Industrial-organizational or I-O psychology is a great career if you like to use evidence to solve organizational problems. It is not just my opinion that I-O is a great career. AARP called I-O the best new career for people over 40. US News and World Report listed I-O and the 2nd best science career. I-O jobs are varied, they are plentiful, and they pay well.
What Is I-O Psychology?
I-O psychology is a field devoted to the human side of the workplace. I-O psychologists are consultants who help organizations manage their people, are scientists who study people at work, and are professors who teach students. I-O psychologists who work as consultants support the human resource side of organizations either as inside employees or outside consultants. I-O psychologists are technical specialists who are experts in assessment, research methodology, and statistics. It generally takes a graduate degree–either a master’s or doctoral degree to be considered an I-O psychologist.
Why Is I-O Psychology a Great Career?
There are lots of reasons that I-O psychology is a great career. Of course it is only a great career if you enjoy doing the sorts of things I-Os do. But if you like doing I-O things, here’s reasons to consider this field.
- Variety. I-Os work in many different settings doing many different things. Some are professors working in business schools, psychology departments and other places on campus. Others are in private practice consulting for companies, or they work for consulting firms. Many are employed by organizations, with a majority developing assessment systems to help with employee recruitment. A list of all the settings and activities of I-O psychologists would be very long.
- Pays Well. Every few years the Society for IO Psychology (SIOP) publishes a salary survey. The latest in 2016 shows that the median annual salary is $85,000 for those with an MA degree and $119,000 for those with a PhD.
- Job Opportunity. There are lots of I-O jobs for both those with MA and PhD degrees. The field has been rapidly expanding in both the settings and tasks that I-Os do. Where at one time the field was concerned only with maximizing the use of human resources. The field today is also concerned with the well-being of employees.
- Impact. There are many ways that I-Os can have positive impact on the world though their consulting, research, and teaching. Some I-Os focus mainly in one of these areas, but many have impact in all three.