How To Become An Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
Career Video: Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
Do you enjoy working with people? Are you a great listener and able to counsel people? Are you skilled in the area of human resources? Do you want to make people happier in their workplace? Can you observe the behavior of others and understand why people may behave that way? Are you able to take data that you collect in your research and present it to managers and owners of a company? Do you enjoy making practical suggestions for how to increase productivity and morale in the workplace? A career as an industrial-organizational psychologist may be perfect for you.
Virtually every company has unsatisfied employees. Sometimes workers feel frustrated with their job or like the position they are in is not fulfilling. Over time, these little frustrations can build up into major complaints. If employees do not feel like their concerns are being validated, they could become unproductive, decrease the morale in the company, do an unsatisfactory job with their work, or quit entirely.
None of these situations is a positive result, which is why many companies hire industrial-organizational psychologists (also called I-O) to help remedy the situation. Industrial-organizational psychologists are psychologists that specialize in the psychology of an employee and their relationship with their workplace. An industrial-organizational psychologist in interested in how an employee feels about their job, their managers, and how an employee believes their company could be improved.
An industrial-organizational psychologist takes the time to understand the complexities of a company. They will do research to understand the employees and company workplace. Research may be done through surveying the workers or through observations. A psychologist will compile the data and present the findings to the management of a company, suggesting ways that the company could use the information to help increase productivity, hiring processes, company culture, and other areas.
Why Become An Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
As an industrial-organizational psychologist, you will help companies improve their business. You will be an expert who will come into a company and ask questions to staff members to find out more about company culture and how employees feel about their workplace. Using your expertise, you will analyze your findings and figure out how a company can increase happiness amongst its workers, increase productivity, and have a better company culture altogether.
Industrial-organizational psychology is a field that is growing in popularity. This is a great field to be in if you enjoy working with people individually, listening to them and helping them understand their problems, and providing them with practical solutions to solve their needs. You will work with companies and help them create a more successful business, while also helping employees be happier at work.
An Industrial-Organizational Psychologist must possess the following qualities and skills:
- Good Listener
- Good Communicator
- Research Skills
- Problem Solver
- Critical Thinking
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist Work Environment
Many industrial-organizational psychologists work for human resources firms. Others are self-employed as consultants and travel periodically to their different clients. An industrial-organizational psychologist will work with many different types of companies, going into the company, observing and conducting research over a period of time.
Other industrial-organizational psychologists may work in research and development. They may work in labor unions, staffing agencies, health care facilities, and other places to help understand the emotional and psychological needs of employees in the workplace.
Those industrial-organizational psychologists who work as consultants set their own hours and schedule. An industrial-organizational psychologist who works for another company may work 40 hours a week or more.
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist Salary
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for industrial-occupational psychologists was $77,000 in 2014.
Like many professions, salary for industrial-occupational psychologists can vary by education, experience, location, and industry. Psychologists who work within scientific research and development earned a median salary of $110,000 in 2014. Industrial-organizational psychologists employed by the government earned $74,000 in 2014.
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist Career Outlook
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,100 people employed as industrial-organizational psychologists in 2014. This field is expected to grow by 26% through 2018. Industrial-organizational psychology is the branch of psychology that will see the greatest increase in employment in the near future. This is due to the need for companies to have trained professionals who can help them with their productivity, company culture, hiring processes, and other issues.
Industrial-Organizational Psychologist Degree
An industrial-organizational psychologist is a highly trained professional who is asked by a company or organization to give their advice on how to improve the workplace. It takes many years of education and experience to become an industrial-organizational psychologist.
Step One: Undergraduate Degree The first step to a career in this field is to receive a bachelor’s degree from an undergraduate college or university. A major in psychology, human resources, or a related field would be a perfect choice for those wishing to pursue this career field. These programs will give you a foundation in psychology that you will need for further work. You should also take introductory classes in English, science and math, which will be useful in the field.
Step Two: Research and Internships While in your undergraduate program, be sure to take advantage of the psychology department at your college or university. Ask if there are research opportunities that you can help conduct, or propose your own research study to the chair of the department. Doing research will help you get a hands-on look at the psychology field and help you understand if this is the right career path for you. It will also look very good on your resume, especially if you end up getting something published in a scientific journal.
Similarly, consider applying to several internships while in college. Internships with human resource firms, staffing agencies, psychologist offices, and other groups who are dedicated to industrial-organizational psychology will be a great fit. This is a chance to gain more experience in the field and network with people who could help you gain your first job after graduation.
Step Three: Graduate School People wishing to pursue a career as an industrial-organizational psychologist must receive a graduate degree. There are master’s degree programs in industrial-organizational psychology, as well as PhD programs. Those students with master’s degrees will be eligible for entry-level positions in the field; those with doctorates will be considered for more advanced opportunities. A PhD in industrial-organizational psychology could take up to five years to complete.