Industrial Psychology Degree: Great Minors
Industrial psychology is a highly flexible field. Also known as organizational psychology, industrial psychology is the study of the attitudes and behaviors of people in work settings.
These degrees can be applied to a broad range of career opportunities depending on your area of concentration and the minor you select. Because this is such a broad field, there are many minors that pair well with an industrial psychology degree.
Getting a minor along with your major in industrial psychology can help you advance your job search. Likewise, expanding your studies to minor areas is a great way to explore areas of interest that relate well to psychology.
Let’s explore some popular minors that you might consider as you continue your industrial psychology studies.
One minor that pairs quite well with an industrial psychology degree is production management.
Also known as operations management, production management is an area of business that ensures organizational operations run smoothly through proper planning and controls. This often involves a variety of important tasks such as designing and overseeing quality assurance programs, and monitoring and evaluating organizational processes.
Production management also involves creating strategies to improve productivity and efficiency. There is a component of designing and implementing effective training programs as well.
So, if you minor in this field, you might use the skills you gain to help develop an employee training program. Drawing on your production management knowledge, the program you develop would include specific instructions for employees that introduce them to their jobs. Likewise, the training program might introduce new employees to the process by which their supervisors will evaluate their job performance.
This is a simple example, but the idea of all production management tasks is the same – to ensure a company maximizes its production value.
Sociology is an excellent minor for industrial psychology majors. Where your psychology studies focus on the behaviors of individuals, sociology takes a broader look at the interactions among and between groups of people.
When you enter the workforce as an industrial psychologist, you will most assuredly have job duties that revolve around groups of people in the workplace – management, executives, laborers, and so forth. You will also be charged with using your understanding of consumer groups and their behavior to advance company goals. This is where a sociology minor can come in handy.
From learning about organizational structures to public policy, race relations to demography, the skills you gain in a sociology minor can help you describe and explain group behavior. More to the point, it can help you predict group behavior and even strive to control it as well. In short, the sociological perspective is an ideal companion to the psychological perspective you develop in your industrial psychology major.
Marketing is also a terrific minor that pairs well with an industrial psychology degree. Not only does marketing involve effective product and service promotion, but a large part of marketing also involves studying consumer behavior, consumer needs, and consumer wants. Additionally, marketing involves the analysis of buying patterns and trends in consumer purchasing.
To ensure the success of any product or service, marketing professionals must be able to determine what types of products and services are in demand. They must also be able to discern what types of products and services would be successful on the market. To do this, they must have excellent research, communications, and interpersonal skills.
With a background in both marketing and industrial psychology, you might gain employment as a marketing consultant. This position requires you to have an intimate understanding of human behavior, which you would have from your psychological studies. It also requires that you understand the fundamentals of marketing we discussed above, like consumer behavior and purchasing trends.
If you’re interested in why people make the consumer decisions they do (and in influencing those behaviors with effective marketing), a minor in marketing would be a great choice.
Globalization all but ensures that businesses and organizations of all sizes will have dealings with other businesses in all corners of the world.
And even if you aren’t involved in the business side of things – perhaps you work exclusively with employees – you might still be asked to provide services to branches in multiple countries.
As a result, knowing more than your native language can help you carry out your duties if traveling abroad. If you’re a native English speaker, you will find that in many countries, many people speak English fluently. But hoping that the people with whom you need to interact speak English isn’t much of a strategy.
While you can’t predict what language would be the best for your future career, you can certainly focus your minor studies on a common language. Chinese, Spanish, English, Hindi, and Arabic are among the most widely spoken languages in the world. Choosing one of these as your minor could go a long way in advancing your career.
Human Resource Management
Another minor that is a great match for industrial psychology degree majors is human resource management.
These two fields are quite similar. On the one hand, industrial psychologists might develop employee screening tools, devise recruitment strategies, and conduct pre-employment testing. On the other hand, human resource managers might implement employee evaluation programs, mediate employee conflicts, and oversee payroll.
Human resource managers must also be able to fully understand typical employee behavior and attitudes so that they can effectively oversee the hiring and training of an organizational staff. This understanding of human behavior is precisely what you learn in your industrial psychology courses.
There is a lot of overlap between human resource management and industrial psychology, but the fields are two distinct career areas. In addition to educational and salary differences, industrial psychologists and human resource managers go about their jobs a little differently.
For example, an industrial psychologist might offer recommendations on salary and benefits packages that will attract the best job candidates. Then, a human resources manager might be responsible for developing those salary and benefits packages and implementing them for employees. Think of industrial psychologists as being the “idea people” and the human resource managers as being those who bring those ideas to fruition.
Many industrial psychology majors end up starting their own private practice or consulting firm. This necessitates having some level of business acumen, which you can develop in a minor in entrepreneurship.
These minors often focus on basic business and marketing courses, like introduction to business, microeconomics, and accounting. Some minors might also include courses on business decision-making, business communications, and accounting.
Regardless of the specific courses that are included in the minor, entrepreneurship classes will give you the essential business skills you need to launch and sustain your own business. And even if you don’t enter private practice, having a background in entrepreneurship will be beneficial for you in many other industrial psychology careers.
For example, as an industrial psychologist, you might be asked to research consumer behavior as part of a plan to introduce a new product to the market. With an understanding of business practices, economics, and marketing, you’ll be better equipped to provide sound recommendations regarding how to roll out the new product and pique the interests of as many consumers as possible.
Industrial psychology degree majors who would like to work in research after graduation may want to consider minoring in statistics.
Statistics is an area of mathematics that helps researchers understand averages and probability ratings when evaluating data compiled from sources like quantitative surveys and experiments.
This type of research is often used in marketing when determining such things as buying trends and other consumer behaviors. For example, a statistician might analyze the probability of a product or service’s success after introduction to a target market. As another example, you might examine the types of possible consumers for a product or service in terms of consumer demographic data and statistics about typical purchasing behavior.
A minor in computer science could prove to be helpful for you as an industrial psychology major.
Many industrial psychology careers are heavily involved in research. With research comes the need to evaluate and analyze data. Computer programs are a key component of this process.
By minoring in computer science, you will learn about general computer science skills as well as develop specific hard skills that enable you to more quickly and efficiently analyze data.
In many cases, computer science minors include coursework in programs like Java. Additionally, you’ll likely take classes in math, algorithms, and systems analysis. Some discrete mathematics will likely be required, as will coursework in data structures and object-oriented programming.
But these skills aren’t just helpful for research applications. You can also use them to streamline processes like employee training. For example, you might write a computer program to create an interactive online employee training manual. Not only would this allow new employees to take part in their training from anywhere they can access a computer, but it would likely also save time and money, which will please any business or organization.
General business is a great minor for industrial psychology majors who are unsure of what type of career they may seek after graduation.
Students who choose this minor will be required to study several areas of business including:
- Operations management
- Human resources
- Consumer behavior
- Business management
This minor, when paired with an industrial psychology degree, can prepare students for a broad range of occupations. You might become an accounting consultant, a marketing director or manager, or even a social media specialist. Other options include retail and sales manager, human resource specialist, or a business consultant.
Whether you’re mediating a conflict between employees, doing an exit interview, or working with an executive team to create a company vision, communication skills are paramount. This being the case, a minor in communications can help you fulfill your job duties.
Being a psychologist requires that you have good communication skills to begin with. You need to be able to speak with individuals, small groups, and large groups alike. Active listening skills are a must as well. You should also have excellent written communication skills – after all, your position as an industrial psychologist will come with plenty of paperwork.
Depending on the school you attend, a minor in communications might include coursework in:
- Public relations
- Interpersonal communications
- Mass media
- Principles of advertising
- Media and culture
These kinds of courses would be highly beneficial for you in a business environment. As an example, taking a course in media and culture will help you understand how people of different cultures interact with different types of media. This, in turn, could help you provide informed input regarding how your company should market a new product or service.
Looking Ahead to Your Career
Industrial psychology majors have many fantastic areas that they can choose to specialize in. You can work in business or industry, for the government or military, or in the education sector, just to name a few options. Of course, with the addition of one of the minors on this list, you can expand your career possibilities even further.
When choosing a minor, think purposefully about your career goals. Ask yourself which minor is most applicable to your chosen field and how the coursework in a minor will help prepare you better for the world of work.
If possible, also consult with someone that is already working in your desired field to get some advice about the direction you should go with your minor. If you don’t know anyone working in industrial psychology, ask your professors if they have any connections. Getting the real-world input of someone that works in the field can help direct your attention toward a minor that will benefit you the most.
Whether you choose a minor from this list or explore a different option, extending your education to another area of study will do you well. Not only will you graduate with a greater base of knowledge and skills, but you’ll also be more attractive to potential employers because of your enhanced on-the-job capabilities. It’s a win-win!
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