Career Choice

Sometimes I find myself thinking about what I want to do when I graduate the Spring. I had my heart set on law school but sometimes question that decision. I always appreciate hearing about different career opportunities and paths, especially when they pay good (because school loan debt!). If you find yourself in the same position as me, you may be interested in learning more about industrial and organizational psychology.

Industrial and organizational psychology specializes in the study of human behavior in organizations and the work place. This branch of psychology focuses on deriving principles of individual, group and organizational behavior and applying this knowledge to the solution of problems at work. I/O psychologist seek to address issues such as, issues of recruitment, selection and placement, training and development, performance measurement, workplace motivation and reward systems, quality of work life, structure of work and human factors, organizational development and consumer behavior.

Duties that I/O psychologist are often tasked with include, recruiting and selecting employees, job training and development, maximizing wellness and quality of life, ergonomics, organizational development, and performance management and enhancement Cherry, 2019). Industrial and organization psychologist work in typical psychology environments such as, clinics, schools, and hospitals. They also work in large corporate or even small businesses and anywhere else morale and improved performance are goals.

In order to become an I/O psychologist you must first get your bachelors degree, preferably in psychology. Then you should earn a masters and even a PHD or PsyD. The minimum recommended degree to enter the field is a masters, however, to be competitive at the top levels, a PhD is often required (Writers, 2019).  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ current Occupational Outlook Handbook, the median national annual salary for industrial-organizational psychologists is $87,100. The top 10 % earned more than $184,520.

Of course salary varies with experience, as with many jobs. What are your thoughts on an I/O psychologist career? According to Penn State’s website, their I/O graduate program is continuously rated one of the top five I/O psychology doctoral programs in the nation. That is pretty awesome! If you plan on continuing your education and obtaining an I/O psychologist career, you can do so right at PSU!

Cherry, K. (2019, September 23). What Exactly Do Industrial-Organizational Psychologists Do? Retrieved from
Department of Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Home : Occupational Outlook Handbook: (n.d.). Retrieved from
Writers, S. (2019, March 4). How to Become an I-O Psychologist. Retrieved from


  1. Personally, I find Industrial Organizational Psychology fascinating and considered pursuing my PsyD in I/O. I am finishing my BS in Psychology with a business focus, I have decided to pursue my MBA with a social science focus, rather than chain myself to I/O. When you look at the topics of I/O on an elementary level, I/O psychologists help with talent development and training, hiring and recruiting, performance assessment and recognition, and organizational development and management (Writers, 2019). This sounds like a very expensive Human Resources degree. I met with an I/O Consultant in Panama City over coffee to see how the workforce was in the Florida Panhandle for this specialty, and it was grim. She could not secure a full time position in any corporation and has instead opened her own I/O consulting firm. She has a lot of frustrations as we are in the South and a woman coming into a male owned company with suggestions on how to improve the worker’s lives was taboo. Even if she made it in the door, many contracts were cancelled before the interventions were able to take place. I did not feel that she was telling me this to decrease her competition in the slightest, as I feel she loved this career path but our area was not receptive. After hours of research, I decided to pursue the business focus path to practice my love of psychology. I am already helping with inter-group relations on our team, suggesting personality tests for job advancement and internal movement, and even suggesting psychology based marketing strategies. I have been primarily in the startup field for the past 10 years, so having a business background is always a safe bet. I am excited to see what I can learn in my MBA program! I feel that the MBA will give me opportunities to branch out into other areas of business and not become stuck in one sort of career for the rest of my life. As the job market changes, it seems that an MBA program is the best path for my career.


    Writers, S. (2019, March 4). How to Become an I-O Psychologist. Retrieved October 13, 2019, from

  2. I found your post regarding industrial and organizational psychology to be very informative. Although I am a psychology major, I have never spent any time learning about the role of I/O psychology. I currently work at an acute inpatient hospital that is one of the few hospitals to take the sickest patients in the nation. Due to the level of critical care, we provide the workplace can be very dark, cold, and sterile. At times the hospital can feel like a dungeon of negativity, and it is hard at times to maintain a positive mindset for our patients. Most recently, the hospital psychologists started holding meditation groups before and after work and during lunch breaks. After reading your post, I realized that these professionals were I/O psychologists! In addition to holding meditation groups, they host exercise classes, continuing education classes, and reward systems. One reward system that was implemented was for all of the units to receive flu shots. To do this, they had a competition to see which unit could have every employee receive a flu shot and the first unit to do so would receive a pizza party. I have found that these professionals make a significant impact on the employees’ overall mindset and wellbeing. I think that this type of profession would be extremely rewarding and would allow for a substantial amount of creativity! Thank you for sharing about the profession.

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