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I-O Career Paths in Government

I-O Career Paths → Government

Click on a developmental level to view additional details.

The career paths for government were found to have four job levels (see figure above). Government employees at every level are expected to perform technical delivery. As they advance, they are expected to have greater proficiency, and once one moves into a management position supervisory competencies become critical.

Many government employees retain the same general title (e.g., "Test & Validation Specialist") and progress through numerical band levels or Government service levels (numerical) after their title as they progressed up the career ladder (e.g., Test & Validation Specialist I, II, III).

Within their roles, some I-O Psychologists are involved in client-facing projects with various government agencies, whereas others work internally and conduct research on best practices. Within both tracks, some employees may choose to take the management track, whereas others may choose to remain individual contributors.

Across all levels of the Government career paths the following competencies and experiences were identified as most important.

Top Competencies   Top Experiences
  1. Integrity 
  2. Ethical Behavior 
  3. Communication: Written 
  4. Critical Thinking 
  5. Communication: Verbal


  1. Complete highly complex projects that include a wide range of skills necessary (e.g., analytical skills, knowledge of various methodologies) 
  2. Deliver presentations to customers 
  3. Create and administer own projects from start to finish 
  4. Deliver effective briefings to senior management and/or customers
  5. Demonstrate that project work adds value to the organization

Job titles among I-O psychologists in Government may vary substantially. The table below identifies some of the more common titles. This list contains general types of job titles that may appear within each of the different career levels. They are meant to further clarify the different responsibilities between career levels and may not present actual job titles in your organization.

Individual Contributor



Expert Individual Contributor





Case Team Leader
Senior Associate Consultant
Project Leader

Manager of Managers


Senior Manager



Senior Executive

Click here to view a matrix of common job titles across each career sector.