Job Prospects for Industrial-Organizational Psychology Majors

human brainAfter years of study, you’ve finally earned your degree in industrial-organizational psychology. You prepare to head out into the real world, which involves finding your first post-graduate position. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, your prospects in I/O psychology are favorable, but where and how can you find a job to start paying those student loans? From academia to the private sector, there are several potentially lucrative positions in I/O psychology.

Finding the Right Path for You

There are two main paths for anyone with a degree in I/O psychology: academia or the private sector. Your preference and skill set play a huge part in making the final decision. Before accepting a position, ask yourself these two questions:

  •  Do you enjoy working in a traditional office setting?
  • Does the idea of research or working in a school’s psychology department interest you?

If you’d prefer an office setting, working in the private sector is your best option. However, this life is often stressful and there is no guarantee of job security. Academia offers more job stability, and it’s possible to make an excellent living as a professor or in research; however, you won’t have the opportunity to put your skills to practical use.

Private Sector Positions

There are a number of private sector positions available for I/O psychology graduates. Unlike academia, these positions often allow professionals to concentrate in a specialized area. For instance, you might find interacting with patients more enjoyable than academic research. Whatever your specialization, the majority of I/O psychologists work as private consultants or in-house practitioners. Working in the private sector allows you the opportunity to travel and select the jobs that interest or excite you. However, if you’d prefer the stability of a regular paycheck, consider working as an in-house consultant instead.

Jobs in Academia

There are many I/O psychology opportunities in academia. Nearly two-thirds of all I/O psychologists work solely for universities and colleges. There is room for specialization in academia; however, you’ll mostly work as a professor or researcher. In many larger institutions, professors are expected to not only instruct future psychologists, but also to spend time on research and grant writing, and less time in the classroom.

Salary Prospects

According to the BLS, the median wage for an I/O psychologist is $94,720 per year. As an entry-level employee, you can expect to earn approximately $55,000 per year. Management positions are also more available. On average, a seasoned I/O psychologist can make upward of $163,000 each year in-house or in the private sector. If you choose academia, the average salary is around $74,000 per year.

Heading Back to the Classroom

Industrial-organizational psychology is a rapidly growing field; however, there is one critical step you must take before you can advance in the field: earn a graduate degree. Today, the majority of I/O psychologists have at least a master’s degree, and in many cases colleges, universities and private-sector employers only hire candidates with a Ph.D. If you’d like to advance, begin researching the industrial organizational psychology masters programs in your area or online.

From the private sector to academia, there are many possibilities available to post-grad I/O psychologists. As you advance in your career, remember that to remain competitive, it’s crucial to earn an advanced degree. Online psychology degrees allow you to succeed without sacrificing your career or personal life.

About the Author: Herman Jackson is a guest blogger and recent graduate. Herman is currently earning his master’s degree in industrial organizational psychology from an online university and hopes to find a job in academia after graduating.

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