Organizational Psychology Degree
Become an industrial organizational psychologist.
Industrial organizational psychology aims to boost employee satisfaction, performance and quality of work life in offices and organizational settings by applying psychological principles and research methods.
They develop methods and apply intervention strategies to build stronger organizations. They help guide employee selection, job training, leadership training, workplace and family issues, and even office climates (such as workplace lighting).
Industrial organizational psychologists perform the following duties:
- Execute job analyses, including conducting employee and supervisor interviews, as well as consulting job descriptions to analyze the skills, knowledge and other characteristics needed to perform a job well.
- Devise and administer psychometric tests (the measured study of knowledge, abilities, attitudes and personality traits) to evaluate the personality traits of current and prospective employees, in relation to their jobs (or potential jobs).
- Specialize in "talent management" areas such as psychometrics, employment law, personnel or leadership selection, training, coaching and individual development or organizational design and change.
Industrial organizational psychologists are frequently hired on as consultants to help solve a particular problem within a company or organization. They work as industry consultants to public, labor, business, academic, community and health organizations. However, these environments might change frequently depending on the length of their contract for a particular job. Larger corporations hire full-time industrial organizational psychologists to help troubleshoot the day-to-day problems and conflicts that larger companies face.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2012-13 Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for industrial-organizational psychologists is $94,720. Actual salaries may vary greatly based on specialization within the field, location, years of experience and a variety of other factors.
Training and Education
As with many psychology specializations, it helps if candidates complete their undergraduate degree in psychology or in industrial organizational psychology. More and more colleges and universities are offering both bachelor's and master's degrees in industrial organizational psychology to accommodate this growing field. After receiving their bachelor's degree, individuals often enroll in Master of Arts (MA) or Master of Science (MS) programs in industrial organizational psychology or a related field such as human resources management or organizational development. These roughly two-year graduate degrees open up many career opportunities while providing students with the skill sets needed to become an asset to any business or organization.
Becoming an industrial organizational psychologist can also be achieved through a PhD program, which generally takes four to five years to complete. Psychologists who earn their PhD over an MA or MS degree will find that they command a higher income and have superior employment opportunities in this competitive and fast-growing field.
Did You Know?
- Industrial organizational psychologists also hold positions such as executive coach, counselor, diversity consultant, labor relations specialist or human resources specialist.
- Industrial psychology was invented through an accidental typo. The psychologist W.L. Bryan is credited with first using the term in an essay in 1903. However, he meant to write "individual" instead of "industrial" psychology. Since then, countless psychologists have used practical psychology to mediate the everyday problems of workers, calling it industrial psychology.