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Industrial-organizational psychologist salary & career outlook

Companies are constantly looking for new ways to increase employee productivity and foster harmonious environments in the workplace. Industrial-organizational psychologists help with this by applying the principles of psychology to business challenges, including talent management, employee selection, coaching, assessment, organizational development and work-life balance.

What industrial-organizational psychologists do

Industrial-organizational psychologists may work as consultants for several companies, conducting research on employee attitudes and behaviors, and offering suggestions on how companies can improve these through their hiring and management practices.

Industrial-organizational psychologists may work in a number of different industries, including scientific research, colleges and universities, government, healthcare, or in management or technical consulting. Their job duties may include:

-Conducting research into employee attitudes and performance within an organization
-Developing methods for employee hiring and training to maximize productivity
-Conducting training programs for employees
-Assisting in organizational transitions
-Making recommendations to employees to improve their hiring practices and workplace policies

How to become an industrial-organizational psychologist

Most industrial-organizational psychologist positions require a master's degree in the field, though aspiring psychologists may also choose to complete doctoral programs for greater advancement opportunities.

For students who wish to take advantage of the expanding opportunities in the field but require greater flexibility than traditional programs allow, online industrial-organizational psychology programs can be an excellent option. Online master's programs can help students get the training they need to get a foothold in the industrial-organizational psychology field.

Industrial-organizational psychologist salary trends

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for industrial-organizational psychologists in the U.S. as of May 2012 was $83,580 (bls.gov/oes, 2013). The top 10 percent of earners earned a median annual salary of $168,020. The industry with the highest salaries was the management, scientific and technical consulting industry, with a mean annual salary of $125,980.

The highest-paying states for industrial-organizational psychologists were generally located in the region near the Great Lakes. The five states with the nation's highest annual mean wages for industrial-organizational psychologists include:

1. Virginia ($110,880)
2. Minnesota ($100,290)
3. New York ($89,980)
4. Pennsylvania ($89,980)
5. Ohio ($82,110)

The highest-paying metropolitan areas for industrial-organizational psychologists include:

1. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Division (annual mean wage of $108,030)
2. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI area ($101,350)
3. Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA ($82,180)
4. Raleigh-Cary, NC ($56,920)

Career outlook for industrial-organizational psychologists

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment opportunities for industrial-organizational psychologists will expand by 35 percent between 2010 and 2020, a rate much faster than the average of 14 percent across all occupations. Companies' interest in using industrial-organizational psychologists to help select and retain employees, improve working environments, and bolster productivity helps account for the profession's projected growth.

Career opportunities for industrial-organizational psychologists will expand by 35 percent between 2010 and 2020, a rate much faster than average, according to the BLS. Organizations' desire to increase efficiency by bolstering employee productivity is leading to an increasing demand for industrial-organizational psychologists.