Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists

female-industrial-employee-teaching-colleague-operate-machine-pointing-control-board-using-tablet_1.webp
$96,350 Median Wage (2022)
22,800 Projected job openings (2022-2032)
11.70% Projected growth (2022-2032)

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.

Experience Requirements Overview

  • Job Zone Five: Extensive Preparation Needed
  • Extensive skill, knowledge, and experience are needed for these occupations. Many require more than five years of experience. For example, surgeons must complete four years of college and an additional five to seven years of specialized medical training to be able to do their job.
  • 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).
  • Employees may need some on-the-job training, but most of these occupations assume that the person will already have the required skills, knowledge, work-related experience, and/or training.

Education, Training and Experience

Required Level of Education: Master's Degree

Related Work Experience: Over 2 years, up to and including 4 years

On-Site or In-Plant Training: Up to and including 1 month

On-the-Job Training: Over 3 months, up to and including 6 months

Detailed Work Activities

  • Prepare proposal documents.
  • Train personnel on proper operational procedures.
  • Investigate safety of work environment.
  • Recommend technical design or process changes to improve efficiency, quality, or performance.
  • Research human performance or health factors related to engineering or design activities.
  • Estimate technical or resource requirements for development or production projects.
  • Estimate time requirements for development or production projects.
  • Advise others on health and safety issues.
  • Document design or operational test results.
  • Create models of engineering designs or methods.
  • Test performance of electrical, electronic, mechanical, or integrated systems or equipment.
  • Determine operational criteria or specifications.
  • Inspect facilities or sites to determine if they meet specifications or standards.
  • Devise research or testing protocols.
  • Prepare procedural documents.
  • Assess product or process usefulness.
  • Confer with technical personnel to prepare designs or operational plans.
  • Analyze operational data to evaluate operations, processes or products.
  • Develop technical methods or processes.

Work Values

Achievement

Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.

Working Conditions

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.

Recognition

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious. Corresponding needs are Advancement, Authority, Recognition and Social Status.

Relationships

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.

Support

Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

Independence

Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

Tasks

  • Design or evaluate human work systems, using human factors engineering and ergonomic principles to optimize usability, cost, quality, safety, or performance.
  • Develop or implement human performance research, investigation, or analysis protocols.
  • Recommend workplace changes to improve health and safety, using knowledge of potentially harmful factors, such as heavy loads or repetitive motions.
  • Prepare reports or presentations summarizing results or conclusions of human factors engineering or ergonomics activities, such as testing, investigation, or validation.
  • Inspect work sites to identify physical hazards.
  • Collect data through direct observation of work activities or witnessing the conduct of tests.
  • 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.
  • Conduct interviews or surveys of users or customers to collect information on topics, such as requirements, needs, fatigue, ergonomics, or interfaces.
  • Perform functional, task, or anthropometric analysis, using tools, such as checklists, surveys, videotaping, or force measurement.
  • Integrate human factors requirements into operational hardware.
  • Advocate for end users in collaboration with other professionals, including engineers, designers, managers, or customers.
  • Write, review, or comment on documents, such as proposals, test plans, or procedures.
  • Train users in task techniques or ergonomic principles.
  • Establish system operating or training requirements to ensure optimized human-machine interfaces.
  • 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.
  • Assess the user-interface or usability characteristics of products.
  • Review health, safety, accident, or worker compensation records to evaluate safety program effectiveness or to identify jobs with high incidence of injury.
  • Conduct research to evaluate potential solutions related to changes in equipment design, procedures, manpower, personnel, or training.
  • Analyze complex systems to determine potential for further development, production, interoperability, compatibility, or usefulness in a particular area, such as aviation.
  • Estimate time or resource requirements for ergonomic or human factors research or development projects.
  • 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.
  • Operate testing equipment, such as heat stress meters, octave band analyzers, motion analysis equipment, inclinometers, light meters, thermoanemometers, sling psychrometers, or colorimetric 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.
  • Design cognitive aids, such as procedural storyboards or decision support systems.
  • Investigate theoretical or conceptual issues, such as the human design considerations of lunar landers or habitats.
  • 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.

Work Styles

Persistence

Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

Achievement/Effort

Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.

Initiative

Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

Leadership

Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.

Cooperation

Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

Concern for Others

Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

Social Orientation

Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.

Self-Control

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.

Stress Tolerance

Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.

Adaptability/Flexibility

Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.

Dependability

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.

Attention to Detail

Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

Integrity

Job requires being honest and ethical.

Independence

Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.

Innovation

Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

Analytical Thinking

Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

Data Source: This page includes information from the O*NET 28.0 Database by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA). Used under the CC BY 4.0 license. O*NET® is a trademark of USDOL/ETA. This page includes Employment Projections program, Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics program, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.