5 of the Best U.S. Metro Areas for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

metro areas for io psychologists

Top Areas for Industrial-Organizational Psychologists

  • Silicon Valley
  • Washington, D.C. Metro Area
  • Research Triangle Park
  • Michigan
  • New York City

The American Psychological Association defines industrial-organizational psychologists, or I/O psychologists, as a group of experts who work to understand human behavior within organizations and within workplaces and then apply their findings to real-world scenarios. These professionals are necessary for every job sector and in every region around the country, but some places need I/O psychologists more than others. What follows is a list of five places where these professionals can flourish.

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley, known as The Valley to employees and tech giants, is a region that encompasses the southern part of the San Francisco Bay; it includes San Jose, Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, and Mountain View. The region is best known for the high concentration of high-tech companies that have made their home here, including Google, Apple, Adobe, Samsung, and more. This is a great place for I/O psychologists primarily because these companies need professionals on staff in order to keep operations running smoothly. I/O psychologists will often find internships available in the region during their graduate education and can even translate into a job offer if the student performs well.

Washington, D.C. Metro Area

The Washington, D.C. metro area, also known as the DC-VA-MD-WV Metro Area, is home to over six million people and has a considerable science and technology workforce. It is also home to several government research centers, agencies, and departments. It is a great place for I/O psychologists who are interested in working for the government once they graduate with a master or doctoral degree. Students will find that the region is highly educated, wealthy, and the job market is competitive, particularly in regard to government jobs. However, it is an incredible opportunity for professionals interested in working with the Department of Defense or one of the intelligence agencies that can be found in the region.

Research Triangle Park

I/O psychologists have all, at one point or another, heard of Research Triangle Park. It is a region in North Carolina that is anchored by North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Duke University. Home to research and development firms, campuses, universities, and development parks, it includes 200 companies that employ over 60,000 full-time workers and contractors. For I/O psychologists, the park is a great place to study as well as work. With renowned research universities a stone’s throw from each other, as well as various internship and employment opportunities available in the same area, an I/O psychology professional can go from student to employee in the same region.


Many I/O psychologists will know that Michigan State University is considered to have the best graduate programs in the field. What may not be known is the variety of other programs and opportunities that are available in the state. Michigan, best known as a manufacturing state to the public, is also rising as a technology hub. Along with systems engineers and data scientists, the state is also requiring a large number of I/O psychologists to help facilitate better and more efficient work practices. The more startups and companies that find a home in Michigan, the more the need becomes a demand. In fact, professionals in the state can command between $105,000 to $125,000 as a starting salary, depending on their previous educational experience.

New York City

It will come as no surprise that New York City has made this list. With so many sectors interacting in a small space, the need for I/O psychologists has increased dramatically in the last decade and is still rising. However, job opportunities are just part of the reason why the city is so attractive to these psychologists; New York City is home to several world-class educational institutions, including New York University, Fordham University, and Columbia University, just to name a few. Each of these institutions has dedicated research funds to further the study of the field.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has done a lot to demystify which regions are the best places to live in work for I/O psychologists, as seen in this report. However, as the demand grows for this specialty within psychology, students will have to branch out of statistics and look to future projections to understand where they can find work and research opportunities. All industrial-organizational psychologists will benefit from taking a closer look at these five places. All that’s left is to research the particular opportunities available in each region.

Source: American Psychological Association

Related Resources: