How to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology Online
Industrial-organizational psychology programs teach students how to apply psychological concepts to business problems in areas such as human resources, marketing, sales, and management. Students gain the skills necessary to analyze workplaces, recommend new policies, and boost profitability. Graduates of bachelor’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs often work in human resources departments, training and development firms, and management consulting companies.
This guide describes the process of earning a bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology online. The following sections explore coursework, financial aid, job outlook, and salaries to help you find the best organizational psychology program for your needs and goals.
How Much Can You Make in an Industrial-Organizational Psychology Career?
Your college major can significantly impact your future earning potential. While a bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology does not guarantee a particular position or salary, graduates often secure high-paying positions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the top 10% of training and development specialists earn more than $102,740 per year, while the highest-earning management analysts earn more than $150,000 annually.
The psychology field as a whole displays steady growth. The BLS projects a 14% increase in psychology jobs from 2016-2026. The table below details common jobs, salaries, and daily responsibilities for professionals who have earned an industrial-organizational psychology bachelor’s degree online.
Training and Development Specialist
Median Annual Salary: $60,870
Job Growth (2016-2026): 11%
Training and development workers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in a field such as social science, business, or organizational psychology. These specialists meet with consultants and managers to determine training needs, then use this information to coordinate professional development programs. These specialists create training manuals, online classes, and other educational materials. They also deliver classes and evaluate the effectiveness of training programs.
Median Annual Salary: $97,260
Job Growth (2016-2026): 8%
Industrial-organizational psychologists apply psychological principles and research methods to problems in areas such as employee productivity, management styles, and workplace morale. These professionals may work with executives and training specialists to plan employee development programs and develop organizational policies. Industrial-organizational psychologists typically need a master’s degree, but a bachelor’s in the field can prepare students for graduate work.
Human Resources Specialist
Median Annual Salary: $60,880
Job Growth (2016-2026): 7%
Human resources specialists read resumes, interview potential employees, and assign positions to new workers. They also manage the company’s payroll and benefits and keep employee records. Human resources specialists may meet regularly with upper management to discuss hiring needs and labor relations issues. These professionals may also mediate workplace disputes.
Median Annual Salary: $83,610
Job Growth (2016-2026): 14%
Management consultants, sometimes called management analysts, develop plans to increase organizations’ efficiency and profitability. They observe each organization’s workflow, procedures, and management style, and they recommend improvements to managers and top executives. These consultants may also analyze financial documents and data to identify problem areas. Management analysts often work for consulting firms that serve many clients.
Training and Development Manager
Median Annual Salary: $111,340
Job Growth (2016-2026): 10%
Training and development managers plan and coordinate educational programs that teach employees new skills. They supervise training staff, choose course materials, and teach training techniques to specialists. In addition, these managers purchase training programs from vendors and oversee budgets. Training and development managers work closely with top executives to ensure that training initiatives align with the organization’s goals.
According to the BLS, the top 10% of industrial-organizational psychologists earn more than $192,150 per year, while the bottom 10% earn less than $51,350 annually. Variables including geographic location, experience level, and industry can significantly impact earning potential. The highest paying sector for industrial psychologists is scientific research, and the highest paying state is California. The list below includes salaries and job growth figures for industrial psychologists across the country.
What Courses Can Be Taken for an Online I/O Psychology Degree?
Curricula for bachelor’s in industrial-organizational psychology programs vary between schools, but many programs in the field include some similar courses. Most programs begin with introductory courses to help learners build a foundation in areas such as multicultural psychology, abnormal psychology, developmental psychology, and research methods. Advanced and specialized courses introduce students to topics such as workplace psychology, organizational behavior, and leadership.
The table below details common organizational psychology courses. However, students should contact each prospective school to learn about specific course requirements.
ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY AND BEHAVIOR
This course explores the relationship between human behavior and organizational effectiveness. Students learn about behavior in relation to teamwork, diversity, stress, motivation, leadership, attitudes, and change management.
Students examine theories relating to topics such as intrapersonal, interpersonal, and group behavior. They learn how social factors influence development, personality, and behavior.
PSYCHOLOGY OF LEADERSHIP
Students explore major psychological theories related to leadership and leader development. Learners study leadership styles, ethical issues, and characteristics of effective leaders.
MEASUREMENT OF HUMAN PERFORMANCE
This class prepares students to administer tests of employee personality, cognition, and performance. Students learn to use psychometric testing to select personnel, develop training programs, and measure employee satisfaction.
INTRODUCTION TO MANAGEMENT
This course explores the role of managers in leading, planning, and running organizations. Students learn about techniques for decision-making, employee motivation, and leadership.
How to Choose the Best Online Industrial-Organizational Psychology Program
Choosing an online industrial-organizational psychology school is a highly personal decision. Students should compare key elements of each program to their individual needs and academic goals. For example, program costs vary considerably, and you should only attend a school you can afford. Other factors to consider include accreditation, degree requirements, and research opportunities.
The following tips can help you choose a program and use your online bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology to land a position in the field.
What are my options after graduation?
After earning your bachelor’s degree in industrial-organizational psychology online, you can pursue careers related to employee performance, satisfaction, and development. Organizational psychology curricula cover topics in psychology, performance evaluation, management, and business. Graduates often secure jobs in consulting, training and development, and human resources. Aspiring industrial-organizational psychologists need to earn a master’s degree in the field.
Will I need to complete a final project?
Industrial-organizational psychology programs often include a capstone requirement that synthesizes major course topics. Students may need to produce a final research project or pass an advanced capstone course. Some programs require a hands-on project in training and development or a similar field. Select programs require a field experience component, such as an internship.
How should I select electives and other courses?
Some programs follow a strict curriculum and include few electives, while others allow students to choose many courses for themselves. When selecting electives, consult each course’s online syllabus and determine which topics interest you the most. You can choose additional organizational psychology courses or classes in other psychology fields, such as child psychology, law and psychology, and gender.
What skills do industrial-organizational psychology programs develop?
Students build a broad skill set in areas such as program evaluation and psychometric testing. Learners also develop general skills that apply to many careers. For example, students take courses on research methods and learn about statistical techniques. In addition, core requirements often include classes on career development and written communication.
What degree should I pursue?
Though some universities offer a BA or BS in industrial-organizational psychology, many schools offer industrial psychology as a specialization. Consider which degree you would like to pursue, because each program features a slightly different focus. You may decide to pursue a BA or BS in psychology or applied psychology with a specialization in industrial-organizational psychology.
Scholarships and Financial Aid for I/O Psychology Programs
Tuition prices at higher education institutions have increased dramatically over the last few decades; tuition at private universities can cost more than $30,000 per year. However, industrial-organizational psychology students can take advantage of financial aid options such as federal loans and work-study programs. Scholarships and grants, such as those listed below, are the ideal form of funding, since they do not have to be repaid.
The American Psychology-Law Society, a division of the American Psychological Association, offers this scholarship to undergraduates involved in research related to psychology and law. Applicants must submit a research report of at least 20 pages. Students must also submit a letter of support from their faculty advisor. The first-place winner receives $500, while those in second and third place receive $300 and $150, respectively.
Each fall, the Society for Military Psychology awards up to two $1,500 grants to undergraduate and graduate students conducting research in military psychology. Scholarship recipients can also request up to $750 to fund a trip to the APA convention. Applicants must submit a faculty-approved research proposal related to military, industrial-organizational, or clinical psychology. Applicants must also submit a cover letter, a five-page research summary, a resume, and a letter of recommendation.
The NIH offers this award to students from disadvantaged backgrounds who plan to pursue careers in biomedical, social science, or behavioral health research. Scholarship winners receive tuition assistance, paid research training at the NIH, and employment at the NIH after graduation. Students receive up to $20,000 per year for tuition, living costs, and other educational expenses. Applicants must be enrolled at an accredited U.S. university and must have at least a 3.3 GPA.
Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, offers more than $400,000 per year in awards and grants. The organization offers a general undergraduate scholarship to help Psi Chi members pay for tuition, fees, textbooks, and other costs directly related to earning a psychology degree. Each year, the association awards eight $3,000 scholarships to undergraduates who demonstrate financial need and academic achievement. Applicants must submit a resume, transcripts, an essay illustrating their financial need, a personal essay, and a letter of recommendation.
The American Psychological Foundation sponsors this scholarship, which supports psychology majors who demonstrate financial need. Each year, this program awards six $5,000 scholarships to help cover tuition, textbooks, and institutional fees. Applicants must major in psychology, demonstrate financial need, and have at least a 3.5 cumulative GPA. Applicants submit a resume, a current transcript, a personal essay, and a recommendation letter.