How to Become an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

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Industrial-organizational psychology is the study of the behavior of people in work environments and the environments themselves. It is important in the workplace to promote productivity, positive attitudes by employees, and hiring and promoting candidates in the best way possible. Trained professionals that assist companies in carrying out these duties provide great benefits to the company as a whole. This is the job of industrial-organizational psychologists.

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Hey, I'm Joshua T. Osborne

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What does an industrial-organizational psychologist do?

Industrial-organizational psychologists take the principles of psychology and psychological research methods and apply them to the workplace to help improve productivity of the employees and the quality of the work environment. They also play a role in conducting research on marketing and management problems. They often screen, train, and advise applicants for positions and promotions. They also carry out organizational analysis and development. Some industrial-organizational psychologists collaborate with management to restructure the work environment for improvements. Some commonly work as consultants that are hired by management to solve specific issues.

What kind of training does an industrial-organizational psychologist need?

Industrial-organizational psychologists usually need a master or doctoral degree in psychology with concentration on industrial and organizational components or related area. In many cases a master degree in psychology is sufficient to obtain a position as an industrial-organizational psychologist. Often times they may work as psychological assistants to professionals that have a doctoral degree. As assistants they may do psychological evaluations or research. A master degree in psychology requires a minimum of 2 years of full-time graduate education. A master thesis based on a unique research project and practical experience in a functional setting is typically required for a master degree in psychology. Many industrial-organizational psychologists also complete internships.

What are the prospects for a career in industrial-organizational psychology?

Employment for all psychologists is expected to grow faster than average for all professions, increasing 15% from 2006 to 2016 (1).

Industrial-organizational psychologists will be in increased demand to help improve the retention rates in many companies and the productivity of workers. They will assist businesses in dealing with various issues such as antidiscrimination policies and diversity of the workplace. The psychologists’ know-how in analysis, survey design, and research will be utilized by companies to create tools for statistical analysis and marketing evaluation.

Job prospects will be the best for industrial-organizational psychologists who have a doctoral degree and extensive experience in the field.

How much do industrial-organizational psychologists make?

As of June 2009, the average annual salary for industrial-organizational psychologists with less than 1 year of experience is $38,000. Those with 1 to 5 years experience earned average annual salaries of $55,297 (2).

A career as an industrial-organizational psychologist is an excellent choice for individuals who have a true interest in helping employers and employees in the workplace. Candidates must also have excellent communication skills as well as compassion, sensitivity, and the ability to inspire and lead others in the workplace.

Joshua T Osborne

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