Earning a Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Online

What You’ll Learn & What You Can Do After Graduation

Should I Pursue a Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Online?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that industrial-organizational psychologists earn a mean annual wage of $102,530, significantly higher than that for psychologists who work in schools and clinical settings. Industrial-organizational psychologists work within a business or as consultants to help management make decisions that affect employee satisfaction. They address the psychological needs of people within an organization and propose changes that will presumably make everyone happier and more productive. Students who excel in this well-paying field possess critical-thinking, decision-making, and research skills.

An online master's in industrial-organizational psychology may open other career doors. For example, some graduates become human resource managers, management consultants, and postsecondary teachers. Students who take their industrial-organizational psychology master's programs online may have more flexibility in their schedule.

Employment Outlook for Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Graduates

Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Salary

While the mean annual wage for these professionals currently falls at $102,530, psychologists earn different figures depending on where they work and how long they have been in the industry. For example, industrial-organizational psychologists in Virginia and New Jersey enjoy higher mean wages than those in other states. Across the country, these professionals start earning above-average wages with about ten years of experience; however, any student who wants to pursue an online masters in industrial-organizational psychology should consider that the BLS only estimates 920 positions across the country; a few unusually high or low salaries can change these numbers substantially.

Top Paying States for Industrial-Organizational Psychology

State Employment Annual Mean Wage
Virginia 240 $123,640
New Jersey 40 $107,950
Pennsylvania N/A $91,140
Florida N/A $79,010
Massachusetts 120 $75,100

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Pay by Experience Level for Psychologists

  • Entry-Level (0-5 Years):
    $61,000
  • Mid-Career (5-10 Years):
    $94,000
  • Experienced (10-20 Years):
    $112,000
  • Late-Career (20+ Years):
    $131,000

Source: PayScale

Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Careers

While some psychology concentrations lead to narrow career paths, earning an industrial-organizational psychology master's online provides several unique opportunities. Graduates work for themselves as consultants, for colleges as educators, or for businesses as in-house human resource managers. These professionals choose their paths based on their unique skills, personalities, and interests. For example, a graduate with an entrepreneurial streak who is a people-person may do well in consulting, while a conceptual thinker and natural leader may enjoy training management.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

Annual Median Salary: $87,100
Projected Growth Rate: 8%

Psychologists in this specialization often do not work in clinical settings. Instead, they conduct research or consult with upper-level management of major corporations. The BLS projects slightly above-average growth rates for this career. This field requires natural empathy, strong organizational skills, and conceptualization abilities. Furthermore, most employers prefer to hire those with master's degrees or doctorates.

Management Consultant

Annual Median Salary: $82,450
Projected Growth Rate: 14%

These consultants either work for themselves, for a consulting business, or with a single company as part of the in-house team. They analyze the management hierarchies in organizations, apply management and psychological theories, and design effective strategies. An online master's in organizational psychology proves a candidate's expertise to employers or clients.

Training and Development Manager

Annual Median Salary: $108,250
Projected Growth Rate: 10%

These human resource managers oversee employee training programs, ensuring that new and experienced workers get the development programs they need to succeed in their positions. While many employers only require bachelor's degrees for these positions, an online industrial-organizational psychology degree can distinguish an applicant from others.

Human Resources Manager

Annual Median Salary: $110,120
Projected Growth Rate: 9%

Training managers sometimes work under human resource managers and may oversee all aspects of human resources in smaller organizations. Most employers only require bachelor's degrees and some experience for these positions; however, an online masters in industrial-organizational psychology helps candidates earn some of the top jobs.

Postsecondary Teacher

Annual Median Salary: $76,000
Projected Growth Rate: 15%

Psychology learners who enjoy research and teaching others can fill these industrial-organizational psychology jobs in colleges and universities. They can train up-and-coming professionals while researching specialized fields. While those with master's degrees can teach certain classes in two-year colleges, larger universities often require professors to have doctoral degrees.

What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program?

Some schools allow students to specialize in industrial-organizational psychology, while others put this as a concentration within a broader psychology degree. Students may find the sample courses below in many types of programs.

Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

  1. Workforce Training and Development: Students in these courses learn how to create effective training programs that motivate and teach employees. They may study the psychology research behind different methods as well. This class greatly benefits learners who want to work in human resources. Consultants also use these techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of development programs.
  2. Leadership Development: These classes help learners uncover what it means to be an effective leader and how to identify those characteristics in others. Professors provide several different definitions of leadership, as well as the theories and research behind them. Psychologists, consultants, and business managers all apply these findings to their careers as they find, develop, and organize leaders.
  3. Personnel Psychology in the Workplace: These courses cover theories of workplace psychology and apply them to organizations. Topics may include job design, recruitment, performance management, and ethical issues in human resources. Graduates can use the skills from this class to design effective programs as human resource managers, psychologists, and consultants.
  4. Organizational Behavior: Students in these classes learn the ways that personnel psychology affects an organization. Learners study the research on topics like team building, company cultures, and employee training. While many professionals can use these skills, management analysts and consultants especially need to know how to apply these ideas.
  5. Capstone: These final courses prepare candidates for jobs in industrial-organizational psychology. Learners combine the skills they learned throughout their programs to complete final projects. This process gives students experiences they can talk about in interviews and add to their portfolios.

Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Industrial-Organizational Psychology Prepares For

  • State Licenses: The Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology helps candidates understand the licensing requirements for each state. Since these psychologists do not work in clinical settings, some states do not require licenses; however, practitioners in other states need to apply through their states to work legally as psychologists.
  • Certified Professional: The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) offers graduates the chance to take the SHRM-CP exam. Candidates with master's degrees in human resource fields, including industrial-organizational psychology, only need to work in a human resources role to apply. After three years in such a job, they can become Senior Certified Professionals.