If you’re interested in the way that humans behave in structured environments, like offices and workplaces, then you might consider earning an online masters in industrial organizational psychology.
Not only can this degree help equip you with the skills that you’ll need in the field, but it can also give you a competitive edge on the job market.
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It can also serve as a foundation for future study if you decide to go on to earn a PhD or PsyD.
Online Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology Programs
Many accredited universities offer industrial organizational psychology masters programs online. Many also offer online bachelors in industrial organizational psychology and some even offer PhD in Industrial Organizational Psychology online programs as well.
Online programs are often equivalent to their campus-based ones, so you’ll likely take the same classes and earn the same credits as your peers. Online learning would simply offer more flexibility. While some programs have in-person clinical or practicum requirements, many online colleges will let you satisfy these obligations remotely.
What will you learn as an I/O psychology student? Common courses cover topics like behavior, leadership, decision theory, data analytics, workplace development, and human resource management. If you don’t have a background in psychology, you may also need to take courses on the basics, like organizational behavior.
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You can earn several different degrees in industrial organizational psychology. At the masters level, the most common degree is probably the Master of Arts or Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology. You can also earn degrees in related fields, like business administration, with a specialty or focus in I/O psychology.
Regardless of the degree that you choose, you may have plenty of career opportunities after graduation. With a master’s in industrial organizational psychology, you may find work in many fields, including business, finance, technology, economics, and even education.
Industrial Organizational Psychology Careers & Salaries
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a masters degree in industrial organizational psychology can be useful in the following career paths.
|Careers||Annual Median Salary|
|Compensation and Benefits Manager||$125,130|
|Human Resources Manager||$121,220|
|Training and Development Manager||$115,640|
|Industrial Production Manager||$108,790|
|Labor Relations Specialist||$73,240|
|Compensation, Benefits, or Job Analysis Specialist||$67,190|
A masters degree in industrial organizational psychology can help prepare you for a multitude of careers. It just depends on what you want to study and what you want to do after graduation. For positions, such as management analyst, that only require a bachelors, you may be eligible for higher starting pay with a masters degree.
I/O Psychology Master’s Curriculum
Since industrial organizational psychology is such a wide-ranging field, its coursework can vary depending on the school, the student, and the specialization. Here are a few common classes that may appear in IO psychology masters programs:
- Industrial Psychology and Organizational Behavior: This is a required course for most I/O psychology degree programs, and it will teach you the basic tools, terms, and training methods of the field while also laying the foundation for more advanced study.
- Workforce Training and Development: A must-have for those planning to work in the corporate world, this class is dedicated to topics like recruiting and staffing as well as employee retention and career advancement methodologies.
- Psychometrics: Psychometrics is the study of psychological metrics. It puts quantitative measurements on mental patterns and processes, so it’s a valuable skill for those going into research-based psychology professions.
- Behavioral Psychology: This topic is one of the tenets of organizational psychology. It’s more of an entry-level class, but if you don’t have a background in psychology, you’ll probably need to make it up.
- Human Resource Management: Human resources classes cover everything from talent acquisition and conflict resolution to employee compensation and benefits management.
- Organizational Change: This course is devoted to the infrastructure of change, including changes in products, locations, software, information systems, and overall workplace culture.
- Decision Making and Strategy: Why do people make the decisions that they do? This course explores hearts, minds, attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors.
- Leadership: These courses go by many different names, but they’ll all teach valuable lessons about communication, delegation, team building, performance evaluation, and employee motivation.
- Organizational Behavior: Another must-have, this course is a core requirement for many business programs since it covers valuable, real-world topics like group dynamics and hierarchical flows of information.
- Capstone Project: A masters degree in I/O psychology will usually require a capstone project of some kind. Depending on the school, this could take the form of everything from a written thesis to a hands-on internship or work placement.
These are just a few courses that you might see as you research an online Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology program.
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There are many more, though, so if you’re interested in a specific school, you may want to see what courses are included in their curriculum.
How to Become an Industrial Organizational Psychologist
To become an industrial organizational psychologist, you should be prepared to complete graduate coursework in addition to meeting post-graduation licensure and certification requirements in your state. Here’s an example of what your timeline might look like:
- Earn your masters degree. A masters degree is a minimum requirement for I/O psychology careers. Many may ask for a PhD or PsyD as well.
- Obtain any mandated counseling or clinical hours. These are often a requirement for graduation, but even when they’re not, they’re a requirement for licensure. Another common stipulation is that they’re supervised by a licensed psychologist.
- Take the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). This is a necessary exam for licensure in most states.
- Meet any requirements from the state board. Depending on where you live, this could involve an application, documentation of your licensure, or even a sit-down interview or oral exam with the board.
Ultimately, every state is different, so their criteria for industrial organizational psychologists can be different as well. You may want to research your state’s criteria if you’re interested in this career path.
Industrial Organizational Psychology Licensing Requirements
You won’t need a license for certain kinds of IO psychology careers. If you want to become an actual psychologist, though, you’ll need to be licensed before you can practice.
Licensing laws vary by state, but they typically involve a graduate level of education and a certain number of supervised counseling hours. You’ll also need to sit for the Examination for the Professional Practice in Psychology (EPPP). In some cases, you might need to take an additional oral exam with the state board.
If you have any questions about the process to IO psychology licensure, you may seek out industry organizations like the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP). They may have the answers and resources you need to plan for your future.
You may improve your chances of admission to grad school by knowing what they expect from you. While every college is different, here are just a few common admission requirements for masters programs:
- Transcripts. Where did you earn your bachelors degree? If the I/O psychology program requires a background in psychology, you may present any preexisting psychology credits that will satisfy them.
- Test scores. A growing number of colleges are becoming test-optional and waiving the usual requirement for the GRE or GMAT. Some schools do still require them, so you may want to double-check the policies of your potential schools.
- Letters of recommendation. If possible, try to get recommendations from school alumni and other people of note.
- Resume or CV. You can also include any publications or internships that will strengthen your appeal as someone who wants to join the university.
- Statement of purpose. Also called a “letter of intent,” this is the grad school equivalent of a college essay, and it’s your chance to outline your passions, goals, achievements, and career aspirations.
If you’re looking into an online I/O psychology graduate program, there might be additional technology requirements to consider before enrollment.
When looking at industrial organizational psychology graduate programs online, it’s important that they’re accredited.
Unaccredited universities aren’t always recognized by employers, scholarship foundations, or financial aid agencies. Oftentimes, they aren’t even recognized by other colleges, so any credits that you earn from an unaccredited university won’t often transfer with you.
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The good news is that it’s easy to check the accreditation status of your chosen college. The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) has several directories on their website, including searchable ones. You can plug in the name of a specific university or even shop around for various ones that carry the accreditation that you want.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
It’s a common misconception that you can’t get financial aid for a masters degree. While it’s true that you’ll no longer be eligible for things like the Pell Grant, you’ll have plenty of other options to fund your admission to IO psychology masters programs.
The first step is to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It will automatically determine your eligibility for grants and loans, including the Direct PLUS Loan for Graduate or Professional Students.
You can also search for scholarships. Some are meant specifically for those in pursuit of a master’s degree while others are open to both undergrads and graduate students. You can find many psychology scholarships as well, including industrial organizational psychology scholarships.
Last but not least, ask your college if they offer assistantships or fellowships. These arrangements can come with tuition waivers and even monthly stipends, depending on the amount of labor that you’re willing to provide.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
It usually takes around 1 to 2 years to get a masters degree. This is assuming that you’re a full-time student. A masters program in I/O psychology can require anywhere from 30 to 40 credits, so the more credits that you take each semester, the quicker that you’ll graduate.
If you haven’t yet obtained a bachelor’s degree, you can also look into dual degree programs that can combine your bachelors and masters studies into 5 years instead of the traditional 6.
What Is an Industrial Organizational Psychologist?
Industrial organizational psychologists are psychologists that have studied human behavior in organized, structured environments. This may involve the study of strategy, teamwork, leadership, communication, decision-making, and more.
I/O psychology is typically applied towards businesses, but it can also be useful for any kind of structured environment, including government, academics, and the armed forces.
What Does an Industrial Organizational Psychologist Do?
If you become an industrial organizational psychologist, your job duties will depend on where you work, what industry you’re in, and what your employer expects from you.
For example, if you work as a human resources manager at a private business, your job might involve a lot of people-based activity centered around communication and conflict resolution.
If you’re a researcher for a university, on the other hand, you might spend more time conducting studies, crunching numbers, overseeing trials, and analyzing the associated data. Industrial organizational psychologists can wear a lot of hats.
What Can You Do with a Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology?
If you aren’t interested in becoming a psychologist, there are other uses for an I/O psychology degree. You may find work in the business sector or with legal, academic, government, or industrial production facilities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the management industry will add more than 500,000 new jobs over the next decade, and the business and financial industry will add more than 467,000. It’s a strategic time to train in these fields.
What Is the Difference Between a Masters in Industrial vs. Organizational Psychology?
There’s a great deal of overlap between the fields of industrial psychology and organizational psychology. That’s why they’re usually offered as a single, combined degree program. At their core, though, there are differences between the two disciplines.
Industrial psychology is focused more on individuals while organizational psychology is focused more on workplaces as a whole. Industrial psychology is sometimes more hands-on while organizational psychology can be more research- and data-based.
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Ultimately, these two fields are complementary, and you can learn a lot through a combined I/O psychology program.
Is a Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology Worth It?
Yes, a masters in industrial organizational psychology degree is worth it for many students. Jobs in the management field are projected to grow at a rate of 5% in the next 10 years (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
Common industrial organizational psychology careers in this field include I/O psychologist, human resources manager, workforce insights analyst, strategy development professional, business consultant, executive coach, and more.
Universities Offering Online Master’s in Industrial Organizational Psychology Degree Programs
Methodology: The following school list is in alphabetical order. To be included, a college or university must be regionally accredited and offer degree programs in psychology online or in a hybrid format.
The Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program at Adler University teaches students all about how people shape business and how business shapes people.
The curriculum also puts a heavy emphasis on social justice, social responsibility, group dynamics, recruitment, developing sound research methods, and organizational development and change.
Adler University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Albizu University’s Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology program teaches students to solve problems in their work environments by utilizing scientific principles and knowledge.
The program consists of coursework that’s delivered online and plenty of hands-on experience in the areas of performance measurement, training and development, and organizational development.
Albizu University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
Austin Peay State University’s industrial organizational psychology masters program is a 34 credit program that’s 100% online.
Graduates of the program should have a strong understanding of motivation, performance appraisal, training and development, team performance, personnel selection, and leadership. Most find careers in nonprofits, the government, consulting firms, or businesses.
Austin Peay State University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Students enrolled in the Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology program at Baker College will enjoy a comprehensive online curriculum.
It’s specifically designed for human resources professionals looking to learn more about psychological theories, principles, and methods that can help improve organizations, teams, and the motivation of individual workers.
Baker College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Master of Science in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program at Bellevue University equips students with the tools they’ll need to apply research to the workplace, tackle tough workplace challenges, use analytical tools in order to interpret statistical data, and improve their businesses and corporations.
Bellevue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Capella University offers a Master of Science in Psychology program with a concentration in Industrial Organizational Psychology. The curriculum includes four core courses, six concentration-specific courses, and one integrative project. The school also offers a FlexPath option that allows students to finish the 53 credit program in 12 months.
Capella University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Students in Colorado State University’s Master of Applied Industrial Organizational Psychology program should learn to effectively recruit, train, and retain highly qualified and exceptional employees, to create and manage leadership development programs, and to assess employee performance.
Additionally, graduates should have the knowledge they need to make overall improvements to their organizations.
Colorado State is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission.
Eastern Kentucky University’s industrial organizational psychology masters program is a 36 credit program into which students can transfer up to 12 credits. The tuition is reasonable and is heavily discounted for active duty military personnel. Classes are delivered in an 8 week accelerated format, and there are ample opportunities for field experience.
Eastern Kentucky University is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Franklin University’s Master of Science in Business Psychology program requires no GRE or GMAT scores for admittance and only requires a 2.75 GPA. Classes are taught by high-quality professionals with years of experience in the field, and the entire program can be completed in as few as 14 months.
Franklin University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology program from Golden Gate University teaches students to examine the ever-evolving professional world, understand and develop assessment tools to diagnose performance, and understand the main concepts and theories behind industrial organizational psychology.
It requires 30 credits of core courses and 9 credits of electives.
Golden Gate University is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Students in the Master of Science in Psychology program at Grand Canyon University can select the industrial organizational psychology concentration and gain advanced knowledge in human behavior and motivations.
The program is ranked 7th in the nation among online industrial organizational psychology programs. It requires 36 total credits for completion.
Grand Canyon University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Kansas State University’s psychology masters program offers an emphasis in industrial and organizational psychology that’s almost entirely online.
There are two 2 week summer sessions, though, that must be completed on-campus during students’ first and second summers in the program. Online courses include personnel selection, personnel training, and performance appraisal.
Kansas State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
The Master of Arts in Applied Psychology program at Liberty University offers a concentration in industrial and organizational psychology. It’s a 36 credit program, but students can transfer up to 18 credits from previously attended universities. Classes are delivered online in 8 week sessions. Most students finish in less than 2 years.
Liberty University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Marian University features a flexible and affordable online Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology program. Students can enroll in the MPath flexible program option, during which they’ll start new classes every 4 weeks, be able to customize their curricula, and be prepared to finish in 16 months.
Marian University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
Students enrolled in the Master of Science in Industrial Organizational Psychology program at Missouri University of Science and Technology have the option of choosing between thesis and non-thesis options.
They’ll learn about statistics and research methods, strategies for organizational development, and job selection and placement. Graduate certificate programs are also available.
Missouri University of Science and Technology is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
National Louis University offers an industrial and organizational psychology masters program through its College of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences. The degree can be earned online in less than 2 years. Students can also choose the dual degree option and work towards their human resource management and development masters as well.
NLU is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.
Northcentral University’s industrial organizational psychology masters program is a non-licensure program that requires ten courses for completion and can be finished in 16 months.
Program graduates should be able to evaluate research and data analysis, synthesize industrial and organizational principles and theories, and employ ethical principles of psychology in the workplace.
Northcentral University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.
There are five concentration options available with Purdue University’s Master of Science in Psychology program, including one in industrial organizational psychology.
The curriculum has been verified by the Association for Behavior Analysis International, and the program is NASAC accredited. Students generally invest about 15 hours per week in their courses.
Purdue University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
Saint Peter’s University offers both Master of Science and Master of Arts in Industrial Organizational Psychology degrees. Both require 36 credits for completion. The MS program includes six core courses, four electives, and a thesis. The MA option requires six core courses, five electives, and a final capstone project.
Saint Peter’s University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
The Master of Science in Psychology program at Southern New Hampshire University features a concentration in organizational psychology.
It’s taught by knowledgeable faculty with plenty of real-world experience in the field. Courses include organizational consulting, motivation in the workplace, psychology of leadership, and a final seminar in the field.
Southern New Hampshire University is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s industrial and organizational psychology masters program (Applied Research Project Track) can be completed by part-time or full-time students.
The curriculum focuses mainly on leadership, motivation, training, performance appraisal, and personnel selection. Students will gain hands-on work experience that goes towards their applied research projects.
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.
The Master of Arts in Industrial and Organizational Psychology program from Touro University Worldwide is a 36 credit program with three available concentrations for students to choose from.
These include occupational health psychology, human resources management, and coaching and consulting. It takes 1 year to complete and does not lead to licensure.
Touro University Worldwide is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission.
The University of Hartford’s Master of Science in Organizational Psychology program is a theory- and practice-based program that includes courses from the school’s business, psychology, and communications departments.
Elective courses can be pulled from additional departments. The program is designed to prepare students to become global leaders of organizational change.
The University of Hartford is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.
The Master of Science in Applied Psychology program from the University of Southern California features concentrations in either consumer psychology or organizational psychology.
Both are good programs for students who are interested in pursuing business psychology-related careers. There are five required courses that are the same for both concentrations.
USC is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Students in the Master of Arts in Administration program at the University of the Incarnate Word have five concentration options to choose from. Students who select the industrial and organizational psychology option will take 15 credits of core courses, 12 concentration-specific credits, and a 3 credit capstone course.
The University of the Incarnate Word is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
Getting Your Masters in Industrial Organizational Psychology Online
You don’t have to become an industrial and organizational psychologist just because you study I/O psychology. It’s a broad, wide-ranging field with many career possibilities, and a master’s degree is only one of the tools at your disposal for a lucrative future.
If you’re interested in industrial organizational psychology, you may want to consider reaching out to accredited universities to see what online graduate programs they have to offer.