If you have an industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology degree, your main job duty will be to study employee attitudes and behaviors. Your industrial-organizational psychology degree may help you organize, supervise and conduct employee training sessions, perform human resource functions, improve company sales, enhance marketing strategies and aid in company restructuring.
You may also help companies hire employees that are most suited to the job and improve employee productivity, quality and satisfaction. So, what can you do with an industrial-organizational degree? Well, there are a variety of career paths that you can pursue. This article will help you decide what you want to do with your hard-earned degree.
What is an Industrial-Organizational Psychology Training Program?
An industrial-organizational psychology training program is offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels. A bachelor’s degree in this field may provide you with the skills needed to work as an human resources executive, while a master’s degree or doctorate in this area may provide you the skills needed to work as a college professor, researcher, psychological consultant, etc. With this degree you may work in the private sector or you may work for a government agency. It will take you approximately four years to earn a bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology, two or three years to earn a master’s degree and five to seven years to earn a doctorate (Ph.D. or Psy.D.).
You may be required to take courses in business management, psychology, sociology, marketing and human resources. Even though a doctorate degree in industrial-organization is not required to seek employment, many employers prefer someone with an advanced degree, licensure and/or certification. In addition, if you have a doctorate in this field, you are more likely to get the most opportunities and make the most amount of money per year.
What are the Careers in Industrial-Organizational Psychology?
Human Resources Executive/Employee Relations
You may be able to use your bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational degree to help companies resolve co-worker conflicts and/or employee-management conflicts. Due to your training and expertise in psychological principles, companies may hire you to help them better understand their employees. They may also hire you to help improve workplace morale and employee satisfaction. In this capacity, your main responsibility will be to act as a liaison between employees and upper management. You may also be responsible for hiring, firing and/or promoting employees.
You may also use your industrial-organizational psychology degree to research business-related issues. Your main responsibilities will be to research company practices in an effort to improve productivity and quality within the workplace. Your primary function will be to develop more effective company policies and practices.
You may accomplish these tasks by distributing surveys to employees, interviewing employees and/or creating company focus groups. Your goal will be to assess employee and/or consumer satisfaction. To be effective in this career you will need to have a strong background in statistics, psychology and business management.
You may also use your doctorate in industrial-organizational to enter the world of consumer psychology. Your degree may help you analyze consumer preferences, motivations and purchases. A company may hire you to help them determine what consumers really want and need.
Related Reading: How to Become a Consumer Psychologist
It may also hire you to help convince consumers why a particular product will be beneficial for them. The majority of your time might be spent developing effective advertising and marketing strategies, studying the relationship between emotions and purchasing preferences and analyzing the influence of psychology when selecting a price-point for items.
Organizational Development Psychologist
The majority of people with an industrial-organizational degree work as organizational development psychologists. If you chose to apply your degree to this field, your main function will be to help companies restructure their policies and practices to fit a new merger or acquisition, increase revenue and/or improve employee satisfaction and company morale.
One of the perks of having a degree in industrial-organizational psychology is that you can work in a variety of different industries (medical, health, education, retail, marketing, automotive, etc.). Your main job functions may include increasing employee productivity, developing training modules, creating and administering job assessments to potential employees, performing human resource duties, supervising research studies and/or teaching at a college or university.
You may also be responsible for helping companies select and/or weed out potential candidates and train new employees. Your main goal will be to help companies increase productivity and quality within the workplace.
You may also be required to help the company more clearly align its practices and policies with its vision and mission statement. In some cases, you may help companies with their firing process and/or work with employees with issues that are affecting their work performance.
If you have a doctorate in industrial-organizational psychology, you may be able to enter the education field. Many people with an industrial-organizational psychology degree work in a college or university. You may be hired to teach courses in business and psychology and/or conduct business-related research studies (i.e. new testing assessment, intervention programs, and/or employee training modules).
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- Belleflamme, P. & Peitz, M. (2010). Industrial Organization: Markets and Strategies. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
- Cherry, K. (2013). Industrial-Organizational Psychology Careers. About.com.
- Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. (2013). Psychology at Work.