Nearly all industries can benefit from the special skills and talents of an industrial organizational psychologist, which is one reason why the field is growing so quickly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that jobs in psychology will increase by 14% between 2016 and 2026, with a current median annual salary of $79,010. Not all industrial organizational psychology graduates become psychologists, however. Many go into human resources or corporate training and development, which are also lucrative career fields with significant growth projected. Whatever the career path, an exciting future in industrial organizational psychology begins with a bachelor's degree.

What to Expect in an Online Bachelor's in Industrial Organizational Psychology Program

While specific program requirements vary from school to school, the best online industrial organizational psychology programs offer similar content and approaches. The information below serves as a representative sample of degrees in the field, but it may not apply to every program.

Sample Courses for an Online Bachelor's in Industrial Organizational Psychology

Psychology is a broad, multidisciplinary field of study that draws from biology, sociology, and clinical studies. Students participating in industrial organizational psychology programs online enjoy a rich mix of courses in core topics, general education, and electives.

Most online organizational psychology degrees include an internship or practicum that lets students use their knowledge of psychological theories and research in an industrial setting. Many programs also conclude with a capstone, such as a research-based senior thesis on a major trend or problem in the field. A bachelor's degree provides students a more thorough knowledge of the discipline than an associate degree, but these programs typically lack the focused specialization of a master's degree.

Industrial Organizational Psychology

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of industrial organizational psychology, which focuses on the study of human behavior in the workplace. Learners consider the application of industrial organizational psychology elements such as employee development, talent management, workforce management, and human capital management. The course prepares learners to engage in industrial organizational psychology across a wide span of industries.

Behavior Modification Theories

Focused on human behavior change and reinforcement theories, this course builds on the knowledge students gained in earlier courses such as introduction to psychology, psychology statistics, and experimental practices in psychology. Topics include behavior conditioning, management, intervention, and assessment. Students also discuss measuring behavior and change along with cognitive behavior modification.

Theories of Human System Dynamics

In this class, learners explore the intuitions and principles of system dynamics as applied to human systems, including relationships, subcultures, societies, working groups, and individuals in social settings. This field synthesizes observations about human systems that may prove counterintuitive or subtle. Students observe, discuss, and model theories of human system dynamics.

Conflict Management

Students examine theories of conflict resolution, types of conflict, intercultural communication, and conflict resolution. The course includes a deep dive into the specific skills required for preventing and managing workplace conflict along with an exploration of the nature of disputes and arenas in which conflicts occur. Students leave with skills in negotiation, mediation, and arbitration.

Online Bachelor's in Industrial Organizational Psychology Completion Time

The best online industrial organizational psychology programs help students complete their degrees quickly and efficiently through a flexible format. Many factors can affect the length of an online degree. For instance, some programs offer courses in accelerated eight-week formats, which can speed up the time to graduation. Other schools set generous transfer policies and may accept 90 credits or more of courses earned at an accredited college or through CLEP tests, DANTES tests, AP courses, life experience, or military training.

On average, learners need 120-125 credits to complete their degree, which typically takes about four years.

Cohort programs, where students take all their courses together, help keep learners on track to graduation but may slow down those with many transfer credits. Programs that offer summer courses, winter intensives, and year-round classes often take less time than those operating on a traditional schedule. On average, learners need 120-125 credits to complete their degree, which typically takes about four years.

Skills Gained in an Online Bachelor's in Industrial Organizational Psychology Program

Students in an online organizational psychology program can acquire important soft skills such as communication, project management, and empathy. However, organizational psychology majors also focus on hard skills that include critical thinking, data analytics, and systems analysis and evaluation. By blending these talents and traits together, organizational psychologists identify companies' weaknesses through analysis and evaluation, communicate solutions to employees, train staff members in implementation, and evaluate outcomes.

  • Critical Thinking

    Defined as the process of conceptualizing, analyzing, applying, and evaluating information, critical thinking leads to better decisions and improved results. Organizational psychologists use critical thinking to identify solutions to problems within a corporate environment.

  • Data Analysis

    Data analysis involves the process of storing, inspecting, cleaning, organizing, and modeling information. Organizational psychologists use data analysis to identify trends and patterns in human behavior within an organization and thereby foster corporate improvement.

  • Systems Analysis and Evaluation

    This skill refers to the ability to study a business or procedure in order to identify its purpose and goals. Organizational psychologists use systems analysis and evaluation to identify areas of improvement in organizational structures and behaviors.

Online vs. On-Campus Programs: What's the Difference?

Students who pursue an industrial organizational psychology degree online from an accredited school complete the same coursework as their on-campus counterparts. Typically, the curriculum consists of a mix of courses in general education, fundamentals of psychology, and organizational psychology. To accommodate distance learners, general education science courses that require labs typically send students a lab kit in the mail. Additionally, online learners can usually complete required psychology internships at organizations in their community. The key difference between online degrees and brick-and-mortar programs lies in the online degree's flexibility and students' ability to maintain full-time employment while going to school.

Education and Training Beyond a Bachelor's in Industrial Organizational Psychology

While some careers in industrial organizational psychology are available to professionals who hold only a bachelor's degree, most employers in the field require applicants to have a master's degree or higher. In general, psychologists must earn a doctorate such as a Ph.D. or a Psy.D., as these programs focus on research and mental health improvement. Industrial organizational psychologists, however, perform applied psychology work in niche areas of corporate settings such as human resources or corporate training. Most can pursue these careers with just a master's degree in the field.

Most students take about five years to finish a doctorate after completing their undergraduate work.

Unlike many other psychology professionals, industrial organizational psychologists don't always need state-issued licensure. However, these requirements vary by state. In those states that do mandate licensure, prospective industrial organizational psychologists need to hold the appropriate degree, complete supervised hours of work, pass an exam, and appear for an interview by the state board. The American Board of Professional Psychology, a private association, also offers certification in organizational and business consulting psychology. This certification requires candidates to earn a doctorate and have several years of supervised experience. Most students take about five years to finish a doctorate after completing their undergraduate work.

Career and Salary Outlook for Online Bachelor's in Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduates

Professionals who complete industrial organizational psychology programs online are prepared to increase organizational performance by improving employee productivity using psychological principles and research methods. These professionals help screen and hire new talent, train employees on new systems and procedures, and assess management strategies and employee performance. Organizational psychologists have skills in communication, organizational management, and data collection and analysis. Most people working in this field enjoy coaching and equipping others to meet their optimum performance.

Human Resources Director

While their roles differ according to the size and scope of their companies, human resources directors typically serve as the link between employees and managers. These professionals attend to employee problems, oversee payroll and benefit programs, and deal with employee paperwork. They assure alignment between employee behavior and company policy and make sure that human resources programs meet regulatory and professional compliance standards.

Median Annual Salary: $87,283

Corporate Recruiter

Corporate recruiters seek out fresh, new talent that can help companies achieve their goals. While they may recruit employees at all levels, corporate recruiters often focus on bringing management-level staff into a company. Corporate recruiters use their communication skills, organizational knowledge, and emotional intelligence to recruit and screen the best candidates.

Median Annual Salary: $57,340

Organizational Development Director

Organizational development directors train and equip staff members in order to maximize their effectiveness. These professionals may also help identify and nurture future executives. An organizational development director typically needs a master's or doctorate in industrial psychology along with 6-10 years of experience in recruiting and training team members.

Median Annual Salary: $117,633

Managing Consultant

Managing consultants research, collect, and analyze data in order to help their client companies devise and implement solutions to management problems. These professionals may work across many industries, including media, healthcare, finance, and retail. A managing consultant typically needs a bachelor's degree and skills in teamwork, communication, data analytics, creativity, problem-solving, and empathy.

Median Annual Salary: $111,049

Training and Development Manager

Training and development managers improve their companies' effectiveness by improving employees' professional skills and knowledge. These managers train new employees, facilitate team-building exercises, and coach staff through operational changes. Most training and development managers hold a bachelor's degree and have five or more years of experience.

Median Annual Salary: $111,340

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