Becoming an Industrial Organizational Psychologist

Career Plan: a step by step approach…

Industrial psychologists help firms find candidates that are suited for particular positions; they also assist in training and solve workplace problems. A career as an industrial psychologist requires at least a master’s degree, but early preparation can help you make a quick transition into the workforce.

  1. Use you high school years to get a solid academic background and some real world experience. Advanced placement classes can get you off to a good start. The College Board recommends taking health science and consumer science and volunteering as a peer counselor at school.

  2. Select an undergraduate school and program. Your undergraduate major doesn’t necessarily have to be psychology, but make sure you get your prerequisites in. Your graduate program will likely require courses in both psychology and statistics. Requirements will vary from institution to institution, so it’s a good idea to look ahead. You may visit the site of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP) to learn more.

  3. If you have substantial life experience, you may be a candidate for a combined bachelor’s/ master’s program. This is an accelerated option and can get you out into the field in as little as five years.

  4. Strive for a solid GPA as an undergraduate. You may want to seek out research opportunities. You can also become a SIOP Student Affiliate. This will give you networking opportunities and put professional resources at your fingertips.

  5. Research master’s or PhD programs. You may want to visit the SIOP website for a copy of Graduate Training Programs in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Related Fields. SIOP recommends that you inquire about internships or externships, faculty quality, attrition rate and post-graduation success, as well as program breadth. Since industrial psychologists work in the business arena, you may want to ask about the school’s collaboration with business programs. If you are considering an online program, you may want to inquire about seminars and discussions.

  6. Complete your degree requirements. Continue to seek out research opportunities and develop relationships with professors and other mentors.

  7. If you are seeking licensing or board certification, complete a post-doctoral fellowship.

  8. Now it’s time to find a job in an industrial or educational setting. If you’re utilizing general online job boards, be aware that positions for industrial psychologists go by a variety of names. Some examples are personnel analyst, training and development manager, and employment testing specialist. You may want to visit SIOP JobNet.

Personality Traits: Industrial psychologists have analytical problem solving ability and strong communication skills.