importance in ability to be original and creative in thought.

In spite of the amount oftime that psychologists have spent studying human intelligence, they find it difficult to reach any broad agreement on what intelligence is. Some psychologists regard it as one "unitary general ability" which cross cuts all kinds of skills -that is to say that an intelligent person is one who can perform very well on a "wide range" of skills, such as mathematical problems, verbal exercise (such as reading complex material), visual spatial (such as understanding a map or plan) and so forth. This approach sees intelligence a one overall general ability. These psychologists would claim that a student who gets B+ for all subjects is more intelligent than one who consistently gets A for mathematics and lower grades for everything else.

Others see intelligence as a composite of many specific skills, where some skills may be more developed than others. Intelligence according to these theorists consists of a variety of different abilities, such as solving maths problems, having good memory, good communication skills, etc. They differ from the previous approach in that they believe that each of these skills operates independently from the others.

Many disagree with the unitary approach because it is seldom that one person performs equally well with a wide variety of different skills. Researchers have found that people rarely perform the same with different types of intelligence tests.

Measuring Intelligence

Psychologists who have a "composite view" of intelligence object to measuring intelligence based upon one single (limited) test, because this might not reveal anything about skills a child has problems with, or where strengths lie.

Another problem is that if psychologists cannot agree on a definition of intelligence, how can they claim that they are able to measure it?

The aim of an intelligence test is to evaluate the intellectual competence of an individual. It is not like an exam which is aimed at measuring performance in one particular field. Rather, an intelligence test is used as a way of predicting how well a person will perform in the future. For this reason the exercises and problems presented must be such that participants will not be unduly disadvantaged through previous experience. It would not be fair, for example, if one child could do better than another because they had been receiving extra tuition in mathematics.

Cultural Bias

This can be a controversial issue within intelligence testing. Such tests are very often based on American first world models which don't cater sufficiently for (in particular) third world countries. Children in even other developed countries may not be raised the same way as in middle class America, and this may reflect on test results. In different cultures, tests may need revision before use, to make them relevant.


Remember it is the role of the counselor to listen to your client, and help them come up with their own solutions to their problems. It is not your job to give your clients advice and tell them what to do. Giving advice can be counterproductive and even damaging to your client, your professional relationship, and your reputation. Consider what would happen if your client followed your advice and it didn’t go well for them. The counselling process should be empowering for the client, building self-reliance and confidence in making decisions.

This can be true also in your personal life. Most of us have had an upsetting experience that we have shared with a family member or a friend to get it off our chest and (with the best intentions) they have dived in and started coming up with solutions to the problem. The solutions may be suitable, but we may or may not be ready to start thinking about solving the problem, and the resolution will be more powerful if we have come up with the solution ourselves.

It is more useful in this situation for the listener to use active listening techniques such as encouraging the speaker to continue speaking, and giving guidance where appropriate for the speaker to come up with the best possible solution.


Although most people are not trained in the skills of counselling, there are instances where lay counselling can be useful.


There is profound potential for positive change in personal relationships by adopting some of the counselling techniques mentioned previously. By using active listening your partner will feel supported and heard. Being aware of your own, and their body language can allow you insight to how you are both really feeling, and showing empathy will help your partner to feel understood. In conflict, using these techniques to fully hear the other person’s point of view will help them to feel cared about and in turn they will (hopefully) be more open to hearing your point of view.


Truly listening to your child and taking the time to hear their point of view is very empowering for the child. They will feel supported and safe through having an adult encourage them to express how they feel. Guiding your child to come up with solutions and deal with whatever issues are troubling them will boost their confidence and self-esteem, as well as develop a skill set they will be able to draw on for the rest of their lives.


Counselling-related professions are many and varied.There is a wide variety of options for counselors working in the social service industry. Some areas where you will specifically use counselling skills include:

  • Counselor
  • Youth Services
  • Emergency services/Crisis support
  • Government agency e.g. Centrelink, defence forces
  • Hospitals
  • Mental health service
  • School counselor
  • Careers counselor
  • Employment consultant
  • Disability services
  • Refuges and shelters
  • Phone counselor e.g. Lifeline
  • Life coach

Counselling skills can also be used in a wide variety of other job roles. Some examples are as follows:


Teachers will come across situations where they will need to draw on counselling skills to interact effectively with students. For example, if a student is struggling with their schoolwork, a teacher may use counselling skills to get to the root of the students problem and together with the student may be able to work out a way to re-engage the child.


As an employer it is very useful to have counselling skills to use when relating to employees. Counselling skills can build your relationship with your employees, allowing them to feel valued and appreciated. Being open to discussion and hearing your employee’s point of view you will also benefit from their ideas and opinions.

Work Colleague/Team Member

Using counselling skills in the workplace will help you to support your work colleagues through any problems they may have. In a team environment, using counselling skills is likely to result in optimal team performance, as team members will feel supported and enthusiastic, and all members will be heard- allowing for the best possible ideas to be utilised.

Health Practitioner

Counselling skills are essential for health practitioners. They are often dealing with people who are in distress, and by utilising counselling skills they will be able to provide the best support and service possible. Some health practitioners such as Doctors will have to deal with sensitive issues so developing good interpersonal skills will result in better experiences for their patients. Other health services such as massage therapists, chiropractors, physiotherapists etc will use counselling skills to make client’s feel at ease so they can provide the best possible treatment.


The best way to make a sale is by being able to fill your client’s (real or perceived) needs. To do so, the salesperson must first gain an understanding of what their client requires. Using counselling skills of active listening, encouraging people to speak, and making them feel at ease will help a salesperson to get information so they can fill their client’s needs.

Human Resources

Human resource professionals often have training in counselling skills or similar. In this way, they are best able to serve the workplace to support the employees.


Anyone that deals professionally with people will benefit from using counselling skills, be it a business consultant, weight loss consultant, real estate agent, banker etc. By establishing a relationship where the customer is feeling heard will allow the professional to deliver the best possible service and leave the customer feeling positive.


Counselling skills are very important within the role of a police officer. They will often be dealing front line with people in distressing situations. They also need to be well trained in skills such as reading body language so they can pick up on attempts at deceit, as well as be prepared to react should they perceive that a person is going to attack, escape, reveal evidence etc.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.

How can I start this course?

You can enrol at anytime and start the course when you are ready. Enrolments are accepted all year - students can commence study at any time. All study is self paced and ACS does not set assignment deadlines.

Please note that if a student is being assisted by someone else (e.g. an employer or government subsidy), the body offering the assistance may set deadlines. Students in such situations are advised to check with their sponsor prior to enrolling. The nominal duration of a course is approximately how long a course takes to complete. A course with a nominal duration of 100 hours is expected to take roughly 100 hours of study time to complete. However, this will vary from student to student. Short courses (eg. 100 hrs duration) should be completed within 12 months of enrolment. Certificates, Advanced Certificates and Awards (eg. over 500 hours duration) would normally be completed within 3 -5 years of enrolment. Additional fees may apply if a student requires an extended period to complete.
If a student cannot submit their assignments for 6 months to ACS, they should advise the school to avoid cancellation of their student
registration. Recommencement fees may apply.

Simply click on the ENROL OPTIONS button at the top of this screen and follow the prompts.

You can see the course price at the top of this page. Click 'enrolment options' to see any payment options available.

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Yes! We have payment plans for most courses. Click 'enrolment options' to see the available payment plans.
We also have Afterpay that will allow you to pay for your course or payment plans in four instalments (if you are in Australia).

What do I need to know before I enrol?

There are no entry requirements that you need to meet to enrol in our courses, our courses are for everyone.
If you are under 18, we need written permission from your parent/ guardian for your enrolment to continue, we can arrange that after you have enrolled.

You don’t need to purchase any additional resources to complete our courses.

We aim to teach you the essentials without you having to purchase any specific computer program.
We recommend that you have access to a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, so that you can easily complete and submit your assignments.

You sure can. We are here to help you learn whatever your abilities.

Yes, if you are enrolling in a Certificate or Advanced Certificate, you might be eligible for credits if you have evidence of your previous studies or relevant experience. More information is here.

We recommend that you are able to browse websites, send emails and conduct online research. You will need to be able to type and submit your assignments.
If you have limited computer skills, we can make special arrangements for you.

This is possible, it depends on the institution. We recommend that if you would like to use our courses that you contact the institution first. Our Course Handbook is a good resource for this.

Our courses are written in English and we only have English speaking academic staff. If you can read and complete your assignments in English, our courses are ideal for you.

Our courses are designed to build knowledge, hands on skills and industry connections to help prepare you to work in the area, running your own business, professional development or as a base for further study.

This course is aimed at providing you with a solid understanding of the subject. It has been designed to take 600 hours, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and more. When you complete the course, will have a good understanding of the area/ industry you want to work in.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

Our courses are designed for adults to gain professional development and skills to further their careers and start businesses.

Our custom online learning portal allows you to conduct your learning online. There may be practical tasks that you can do offline. You have the option of downloading your course notes or print them to read later.

There is also the option to pay an additional fee for printed course notes and or USB (availability limited to location and deliverability).

Yes, if you don’t have access to the internet, you can receive the course as paper notes or on a USB stick for an additional fee. We can also make alternative arrangements for you to send your assignments to us.

We offer printed notes for an additional fee. Also, you can request your course notes on a USB stick for an additional fee.

Yes, your tutor is here to help you. Simply post any questions you have in your portal or contact the office and we can pass on a message to your tutor.

We are more learning focussed, rather than assessment focussed. You have online quizzes to test your learning, written assignments and can complete an exam at the end of the course (if you want to receive your certificate). You will not receive a pass/ fail on your course work. If you need to add more details on your assignment, we will ask you to resubmit and direct you where you need to focus. If you need help, you can ask your tutor for advice in the student room.

Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

Exams are optional, however you must sit an exam if you would like to receive a formal award. You will need to find someone who can supervise that you are sitting the exams under exams conditions. There is an additional cost of $60 incl. GST for each exam.
More information is here

There are practical components built into the course that have been designed to be achieved by anyone, anywhere. If you are unable to complete a task for any reason, you can ask your tutor for an alternative.

When you complete the course work and the exams (8-9 exams) and you will be able receive your course certificate- an Advanced Certificate. Otherwise, you can receive a Letter of Completion.

You can bundle the short courses to create your own customised learning bundle, Certificates or Advanced Certificates. More information is on this page.

Yes, our courses are built to be applicable for people living anywhere in any situation. We provide the fundamentals, and each student can apply their own unique flair for their own interests, region and circumstances with the one-on-one guidance of a tutor. There is also a bit of student directed research involved.

Employers value candidates with industry skills, knowledge, practical skills and formal learning. Our courses arm you with all of these things to help prepare you for a job or start your own business. The longer you study the more you will learn.

ACS has an arrangement with OAMPS (formerly AMP) who can arrange Professional Indemnity from Australian and New Zealand graduates across all disciplines. Ph: 1800 222 012 or email

Who are ACS Distance Education?

ACS Distance Education have been educating people for over 40 years.

We are established and safe- we have been in education for over 40 years.
We are focused on developing innovative courses that are relevant to you now and what you will need to know in the future.
We are focused on helping you learn and make the most of your experience.
You can enrol at any time, you can work on your course when it suits you and at your own pace.
We are connected to many industry bodies and our staff participate in continuous improvement and learning activities to ensure that we are ahead of what learning is needed for the future.

Our courses are not accredited by the Australian Government. However many of our courses are recognised and held in high regard by many industry bodies.

Our courses are written by our staff, who all have many years experience and have qualifications in their speciality area. We have lots of academic staff who write and update our courses regularly.

How do I enrol my staff/ sponsored students?

Yes, you can do a request for a bulk enrolment and request an invoice on our Invoice Request Form

We can prepare an invoice, quote or proforma invoice. Simply complete your details on our Invoice Request form

We can arrange bulk discounts for your course enrolment, please get in touch with us to discuss your needs.

Yes, we have many students who are in locked facilities, such as prisons or hospitals. We can cater by also offering paper notes at an additional cost.

What if I have any more questions or need more information?

We can assist you to find the right course for your needs. Get in touch with us via email ( call on +61 7 5562 1088 or complete our course advice form.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Tracey Jones (Psychologist)

B.Sc. (Psych), M.Soc.Sc., Dip.Social Work, P.G.Dip Learning Disability, Cert Editing, Cert Creative Writing, PGCE.
Member British Psychological Society, Member Assoc. for Coaching, Member British Learning Assoc.
25 years industry experience in writing, editing, education, psychology, and business. Tracey has several books and hundreds of articles published; in both fiction and non fiction.

Jacinda Cole (Psychologist)

Psychologist, Educator, Author, Psychotherapist.
B.Sc., Psych.Cert., M. Psych. Cert.Garden Design, MACA
Jacinda has over 25 years of experience in psychology, in both Australia and England. She holds a BSc (Hons) in Psychology and a Masters in Psychology (Clinical) and also trained in psychoanalytic psychotherapy at the London Centre for Psychotherapy. She has co-authored several psychology text books and many courses including diploma and degree level courses in psychology and counselling. Jacinda has worked for ACS for over 10 years.

Lyn Quirk

M.Prof.Ed.; Adv.Dip.Compl.Med (Naturopathy); Adv.Dip.Sports Therapy
Over 30 years as Health Club Manager, Fitness Professional, Teacher, Coach and Business manager in health, fitness and leisure industries. As business owner and former department head for TAFE, she brings a wealth of skills and experience to her role as a tutor for ACS.

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