Industrial organizational psychology focuses on selecting, assessing and developing people within organizations. Integrating psychological theory and practice directly into human resources and management, this sub-discipline of psychology offers insight and expertise to a variety of organizational problems. Typical areas of application include personnel recruitment and placement, assessment, employee training, and leadership. Today’s organizations increasingly value the contributions of industrial organizational psychologists, as they realize this expertise can improve motivation and increase productivity.

One option for professionals who hope to begin a career in this field is to pursue an industrial organizational psychology post master’s certificate. Because most students who seek a post master’s certificate in industrial organizational psychology are already busy professionals, the typical program is flexible, and often courses can be taken online. Although these professional programs are designed to accommodate busy schedules, dedicated full-time students can complete the certification in one year. Between 12 and 18 credit hours in industrial organizational theory and practice are required prior to receiving the certificate.

Types of Industrial Organizational Psychology Certificates

Students from an array of disciplines are joining industrial organizational certificate programs. Human resource professionals find the training received in a certificate program invaluable in helping them assess candidates and place personnel. Managers see that the organizational motivation and leadership aspects of the field can produce a more dedicated and productive workforce. Mental health professionals who are looking for a new challenge seek out the training in these certificate programs so that they can move into new organizations. Although the requirements of certificate programs vary, most have the following expectations of their candidates:

  • Master’s degree from an accredited college or university
  • Sufficiently high GPA in the previous program – typically at least 3.0
  • Letter of intent or statement of interest
  • Letters of recommendation
  • Curriculum vitae or resume
  • Prior course work in psychology, organizational leadership, and human development (some programs will waive these prerequisites)

Each program is different, but a typical post master’s certificate program in industrial organizational psychology will require at least one class in organizational or industrial psychology. Depending upon the focus of the school, courses in cognitive behavioral therapy, conflict resolution, and consulting in different organizations may also be required. Most will typically include at least one course in personnel assessment that provides instruction on how to choose and implement psychological tests. Some certificate programs may mandate a practicum prior to certification.

What’s Next for Certificate Holders?

According to a recent report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce, graduates of post master’s certificate industrial organizational psychology programs can expect to earn $1,000,000 more over their lifetimes than their colleagues who have bachelor’s degrees. In a recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it was revealed that those with at least a master’s degree will earn a median weekly salary that is more than 20% greater than those without an advanced degree. According to the BLS, certificate holders also enjoy 20% higher employment than those who stopped their schooling with a bachelor’s degree.

Graduates can expect to find a variety of fulfilling, lucrative work opportunities after receiving their certification. According to the BLS, those who choose careers as human resource professionals earn a median annual salary of close to $100,000. Similarly, graduates of certificate programs who move directly into operational management can expect to earn in excess of $100,000 annually. Many others choose to continue their education and go on to pursue a doctoral degree in industrial organizational psychology; graduates with a doctorate are qualified to publish in scholarly journals, as well as teach at the university level.