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Industrial - Organizational Psychologist

What is an industrial-organizational psychologist? Discover how they are positively impacting health care today

Industrial-organizational psychologists apply their discipline to the workplace and ways to improve it. They often work as consultants and come into a workplace to work on a particular issue. Some tasks they perform could include screening and training job applicants, working on personnel problems, addressing workplace stress, or reorganizing the work environment to increase worker productivity or satisfaction. They research and analyze information to evaluate workplace programs in place and, using psychology, often restructure or make changes as needed to bring about desired improvements. It is a branch of psychology that involves a lot of research and less one-on-one counseling that clinical psychology offers.

What type of studies will I need to complete?

You will need a masterís degree if you are interested in industrial-organizational psychology. This requires two years of study, with practical experience and a thesis as well as classroom study. Because graduate programs for psychology can be competitive, it is best to earn a bachelorís degree in psychology. Some universities and colleges offer bachelorís degrees in industrial-organizational psychology specifically. If you do not major in psychology, however, you should still take some courses in basic psychology. Additional courses in business administration could also be beneficial if you know you want to pursue industrial-organizational psychology.

Topics of study in an industrial-organizational specialty will cover personality, perception, cognition, and human development. A masterís degree in this field will involve a lot of research, analysis, statistics, and will culminate with a thesis. Earning a doctoral degree would broaden your prospects even more, and enable you to teach industrial-psychology courses at the university level.

Licensure and future job prospects

Licensure as a psychologist is required. It involves earning your degree, undergoing a period of supervision by a licensed psychologist, and passing the Examination for Professional Practice of Psychology (EPPP) exam and passing an oral exam by your state board. There were over 2,300 industrial-organizational psychologists working in 2008, and these jobs are expected to grow at a rate of 26% through 2018, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Median salary was $83,260 in 2009. If you are interested in studying psychology and think the unique aspects of industrial-psychology interest you, explore industrial-psychology bachelorís degrees. For those interested in the research and analytical aspects of psychology, pursing this avenue instead of clinical psychology could be a perfect intersection of interests and lead into an in-demand career.

To learn more about becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist, you can contact schools that offer related psychology programs or learn more by reading the career plan discussion on becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist. If you are still trying to determine the right career choice, take some time to explore additional careers in health care.