You like using technology and enjoy learning what makes people tick, so you might wonder if there are any careers that combine psychology and IT. In fact, one of the fastest growing specializations in psychology often has technical components. Industrial-organizational psychologists help companies in all areas of business improve their productivity. Technology companies, as well as institutions with large IT departments, often employ IO psychologists. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more IO psychologists are employed in management, scientific and technical consulting than in any other industry. Here’s a closer look at this specific career.
How to Become an Industrial-Organizational Psychologist
First, you need a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related field. If you plan to become an industrial-organizational psychologist, you may wish to choose electives or a secondary course of study in human resources, business administration or marketing in order to prepare for this career. If you wish to work as an IO psychologist in a technology firm, a minor or second major in computer programming or a related course of study may also be helpful.
Unlike clinical psychologists, many IO psychologists complete their formal education with a terminal master’s degree in psychology. In graduate school, you will learn about research and statistics as well as take classes on how to implement research findings to benefit a company. Research projects are also a big part of the educational process, and some students are able to get assistantships that help them grow their resumes while getting their education.
Job Prospects and Pay
The job outlook for industrial-organizational psychologists is good, especially for those with experience in computers and technology. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be a growth rate of 53 percent in this specialized field between 2012 and 2022. Although this statistic seems almost too good to be true when compared with average projected job growth nationwide, you should keep in mind that the field is still competitive due to the large number of individuals graduating with advanced degrees in IO psychology.
Pay for industrial-organizational psychologists is competitive with that of other psychologists and more than double the national average over all occupations. In May 2012, the median pay for this career was $83,580. Keep in mind that this includes experienced IO psychologists as well as new graduates, and those with doctorates generally earn more than psychologists who only have master’s degrees. Additionally, those who bring experience in computer technology or other growing career fields such as healthcare have more earning and job growth potential than others.
If you have a curious mind and like learning about human behavior, you have probably considered the field of psychology as a potential career path. If you also enjoy computers and information technology, a job as an industrial-organizational psychologist could be right for you. Opportunities in careers that combine psychology and IT are growing, and these jobs certainly pay enough to be worth the time and money you will spend on education.