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What Are the Education Requirements to Be an Industrial Psychologist?

Industrial psychologists (aka industrial/organizational psychologists) use psychological theories, strategies, and research methods to help better the quality of life for workers in their professional workplaces. Entrance into this career typically requires a master's degree in industrial psychology. Read on to find out more about the educational requirements for industrial psychologists.

Education Requirements to Become an Industrial Psychologist

Industrial-organizational psychologists examine the efficiency of employees in the workplace. They apply psychological strategies to improve the organization's procedures, policies and the workplace environment. For certification, individuals must earn a graduate degree, but a bachelor's degree in industrial-organizational psychology is a good place to begin.

Important Facts About this Field of Study

Concentrations Industrial-organizational resources, organizational development and consultation, conflict management
Possible Careers Public relations specialist, research investigator, case manager, organizational consulting manager, personnel administrator
Continuing Education Available; sample courses include Relationship and Work Counseling, Psychology in the Corporate World
Online Availability Several programs available entirely online
Mean Annual Wage $109,030 May 2018
Job Outlook 11.6 % Rise from 2016 - 2026

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Undergraduate Education

Enrolling in a master's degree program requires you to earn a bachelor's degree. Generally, you can major in any subject, but pursuing a bachelor's degree in psychology can be helpful in fulfilling prerequisites. Some master's degree programs only require the completion of undergraduate courses in industrial/organizational psychology and statistics, while others can require multiple undergraduate psychology courses. Some programs also require work experience in a human resources management or supervisory position.

Graduate Education

Most master's degree programs in industrial/organizational psychology take at least two years to complete. The coursework covers topics such as personnel selection and training, theories of effective leadership, organizational development, research methods, and psychometric strategies. Most degree programs require a thesis project, but some offer non-thesis program options. If you require a flexible schedule, some programs are available entirely online.

Continuing Education and Licensing

Although a master's degree is the minimum education requirement for industrial/organizational psychologists, you could also go on to complete a doctoral degree in industrial/organizational psychology. Receiving your doctorate allows you to seek state licensure, although this is generally not required to work as an industrial/organizational psychologist. According to the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Inc., only 21% of full-time practitioners reported being licensed (www.siop.org), as of 2008. Depending on your state, you may need to participate in continuing education to maintain your license.

A doctoral degree and license is required if you want to earn optional board certification in your specialty from the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). The ABPP offers certification in a number of different specialties, including organizational and business consulting psychology. To earn certification in this specialty, you'll also need to complete an internship or equivalent post-doctoral experience, as well as participate in continuing education. After meeting eligibility requirements, you may take an oral examination to earn certification (www.abpp.org).