Many professionals interested in advancing their education wonder if an online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology could be the right pathway forward for them, but is the degree actually respected in the field? It’s a critical question because many working professionals often choose the online pathway in order to continue with their career. While the field does respect online degrees, it’s important for professionals to understand that not all programs are the same, and some are more respected than others. Here’s a look at how the field feels about online education and some key differences in programs students should be aware of.
The Field’s Perspective
The I/O psychology field has grown in recent decades; indeed, for a field that has only been around since the 1980s, it has provided a lot of valuable data for businesses and various industries. So too has the field’s perspective surrounding online degrees. With more graduates providing viable research through online programs, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the quality of the education of an I/O psychologist is more important than how they received their education. Even the American Psychological Association, which delivers various I/O psychology papers to its members such as this one, agrees: the APA is known for providing ample opportunities for online graduate students to submit their research.
Online Versus Traditional Degrees
In the past decade, graduate schools around the country have made a concerted effort to remove the stigma surrounding earning an online degree. Many schools, in fact, offer the same exact program of study online as they do on the campus; some even go a step further and provide the same professors and faculty for both programs. This has led to the schools removing the distinction of whether a student earned their online degree online or not; this means that employers have no way of knowing how a student was conferred their degree without directly asking them. This has led to the field’s view that an online graduate degree in I/O psychology should be respected as much as any other degree.
Accredited Versus Non-Accredited
No matter what program a professional chooses, or even whether it’s delivered in an online or traditional format, the field expects a student to earn an accredited degree from their school of choice. While accreditation for an online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology is currently not available, accreditation from the American Psychological Association, which is also known as the APA, is available. It is also important to note that many schools who obtain accreditation from the APA also adhere to the guidelines put forth by the Graduate Training Programs in Industrial and Organizational Psychology and Related Fields guidebook. This is delivered by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology and remains the highlight of any graduate degree that is respected in the field.
Designed for Working Professionals
One of the main things to remember about the I/O psychology field is that it is well understood that working professionals are the ones who most often earn graduate degrees. Because of this, the online format is the best choice; it delivers the flexibility needed in order to study and work full time. Additionally, graduate programs are aware that working professionals are the majority of their students, so offering an online alternative that is in accordance with the standards of the field allows more people to get a respected degree in the field.
I/O psychology is a field that continues to expand, enabling more professionals to find better career options in their field. An online program may be a great way to advance for professionals, and with so many employers indicating such a degree is not a detriment to employment, the time has come to take it into serious consideration. Every professional should consider an online master’s in industrial-organizational psychology for their own advanced education and career opportunities.
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