Industrial Organizational Psychologist Salary

i-o psychologist salary
A less well-known specialty for people with degrees in psychology is the growing field of industrial/organizational psychology. People in industrial and organizational psychology jobs may start out assisting human resources departments, developing hiring strategies and disciplinary methodologies, and may advance to the level of human resources director or another higher-level management position. They may also analyze business processes to help streamline them, benefiting both the company and the workers by eliminating waste and unnecessary drudgery.​

Working as an industrial organizational psychologist gives you the chance to earn quite a bit of money. These professionals work in a variety of fields and with many different employers. Whether you’re in college or you want to know whether this major is worthwhile, look at the average industrial organizational psychologist salary and the factors that determine how much you can make.

I-O Psychologist Salary in the Top 5 States

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the mean salary for an IO psychologist is $113,200 per year or $54.48 an hour. These figures relate to all the jobs within the I-O psychology field. The median hourly rate is $50.63 per hour or $105,310 a year. It’s also worth looking at what percentage of professionals earn various amounts.

The BLS found that the bottom 10% of I-O psychologists earn $30,65 an hour or $63,750 a year. Those in the top 10% earn $80.92 an hour or $168,300 a year. Though you might assume that those in the top percent have more experience, it also depends on where they work and the type of degree they have. Earning a graduate or doctoral degree can help you earn more. The top five states for I-O psychologists include:

  • California, which has a mean salary of $123,090 and a mean hourly wage of $59.18. There are around 270 I-O psychologists working in the state.
  • Oregon, which has 50 positions and a mean wage of $53.29 per hour or $110,840 per year.
  • Massachusetts reports around 40 professional I-O psychologists in the state. They earn a mean salary of $72,640 per year or $34.92 an hour.
  • Virginia has many I-O psychologists who work for government agencies. All these psychologists earn a mean wage of $52.26 an hour or $108,700 a year.
  • Though the BLS didn’t find data about the number of I-O psychologists working in Ohio, it found that they make a mean wage of $49.08 an hour, which comes to $102,090 every year.

Earning Potential for I-O Psychologists

As you look at how much does an industrial organizational psychologist make, think about where you want to work. Some employers pay more than others. The BLS found that the highest earners in this field are those who work for local government agencies, not including hospitals or schools. I-O psychologists who work for local governments earn $160,180 a year or $77.01 an hour. Scientific research and development employers also pay more. Those who work for one of these employers earn $58.97 an hour up to $122,660.

You can also earn more than $100,000 a year when you work for either a college or in employment services. Colleges and other schools of higher education have I-O psychologists working for them who make $52.92 an hour, which equates to $110,070 a year. Those who work in employment services earn slightly more at $52.99/hour and $110,210/year. If you decide to work for the state government, you can earn up to $91,950 a year. This is the mean wage for those psychologists, which means that some make even more.

I-O Psychologist Compared to Other Psychologist Salaries

No matter where you are in your education, you need to make sure you choose the right branch of psychology to study. While I-O psychology is popular with some, others prefer one of the similar or related fields. The occupations that the BLS found data for include:

  • Marriage and family therapists who help couples and families find solutions to their problems. These therapists earn nearly $50,000 a year.
  • School counselors who work at all levels of education and support students in need. The BLS found that school counselors make more than $65,000 annually.
  • Mental health counselors often work in treatment centers with those addicted to certain activities or substances. They earn more than $45,000 a year. Substance abuse counselors make the same amount and work in similar facilities.

Where You Will Work

According to the BLS, the most common places where I-O psychologists work are colleges, universities, and professional schools. Working in one of those schools will help you earn a mean wage of more than $110,000 a year. Development services and scientific research employers also hire these psychologists and pay them more than $122,000 every year. While both state and local governments need I-O psychologists, you have a better chance of making more working for a local branch. The local government pays $77.01 an hour compared to the just $44.21 hourly rate that the state government pays.

You may want to consider working at the local level in a hospital or school. While schools often pay more than hospitals do, treatment centers need I-O psychologists to help with patients as well as employees. A small number of I-O psychologists also work in employment services where they earn a mean wage of $52.99 an hour.

Degree You Will Need

Do not expect to find a job as an I-O psychologist as soon as you finish college. Most undergraduate degree programs only let you major in psychology. You may take an I-O psychology class to study this field in-depth, but many schools only offer introductory courses on the subject. Even if you don’t attend one of the schools that offer these programs, you can gain some professional experience through a psychology internship.

The minimum degree you need to have to work in this field is a bachelor’s degree. In a Bachelor of Arts (BA) program, you take more art courses than science courses but still gain a strong background in social sciences. If you opt for a Bachelor of Science (BS) program, you will spend more time in the lab and on research projects. To both advance your career and increase your earnings, plan on earning a master’s degree and even a doctoral degree.

Job Growth

Based on BLS research, the market for I-O psychologists is on par with the growth in similar fields. The BLS estimates that the need for all psychologists will grow by 6% between 2021 and 2031, which is the average rate reported across all job fields. This will increase the number of available jobs by more than 11,000.

In terms of organizational psychologists alone, the BLS estimates that this field will grow by 3.6% by the end of 2031. While this may not seem like a lot, keep in mind that this is one of the newer fields of psychology. As more research happens in the field and employers discover the benefits of I-O psychology, the number of open positions will keep growing. The answer to how much does an industrial organizational psychologist make will likely increase in the future, too.

How Do I Advance as an I-O Psychologist?

There are a few ways to advance as an I-O psychologist, but the biggest way is with a higher degree. As long as you have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or another social science, you can usually enter a graduate program and begin taking advanced classes right away. If you have a degree in another field, the school will likely require that you take some introductory courses and required classes to ensure you can keep up with your peers. I-O psychology graduate programs often have a practicum requirement. You’ll spend a minimum of 200 hours in the field to gain more firsthand experience before you graduate.

To increase your industrial organizational psychologist salary, consider getting your license, too. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology has licensing programs for graduate students and professionals. You can also increase your job prospects and potential salary when you join one or more of the professional I-O psychology organizations, including:

  • American Psychological Association (APA)
  • Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)
  • American Board of Organizational and Business Consulting Psychology (ABOBCP)

These organizations offer opportunities for members such as professional conferences where they can present their research. As a member, you may have access to an exclusive job board and/or hear about openings where you can earn more money as an I-O psychologist.