What is an Online Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master’s Program?
Industrial-organizational psychology revolves around the study of human behavior in various organizations, most commonly, the workplace. That is, workers in this field are concerned with topics related to organizational development, worker motivation, conflict resolution, consumer behavior, small group theory, and human factors psychology, just to name a few.
That being the case, online master’s degree programs in industrial-organizational psychology focus on these topics as a means of addressing critical issues that face organizations, from employee recruitment and retention to developing performance scales for employees to improving communication between managers and their employees.
In the online environment, these studies are actually quite similar to those that on-campus students have, though obviously using technologies such as video chatting and message boards as a means to interact with one another.
Studying industrial-organizational psychology online gives students the freedom to complete their studies anytime, anywhere. That flexibility is a distinct advantage over on-campus courses that require students to be in class at a certain time on certain days.
What is an Online Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master’s Program that Does Not Require GRE?
Typically, master’s degree programs in industrial-organizational psychology require prospective students to report GRE scores as part of their admissions requirements. However, many institutions have elected to forego the GRE requirement and instead evaluate a student’s fit for the program using other means such as a personal statement, an application essay, or perhaps even just an interview with admissions representatives.
Few well-known online master’s degree programs in industrial-organizational psychology that do not require a GRE score include:
- Purdue University
- Grand Canyon University
- Northcentral University
- Southern New Hampshire University
- Walden University
Do All Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master’s Programs Require GRE?
Not all master’s degree programs in industrial-organizational psychology require prospective students to take the GRE. This is somewhat atypical, however. More often than not, a GRE score is required for admission to most programs. However, in addition to the short list of institutions in the previous section, there are a growing number of respected and accredited industrial-organizational psychology programs online that do not require the GRE.
As noted earlier, programs that waive the GRE requirement rely on other assessments to determine if a prospective student is a good fit for the program. In many instances, undergraduate academic performance is the primary data used for determining graduate admission to these programs. If, for example, a student had a 3.0 GPA in their undergraduate studies, admissions officials would be more likely to admit that student to a graduate program than one that had a 2.5 GPA in their undergraduate studies.
Another alternative criterion used to determine admission eligibility is letters of recommendation from undergraduate professors. Often, what professors have to say about a student’s capabilities, work ethic, attitude, and other traits can be just as informative as a test score or undergraduate grades.
Do Employers Differentiate Between GRE and non-GRE Master’s Programs?
Employers have little to no concern about whether or not an applicant graduated from a GRE or a non-GRE program. In fact, employers would be hard-pressed to have access to that information, unless it was specifically asked of the applicant on their employment application or during the interview process.
Instead, employers are much more concerned about what courses were completed, what knowledge and skills were acquired, what kinds of internship or work experiences were had, and the quality of the master’s degree program that was completed. That is, employers want to hire industrial-organizational psychologists that performed well throughout graduate school, obtained a degree from an accredited institution, and have a demonstrated ability to apply what they’ve learned to real-world situations.
The GRE is meant to gauge a student’s academic potential, not their ability to perform well in a workplace setting.
What Do You Learn in an Online Industrial-Organizational Psychology Master’s Program?
On a broad scale, master’s degree programs in industrial-organizational psychology focus on issues related to human behavior in the workplace or within other organizations. Within that scope, common learning targets and courses one might expect in this program include:
- Organizational psychology – Coursework in organizational psychology revolves around the exploration of group dynamics, leadership, job attitudes, organizational culture, interpersonal communication, and many other factors and how they influence the workplace.
- Employee recruitment strategies – Students identify desirable employee traits, how to assess potential employees, how to develop employee recruitment programs, and how to retain high-performing employees.
- Performance management – Courses in performance management help students develop the knowledge and skills required to assess employee work performance and devise strategies for helping underperforming employees.
- Training development – Students learn strategies for developing and conducting valuable training for employees, managers, and other critical team members within an organization.
- Cross-cultural psychology – These courses are intended to enlighten students about cultural differences and how to foster respect for differences in culture in the workplace.
- Research methods – A common course in industrial-organizational psychology, research methods is intended to help students develop strong research methodology skills, including learning how to devise research studies and analyze data collected from research.
- Workforce training – In many instances, industrial-organizational psychologists are responsible for identifying training needs, developing training programs for employees, and even leading training as well. These courses prepare students for that educational role as an industrial-organizational psychologist.
- Succession planning – Students explore different strategies for long-term planning in an organization, specifically, how to identify future leaders and develop strategies for replacing executives, managers, and other people in positions of responsibility to ensure the organization continues to operate smoothly despite
- Practicum & internship – Practicum and internship experiences are typically one of the last courses in the course sequence and offer students the opportunity to work in real-world settings where they apply their classroom learning to actual work environments.
What are the Advantages of an Online Degree?
Earning one’s master’s degree in an online program comes with many advantages. These include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Flexible schedule – Online learning is designed with flexibility in mind. Students can study at their own pace and at the time of day that works best for them.
- Learn from anywhere – Students in online programs needn’t worry about missing class because class can come with them. No matter where you are in the world, so long as you have an internet connection, you can complete your studies.
- Comfortable learning environment – Online students can study on the couch, in bed, from their favorite coffee shop, or any other place that they find comfortable.
- Ability to continue working – Because of the flexibility and convenience of online learning, it’s an ideal learning situation for people that work part-time or full-time who cannot quit their job to pursue their studies.
- Variety of courses and programs – Online learning means that students have access to a wide breadth and depth of courses and degree programs from institutions the world over.
- Improved learning tools – Online degree programs often utilize the latest in educational technology to help facilitate student learning.
What Skills Do You Need to Get a Master’s Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology?
As with any kind of master’s degree, students must possess certain skills in order to be successful. As it pertains to completing graduate studies in industrial-organizational psychology, students should possess the following:
- Ability to meet deadlines – Online learning requires that students have excellent time-management skills and keep themselves on task in order to meet deadlines.
- Written communication skills – Online learning environments require students to communicate mostly via chat rooms, email, and other written forms. This necessitates having strong written communication skills.
- Analytical skills – Graduate studies in industrial-organizational psychology are highly analytical in nature and require students to identify complex issues and problems and evaluate the best resolutions to such issues.
- Critical thinking skills – Often, industrial-organizational psychologists are relied upon to solve very complex problems that exist in very complex organizational structures. As such, it is imperative that students hone these skills during their graduate studies.
- Systems analysis – Students should possess the ability to analyze large systems, identify critical breakdown points, establish goals for improvement, and create procedures that will make achieving those goals more likely.
- Leadership skills – Industrial-organizational psychologists often lead the charge in changing organizational systems. Therefore, it is imperative that students develop strong leadership skills that will allow them to bring people together around a common goal.
- Research skills – Workers in this field spend the bulk of their time collecting and analyzing information, forming a hypothesis, overseeing assessments, and other science-based activities. Possessing strong research skills is a must for students in industrial-organizational master’s degree programs if they are to be successful in their career.
What Can You Do With a Master’s Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology?
The following is a list of the most common careers for industrial-organizational psychology graduates:
- Analytics Manager
- Compensation Specialist
- Executive Recruiter
- HR Specialist
- Human Factors Specialist
- Instructional Designer
- Labor Relations Specialists
- Management Consultant
- Personnel Analyst
- Research Assistant
- Research Consultant
- Organizational Consultant
- Organizational Development Specialist
- Talent Developer
- Training Specialist
How Much Can You Earn With a Master’s Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology?
According to a May 2017 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial-organizational psychologists make a median annual salary of $87,100. However, the pay range for psychologists in this field is highly varied, especially by employment type.
For example, industrial-organizational psychologists that work in the scientific research and development sector earn a median annual salary of $119,690, which is far higher than the $67,780 median annual salary is offered by state governments. Likewise, there are geographic influences on income for industrial-organizational psychologists. In Virginia, the median annual wage $123,640 but the median annual wages in Massachusetts is just $75,100.
Of course, the level of experience factors heavily in one’s salary, too. A recent graduate with no work experience can expect to earn a less-than-average salary, perhaps in the bottom 10 percent of earners in the field, which is approximately $50,730 per year. But as experience accumulates, the ability to command higher wages increases. For example, the top ten percent of earners in industrial-organizational psychology earn $184,520 per year, on average.