Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists

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About the Job

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.

It is also Called

  • User Interface Designer
  • User Experience Team Lead
  • Usability Specialist
  • Usability Engineer
  • Senior Research Associate
  • Safety Specialist
  • Principal Engineer
  • President Ergonomic Consulting
  • PI/Senior Research Associate
  • Managing Cognitive Engineer
show all

What They Do

  • Design cognitive aids, such as procedural storyboards or decision support systems.
  • Estimate time or resource requirements for ergonomic or human factors research or development projects.
  • Investigate theoretical or conceptual issues, such as the human design considerations of lunar landers or habitats.
  • Operate testing equipment, such as heat stress meters, octave band analyzers, motion analysis equipment, inclinometers, light meters, velometers, sling psychrometers, or colormetric detection tubes.
  • Provide human factors technical expertise on topics such as advanced user-interface technology development or the role of human users in automated or autonomous sub-systems in advanced vehicle systems.
  • Perform statistical analyses, such as social network pattern analysis, network modeling, discrete event simulation, agent-based modeling, statistical natural language processing, computational sociology, mathematical optimization, or systems dynamics.
  • Establish system operating or training requirements to ensure optimized human-machine interfaces.
  • 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.
  • Write, review, or comment on documents, such as proposals, test plans, or procedures.
  • Develop or implement human performance research, investigation, or analysis protocols.

Interests

People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: IA.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Investigative interests, but also prefer Artistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Achievement, but also value Working Conditions and Independence in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Psychology - Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Engineering and Technology - Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • 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.
  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • 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.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Social Perceptiveness - Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Education Required

Most of these occupations require graduate school. For example, they may require a master's degree, and some require a Ph.D., M.D., or J.D. (law degree).

Wages

In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $85,790 with most people making between $55,430 and $123,820

Outlook

0.25%
avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 9,620 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 9,860 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 24 openings due to growth and about 286 replacement openings for approximately 310 total annual openings.



Pennsylvania Department of Education