Industrial Organizational Psychology Degrees
Are you interested in the field of psychology but don’t want a career in counseling or working with patients? Does the idea of helping employees enjoy their work sound more appealing? If so, you may enjoy a career in industrial-organizational psychology.
What is Industrial Organizational Psychology?
The definition of industrial-organizational can almost be found in the title. Someone with a degree in industrial-organizational psychology makes a living bringing an organization into an industry.
Industrial-organizational psychology (I/O psychology) is an area of specialization within the field of psychology. I/O psychology involves the scientific study of human behavior in the workplace as well as in organizations.
It focuses on obtaining theories and concepts of organizational behavior and using this information to help solve problems in the workplace. Industrial-organizational psychologists use the knowledge they derive and apply it to administration, sales, human resources, and management issues.
For instance, an I/O psychologist may go into a factory to observe its surroundings and environment. They speak with the employees and management. Once they’ve gathered all the important information, they determine why the employees feel and perform as they do and what they can do to improve the workplace. A happy employee is usually a productive employee. The I/O psychologist finds ways to improve the environment so the employees are as happy and productive as possible.
They provide activities designed to improve the work environment, including training and development, employee testing and selection, policy planning, and organizational analysis and development. I/O psychologists often work with management to find ways to improve the workplace so that it can also improve employee productivity. The areas they typically try to improve, using research and psychological principles, include performance, safety, professional satisfaction, communication, and the overall work environment.
The American Psychological Association best describes industrial-organization psychologists as scientists/practitioners who are highly educated and trained professionals who perform research on psychology and how it fits into the workforce. They use this expertise to improve the workplace or an organization. Some of the things I/O psychologists do to accomplish this include:
- Recognize development and training needs
- Develop and implement training programs
- Evaluate the effectiveness of the training programs
- Devise criteria to assess the performance of employees and individuals in an organization
- Enhance the quality of the workplace
- Coach employees and organizational leadership
What Can You Do with a Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology?
Industrial-organizational psychology is a much larger field than many realize. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering what a vast field psychology is. Industrial-organizational psychology can be broken down into three types: industrial, organizational, and human factors. Within these three types, there are six areas of interest.
- Training and development
- Selection and placement
- Organizational development
- Training and development
- Work-life quality
Because industrial-organizational psychology is such a large field with so many subfields, there are many career opportunities and jobs available for individuals with a degree in industrial-organizational psychology. Here are just a few of the many job titles possible with a degree in industrial-organizational psychology.
- Industrial-organizational psychologist
- Human resources manager
- Project manager
- Organizational effectiveness consultant
- Staffing and recruiting manager
- Executive coach
- Workforce analyst
- Behavior analyst
- Team development manager
- Team development trainer
- Strategy development professor
10 Interesting Industrial-Organizational Psychology Degrees
Industrial-organizational psychology is a field that’s offered at many degree levels. However, industrial-organizational psychologists are typically required to have a master’s degree. This is not to say that you can’t have a great career with a bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology.
If you’re just beginning your education and are interested in industrial-organizational psychology, there are many colleges that offer bachelor’s degree programs.
Bachelor’s degree programs are ideal for students who want to begin working in entry-level positions in the I/O psychology field. Once they’re working in this field and gaining work experience, many choose to pursue their master’s degree. Online programs are the ideal choice for these individuals. Students generally take courses in industrial-organizational psychology, research settings, and counseling to name just a few.
This is a research-related field, and students will complete a lot of research. Depending on the program, they’ll also be required to complete capstone courses, capstone experiences, research projects, and possibly a graduate thesis. Many colleges offer these programs both online and on campus. Below are ten examples of industrial-organizational degree programs along with a short description of each one.
1. Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University offers a Master of Science in Psychology with a specialization in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. This program is offered online and on-campus with classes in the evenings. The curriculum focuses on teaching students research methods, critical thinking, and what makes people behave as they do. Students can start online classes on any day. GCU also offers a master’s degree in human factors psychology and a master’s degree in life coaching, which are somewhat similar to industrial-organizational psychology.
2. Southern New Hampshire University
Southern New Hampshire University has an online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in industrial-organizational psychology. This program features six 8-week terms per year. The school offers 27/7 online support so students can work and study at their convenience. Course topics in this program include industrial-organizational psychology, intro to psychology, social psychology, and cognitive psychology.
3. Harvard Extension School
Harvard Extension School offers a Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program both on campus and online. Students take courses that teach them about talent development, diversity, and leadership. They also learn through group projects, work studies, and practical work experiences. In addition to the master’s degree, the school offers stackable graduate certificates in equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging leadership; organizational behavior; and topics in human behavior. The school offers a “Earn your way in” admissions to students who excel in three-degree courses.
4. Purdue Global
Purdue Global offers an online Master of Science in Psychology with a concentration in industrial-organizational psychology. The curriculum combines core courses, electives, research, and field experiences. Students are taught how to observe and analyze employees and determine the best methods to improve the workplace. Purdue also offers a postgraduate certificate in industrial-organizational psychology. This certificate program is aimed at students who may have a degree in psychology but want to specialize in the area of industrial-organizational psychology.
5. Elmhurst University
Elmhurst University has a Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program that requires the completion of nine credits or 32 semester hours. This is a part-time program that can be completed in two years. Students complete courses in job analysis, training employees, human resources, foundations of I/O psychology, and research methods. At the end of the program, students are required to complete a capstone course, internship, capstone experience, or a thesis. The time it takes the student to complete these can affect the length of the program.
6. Northcentral University
Northcentral University offers a Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology ten-course program that can be completed in 16 months with the completion of 30 credit hours. Throughout the program, students will perform research and utilize I/O principles and theories and how they apply to psychology. At the end of the program, students will complete an internship where they must demonstrate their knowledge of I/O psychology and its importance in the workplace.
7. Rice University
Rice University offers a Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program that is a full-time program that can be completed in two years. Students learn about industrial-organizational psychology, how it works, and how it can be beneficial in the workplace. The courses combine theory with practice so students can gain hands-on learning in this field. Students must complete at least 44 credit hours as well as a capstone experience demonstrating their knowledge of I/O psychology and how it can help keep employees happy and productive. There is no thesis requirement.
8. Baruch College
Baruch College offers a Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program through its Weissman School of Arts and Sciences. To accommodate all types of students, the courses are offered in the evening and online. This program focuses not just on the theories of I/O psychology but also on how to implement these theories into practices in the workplace. This 36-credit program requires a thesis unless the student wishes to participate in a research project. The school also offers an Executive master’s degree in I/O psychology program for high-level employees interested in furthering their education in I/O psychology.
9. New York University
New York University has a Master of Arts in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program that requires completion of 36 credits. Students can choose between completing a thesis or a written comprehensive examination. The program focuses a lot on why I/O psychology is so important to a business and why it should be used. Courses are a combination of coursework and practical experiences to give the student real-life training. The faculty consists of world leaders in the field. Students must get at least a B in all courses to be successful in this program.
10. Florida Tech
Florida Tech offers a Master of Science in Industrial-Organizational Psychology program through its Florida STEM University. This is a research-based program that has the student not only doing a lot of research but also completing a 300-hour practicum course. Students learn all aspects of I/O psychology and learn how to integrate it into the work place. Florida Tech also offers a doctoral degree program in I/O psychology. The small classes at this school allow the students to get extensive one-on-one with instructors.
Salary and Job Outlook
The salary an industrial-organizational psychologist can earn varies by many factors. These may include the degree level, years of experience on the job, employer, and location. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that industrial-organizational psychologists earned an average annual wage of $113,320 as of May 2021.
However, wages for the lowest ten percent were about $63,750, while the highest 90 percent earned about $168,300. The five states where the highest wages were earned are:
|State||Median Annual Wage|
As you can see from the above wages, location plays a big part in wage potential. The difference between Massachusetts and California is more than $50,000.
Psychologists overall are in demand, and industrial-organizational psychologists are no exception. The BLS projects that I/O psychologists should see an employment growth of four percent between 2021 and 2031.
While this number may not seem high, the need for these professionals should continue to grow as employers continue to look for ways to retain employees and keep them happy and productive on the job. Training development specialists, which is very similar to this occupation, are expected to see an eight percent job growth during that same decade.
Get started with a career as an I-O psychologist today. Check out a few of the program options and begin!