Industrial and Organizational Psychology Training Program Information

In industrial and organizational psychology master's and doctoral programs, students learn to analyze workplace behavior and implement strategies for improving workplace productivity. Graduates can pursue careers in human resources and management.

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Essential Information

Master's degree programs in I/O psychology are completed over two years and are heavy on research. Students often have to complete practica. Some programs are available through online study. Master's program applicants must have a bachelor's degree, not necessarily in psychology. Applicants may need to have some academic background in psychology, though.

Students in I/O psychology doctoral programs work with advisors to develop programs of study that suit their interests, such as those in personnel assessment or training research. Completion of a dissertation is generally required. Doctoral programs are open to individuals with bachelor's or master's degrees in psychology. However, admission requires 15-18 credit hours of coursework in such topics as statistics and experimental psychology.

Master's Degree in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

A master's degree in industrial and organizational psychology meets the minimum educational requirement for entry into this profession. Students in these programs learn how to motivate an organization's employees, reduce employee turnover and implement methods for evaluating employee performance. These two-year programs usually give students the option of completing a thesis or comprehensive exam to fulfill graduation requirements.

Applicants will need a bachelor's degree. While a degree in psychology isn't required, individuals are expected to have met undergraduate GPA requirements in prerequisite psychology, human resources or statistics coursework. Some programs require students also to have two years of managerial experience in a human resources department.

Students in these programs examine research methods and statistics in addition to taking psychology courses. Some possible course topics include the following:

  • Organizational development
  • Performance measurement
  • Organizational change
  • Personnel selection
  • Organizational training

Doctorate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Individuals interested in conducting research, teaching at the post-secondary level or acquiring licensure as psychologists might consider enrolling in industrial and organizational psychology doctoral programs. In addition to advanced coursework, program requirements can include seminars, field research and internships. Students must also finish a doctoral dissertation on their area of interest.

The curriculum for a doctoral program includes core coursework and electives that allow students to pursue their area of interest. Some of these can be interdisciplinary courses taken from other departments. Possible course topics are listed below:

  • Psychometric theory
  • Multivariate statistics
  • Organizational behaviors
  • Personnel assessment
  • Training research

Popular Career Options

In addition to working as psychologists, graduates of industrial and organizational psychology master's degree programs can be employed by both public and private organizations as part of their human resources departments. Some possible job titles are listed below:

  • Human resources director
  • Training specialist
  • Consultant

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) indicated that employment opportunities for industrial and organizational psychologists are expected to increase 13% from 2018-2028, representing growth much faster than average. However, despite this job growth, the number of qualified applicants was still expected to outpace the number of new job openings. The BLS suggests that applicants with experience in quantitative research methods may have an advantage. As of May 2018, the median annual wage for industrial and organizational physiologists was $97,260.

Continuing Education and Licensure Information

Industrial and organizational psychology master's degree program graduates who want to practice as psychologists might need to be licensed. Requirements vary by state, but according to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, these can include the completion of a supervised work experience and passing scores on the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. In some states applicants will also need a doctorate.

Programs in industrial and organizational psychology teach students how to keep organizations running smoothly in terms of personnel and job satisfaction. A master's degree in the field makes graduates suitable for positions in human resources and management; a doctorate is necessary for those seeking to teach at the post-secondary level, to conduct research or obtain licensure as a psychologist.

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