According to the American Psychological Association (APA), industrial-organizational psychology (I/O psychology) is the study of human behavior in organizations and the workplace. I/O psychologists focus on principles of group and organizational behavior and problem solving to help individuals on the job work better.
I/O psychologists may focus on increasing employee productivity, develop assessment tools for new applicants and leadership roles, improve the quality and/or diversity of a workplace, and alter the organization’s structure to increase profit. The psychologists are able to accomplish all of these tasks, and more, through observation, evaluation, and quantitative research. I/O psychologists can work directly for a company in their human resources department, or become independent consultants that are called in by companies. They can be found in various work environments including manufacturing, commercial enterprises, labor unions, government, health care facilities, nonprofits, and more. Some may become professors in colleges and universities and are qualified to be trainers, facilitators, coaches, and the like.
Those who choose to pursue I/O psychology usually must obtain advanced degrees, such as a master’s and/or doctoral degree, to have a wider range of career options. According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment for I/O psychologists is projected to grow 14% from 2016 to 2026, and job prospects should be best for those with doctoral degrees. These psychologists make a median salary of $77,030 as of May 2017. The highest paid positions can be given salaries up to $250,000.
To learn more about I/O psychology, visit APA’s website: https://www.apa.org/action/science/organizational/education-training
If you are interested in pursuing a degree in I/O psychology, TAMU’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences has a master’s and PhD program in I/O. To learn more about the programs, visit https://liberalarts.tamu.edu/psychology or get in touch with an I/O professor or grad student.