INDUSTRIAL PSYCHOLOGY: Meaning, What They Do, Salary & Guide


If you’re looking for a career in psychology, you might be interested in learning more about becoming an industrial-organizational psychologist. These experts, who are sometimes called I/O psychologists or industrial psychologists, work with businesses to help them set up internal structures that improve the health, happiness, and productivity of their employees. You may decide if this is the appropriate career for you by learning about industrial psychologists and their average pay. In this article, we explain what industrial psychology is, present average salary information for organizational industrial psychology, discuss jobs in industrial psychology, and define the master criteria for becoming one.

The Definition of Industrial Psychology

Industrial psychology is applied organizational psychology used to research and understand human behavior in the workplace, specifically how firms operate and how employees perform. Including quantitative and qualitative research, industrial psychology employs a variety of scientific methodologies. It is most commonly used when a company is going through a transition period.

What is the Work of an Industrial Organizational Psychology?

Industrial-organizational psychology is the study of human behavior in workplace settings to find solutions to problems that can affect an organization’s bottom line or lead to a better working environment. Unless a company has enough resources to establish a separate learning and development department, industrial organizational psychology jobs sometimes overlap with human resource functions.

IO psychologists typically carry out the following tasks and responsibilities:

  • Analyze and evaluate human behavior in the workplace
  • Determine and improve workers’ levels of satisfaction with their jobs
  • Develop assessments and instructional programs to improve workplaces.
  • Improve businesses’ ability to hire the best candidates for available positions

Meetings with management and top executives may be required for internal IO psychologists. IO psychologists who work outside the company often work with management and senior executives, who hire them to solve specific problems.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), IO psychologists work in academic, government, and research contexts. These roles can include management or professor positions in academia, researching and analyzing best practices inside firms, and even working remotely from their computer.

The Role of Industrial Psychology in the Workplace

Industrial psychologists work with the human resources department of an organization to watch how employees act at work, evaluate the organization’s procedures and practices, and suggest ways to improve. The following are the primary fields of industrial psychology:

#1. Recruitment.

Industrial psychologists help the human resources department establish recruitment strategies and make personnel selections. This includes creating job announcements, establishing important credentials, and creating selection criteria.

#2. Employee development and training.

Industrial psychologists conduct job analyses to evaluate the skills and abilities required to do a certain job effectively. The data and insights from these studies are used to build and evaluate programs to help employees improve their skills and learn new ones.

#3. Work-life balance and employee satisfaction.

This area of industrial psychology looks at things like employee happiness, motivation, health, safety, and well-being. In this way, the industrial psychologist’s job is to figure out how happy and healthy the employees are at work, come up with ways to improve the work environment, and, if necessary, set up programs to help people find a good balance between work and life.

#4. Performance management.

Industrial psychologists assist firms in measuring and managing employee performance by devising and conducting performance evaluations, identifying skill gaps, and providing feedback and recommendations. The information gained from these assessments is often used to inform decisions regarding compensation and promotions.

#5. Organizational development and management.

Organizational structure and performance are topics that are covered in this branch of industrial psychology. An organization would hire an industrial psychologist to assess its efficiency, productivity, and profitability, as well as to aid with corporate culture and structural changes inside the firm.

Industrial Psychology Salary

The average annual salary for an Industrial Organizational Psychology in the United States as of February 20, 2023, is $109,489 per year. If you need a quick salary calculator, that comes out to about $52.64 per hour. This equates to $2,105 each week or $9,124 per month.

While ZipRecruiter reports annual salaries as high as $150,500 and as low as $29,500, the majority of industrial organizational psychologist salaries in the United States currently range between $101,500 (the 25th percentile) and $136,000 (the 75th percentile), with the top earners (the 90th percentile) earning $150,000 per year. The average salary range for an Industrial Organizational Psychology varies substantially (by up to $34,500), implying that there may be several prospects for growth and higher pay dependent on skill level, location, and years of experience.

The Industrial Organizational Psychology employment market in Atlanta, GA, and the surrounding area is quite active, according to recent jobs posted on ZipRecruiter. An Industrial-Organizational Psychologist in your region earns an annual salary of $108,484, which is $1,005 (1%) less than the national average salary of $109,489. Georgia ranks 50 out of 50 states nationwide for Industrial Organizational Psychologist salary.

ZipRecruiter regularly searches our database of millions of active jobs published locally throughout America to provide the most accurate annual salary range for Industrial Organizational Psychology jobs.

Industrial Psychology Master

Many paths to becoming an industrial/organizational psychologist begin with a bachelor’s degree in psychology followed by a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology.

Examples include the following:

#1. Master’s degree (MA) in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, University of New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.

This master’s degree program allows students to use psychological ideas in the workplace, which benefits both companies and employees. This flexible course program offers chances for study and internship. Find out more on their website.

#2. Master’s degree (MSc) in Organizational Psychology, UNICAF University, Malawi/Zambia/Uganda/Zimbabwe

This curriculum may be especially useful for working professionals in larger firms who want to understand the impact of human connection on the workplace. The master’s degree focuses on understanding an organization’s human resources and is taught with real-world applicability in mind. Find out more on their website.

#3. Master’s degree (MS) in Human Factors and Industrial/Organizational Psychology, Wright State University, Ohio, U.S.

This master’s degree, which offers both a thesis and a non-thesis alternative, examines how psychology can be used to enhance group performance and systems. This is a well-equipped campus with a variety of audio-visual equipment, observation rooms, and 20,000 square feet dedicated to psychological study. Find out more on their website.

Prerequisites for Industrial Psychology

To become an industrial psychologist, you must complete extensive study and training. Following are some of the prerequisites to becoming an industrial psychologist:

#1. Education

A master’s degree is the minimum requirement for becoming an industrial psychologist. An industrial psychologist with a master’s degree can provide consulting services to businesses, but they cannot practice as clinicians. Industrial psychologists must have a doctorate to provide clinical services. A doctorate provides industrial psychologists with the knowledge and abilities needed to apply diagnostic techniques to analyze their clients’ mental health. If you want to work in consulting, you probably only need a master’s degree to become an industrial psychologist.

Data analysis, consumer psychology, labor relations, and employee psychology are common topics of study in master’s and doctoral degrees. Clinical training is a component of doctoral programs in which students gain practical experience in a corporate context. Nevertheless, doctoral programs may emphasize research and prepare students to become independent researchers.

#2. Training

Industrial psychologists undergo training throughout school and further on-the-job training after they begin working. Industrial psychologists must have considerable training throughout their education to provide clinical services. They also complete ongoing education to maintain any credentials they have.  Attending seminars or taking supplementary classes could be part of this education.

On-the-job training may include learning about organizational goals, the workplace environment, and other company-specific features. This training assists an industrial psychologist in developing a more focused work plan to improve the organization. Before starting your work as an industrial psychologist, you may also take advantage of opportunities such as internships. Interning during your degree program is an excellent opportunity to obtain relevant skills while expanding your professional network.


To practice clinical psychology, individuals need a license. Individuals can apply for a license after finishing a Ph.D. program and completing a certain amount of clinical training. Before applying, industrial psychologists must complete the licensing criteria of their respective states, which may involve completing a background check or comprehensive exam.

Industrial psychologists do not require a license if they do not intend to provide therapeutic services, though certification is feasible. The American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP) provides certification for industrial psychologists to demonstrate their knowledge and commitment to the field. One must pass an exam and renew their credentials by the ABPP’s current requirements to become a board-certified industrial psychologist.

How to Become an Industrial Psychologist

Aspiring IO psychologists begin their studies with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Graduates often begin their careers in entry-level positions to obtain experience. Students frequently pursue a master’s degree in IO psychology while working. Candidates should find out if the GRE is required for their selected programs. Online programs often do not require this exam.

Students with a bachelor’s degree in an area other than psychology are also eligible to apply to graduate programs. It should be noted that some programs may have prerequisite curricula.

Some graduate programs require applied experiences or practicums. For example, students may participate in a social justice practicum, which may involve more than 200 hours of experience in various settings.

While a master’s degree in IO psychology is considered a terminal degree, students may pursue a doctor of philosophy in psychology (Ph.D.) or a doctor of psychology (Psy.D.). Those interested in academics or creating scientific discoveries should consider pursuing a Ph.D. Individuals who want to provide psychological services to organizations or individuals should pursue a Psy.D.

How Industries Can Incorporate Industrial Psychology in the Workplace

Companies can hire an industrial psychologist to assist them in addressing specific workplace problems or issues, establishing and maintaining a healthy work environment, and optimizing employee and organizational performance. While an in-house psychologist is recommended for most medium- to large-sized firms, small businesses with five to ten employees do not need a full-time industrial psychologist and are better served by a consultant.

In the absence of an on-staff industrial psychologist, companies can adopt and implement industrial psychology principles in their firm. However, a professional consultant should be hired to perform, analyze, and deliver feedback on employee assessments.

Is industrial psychology a good career?

Yes. You will have a lot of earning potential. One of the primary benefits of working as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist is the ability to earn a salary that is above average. The average national annual salary for an industrial-organizational psychologist is $96,270.

What are the examples of industrial psychology?

  • Team and organizational effectiveness.
  • Employee recruiting and advancement.
  • Individual differences, measurement, and testing.
  • Training and development (including coaching)
  • Performance management (appraisal and improvement)
  • Workplace health (stress and safety)

What is the three main focus of industrial psychology?

Organizational, industrial, and human factors psychology are the three main subfields of industrial psychology. Industrial psychology is concerned with describing employment criteria and evaluating individuals’ capacity to meet them.

What are the five roles of industrial psychology?

The topics of employee satisfaction, motivation, health, safety, and well-being are all addressed in this branch of industrial psychology.

What do industrial psychologists do?

Organizational and industrial psychologists study how employees behave at work. They apply psychological principles and research methods to improve the overall work environment, including performance, communication, professional satisfaction, and safety.

What is the job of an industrial psychologist?

Industrial-organizational psychologists employ psychological principles and research methodologies to solve workplace problems and increase the quality of life.

Which field of study is industrial psychology?

Most students who are interested in becoming industrial psychologists tend to major in psychology, but it is not required. If you pick another major, you should take classes in psychological principles, social psychology, statistics, and research technique.

Which branch of psychology pays the most?


Psychiatrists provide medication to individuals suffering from mental diseases. Psychiatrist jobs are by far the highest-paying jobs for psychology degrees. According to PayScale, the average salary is $217,798.


A career in industrial-organizational psychology could be a wonderful option to develop your career or move into an intriguing sector with flexibility and significant growth potential. An ideal initial step on your career path is to advance your education with a part-time, online master’s degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology.


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