Building a Career in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Simplified + Free Worksheet

The workplace of today is quickly changing. The young generation is now starting their careers. Additionally, technology is quickly altering where individuals work as well as how they interact and communicate. Employers are in growing need of qualified experts who can assist them in meeting the varied demands of a multigenerational and multicultural workforce if they are to stay up. To be competitive, organizations want leaders who can create and manage effective and efficient procedures. Industrial-organizational psychology is frequently a basis for people who have the expertise and abilities to manage these complicated difficulties. We provide a thorough summary of what an industrial-organizational psychology job can entail in this post. Additionally, you’ll get useful advice on how to develop a fruitful career in this dynamic industry.

What Is Industrial-Organizational Psychology?

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology as the study and improvement of human behaviors within teams, organizations, and the workplace.

According to the American Psychological Association, “the specialty of industrial-organizational psychology deals with issues of recruitment, selection, and placement, development, and training performance evaluation, workplace reward and motivation systems, overall job satisfaction, the structure of work and human factors, organizational development, and consumer behavior.” 

Industrial-organizational psychologists do not practice as therapists. They do not assist individuals in resolving mental health or social issues. Instead, I/O psychologists are concerned with business. Their goal, in general, is to assist individuals and businesses in developing sustainable practices to enhance the workplace for employees and to develop efficient procedures to increase productivity and profitability. The study of workplace behavior is the focus of industrial-organizational (I-O) psychology. Human resources, employee training, marketing and sales, and organizational growth are all areas where these professionals utilize psychological ideas. I-O psychologists frequently use research to increase workplace efficiency, identify individuals best suited for specific occupations, and conduct product testing.

What Do Industrial-Organizational Psychologists Do?

I-O psychology is a broad discipline with several career prospects. Many I-O psychologists work in business, in areas such as productivity levels, employee training, evaluation, and human resources. Other I-O psychologists are involved in research or teaching. Human-computer interface and human factors are two further areas of specialization in I-O psychology. There are also consulting possibilities for skilled I-O psychologists. Specific responsibilities are heavily influenced by where professionals work and the sort of company in which they operate. An I-O psychologist, for example, may serve a specific company to assist identify and educate the best personnel for certain professions. In other cases, an I-O psychologist may evaluate firm policies and procedures to enhance efficiency and production.

Why Choose a Career in Industrial-Organizational Psychology?

Industrial-organizational psychology is a vibrant area that may astound you with its breadth and depth of prospects. Here are just a handful of the numerous reasons why you should think about a career in this intriguing field.

  1. You get to assist others.

Industrial-organizational psychologists seek to ensure that workplaces are as safe, productive, and enjoyable as possible. As an I/O psychologist, you may assist employees in improving their job performance, negotiating better pay and working conditions, creating more inclusive work environments, or resolving workplace issues.

  1. You may find job in almost any industry.

Here are just a handful of the many jobs available for industrial-organizational psychologists:

  • Public sector companies
  • Labor unions
  • Multinational companies
  • Elementary and high schools
  • State and national government agencies
  • Manufacturing companies
  • Colleges and universities
  • Hospitals and other healthcare facilities
  • Marketing and advertising firms
  • Any company, small or large, with an HR department
  1. You can locate a job that matches your talents and duties.

You may do research and data analysis as an I/O psychologist. You might create and implement employee education and training initiatives. You may concentrate on company efficiency and safety. You may concentrate on workplace inclusion and diversity. You might improve your hiring and retention practices. Your route will be determined by your own persona and skill set.

  1. Excellent salary

The salary that an I-O psychologist gets is fairly good. Although, your income and lifetime earning potential will be greatly influenced by your professional path, including your location, industry, kind of job, education level and length of experience. It might also rely on whether you want to work as an internal team member or as an external consultant, and if you want to be an individual contributor or progress into management.

How Much Do Industrial-Organizational Psychologists Usually Earn?

Typical earnings for I-O psychologists vary greatly based on criteria such as degree level and employment type. The average salary for I-O psychologists in 2015, according to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), was:

  • Starting pay for a master’s degree holder is $84,500.
  • Starting pay for a PhD graduate is $118,818.
  • $101,000 for academic purposes
  • $113,000 for a practitioner

According to the US Department of Labor, the median annual compensation for industrial-organizational psychologists was $97,260 in May 2018. The bottom 10% earned less than $51,350, while the top 10% earned more than $192,150.

The Indian salary bracket for I-O psychologists is shown this image:

What Education Do You Need to Become an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist?

A number of universities offer bachelor’s degrees in industrial-organizational psychology. Bachelor’s degree holders generally work in human resources, while there are also chances in other fields. Those searching for more employment prospects and higher compensation may want to consider pursuing a master’s degree. Candidates with a master’s degree in I-O psychology have several options. These psychologists work in human resources, consulting, government, and private sector jobs. Because of the increased need for I-O psychologists, the number of universities providing master’s degrees in I-O psychology has increased. Those holding doctorates in I-O psychology have the most opportunities and remuneration.

Where Can I Find I-O Psychologists?

I-O psychologists operate in a wide range of settings and sectors, including commercial companies and government agencies. According to the US Department of Labor, the greatest sector of employment in 2018 was scientific research and development services. With a mean annual compensation of $149,780, scientific research and development services was likewise the top paying industry sector. Consulting services were the second most common occupation. Corporate management, state governments, and educational institutions are among the other industries that employ I-O psychologists.

What Qualifications Do You Require to Begin or Advance Your Career in Industrial-Organizational Psychology?

With so many flexible and different alternatives, the personality characteristics, talents, and educational levels required to develop a career in industrial-organizational psychology are likewise fairly diversified. Here are a few things you should think about: 

  1. I/O Psychology Educational Requirements

Most roles in industrial-organizational psychology need a master’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology, regardless of job title or industry. To advance to a senior or managerial position, or to work as a consultant, you’ll need a master’s degree and several years of directly related experience. A doctorate degree may be required for research work, university teaching, and some other occupations (PhD). Weather to pursue a master’s or a doctorate degree will be determined by how much time and money you choose to put into your study. It may also be determined by the sort of work you want. Professionals with a master’s degree prefer hands-on work, partnering with companies and workers to solve real-world challenges. PhD-required jobs typically focus on data analysis and statistics. If you want to undertake research or work in a university setting, this is the road for you.

  1. Skills Required for a Career in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Industrial-organizational psychology requires a distinct combination of hard and soft talents. Research and analysis are two of the most crucial hard talents. You may be expected to examine data, systems, or processes, for example. You’ll also be expected to do research and analyze data in order to solve complicated problems. Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills, written and verbal communication abilities, active listening, conflict resolution, and the ability to work in and lead teams are all critical soft skills.

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What are the prospects for an I-O Psychologist?

It seems that if you’re searching for a psychology profession with a bright future, I-O psychology may be the key. Industrial-organizational psychology is expected to be one of the speediest psychology disciplines between 2018 and 2028, according to the Occupational Outlook Handbook. According to the US Labor Department, this field will expand by 13% over that time. Due to the high number of eligible applicants, industrial-organizational psychologists are projected to encounter stiff competition for opportunities. Industrial-organizational psychologists who have had considerable training in qualitative and quantitative  research methodologies may have an advantage.

Why is I-O psychology predicted to be a “top career” today and in the future?

Businesses and other bigger organizations are fast discovering the competitive advantages that can be obtained by managing their workforce using evidence-based and science-based practices—which is central to what I-O psychologists do. Students may be drawn to this vocation for a variety of reasons, including a promising job outlook and competitive salary.

Students pursuing a career in psychology immediately understand the breadth of employment options accessible within I-O Psychology. Professionals with graduate degrees in I-O Psychology can work as external consultants, chief human resources officers, research scientists, vice presidents of talent management, or university professors. Diverse career pathways, along with a significant median starting income for new PhDs, make the area appealing to individuals considering a career change.

Is an I-O Psychology Career Right for You?

There are a few aspects to consider before pursuing a career in I-O psychology. Some of them are:

  • Do you love conducting research? 
  • Are you at ease with numbers? 

Otherwise, I-O psychology may not be the ideal fit for you. Those in industry, government, and academia frequently devote significant time to research. If you enjoy working one-on-one with people, clinical or counselling psychology may be a better fit for you. One of the amazing things about I-O psychology is that many professions include subjects and abilities from a wide range of disciplines.

What are The Benefits and Drawbacks of a Profession in Industrial-Organizational Psychology? 


  • A master’s degree opens you a wide range of job options.
  • Various job options (i.e. private sector, consulting, government, education)
  • Possibilities for self-employment


  • Clients and projects change often.
  • Research may be time-consuming, and burnout can result.
  • Many occupations need a doctorate.

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