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Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists

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All About Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists

Job Description & Duties Design objects, facilities, and environments to optimize human well-being and overall system performance, applying theory, principles, and data regarding the relationship between humans and respective technology. Investigate and analyze characteristics of human behavior and performance as it relates to the use of technology.

Life As a Human Factors Engineer or Ergonomist

  • Develop or implement research methodologies or statistical analysis plans to test and evaluate developmental prototypes used in new products or processes, such as cockpit designs, user workstations, or computerized human models.
  • Train users in task techniques or ergonomic principles.
  • Provide technical support to clients through activities such as rearranging workplace fixtures to reduce physical hazards or discomfort or modifying task sequences to reduce cycle time.
  • Analyze complex systems to determine potential for further development, production, interoperability, compatibility, or usefulness in a particular area, such as aviation.
  • Develop or implement human performance research, investigation, or analysis protocols.
  • Apply modeling or quantitative analysis to forecast events, such as human decisions or behaviors, the structure or processes of organizations, or the attitudes or actions of human groups.

What Skills Do You Need to Work as a Human Factors Engineer or Ergonomist?

These are the skills Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists say are the most useful in their careers:

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Reading Comprehension: Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Types of Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists

  • PI/Senior Research Associate
  • Usability Specialist
  • Managing Cognitive Engineer
  • Ergonomic Specialist
  • Chief Engineer

Is There Job Demand for Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists?

There were about 257,900 jobs for Industrial Engineers in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 9.7% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 25,100 new jobs for Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists by 2026. Due to new job openings and attrition, there will be an average of 19,700 job openings in this field each year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Industrial Engineers are Michigan, California, and Texas.

Watch out if you plan on working in New Mexico, Vermont, or Hawaii. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Do Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists Make A Lot Of Money?

The typical yearly salary for Industrial Engineers is somewhere between $56,470 and $132,340. The median salary for this occupation is $87,040.

Salary Ranges for Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for jobs of this type in different U.S. states.

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

Texas

$109,880

California

$107,810

Washington

$106,980

Wyoming

$102,730

Massachusetts

$102,210

Maryland

$102,200

New Mexico

$102,120

Montana

$100,640

Colorado

$100,460

Louisiana

$99,090

New Jersey

$98,050

Rhode Island

$97,610

Arizona

$95,940

Hawaii

$95,590

Idaho

$94,830

New York

$94,700

Delaware

$94,590

West Virginia

$94,480

Virginia

$93,980

New Hampshire

$91,530

Oregon

$90,980

Minnesota

$90,580

Connecticut

$89,830

Utah

$89,830

Michigan

$89,330

Illinois

$88,850

District of Columbia

$88,380

Maine

$88,020

Alabama

$87,870

Missouri

$87,620

Nevada

$87,140

North Carolina

$87,110

South Carolina

$87,080

Georgia

$86,220

Pennsylvania

$86,080

Nebraska

$85,950

Oklahoma

$85,280

Tennessee

$84,070

Ohio

$84,060

South Dakota

$82,780

Iowa

$82,770

Mississippi

$82,040

North Dakota

$79,980

Vermont

$79,700

Kansas

$79,580

Kentucky

$79,170

Florida

$77,410

Wisconsin

$77,260

Arkansas

$77,100

Indiana

$74,430

What Tools & Technology do Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists Use?

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists may use on a daily basis:

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Visio
  • The MathWorks MATLAB
  • Microsoft Visual Basic
  • Microsoft Excel
  • IBM SPSS Statistics
  • jQuery
  • SAS
  • Computer aided design CAD software
  • Microsoft Office

Where Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists Work

Human Factors Engineer or Ergonomist Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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