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Masters in I/O Psychology VS a masters in Human Resources Management


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I'm a little unclear about the difference between the training for these two degrees.


Overall, which degree do you suppose is a better choice in terms of career options and salary?


Thank You

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If you haven't already, you could join SIOP (www.siop.org) and post this question to their discussion board.  You will probably get a lot more feedback from others who have looked into this for themselves.  I can't say for certain, but I think I remember people saying that if you want to do human resource management, do an HR degree and get the specialization certifcation (human resource professional something-or-other?)  But you'd really be better off asking this in the SIOP forum.  You could also check out the SHRM website.  They may have salary info on their site as well. 

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Not all individuals who obtain a masters in I/O psychology go on to pursue careers in Human Resources, although, you certainly have the education to do so with such a degree. Some individuals with I/O backgrounds go on to work as management consultants, or in roles conducting personnel research or participating in organizational training and development.


I have also found that a masters degree in HR management is really not even needed to pursue a career in HR. Work experience is key for these types of positions (but some positions may require an associate's or bachelors in a related field) and as Bren2014 stated, obtaining the PHR or SPHR ceritifcations are also highly regarded. If you are looking to do something in HR, I would recommend gaining experience before entering into a masters program in HR as I imagine that graduating with a masters in the field without any experience, will probably lead to a frustrating job search as the job prospects are not favorable for someone with no practical experience.


In term of career options and salary, I feel that the I/O path will cede you more flexibility to enter careers both inside and outside of HR while a degree in HR management will primarily only lead to positions in HR (given you have experience to go along with the degree). Salary is generally favorable for careers in HR and for other careers that can be pursued with a background in I/O. For example according to O*NET, the national median salary for a HR Manager is ~$99,000/year (of course experience will be required for these types of positions) and the salary for HR Specialists is ~$54,000/year. While management consultants have a median salary of ~$78,000/year and Training and Development Managers' median salary is ~$91,000/year.  


I would still encourage those pursuing an I/O masters to gain practical experience as well as this will be invaluable as a practitioner and in today's competitive labor market.

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