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Top 5 Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Programs for 2017

Now, more than ever, graduates with an online master’s in organizational psychology are in high demand among employers across industries. The Occupational Information Network projected the field to grow 14% from 2014 to 2024. Employers in many fields want candidates with a master’s in organizational psychology, making it easy for graduates to find positions uniquely suited to their interests.

WHAT IS ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY?

Organizational psychologists, also known as industrial-organizational psychologists, study the principles of human behavior and how they apply in the workplace. Fundamental psychological aspects of individuals, groups, and organizations affect every facet of a company’s performance. Industrial-organizational psychologists analyze these trends to enhance a company’s productivity, management efficacy, workforce morale, and consumer appeal.

Companies in all types of business are interested in improving productivity and increasing profits, creating organizational psychology positions across the entire spectrum of industries. Organizational psychology jobs are most prevalent in research and academic settings, state governments, and consulting firms. The consulting or contract nature of most jobs in industrial organizational psychology creates opportunities to work in stimulating, ever-changing environments.

WHAT ARE THE BEST ONLINE MASTER’S IN ORGANIZATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY PROGRAMS?

How to Choose an Online Master’s in Organizational Psychology Program

Online master’s in industrial organizational psychology programs differ in length and curriculum. Students interested in a particular industry should ensure that the program they choose offers the appropriate degree concentration. Some programs offer or mandate completion of an internship, and some require field experience, which may conflict with existing obligations for working students. Generally, graduates with an online industrial organizational psychology degree will need further education to become a clinical psychologist.

Students should confirm each university’s accreditation status, particularly if they intend to pursue licensure. Tuition costs and financial aid opportunities vary by school, and some programs require students completing the industrial organizational psychology master’s program online to attend one or more sessions on campus.

Careers for Graduates of this Program

Graduates from organizational psychology master’s online programs often become industry consultants, helping employers create welcoming, supportive, and productive work environments. Organizational psychologists work full- or part-time, and many open consulting businesses. Because a cohesive team atmosphere is vital to business success, online industrial organizational psychology graduates are highly valued.

Job Outlook and Salary

Industrial organizational psychology jobs are increasing at a higher rate than average, but the pool of available jobs is still relatively small. This is likely to change as employers learn that organizational psychologists can increase job satisfaction and output of the workforce. Salaries vary based on the specific position, industry, geographic region, and experience level.

Employment Growth for Organizational Psychologists
Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024
2,000 2,300

Source: BLS

SALARY GROWTH BY EXPERIENCE

As organizational psychologists accrue years in the industry, they develop an advanced skill set and are more highly valued, leading to increased salaries. Graduates with an online degree in organizational psychology can expect to receive higher pay as they gain experience.

PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS

Membership in a professional organization can be invaluable to graduates of organizational psychology online programs. These organizations provide resources, networking support, and continuing education. Members attend conferences to stay apprised of developments in technology and new strategies to improve performance.

Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP)

SIOP is a division of the American Psychological Association, which supports its members through research and community fora and by advocating for education and increased public awareness of the field.

HR People + Strategy

This organization unites professionals in human resources, spreading knowledge and tools, and helping professionals apply the fundamentals of human behavior to the organizational strategies of their business.

Society of Psychologists in Management (SPIM)

SPIM aids in the development and fellowship of professionals who incorporate psychology into the field of management. The organization provides education, training, and professional development opportunities.

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

This organization advances the study of human interaction as it applies to the workplace, aiming to impact the way systems and devices are designed to work with human psychology.


To determine the best online master’s in organizational psychology programs, we looked at the most important factors prospective students, mainly common predictors of future success and a school’s commitment to online programs. This boils down to admissions rate, student loan default rate, retention rate, graduation rate, and the percent of students enrolled in online classes. All data points are taken from information provided by colleges and universities to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Each factor is weighted evenly in order to give an objective view and determine the best online master’s in organizational psychology programs. To calculate our rankings, we looked at a school’s ranking when organized by a single factor, and then averaged each category’s ranking to find an overall score: Admissions Rate (20%) + Default Rate (20%) + Retention Rate (20%) + Graduation Rate (20%) + Percent of Students Enrolled in Online Classes (20%) = Final score.