Industrial Organizational Psychology Careers: Salary & Job Description

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What are the pros and cons of a career in industrial-organizational psychology? Get real job descriptions and education requirements to see if a career in industrial-organizational psychology is right for you.
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Pros and Cons of a Career in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Industrial-organizational psychology is a narrowly focused field that deals with improving conditions for both the employee and the employer as well as relations among the two.

Training in this field commonly leads to a career as an industrial-organizational psychologist, though it may also qualify you for a career in market research analysis or career counseling. Review these occupational options at a glance:

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist Market Research Analyst Career Counselor
Career Overview Applies psychological theories and research in order to increase productivity and morale. Forecasts sales trends and plans marketing campaigns. Helps students develop academic and career goals.
Education Requirements Master's or doctoral degree Bachelor's degree or master's degree Master's degree
Program Length 6-8 years including undergraduate school 4-6 years 6 years including undergraduate school
Licensure/Certification Requirements Licensure required in most states; voluntary certification available through the American Board of Professional Psychology Neither licensure or certification is required, though the Marketing Research Association offers certification Licensure is usually not required, though some employers favor licensed counselors
Job Outlook (2012-2022) Much-faster-than-average growth (53%), 900 additional jobs* Much-faster-than-average growth (32%), 131,500 additional jobs* As-fast-as-average growth (12%), 31,200 additional jobs*
Mean Salary (2014) Roughly $90,000* Roughly $68,000* Roughly $56,000*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologists study principles of psychology and apply them to the workplace. In this career, you might research methods to solve conflicts, improve morale among employees and increase productivity. These workers may also participate in employee screenings, training sessions and the development of organizational policies. Note that, while jobs are growing quickly in this field, industrial-organizational psychology is a relatively small occupation; as of 2012, there were only 1,600 of these psychologists employed across the nation.

Requirements

Unlike clinical psychologists who are strictly required to hold doctoral degrees, industrial-organizational psychologists can enter the profession with master's degrees in psychology; however, doctoral degrees are also common in this field. In fact, O*Net OnLine reports as of 2012 that 53% of surveyed industrial-organizational psychologists held doctoral degrees. Additionally, many states require you to be licensed to use the title of psychologist or to practice independently.

Here are some real job postings for industrial-organizational psychologists from December 2012:

  • A Texas health care network seeks an organizational development leader to plan and execute organizational development programs. Requirements include a master's degree in organizational-industrial development, industrial-organizational psychology or related field of study plus five years of relevant experience. A doctoral degree is preferred.
  • A consulting firm in Oregon seeks organizational-change management consultants to help clients redesign their business processes, among other tasks. The employer prefers an advanced degree and requires eight to ten years of experience.
  • A research institute in Washington, DC, seeks a research associate for an education, human development and workforce program to engage in duties such as job analysis, program evaluation, personnel selection and training evaluation. Successful candidates will possess a master's or doctoral degree in industrial-organizational psychology with related experience in behavioral or social science research.

Standing Out

As you pursue your graduate degree, you may wish to choose a program with specialized emphasis in industrial-organizational psychology. You could also enhance your education by taking courses in topics such as performance appraisal, leadership, occupational training and organizational theory. Learning about quantitative research methods and computer information systems may also be beneficial, since the BLS reveals that psychologists with expertise in these areas may have stronger job prospects. You might also consider becoming board certified in your specialty in order to stand out from the competition. The American Board of Professional Psychology offers certification specifically geared toward industrial-organizational psychologists through its American Board of Organizational and Business Consulting Psychology.

Market Research Analyst

Market research analysts forecast sales trends, analyze consumer buying habits and prepare reports that present marketing and branding strategies. Their research generally involves conducting interviews, focus groups and opinion polls to study market trends and consumer demographics as well as consumer behavior. Some market research analysts work for one company conducting research for a single employer, while others work for consulting firms and handle multiple clients.

Requirements

A bachelor's degree in market research is often the minimum requirement for a job in this field. You could also enter this career with a degree in business administration, social sciences or communication, though you may want to couple your education with coursework in economics, psychology and sociology. Many leadership positions prefer or require a master's degree, such as a Master of Business Administration. According to O*Net Online, about one-quarter of market research analysts held master's degrees as of 2012.

Here are some real job postings for market research analysts from December 2012:

  • A software company in California seeks a market research analyst to generate business strategies and explore potential market opportunities. Requirements include a master's degree in marketing, business administration or management.
  • A New Jersey pharmaceutical company seeks a senior manager of market research to collaborate with internal and external groups to build strong brands. Successful candidates will possess a bachelor's degree in business or a scientific field with six to eight years of related professional experience. Preferred qualifications include an MBA.
  • A manufacturing company in North Carolina seeks a market research analyst to complete complex data analysis to make recommendations on tactical business decisions. Requirements include a bachelor's degree in marketing or business administration with two to three years of market research experience.

Standing Out

According to the BLS, analysts who have training in statistical and data analysis should enjoy stronger job prospects in this already fast-growing field. As such, you may benefit from taking courses in these subjects during college. Additionally, after entering the workforce, you can obtain certification from the Marketing Research Association (MRA). The MRA offers the Professional Researcher Certification to candidates with at least three years of applicable experience and 12 hours of industry-related education in the past two years. Candidates also have to pass an exam and recertify every two years by means of continuing education.

Career Counselor

Career counselors help clients develop academic and career goals utilizing aptitude assessments and other resources. They teach job search skills and recommend educational programs. Many professionals are employed by corporate career centers, colleges or outplacement firms, while some counselors find work in private practices.

Requirements

Career counselors are generally required to hold master's degrees in counseling; however, December 2012 job postings reveal that some employers will accept applicants with only bachelor's degrees. Master's programs in career counseling are usually offered through education or educational psychology departments and may include coursework in organizational analysis, career adjustment, learning motivation and human development as well as counseling practicums.

Here are some real job postings for career counselors from December 2012:

  • A Texas company seeks a career counselor with a bachelor's degree in education, counseling, human resources management, business or a related field of study, though a master's degree is preferred. Candidates also need 11 years of experience in training or personnel, including five to seven years of experience related to career development.
  • A private consulting firm in Virginia seeks a career counselor to work on a government contract providing services to transitioning military personnel and their family members. Successful candidates will possess a master's degree and up to three years of related experience.
  • A public university in Washington seeks a career counselor to assist students in academic and career planning. Requirements include a bachelor's degree in psychology, business, human services or a related field of study plus three years of experience in counseling, advising, recruitment, student services or human resources.

Standing Out

Licensure is usually not required to practice as a career counselor, except for those who are employed in private practices; however, employers may prefer to hire licensed individuals. To become licensed, you'll need to have a master's degree that includes 2,000-3,000 hours of clinical experience under the supervision of an experienced counselor. You'll also have to pass an exam and maintain licensure yearly by earning continuing education credits.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Psychology
      • B.A. - Psychology
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Northcentral University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Doctor of Business Admin - Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • PhD in Psychology - Industrial Organizational Psychology
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      • PhD in Psychology - General Psychology
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    Master's
      • Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
      • M.A. in Psychology - General Psychology
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    3. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Psychology - Organizational Behavior
      • B.S. - Psychology - Consumer Behavior
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    4. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Doctorate
      • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Industrial and Organizational Psychology
      • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Cognition and Instruction
      • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Performance Psychology
      • Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision
    Master's
      • MS in Psychology: Industrial & Organizational Psychology
      • M.S. Psychology with an Emphasis in Gerontology
      • M.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Human Factors
      • MS in Psychology: General Psychology
      • MS in Professional Counseling
      • M.S. in Mental Health and Wellness with Emphasis in Grief and Bereavement
    Bachelor's
      • BS in Psychology
      • B.S. in Psychology with an Emphasis in Performance and Sports Psychology
      • Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Health Science with an Emphasis in Trauma
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Industrial and Organizational Psychology
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in GeroPsychology
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Forensic Psychology
      • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Life Coaching
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    5. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
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    6. Sacred Heart University

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    Master's
      • MSAP - Community Psychology
      • MSAP - General Track
      • MSAP - Industrial/Organizational Technology
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Featured Schools

Keiser University

  • B.A. - Psychology

What is your highest level of education?

Northcentral University

  • Doctor of Business Admin - Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • PhD in Psychology - Industrial Organizational Psychology
  • Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology
  • M.A. in Psychology - General Psychology

What is your highest level of education?

Colorado Technical University

  • B.S. - Psychology - Organizational Behavior
  • B.S. - Psychology - Consumer Behavior
  • B.S. - Psychology

Are you a US citizen?

Grand Canyon University

  • Ph.D. in General Psychology - Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • MS in Psychology: Industrial & Organizational Psychology
  • BS in Psychology
  • Graduate Certificate of Completion in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

What is your highest level of education?

Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

What is your age?

Sacred Heart University

  • MSAP - Community Psychology
  • MSAP - General Track
  • MSAP - Industrial/Organizational Technology

What is your highest level of education completed?