Industrial-organizational (I/O) psychology is a specialized branch that focuses on applying psychological principles and theories to a work environment. Workplace productivity and ensuring the mental health and well-being of employees are major interests of industrial-organizational psychologists.

I/O psychologists may perform a wide range of tasks, or they may specialize in a specific area. Common areas of specialization in this field include:

  • Company development: Businesses depend on industrial-organizational psychologists to improve company profits by suggesting company structure changes, product improvements, and other changes.
  • Development and training: IO psychologists working in this specialty role decide which skills are necessary to perform certain jobs. They also help develop employee training programs.
  • Job candidate screening: The industrial-organizational psychologist creates assessment tools to determine the most eligible candidates for an open position.
  • Managing employee performance: Managers look to industrial-organizational psychologists to create assessment tools that determine how well individual employees perform their jobs.
  • Office ergonomics: The discipline of ergonomics involves making suggestions regarding the design of equipment and procedures to ensure maximum employee comfort and productivity.
  • Work-life balance: This specialty area of industrial-organizational psychology involves creating programs and benefits that better help employees balance the demands of their work and personal lives.

If you haven’t completed a specific master’s degree in I/O psychology, gaining employment as an I/O psychologist requires obtaining a master's degree in general psychology with a graduate certificate in the specialty. Students typically complete graduate certificate programs after finishing their master’s degree requirements. Most programs take approximately 12 to 18 months to complete online.

According to a report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in May 2021, I/O psychologists at the midpoint of their careers earn a median income of $113,320 per year. The BLS also predicts a growth rate of 6.4 percent annually in this field through at least 2031.

What Will I Learn in an Online Industrial-Organizational Graduate Certificate Program?

Certificate programs typically include no more than five courses. The top I/O graduate certificate programs will offer some combination of the courses listed below.

  • Benefits and Compensation
  • Career Development and Psychology of Personnel
  • Consumer Psychology
  • Data Analysis and Research Methods
  • Design and Theory of Workplace Training Programs
  • Employee Selection
  • Engineering Psychology
  • Human Potential
  • Labor Relations
  • Motivation and Attitudes in the Workplace
  • Performance Evaluations and Providing Feedback
  • Theories of Small Groups
  • Theory and Development of Organizations

Some states require a license before industrial-organizational psychologists can begin working. Students who plan to work in more than one state should check with the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology to determine how to proceed.

Admissions Requirements for an Online Graduate Degree Certificate in Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Harvard Extension School is an example of a post-secondary institution that offers students the opportunity to earn this credential online. To earn the certificate, students must complete four courses within three years of signing up for it. According to the school's literature, it has geared the certificate program towards working adults, since 83 percent of students enrolled in the extension school work full-time. Students must also earn at least a B in each of the four courses.

Below are the admissions requirements for Harvard Extension School, which are typical of other schools offering the same graduate certificate.

  • Completion of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution
  • Official transcripts from all previous schools attended
  • Proof of English proficiency if the student's first language is not English
  • A resume that reflects past and current work experience, educational credentials, memberships, special achievements, and general skills
  • A 500-word personal statement outlining the student's motivation and interest in pursuing a graduate certificate in IO psychology

The delivery of most graduate certificate programs is entirely online, providing students with maximum flexibility on the school they choose and when they complete the certificate requirements.

List of I/O Psychology Graduate Certificate Programs

Find an online or campus-based graduate certificate program in industrial organizational psychology today – our state-by-state listings make it easy to find a great program near you.

Jump to Your State Listings


Graduate Certificate Programs
536 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94105-2968
(415) 442-7800


Graduate Certificate Programs
2550 Northwestern Avenue, Suite 1100
West Lafayette, IN 47906
(866) 522-7747


Charles at Mount Royal
Baltimore, MD 21201-5720
(410) 837-4200

Are we missing your school's program or need to update information listed? Please contact us so we can make the necessary changes.

Joel Gill
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