Industrial/organizational psychology professor salary & career outlook

Industrial/organizational (I/O) psychologists study the behavior of people in the workplace, which includes responsibilities like determining how certain personalities function within a workplace's culture, and how to help employers hire and retain the best employees. All industrial/organizational psychologists need a master's or doctorate degree, though the majority have doctoral degrees.

Approximately one-third of I/O psychologists are academicians who work at colleges and universities. These professors conduct research, teach students and perform community service. Many professors are also expected to publish their research, though the emphasis placed on job duties varies by school. Each institution has its own classification of professorship positions, such as adjunct professor, associate professor, assistant professor and professor, which typically means someone in a tenure-track position. Salaries tend to vary based on the type of professorship position you have.

Industrial/organizational psychology professor salaries

According to a 2009 salary survey conducted by the Society for Industrial & Organizational Psychology, Inc. (SIOP), I/O psychologists employed in academia made less money than I/O psychologists employed in the business industry. Of the industrial/organizational professor salaries, those professors working at institutions awarding doctorate degrees tended to earn a higher salary than professors working at institutions awarding master's and bachelor's degrees.

The SIOP survey findings showed another interesting trend - industrial/organizational psychology professors employed through business departments, instead of psychology departments, earn a higher average annual salary. The top 10 percent of I/O professors in the psychology departments awarding doctorate degrees earned $148,000 compared to I/O professors in business departments awarding doctorate degrees who earned $271,237.

Salary data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics supports these findings. As of May 2009, I/O psychologists working for universities, colleges and professional schools made an average of $72,060 per year. Those psychologists working specifically in business schools or schools that provide management training made considerably more: $124,220.

Some of the highest median incomes for I/O professors in 2009, along with 2010 cost of living (COL) state ranking by the Council for Community and Economic Research (C2ER) were in:

  • Manhattan, New York--$140,000, COL rank of 45
  • Los Angeles/Orange County, California--$120,000, COL rank of 48
  • Boston, Massachusetts--$112,000, COL rank of 41

Industrial/organizational psychology professor job outlook

Completing an online master's or doctorate degree in industrial/organizational psychology from an appropriately accredited school could qualify you for a position as a professor, particularly at a community college. A literature review by Norina L. Columbaro and Catherine H. Monaghan of Cleveland State University entitled "Employer Perceptions of Online Degrees" concluded that though universities do not favor candidates with online degrees for tenure track position, community colleges are open to hiring professors who earned their degrees online.

Generally, the need for I/O psychologists is expected to grow around 26 percent between 2008 and 2018 and postsecondary teacher careers are also expected to see a 15 percent bump in growth. Most professorship positions are highly competitive and require a candidate to be flexible with regard to geography.

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