Which is better, Clinical Psychology or Industrial and Organizational Psychology?

Question by : Which is better, Clinical Psychology or Industrial and Organizational Psychology?

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Answer by ownpool
Clinical psychology is usually considered to be more difficult and usually pays better.

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2 Comments so far »

  1. CoachT said,

    Wrote on June 27, 2012 @ 3:48 pm

    I/O Psych is one of the few areas where professional positions are at the master’s level. PhD level I/O is primarily research. It’s most often a specialized function of HR and it does indeed pay less (generally speaking) than does Clinical Psych. I/O doesn’t do as much counseling as it does screenings and organizational problem solving. Self-employment isn’t out of the question but is usually a function of HR consulting and not the practice of psychology (which is regulated by your state).

    Clinical Psych nearly always requires a PhD/PsyD and a huge percentage are self-employed in private practice. How much that pays depends on a lot of factors such as where you are and how good you are. It has the advantage of more employment opportunities at all levels from clinical to federal government.

    Which is “better” depends entirely on what you want to do. I like I/O work but I’m not one to want to hear people’s life-drama all day. I/O isn’t as much about “helping people” (a draw for most clinical types) as it is about helping businesses and organizations. There’s an awful lot of observation in I/O work and not so much 1:1 client interaction that the clinical folks see.

    I/O has one big advantage (my opinion); as you begin to analyze human capital, you start to recognize better ways to improve your own workplace (or organizational) positions.

  2. Sugar Rush said,

    Wrote on June 27, 2012 @ 4:37 pm

    Depends on what you really want to do. My thoughts as a young-career clinical psychology PhD:

    Clinical Psychology is wonderful if you really like to work hard and help people for relatively low pay. The field requires you to juggle a lot at once (research, clinical work, teaching), and it is a very competitive field (so much so that 25% of almost-PhDs each year can’t match to a pre-doctoral internship position, which is required before graduation). From my vantage point, it doesn’t pay that well, unless you do a lot of assessments/testing, but I’m in research and teaching. But — it is a very intellectually stimulating and rewarding field.

    I/O Psychology is great if you really enjoy studying and assessing group dynamics, working as a consultant, and/or like interacting with corporations and organizations. Training is still hard work, but it doesn’t require you to juggle quite so many things (usually research and occasionally teaching). From what I’ve seen, PhDs in I/O are well-funded, and they get great work offers and assignments that pay very well (let’s face it, corporations often can afford to pay you more than research grants). This may be because the I/O department at my university is one of the best in the country, though — but so is the clinical program, and simply there just isn’t that much money floating around.

    Hope this helps some. Good luck!

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