Common careers in this field include behavioral analyst, talent management specialist, and HR organizational development specialist. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, these professionals earn an average annual salary of $97,260.

Entry-level positions in I/O psychology typically require at least a master's degree. However, this field is relatively new, potentially creating a tougher job market. A doctorate gives you a competitive advantage and may increase your earning potential. Doctoral programs focus on research and theory, building on the technical and analytical skills gained in a master's program. This may best suit individuals who want to work in research to advance the field.

Psy.D. vs. Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology: What's the Difference?

Working in the psychology field typically requires at least a master's, but a growing number of positions and employers prefer candidates with doctoral degrees. Two types of doctoral degrees exist in the field of I/O psychology. The Psy.D. caters to students who want to work in clinical practice. Curricula for this degree focus on developing practical skills and typically entail an internship or clinical rotation.

The Ph.D., a research degree, requires students to complete a dissertation based on original research and pass a comprehensive exam. This degree best suits students aiming for careers in education or research.

What to Expect in an Online Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctoral Program

Prospective students can choose from a wide array of industrial organizational psychology online Ph.D. programs, which vary by school. Make sure to research each program thoroughly to ensure it would prepare you for your desired career. Keep an eye out for details regarding delivery format, program length, expenses, and internship or clinical rotation requirements.

Admission Requirements for an Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctoral Program

Prospective students who want to earn a doctorate in industrial organizational psychology online typically need at least a bachelor's degree with a minimum 3.0 GPA. This degree does not need to be in I/O psychology or a related field, but most applicants hold an undergraduate degree in either psychology or education. Some programs may require a master's degree with a minimum 3.5 GPA. All applicants must submit official transcripts to demonstrate eligibility.

Other admission requirements for a doctorate in I/O psychology online may include GRE or GMAT test scores, an essay, personal or professional references, and in-person or virtual interviews. Make sure to research admission requirements carefully to confirm your eligibility before paying any application fees. Contact an admissions advisor before applying if you can't find certain information or have questions.

Sample Courses for an Online Doctorate in Industrial Organizational Psychology

The curriculum for a doctorate in I/O psychology online typically builds on basic psychology concepts and focuses on developing knowledge in statistics and methodology. Coursework teaches students to collect and interpret data to solve a variety of organizational issues regarding employee morale, recruitment, and training. Most programs also require a dissertation, research project, or internship. This specific requirement may depend on whether you pursue a Ph.D. or a Psy.D.

Doctoral programs hone students' analytical and research skills. They also broaden job opportunities in supervisory roles and may increase earning potential.

Psychometric Theory

This course focuses on teaching standard methods of testing and measurements in the field of psychology. Students learn how neurocognitive, social, and cultural principles impact human behavior. Coursework emphasizes training in current assessment tools and evaluating measures for validity and bias. Students also get an overview of legal and ethical issues in psychological testing.


This class examines current theories in probability, inferential and descriptive analysis of data, and hypothesis testing. Students learn to describe data and identify regression, the normal curve, statistical inference, and confidence intervals. Coursework emphasizes the application of statistical methods to a variety of scenarios.

Principles of Personnel and Human Resource Management

This course highlights how psychological principles apply to human resources and personnel within organizations. Coursework examines topics such as recruitment, affirmative action, training, evaluation, and how the workplace environment impacts employees. Students examine tools and methods used to analyze organizations and personnel to develop plans for improving training policies, management, or the workplace environment.


This class gives a comprehensive overview of principles and theories in behaviorism. Coursework examines techniques for teaching new behaviors and eliminating negative or damaging actions. By developing an understanding of human behavior and the motivations behind it, students learn to create and implement policies to increase productivity and motivation in the workplace.

Ethical Issues in Psychology

This class provides an essential knowledge base of ethical issues in the field of psychology. Coursework addresses potential ethical issues in research, psychotherapy, writing, and animal research. Students also explore techniques for identifying issues and methods of avoidance or mitigation. Moreover, coursework examines the history and main philosophies of ethics, including the APA code of ethics.

Online Doctorate in Industrial Organizational Psychology Completion Time

On average, students pursuing a Ph.D in industrial organizational psychology online take up to five years to earn 60 credits and complete their degree. Factors affecting program length include the number of required credits, internship or dissertation components, and full- or part-time enrollment status. Prospective students should make sure to consider program length, since it may impact expenses.

Delivery format may also affect program length. Online programs typically use either a self-paced or cohort learning format. Self-paced programs allow students to move through their coursework at their own pace without adhering to a prescribed schedule. Cohort learning programs generally require students to follow a specified timeline. These programs may also require either in-person or virtual group participation.

Internship and Research Requirements for an Industrial Organizational Psychology Doctoral Degree

Whether a program requires an internship, a dissertation, or a research project varies by school. These requirements may also vary depending on whether you pursue a Ph.D. or a Psy.D. degree. Ph.D programs more often require a dissertation, which entails conducting original research on a faculty-approved topic. Psy.D. programs more commonly require internships and occasionally involve research projects, though this varies by school.

Internships typically last at least one term but may go longer depending on the program. Schools requiring internships may help you find a placement or offer useful resources for your search. Online students should make sure to clarify the details of each prospective program to ensure they can meet all requirements and complete the program on schedule.

Career and Salary Outlook for Online Industrial Organizational Psychology Graduates

Key traits for I/O psychology professionals include analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. These professionals work with personnel across all levels of an organization, making interpersonal skills vital as well. Learn Psychology offers more details about the industry, available careers, and their education requirements. The table below details a few common jobs you can pursue with a doctorate in I/O psychology.

Industrial-Organizational Psychologist

I/O psychologists analyze human behavior in the workplace. They observe, conduct interviews, and develop plans to implement new policies or training programs. This position requires at least a master's. However, a doctorate creates more opportunity for career growth and earning potential. Some employers prefer candidates with doctoral degrees.

Median Annual Salary: $71,469

Behavior Analyst

Behavior analysts work with organizations in a variety of industries to implement new policies and personnel management procedures. Primary skills include data collection and knowledge in current training and behavioral theories. This position requires at least a master's in psychology and may mandate additional certification. Some employers prefer candidates with doctorates.

Median Annual Salary: $57,564

Human Factors Engineer

Human factors engineers focus on how the workplace impacts the human body. They examine factors including ergonomics, technology, and usability. They work to ensure employees are comfortable and processes are efficient and user-friendly. A doctorate is not required to gain employment in this field but increases your earning potential and gives you a competitive advantage over other candidates.

Median Annual Salary: $81,385

Educational Psychologist

Educational psychologists study how individuals learn and retain information in school settings. They use their knowledge of theories and tools to help students excel, and they may work with teachers to develop effective curricula. This position requires a master's degree at minimum in addition to a license to practice. However, many employers may require a doctorate.

Median Annual Salary: $75,749

Senior Research Consultant

Senior research consultants manage research projects within an organization. This typically means coordinating efforts between internal employees or teams to conduct focus groups. They interpret results and generate reports, making recommendations for improvement based on their findings. This position requires at least a master's degree, but some employers prefer a doctorate.

Median Annual Salary: $87,517