Industrial Organizational Psychology Jobs & Career Guide

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Industrial Psychology CareersWhat Is an Industrial Psychologist?

Industrial and organizational psychology applies psychological principles and theories to the workplace. Industrial Psychology is also known as Industrial-Organizational Psychology, or I-O Psychology. This growing specialty in the field of medicine focuses on improving and increasing workplace flow and productivity. Industrial Psychologists evaluate corporate climate by studying employee behavior, productivity, and attitudes. They provide training and guidance to leadership, management, and team members. Industrial Psychologists collaborate with corporate leadership to evaluate workplace behavior, create policies, direct training sessions, and develop company strategy.

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What Is an Industrial Psychologist Responsible For?

Industrial Psychologists apply psychological principles by studying individual behavior and an organization’s climate. An Industrial Psychologist evaluates management styles, company expectations, social situations, and organizational structure within a company. Based on their findings, they work to improve individual job performance and the overall health of its team members. The benefit of a healthy and happier workforce translates to a more stable and efficient organization.

An Industrial Psychologist works with the Human Resources department to observe employees and their work environment to measure elements, such as job satisfaction and performance. Employee training, performance evaluations, and the company’s hiring practices and techniques are also considered.  By evaluating each employee’s motivation and productivity, an Industrial Psychologist can help make the company a better place to work.

On the job, an Industrial Psychologist can expect to:

  •         Use psychological research in the workplace
  •         Help businesses hire qualified employees
  •         Train and motivate the labor force
  •         Collaborate with the Human Resources Department
  •         Provide a consultative role in the organization
  •         Assess employee job performance
  •         Improve organizational structure
  •         Increase business efficiency
  •         Aid with corporate transitions, such as mergers and staff realignment
  •         Research consumer behavior
  •         Provide ergonomic consultation to maximize performance and improve comfort
  •         Enhance the quality of life for employers and employees

Where Does an Industrial Psychologist Work?

Industrial Psychologists apply scientific research in a wide range of workplace settings. Some work in the manufacturing industry, health-care facilities, commercial enterprises, or labor unions. Many Industrial Psychologists work as consultants or hold academic positions at universities. They qualify to work as trainers, coaches, and facilitators, working directly with a company’s Human Resources Department. They may be hired by an organization to assist with resolving a specific problem.

What Career Options Are Available to An Industrial Psychologist?

Industrial organizational psychology jobs are an ever-growing sub-specialty within the field of psychology.  They find great job satisfaction in helping people improve their work processes and motivations, which leads to a better individual experience in the workforce.

An Industrial Psychologist can expect to find a career in the following areas:

Human Resources Organizational Development (OD) Manager

This important position is a liaison and advisor to company leadership. The OD Manager plans and coordinates company initiatives across the organization by developing and implementing HR programs company-wide. This position is directly responsible for creating Human Resource policies to attract and keep valuable employees and help the organization achieve business and operational goals.

Talent Management Specialist

A talent management specialist develops and implements programs intended to train supervisors and leaders in an organization. These specialists work closely with organization management to understand what skills, knowledge, and experience they need to excel in a leadership position. 

Behavior Analyst

This position focuses on behavior that can be observed and measured. A behavior analyst focuses on describing, understanding, predicting, and changing behavior. They consider factors such as biological and environmental influences. Behavior analysts may research consumer trends for marketing companies or other industries interested in what influences consumer decisions. 

Human Resources Practice Manager

Human resources practice managers specialize in talent selection, performance management, and workplace diversity. They train company managers and develop plans for workplace diversity. They specialize in employee recruitment and retention. 

Consultant

A consultant meets with executives and others in leadership positions to review organizational development, training, management changes, staff evaluations, talent recruitment, and issues related to pay and benefits. A consultant may run their own consulting practice or work for a larger consulting firm. 

Research Analyst

A research analyst organizes research projects and works closely with project teams. They analyze data and make recommendations based on their findings. They may write articles for academic journals and trade magazines.

What Degree Is Required to Become an Industrial Psychologist? What Do They Study?

Industrial psychology requires extensive study, starting with earning a bachelor’s degree. Many students begin with a bachelor’s degree in general psychology. They learn the basic discipline of Psychology, with a thorough background in Psychology theory and practice.

After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, students go on to earn a master’s degree. A master’s degree is the basic degree needed to enter the field of Industrial Psychology. Many who wish to become an Industrial Psychologist enter a joint bachelor’s/master’s degree program. Students may also take courses in business school that relate to organizational, industrial, and human-relations specialties.

Doctorate degrees are helpful to those who wish to work in a health-care setting. A common degree sought by students of psychology is a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). A PhD places emphasis on research and completion of a dissertation.

More graduate programs are now offering a Doctor of Psychology (PsyD) for students who plan to work in a more focused setting. A PsyD focuses on applied clinical practice.

What Skills are Required in Industrial/Organizational Psychology?

Industrial/Organizational Psychologists should have a strong background in psychology. They must possess a firm understanding of psychological theory and understand human behavior. Industrial/Organizational Psychologists must have a solid understanding of social and cultural issues and they need to have strong teamworking skills. They must be critical thinkers and utilize logic and reason to identify employee and employer strengths and weaknesses.

Industrial/Organizational Psychologists should possess emotional intelligence and the ability to respond compassionately to diverse personalities. They must also gather and review data and communicate well to employers and employees. Industrial/Organizational Psychologists should be able to evaluate human behavior and how different personality types work or don’t work well with one another.

How Much Money Does an Industrial Psychologist Earn?

The salary range for industrial and organizational psychologists varies widely. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for Industrial Psychologists is approximately $112,690. Specialty in the field, experience, company size, and location are a big factor in salary determination. The top 10 percent of experienced Industrial Psychologists make more than $192,000 per year.

Latest Industrial Organizational Psychology Jobs & Career Guide Listings

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