I/O psychologists apply their scientific research in all types of organizational and workplace settings, such as manufacturing, commercial enterprises, labor unions and health care facilities. The focus of their research ranges from applicant and employee testing and assessment to leadership development, staffing, management, teams, compensation, workplace safety, diversity and work-life balance.</span>
I/O psychologists may also work directly in an organization’s human resources department, or they may act as independent consultants, called into an organization to solve a particular problem.</span>
The career path to becoming an I/O psychologist begins with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Opportunities with a bachelor’s degree alone aren’t unheard of, but they are sparse. Most students interested in I/O psychology go on to earn an advanced degree, although they may take time off between degrees to work and gain real world experience.
A person with a master’s degree in I/O psychology is often able to find an entry-level position to launch a career. However, those with a doctoral degree will have more employment opportunities in this field.
Specialized knowledge and training in the science of behavior in the workplace requires in-depth knowledge of organizational development, attitudes, career development, decision theory, human performance and human factors, consumer behavior, small group theory and process, criterion theory and development, job and task analysis and individual assessment. In addition, the specialty of industrial-organizational psychology requires knowledge of ethical considerations as well as statutory, administrative, and case law and executive orders as related to activities in the workplace.</span>
I/O Psychologists are scientist-practitioners who have expertise in the design, execution and interpretation of research in psychology and who apply their findings to help address human and organizational problems in the context of organized work. I/O psychologists:
- Identify training and development needs;
- Design and optimize job and work and quality of work life;
- Formulate and implement training programs and evaluate their effectiveness;
- Coach employees;
- Develop criteria to evaluate performance of individuals and organizations; and
- Assess consumer preferences, customer satisfaction and market strategies.