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Industrial-Organizational Psychologists
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Description: what do they do?
Apply principles of psychology to human resources, administration, management, sales, and marketing problems. Activities may include policy planning; employee testing and selection, training and development; and organizational development and analysis. May work with management to organize the work setting to improve worker productivity.
Also known as:
Industrial Psychologist, Consultant, Research Scientist, Industrial/Organizational Psychologist (I/O Psychologist), Organizational Consultant, Consulting Psychologist, Assessment Services Manager, Organizational Psychologist, Management Consultant, Organizational Development Consultant

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Many companies say their greatest resource is their employees. Industrial-organizational psychologists help develop positive, effective work environments that support employee success, and organizational productivity. Focusing on making a strong match between employees and positions, they are often adept at job analysis— learning which skills and qualities are most important for different jobs. They develop testing and selection methods to make the best hiring decisions, and help current employees find advancement opportunities within their organization. When conflicts occur, they participate in mediation and dispute resolution. Industrial-organizational psychologists also advise leaders on how to communicate effectively. They use surveys and other tools to identify the areas an organization needs to change to be more successful. To improve morale, lower stress, and build stronger teams, these psychologists also develop training programs for staff and managers. Work settings for this field are most often corporations, research groups, government agencies, or independent work consulting with different types of organizations. A master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology is required to enter this field; some positions require a Ph.D. The great reward for an industrial-organization psychologist… comes from seeing employees achieve their own job satisfaction.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
Tennessee
30
2016 Employment
30
2026 Employment
-3%
Percent change
0
Annual projected job openings
United States
1,700
2016 Employment
1,800
2026 Employment
8%
Percent change
100
Annual projected job openings

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
Location37814United States
10%N/A$51,350
25%N/A$61,950
MedianN/A$97,260
75%N/A$138,180
90%N/A$192,150


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2018 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • Master's degree
  • No work experience
  • Internship/residency

Programs that can prepare you:

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Develop educational programs.
  • Mediate disputes.
  • Conduct scientific research of organizational behavior or processes.
  • Prepare scientific or technical reports or presentations.
  • Testify at legal or legislative proceedings.
  • Collect information from people through observation, interviews, or surveys.
  • Develop methods of social or economic research.
  • Review professional literature to maintain professional knowledge.
  • Administer standardized physical or psychological tests.
  • Confer with clients to exchange information.
  • Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
  • Advise others on business or operational matters.
  • Counsel clients on mental health or personal achievement.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Personnel and Human Resources - Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Education and Training - Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Skills
People in this career often have these skills:
  • Reading Comprehension - Reading work-related information.
  • Active Listening - Listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions.
  • Complex Problem Solving - Noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Thinking about the pros and cons of different options and picking the best one.
  • Speaking - Talking to others.
  • Systems Analysis - Figuring out how a system should work and how changes in the future will affect it.
  • Critical Thinking - Thinking about the pros and cons of different ways to solve a problem.
  • Systems Evaluation - Measuring how well a system is working and how to improve it.
  • Writing - Writing things for co-workers or customers.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Understanding people's reactions.
  • Monitoring - Keeping track of how well people and/or groups are doing in order to make improvements.
  • Science - Using scientific rules and strategies to solve problems.
  • Time Management - Managing your time and the time of other people.
  • Active Learning - Figuring out how to use new ideas or things.
  • Persuasion - Talking people into changing their minds or their behavior.
  • Coordination - Changing what is done based on other people's actions.
  • Learning Strategies - Using the best training or teaching strategies for learning new things.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list the work-related skills most commonly required for jobs in the career.

    This list can help you understand how well your current skills fit this career. It can also help you plan your education or professional development.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Skills descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Written Expression - Communicating by writing.
  • Oral Expression - Communicating by speaking.
  • Written Comprehension - Reading and understanding what is written.
  • Oral Comprehension - Listening and understanding what people say.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Deductive Reasoning - Using rules to solve problems.
  • Speech Recognition - Recognizing spoken words.
  • Inductive Reasoning - Making general rules or coming up with answers from lots of detailed information.
  • Speech Clarity - Speaking clearly.
  • Fluency of Ideas - Coming up with lots of ideas.
  • Information Ordering - Ordering or arranging things.
  • Mathematical Reasoning - Choosing the right type of math to solve a problem.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Originality - Creating new and original ideas.
  • Category Flexibility - Grouping things in different ways.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Enterprising - Occupations with Enterprising interests frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. Many involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • Artistic - Occupations with Artistic interests frequently involve working with forms, designs and patterns. They often require self-expression and allow for developing unique approaches to conducting the work.
  • Investigative - Occupations with Investigative interests frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They often involve research and figuring out problems mentally.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Formulate and implement training programs, applying principles of learning and individual differences.
  • Participate in mediation and dispute resolution.
  • Conduct research studies of physical work environments, organizational structures, communication systems, group interactions, morale, or motivation to assess organizational functioning.
  • Conduct presentations on research findings for clients or at research meetings.
  • Provide expert testimony in employment lawsuits.
  • Study consumers' reactions to new products and package designs, and to advertising efforts, using surveys and tests.
  • Develop interview techniques, rating scales, and psychological tests used to assess skills, abilities, and interests for the purpose of employee selection, placement, or promotion.
  • Review research literature to remain current on psychological science issues.
  • Conduct individual assessments, including interpreting measures and providing feedback for selection, placement, or promotion.
  • Write articles, white papers, or reports to share research findings and educate others.
  • Develop new business by contacting potential clients, making sales presentations, and writing proposals.
  • Develop and implement employee selection or placement programs.
  • Train clients to administer human resources functions including testing, selection, and performance management.
  • Analyze job requirements and content to establish criteria for classification, selection, training, and other related personnel functions.
  • Provide advice on best practices and implementation for selection.
  • Observe and interview workers to obtain information about the physical, mental, and educational requirements of jobs as well as information about aspects such as job satisfaction.
  • Coach senior executives and managers on leadership and performance.
  • Study organizational effectiveness, productivity, and efficiency, including the nature of workplace supervision and leadership.
  • Write reports on research findings and implications to contribute to general knowledge or to suggest potential changes in organizational functioning.
  • Counsel workers about job and career-related issues.
  • Advise management concerning personnel, managerial, and marketing policies and practices and their potential effects on organizational effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Analyze data, using statistical methods and applications, to evaluate the outcomes and effectiveness of workplace programs.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.