Psychology is the extremely broad field of the scientific study of the brain and its behavioral functions. It is a far-reaching and influential area of study that has spawned nearly countless categories and subsets.
Industrial-organizational psychology may sound somewhat dull, but this brand of psychology can be an absolute necessity in the workplace. Those with their degree in industrial-organizational psychology have studied behavior patterns taking place in a workplace setting.
Find Your Bootcamp Match
- Career Karma matches you with top tech bootcamps
- Access exclusive scholarships and prep courses
How do employees behave towards one another? How do you optimize work settings for the best results? A skilled industrial-organizational psychologist will be able to coach employees, identify training and developmental needs, and take part in digital marketing.
Earning your master’s in organizational psychology online is a fantastic option for those who have already completed an undergraduate degree. Entering graduate programs offers the opportunity for those who have always been interested in workplace psychology to explore their options. It blends the tenets of psychology with a helping of business, marketing, and human resources.
What is Industrial-Organizational Psychology?
Industrial-organizational psychology goes by many names. Sometimes it is referred to as occupational psychology, other times as work and organizational psychology. These are mostly the same thing. For shorthand, it is mostly known as I/O psychology.
The overall agreed-upon term for this broad range of similar descriptors is industrial, work, and organizational psychology. This applied discipline of psychology is dedicated to focusing psychological principles onto workplace environments and scenarios.
Industrial-organizational psychologists are assigned to particular workplace environments and use different psychology principles to carry out essential tasks and objectives.
Those with a degree in industrial-organizational psychology monitor and assist everyone in the work environment. High staff involvement contributes to net positives for the company and its employees. These contributions appear as increases in morale, worker satisfaction, and the overall health of workers.
To illustrate it more clearly, picture a human resource manager, social worker, and therapist all in one–that’s an industrial-organizational psychologist.
Required Skills to Become an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
Patience is a virtue. Never has that been more true for a line of work than being an industrial-organizational psychologist.
Working closely with a client does not return results right away. A psychologist can work with a client for quite a while without achieving meaningful results. This can be frustrating to an industrial-organizational psychologist who is not patient.
It can take a long time for clients to open up emotionally. A trained psychologist needs to be able to go at the most comfortable pace for the patient. Not being patient can alienate the client and make them more reserved rather than relaxed.
Being a therapist is more than merely listening to grievances and personal problems. Being open-minded should be at the top of an industrial-organizational psychologist’s list.
Since you are a valuable outlet for someone, you need to be able to listen to many different points of view. These multiple views include many that you may not agree with. Putting bias and prejudgment aside, a psychologist needs to hear all sides to any conflict.
This ties into excellent communication, as the therapist may be presented with new information. New information may even spur the therapist to think differently about a particular issue. Much of psychotherapy is give and take.
The emphasis of an industrial-organizational psychologist’s work will be on clients. However, psychologists will also need to interact with superiors, colleagues, and even family members of the client.
This means that a psychologist will need to carry on conversations and ask pertinent questions. This helps the psychologist tap into the valuable network of colleagues to which they can seek advice on diagnosing a patient.
I-O psychology deals with workplace morale and well-being, but industrial-organizational psychologists still adhere to a rigid code of ethics. This is perhaps the most crucial skill to master.
Having a solid grasp of ethics assures the client that the industrial-organizational psychologist can be trusted. This trust grows into goodwill, bolstering great communication.
Employees should never feel that therapists treat their client’s data as gossip rather than deeply personal information. This trust can be crucial in a work environment, as employees may feel hesitant to speak ill of coworkers or superiors.
In addition to a keen eye for detail, a potential industrial-organizational psychologist needs to be a great communicator. An industrial-organizational psychologist will be responsible for listening to and speaking with a large group of different people.
This may seem like an obvious skill to learn, as it is the trick of the trade with psychologists. However, excellent communication does not end at the doctor-patient level. Industrial-organizational psychologists with great communication skills will be able to apply them with colleagues as well. This, in turn, can make meetings, research, and communicating with others a breeze.
Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology: Why Study Online
Earning a master’s degree in any field will almost always guarantee a higher amount of success. Holding this esteemed degree shows employers and hiring managers that you are truly an expert in your given field. It is only natural to want to take your psychological education to the next level.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an industrial-organizational psychologist can potentially earn a median annual wage of $111,150. You can expect to make even more after completing an organizational psychology master’s program. Some other careers tied into I-O psychology are:
- HR Organizational Development Specialist
- Behavior Analyst
- Senior Research Consultant
- Talent Management Specialist
Industrial-organizational psychologists can secure reliable positions with companies, and those with a master’s degree can quickly rise in the ranks of government and private companies.
Along with these benefits, graduates can join the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, known as SIOP. The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology is a fantastic resource for newly-graduated industrial-organizational psychologists.
SIOP offers newsletters, valuable networking opportunities, and new and updated training in ethics. They also offer a unique I-O Job Network to make finding a job even easier.
"Career Karma entered my life when I needed it most and quickly helped me match with a bootcamp. Two months after graduating, I found my dream job that aligned with my values and goals in life!"
Venus, Software Engineer at Rockbot
Where to Earn a Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology Online
If you are determined to find the graduate program that is perfect for you, look no further. These featured programs and schools are the best of the best in terms of industrial-organizational psychology.
University of Southern California
- Three letters of recommendation
- GRE scores
Nearly every school search result has the University of Southern California, or USC, showing up. USC is a reliable university in almost every subject taught at higher education facilities. USC is known for its programs in the arts, computer science, and more. USC is one of the most reputable institutions for earning a master’s degree.
This sterling reputation extends to its online curriculum, which prepares students who are seeking both full-time and part-time psychological courses.
It offers a 34-credit hour major in applied psychology with an I-O concentration. Some example classes are:
- Strategic Business Relationships,
- Group Dynamics and Leadership, and
- Psychology of Organizational Change
Online students will also take part in a full internship and treatise program.
USC emphasizes smaller class sizes and guarantees students will receive valuable one on one attention from professors and mentors. USC recommends that those applying for the organizational psychology master’s programs have a background in behavioral health. However, they do not have a rigid requirement for applicants to have a psychology degree.
Colorado State University
- 3.0 GPA
- GRE scores
- Accredited Bachelor’s degree
Colorado State University gives online students for fantastic graduate programs through its patented Massive Open Online Courses. Its master’s in organizational psychology online program emphasizes research and solving workplace issues.
It is all about teamwork at Colorado State University; online students collaborate with others on big projects. Additionally, students will work with a crack team of advisors and a consulting team every semester. This consulting team will go over your schedule, your grades, and what your program trajectory looks like. This ensures you are getting the best education for your money.
The M.A.I.O.P. program fully customizes the graduate program experience to the student’s liking. Online students have the choice between full time and part-time schedules, and a two-year or four-year program. Overall, this is a graduate program that will consist of 38 credits.
Some example classes are:
- Applied Psychological Research Methods I
- Applied Cross-Cultural Industrial/Organizational Psychology
- Workforce Training and Development
- Capstone: Practicum and Skills Development
The major prepares students for fieldwork and lucrative careers in industrial-organizational psychology. Colorado State University has a talented team of industrial-organizational psychologists who have tailormade the major to teach online students.
Those who do not have a bachelor’s in psychology may have to take a psychology prerequisite test.
Missouri University of Science and Technology
- All candidates must have a 3.0 GPA; early admissions must have a 3.5 GPA
Missouri University of Science and Technology offers quite a few options to its full-time and part-time students. While they provide hybrid courses and majors, its online coursework is truly impressive.
In Missouri University’s 40-credit hour graduate program, students will learn interesting and useful concepts in fantastic classes. There are different tracks that students can follow within the major, like that of research. Students in the research portion will lean heavily on analysis, statistical modeling, and data-driven information.
Some example classes are:
- Applied Workplace Psychology
- Statistical Methods in Psychology
Missouri University is somewhat of an outlier in that its entire program is synchronous. This means that all learning and interactions between professors and students happen in real-time. Zoom will become a valuable tool for the future Missouri University industrial-organizational psychologist.
Missouri University of Science and Technology is open to having online students in their graduate program who have not taken prior psychology and statistics courses.
Online Master’s Degree in Organizational Psychology: Final Thoughts
If you are the type of person who wants to work as a mediator for a workplace dispute or help troubled employees, then there is no better time to explore a master’s in organizational psychology online.
Keep in mind that industrial-organizational psychologists aren’t just workplace guardians. They are passionate psychologists who use their skills to deescalate workplace crises and even analyze data to improve a company’s product.
It’s the best combination of psychology and business that you can find out there. Now is the time to take full advantage of the power of the Internet, and especially what graduate programs are out there waiting for you.
Let these featured programs and schools direct you toward a lucrative degree in industrial-organizational psychology. Whether full time or part-time, hundreds of schools are out there waiting for you. All you have to do is bring your patience, open-mindedness, and passion for psychology to the table.
About us: Career Karma is a platform designed to help job seekers find, research, and connect with job training programs to advance their careers. Learn about the CK publication.