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Online Industrial Organizational Psychology Degree Programs

What Is an Organizational Psychologist?

Industrial-organizational psychologists use their understanding of human behavior to help improve a company’s effectiveness. In many companies, they create systems for hiring, training, and evaluating employees. They also develop programs and policies to help boost employee morale and retention. Others may specialize in a particular area, such as planning company mergers or assisting with downsizing due to budget constraints. Regardless of the focus of their work, industrial-organizational psychologists must possess observation, analysis, and program design skills.

Industrial-organizational psychologists commonly work as independent consultants, assisting private companies with specific organizational issues. These professionals may also find full-time positions in larger organizations with human resources departments. With skills transferable across many different industries, industrial-organizational psychologists may work for corporations, nonprofit organizations, or government agencies.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment for industrial-organizational psychologists will grow by 14% from 2018-28. Candidates with a master’s in industrial-organizational psychology and training in quantitative research methods hold a competitive edge when applying for open positions.

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Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

Frequently Asked Questions About Industrial-Organizational Psychology

  • What does an industrial-organizational psychologist do?

    Responsible for helping with research design, interviews, assessment exercises, and survey work for organizations, industrial-organizational psychologists work with small teams to improve testing programs, selection tools, policies, and other human resources issues. They regularly analyze their research to improve the efficiency of their organizations.

  • Why is industrial-organizational psychology important?

    Industrial-organizational psychologists perform essential research and analysis to determine new ways to solve issues among coworkers. These psychologists identify training and development needs, create criteria to evaluate individual and organizational performance, and implement training programs to improve efficiency.

  • How much do industrial-organizational psychologists make a year?

    Industrial-organizational psychologists earn a median pay of $74,428. Salaries vary depending on location, educational background, and experience level. For instance, entry-level industrial-organizational psychologists earned an average salary of about $64,000, while those late in their career took home an average salary of about $95,000.

  • How do I become an industrial-organizational psychologist?

    To become an industrial-organizational psychologist, individuals must begin by earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology, which typically takes about four years to complete. Once they earn a bachelor’s degree, each learner must pursue a master’s degree, followed by a doctoral degree.

  • Do you need a Ph.D. to become an industrial-organizational psychologist?

    While some employers offer employment opportunities to industrial-organizational psychologists who hold master’s degrees, most positions require candidates to hold a doctoral degree in psychology, along with some previous relevant work experience.

Can You Get a Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Online?

Online programs typically share the same coursework, assignments, instructors, and examinations as their on-campus counterparts. Most master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs do not lead to licensure. As such, they do not require clinical work, so enrollees can complete them without any in-person components.

Online programs offer more flexibility than campus-based programs, which allows enrollees to continue working and balance their studies with family and other personal responsibilities. Students can watch lectures and complete assignments on their own schedules.

Online programs offer more flexibility than campus-based programs, which allows enrollees to continue working and balance their studies with family and other personal responsibilities.

Some programs allow degree-seekers to move through coursework at their own pace to revisit concepts or skip ahead as needed. Online programs are also ideal for students who have issues with accessibility, or distance learners who simply prefer the convenience of studying at home. While online programs offer many benefits, students must possess strong motivation and time management skills to excel.

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Are Practicums and Internships Required in an Online Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program?

Most states require each student to earn a doctoral degree before applying for a license in psychology. Consequently, most online bachelor’s and master’s programs in industrial-organizational psychology do not prepare students for licensure. While some of these programs may offer a lab experience or applied practicum, they usually take place outside of the course sequence.

Similarly, most online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs do not require students to complete internships. These experiences allow students to explore practical professional settings and put their learning into effect. They can also help aspiring professionals to build a network and find employment upon graduation.

Online students might have a tougher time finding internships than on-campus students. Distance learners can start by speaking with faculty members to build connections with organizations that have previously hosted student interns. Many schools also provide career development centers to find internships. Finally, students can seek out internships on their own through online platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, or Handshake.

How to Become an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

To become an industrial-organizational psychologist, each student typically needs a bachelor’s and a master’s degree. Bachelor’s programs usually take about four years to complete, and master’s programs typically take about two years. Some online programs offer accelerated options that allow students to earn graduate credit while pursuing their bachelor’s degrees.

The cost of undergraduate education varies greatly by program. Students looking for comparatively inexpensive options should consider state schools. In-state tuition is almost always more affordable than at private schools, and sometimes in-state tuition is available to all online learners regardless of their location.

The cost of a graduate degree also varies, but according to a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, students incurred an average of $60,000 in debt to earn a master’s degree in psychology. Online programs can help students save money by avoiding commuting costs and any additional room and board fees.

Average Salary for Psychology Graduates by Degree Level

Source: PayScale

Online Bachelor’s in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Before pursuing higher education and becoming licensed, each student must earn a bachelor’s degree. A bachelor’s typically requires 120 credits and usually takes about four years to complete. Some schools offer accelerated online programs for enrollees to complete in 3.5 years. Dual-degree options allow students to begin graduate coursework while still earning their bachelor’s degree, which helps them to save time and money.

Students can pursue a bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology, though some aspiring professionals typically seek bachelor’s degrees in psychology. Both programs provide students with foundational knowledge and skills in areas like personality theory, cognitive psychology, child development, and research methods for the behavioral sciences. Programs with a focus in industrial-organizational psychology explore organizational behavior and employee assessment.

Example Courses

  • Introduction to Psychology

    This course provides a broad overview of the principles, processes, problems, and applications of psychology. Students learn about the brain and nervous system, consciousness, learning and memory, sensation and perception, and psychopathology.

  • History and Systems of Psychology

    Before delving deeper into a specialization, students need to understand the history of psychological practice and theory. In this course, learners discuss and evaluate psychology’s historical roots, including the people and movements that have shaped the field.

  • Introduction to Psychological Measurement

    Because graduate study involves a great deal of statistical analysis, bachelor’s programs usually introduce students to key research concepts. This class explores the history and current applications of test construction, standardization, validity, and the reliability of psychological instruments.

  • Introduction to Career Development

    In this course, degree-seekers explore career counseling theories and techniques, with a particular focus on working with diverse client populations. Topics include career counseling, decision-making, researching career opportunities, building employable skills, and assessing value and interest.

  • Organizational Psychology

    This class prepares enrollees for master’s-level coursework in industrial-organizational psychology. Students learn how to maximize efficiency in a range of organizational settings. The course explores motivation, morale, ethics, and training.

Online Master’s Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

An industrial-organizational psychologist typically needs a master’s degree in psychology to enter the field. A master’s degree requires students to complete around 36 graduate-level credits. Full-time students can earn their master’s degrees in about two years, while part-time enrollees take three years or more. Some programs follow a cohort format, meaning students take 1-2 classes at a time as part of a group. Other programs are self-paced to create even more flexibility for online learners.

Industrial-organizational psychology master’s programs feature coursework in personnel psychology, the ethics of the profession, organizational behavior, and leadership. Research-based programs also include classes in qualitative and quantitative research methods to prepare learners for thesis or capstone projects.

Example Courses

  • Psychology of Organizational Behavior

    Students examine the application of behavioral theories in organizational contexts. The class covers subjects in team building, group development, employee motivation, job satisfaction, organizational leadership, and organizational culture.

  • Consulting for Organizational Change

    Enrollees examine the fundamental techniques of change management. Topics include strategic planning and conflict management. Students can apply these skills through organizational case studies.

  • Personnel Psychology in the Workplace

    Industrial-organizational psychologists often work closely with human resources professionals. In this class, learners explore the psychological aspects of job design and analysis, employee selection and placement, professional development and training, and performance management and evaluation.

  • Industrial-Organizational Testing and Measurement

    This class examines measurement theory and assessments used in organizational settings. Topics include reliability and validity, normative sampling and standardization, test score interpretation, and test development. Students also learn about cultural biases and sociological issues as they relate to testing.

  • Quantitative Reasoning and Analysis

    This course helps students develop knowledge and skills in data collection, analysis, and interpretation. Students learn and apply statistical concepts, explore the importance of quality assurance, receive training on statistical software, and synthesize their learning by developing a quantitative research plan.

Required Licenses and Internships to Become an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Licensure requirements for industrial-organizational psychologists vary. In most states, practicing psychology or using the title “psychologist” requires a license. However, according to the Society of Industrial-Organizational Psychologists, some states specifically exempt industrial-organizational psychologists from this requirement.

Internships offer an invaluable way for students to gain practical experience in the field.

Other states only require industrial-organizational psychologists to earn licenses if they perform certain duties. Prospective students should reach out to their state’s licensing board for more information. Contact information for each state board is available through the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards.

Bachelor’s and master’s programs in industrial-organizational psychology do not prepare students for licensure. As such, these research-based programs do not require clinical work. However, internships offer an invaluable way for students to gain practical experience in the field. They can also position graduates for employment opportunities through building their resumes and professional networks.

Careers for Industrial-Organizational Psychology Degree-Holders

Students who have earned an online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology can pursue many different roles. Some work independently, consulting with various organizations on a case-by-case basis, while others prefer full-time employment in the for-profit or nonprofit sectors. All jobs in this field require excellent observational, analytical, communication, and problem-solving skills.

Management consultants help companies improve specific facets of their business. They may boost productivity or enhance the company’s public image. Consultants diagnose an organizational issue, create a plan for addressing that issue, and present their recommendations to a company’s managers. Many management consulting jobs require a master’s degree in a related field, such as business administration or industrial-organizational psychology.

Consulting psychologists offer expertise and technical assistance to individuals, groups, and organizations. They work in an advisory manner, leaving it up to the client to accept and implement their recommendations. The American Psychological Association recommends that consultants hold a master’s degree in a field like clinical psychology or industrial-organizational psychology.

Industrial-organizational psychologists analyze human behavior in professional environments and use their findings to improve an organization’s effectiveness. Industrial-organizational psychologists must possess strong communication skills to relay their findings to non-psychologists. Most jobs in this field require a master’s degree, though some employers may prefer candidates with a doctorate.

Personnel research psychologists work on issues related to employee selection and workforce evaluation. They design, validate, and administer assessments for hiring and promoting employees. These psychologists must possess strong quantitative and qualitative research skills. Many positions require a master’s degree.

These professionals manage an organization’s human resources department. They hold high-level responsibility for hiring, training, and evaluating employees. They may also draft company policies, mediate employee disputes, or create programs to improve worker satisfaction. A bachelor’s degree usually suffices for entry-level jobs, but a position like human resources director may require a master’s degree.

What Does an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist Make in a Year?

Industrial-organizational psychologists enjoy median annual wages of $74,428. Salary opportunities for these professionals differ depending on location, education, and experience. Psychologists in the 10th percentile took home an annual mean wage of $51,350, while those in the 90th percentile earned an annual mean wage of $192,150.

The scientific research and development services industry offers the highest employment levels, concentration of jobs, and salary opportunities for industrial-organizational psychologists. These professionals can explore the highest employment levels and concentration of jobs in Virginia and the highest paying opportunities in California. The following table allows readers to compare the industrial-organizational psychologist occupation to similar professions in the field in terms of salary data.

Position Average Annual Salary
Management Consultant $87,345
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist $74,428
Human Resources Team Leader $57,388
Source:PayScale

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