For someone thinking of entering the field of psychology perhaps a career as an Industrial Organizational psychologist (also known as I/O psychology) isn’t at the top of the list. However, with the amount of money and stress involved in large industrial corporations the need for adequate personnel with professional psychology training is crucial in maintaining a healthy and productive environment. As mental health continues to garner attention companies are beginning to realize that they need to provide personnel to deal with their most important asset: employees. Enter the I/O Psychologist. The specialty of this position can be described as the scientific study of human behavior in the work place. The type of employees served by the I/O psychologist includes those involved in business, industry and labor, public, academic, community, and health fields.
The “industrial side” of I/O psychology focuses more on the employee and his or her relationship to the workplace. This generally covers job analysis, employee training, employee hiring systems, etc. The “organizational” side refers to the organization or the workplace as a whole. The goal is to increase productivity and achieve the maximum performance possible. When the two are paired together what is hopefully obtained is a smooth and efficient workplace. Below we will look at the specifics that go into an Industrial Organizational psychologist salary, job requirements, education, and job outlook.
Overview of an Industrial Organizational Psychologist Salary
According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), as of last year the average hourly wage was $36.99, and the average Industrial Organizational psychologist Salary was $76,950. The scale for pay can be dramatic. For example, the bottom 10th percentile on the I/O Psychologist Salary pay scale earns $51,970 (or $24.99/hr) while the top 90th percentile earns $145,480 (or $69.94/hr).
The education level that has been completed often determines an I/O Psychologist’s salary. Those with a master’s degree tend to see starting salaries of around $38,750. Those with a Ph.D. can expect a starting salary of $55,000. These are of course entry-level salaries. Experience also weighs heavily on salary considerations.
Earning Factors of an Industrial Organizational Psychologist Salary
While education and experience factor in to the Industrial Organizational psychologist salary perhaps the biggest factor is the particular industry one works in. For instance, while state government positions make up a large portion of the I/O psychologist employment concentration they aren’t even in the top 5 paying industries for the position. The top paying industries are as follows:
- Scientific Research and Development Services – $110,550 per year or $53.15/hr.
- Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services – $105,430 per year or $50.69/hr.
- Management of Companies and Enterprises – $100,750 per year or $48.44/hr.
- Elementary and Secondary Schools – $83,160 per year or $39.98/hr.
- Management, Scientific, and Technical Consulting Services – $83,110 per year or $39.95/hr.
Geography is another important factor. Different states and regions need to be considered when determining an Industrial Organizational psychologist salary. Below are the top paying states for this occupation:
- California – $105,580 per year or $50.76/hr.
- Minnesota – $100,030 per year or $48.09/hr.
- Virginia – $94,920 per year or $45.64/hr.
- Ohio – $93,580 per year or $44.99/hr.
- Pennsylvania – $92,780 per year or $44.61/hr.
Industrial Organizational Psychologist Job Description
There are many facets that can be included in the Industrial Organizational psychologist Job Description. For one, the I/O Psychologist must apply the principles of psychology to all areas of the company: human resources, administration, management, sales, and marketing solutions. They study the results of previous research or conduct their own original research. An I/O psychologist then uses the results to help solve any number of problems that might be occurring in regards to productivity and employee/employer relations. Activities of this position include, but are not limited to:
- The testing, selection, training, and development of new employees.
- Policy planning.
- Organizational development and analysis.
- Work in conjunction with management to implement new practices in order to improve employee productivity.
- Create specifications and criteria to evaluate the performance of both employee and employer.
- Assess the preferences of the consumer, customer satisfaction, and marketing effectiveness.
Industrial Organizational Psychologist Job Outlook
The Industrial Organizational psychologist outlook is promising. Companies are always looking to get the maximum productivity and this cannot happen with inadequate or unhappy employees. Because I/O psychologists focus on making the workplace more pleasant for the employees, in turn the employees become more productive. It really is a no-lose proposition for any large company and for this reason the I/O psychology field is just as promising as a more traditional psychologist outlook.
Last year the BLS ranked Industrial Organizational psychologists as the #1 fastest-growing occupation in the U.S., predicting a growth rate of 53% by 2022. This growth rate expectancy beats out all other occupations, including personal care (49%), home health aides (48%), and diagnostic medical sonographers (46%). Says BLS supervisor Henry Kasper, “Companies see they can get a lot of benefit from hiring them (I/O psychologists) on a contract basis. They come in and help improve productivity. The trend is up-and in a pretty significant way.”
Industrial Organizational Psychologist Education Requirements
As with any other career in the psychology field, an Industrial Organizational psychologist education requires several years of schooling. Many I/O psychologists start off by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in general psychology. However, some schools do offer four-year bachelor degree programs in I/O psychology. But because job opportunities are so limited for those with only a bachelor’s degree most students will pursue an advanced degree. Those with higher education credentials have an edge when vying for job opportunities in the I/O psychology field.
Besides the normal Psychologist Education an I/O psychologist requires more specialized knowledge and training in order to apply the science of behavior to the workplace. For this reason additional Psychologist Training is required. In depth knowledge of organizational development, decision theory, consumer behavior, and job/task analysis is crucial to the position. Ethical considerations must also be taken in to account, as well as administrative, case law, and executive orders as related to ergonomics. These skills can be acquired through real-world experience on-the-job, and continuous training programs.
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