While the government is busy running the country, industrial organizational (I/O) psychologists are running the government. This rising field of applied psychology is an exciting profession that marries traditional psychology with logistical applications. Projected to grow 53% over the next decade with a 2012 median pay of $83,580, working behind-the-scenes to ensure the government’s efficacy at all levels is just one of the many tasks an I/O psychologist tackles each day.
The Washington Post succinctly ran-down the responsibilities of these professionals in a January 2014 profile of the field, writing, “They…help [government agencies] recruit and select job applicants, train and develop employees, build effective teams, measure individual, team, and organizational performance and identify and develop leaders.” In short, this isn’t your grandfather’s psychologist.
Working to secure compliance with federal standards, legal knowledge and ethical dilemmas incur as much work as standard morale-boosting in the workplace. For such a well-rounded field, one needs a well-rounded education. Thankfully, programs like The Chicago School of Professional Psychology’s Online M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology offer comprehensive educations to ready the aspirant for this fantastic career.
To prepare for the demanding and rewarding career as an industrial psychologist, the aforementioned sample program runs the gamut of necessary skills taught: psychology, logistics, statistical programming, even in-depth looks at how to properly appraise performances and choose the right applicants for the job. The working world is increasingly becoming dependent on finding ways to run at maximum efficiency – there’s a reason the search engine adage goes that even a second too slow will cause somebody to switch engines.
This is a full-throttle society, and the government needs to not only keep up with, but also stay ahead of, any incoming problems that the various agencies might face. If this challenge sounds like one you’d love to undertake, following the necessary degrees and training, websites like GovLoop assist in linking potential candidates with their desired jobs in the government. Happily enough, the person sitting across from you in your future interview will probably be an I/O psychologist themselves!
Defined by the official organization for this profession, the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), industrial organizational psychology is “the scientific study of the workplace. Rigor and methods of psychology are applied to issues of critical relevance to business, including talent management, coaching, assessment, selection, training, organizational development, performance, and work-life balance.”
If your passion for government is only strengthened by a desire to apply the above criteria to streamlining federal agencies, then becoming an I/O psychologist is the next logical step. Through programs like The Chicago School’s online M.A., working for the government is but one step away. With this perfect combination of psychology and research analytics, maybe you’ll be the one to end Congressional inaction.