Industrial/occupational psychology examines how human psychology impacts the performance of organization.

What motivates workers to perform? What makes employees satisfied? What inspires leaders to shoulder big challenges and take risks? If you’re interested in what makes people tick in the workplace, industrial/organizational psychology (I/O) may be a good fit for you.

What can you do with a degree in I/O psychology?

An education in I/O can be applied in a wide variety of workplaces, says Jeanie Whinghter, PhD, faculty chair of the I/O program at Capella University. I/0 psychologists are hired by private and public companies, consulting firms, government agencies, nonprofit organizations, and universities and colleges. They help measure and make recommendations regarding:

  • Employee recruitment, selection, and retention
  • Performance appraisals
  • Employee satisfaction surveys
  • Leadership development and coaching
  • Strategic planning and organizational change
  • And much more…

What kind of jobs exist in I/O psychology?

“There’s so much diversity in what you can do with an I/O background,” Whinghter says. “That’s what makes it so exciting.”

Related Job Titles to Explore*

  • Manager or director of training
  • Adjunct or part-time psychology faculty
  • Instructor
  • Assessment specialist
  • Manager or director of human resources or organizational development
  • Research associate
  • Organizational consultant (internal or external)
  • Self-employed
  • Executive/leadership coach (internal or external)
  • Manager or director of labor relations

 Who succeeds in I/O psychology?

“People who thrive in the field tend to be very analytical,” Whinghter says. “Intellectual curiosity drives our field.” Additionally, I/O psychologists must possess an interest in business and workplace culture.

What do jobs in I/O psychology pay?

According to the 2017 Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median pay for industrial-organizational psychologists is $82,760 per year.

Of course, many factors lead to a job offer, salary, promotion, or other career growth. Capella does not guarantee its graduates will experience any particular career outcome.

What kinds of education and certification are required to work as an I/O psychologist?

Unlike jobs in other fields of psychology, most I/O psychologists do not need licensure, according to Whinghter. A master’s degree is sufficient to land some jobs, but a doctoral degree is required to be considered for many academic, research, and scientific jobs.

Learn more about Capella’s master’s and doctoral programs in I/O psychology.

*These are examples intended to serve as a general guide. Some positions may prefer or even require previous experience, licensure, certifications, and/or other designations along with a degree. Because many factors determine what position an individual may attain, Capella cannot guarantee that a graduate will secure any specific job title, a promotion, salary increase, or other career outcome. We encourage you to research requirements for your job target and career goals.