What’s an Ergonomist?

What do ergonomists do?

An ergonomist is responsible for applying human factors principles to product design or working environment. There are many different types of ergonomists: physical, cognitive, and organizational (International Ergonomics Association, 2018).

Ergonomists conduct usability testing in order to better understand how users behave.

Physical ergonomists are responsible for ensuring that products and environments are designed in a manner that optimize human health. For example, a physical ergonomist may be responsible for determining the optimal computer screen angle for users. Cognitive ergonomist work with users’ mental processes when interacting with products or environments. A cognitive ergonomist may be responsible for determining optimal work or stress load. Organizational ergonomist study structures and systems in order to optimize organizations. An organizational ergonomist may be responsible for ensuring productive policies and procedures are enacted in a way that promote efficiency.

What skills do I need to be an ergonomist?

Because so many different types of companies need ergonomists, there are many different types of skills that ergonomists must have. In general, ergonomists must be able to effectively work in team settings as they interact with engineers, users, and other types of people while they work. In addition, ergonomists must be creative problem solvers as they are tasked with challenges that require outside of the box thinking.

In order to gain a general sense of specific skills that ergonomist employers require, I have attached a screenshot of Safran’s Group, an aircraft equipment company, job description for a position titled “Ergonomist.”

As the job description indicates, ergonomists must be experts in their field and possess “soft skills” such as project management.

How much do ergonomists make?

Ergonomists can expect an initial annual salary from $48,000 to $75,367 (American Psychological Association, 2018). It is also important to note that the work setting which one works substantially influences salary. Private consultants with a doctorate have an annual salary of $179,160, while those working in academia earned $92,614. It’s apparent that salaries for ergonomists can greatly vary depending on education and the work setting.

Physical ergonomists must take considerations as shown above in order to design products that are usable and promote good health.

What education do I need to be an ergonomist?

At minimum, ergonomist roles require a bachelor’s degree in human factors, psychology, or a closely related field. It is important to note that most roles will require at least a master’s degree (American Psychological Association, 2018).

An ergonomist measures the distance from the user to the computer screen.

                                                                   Works Cited
“All About Human Factors and Engineering.” American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/action/science/human-factors/education-training.aspx.
“Group.” Group | Safran at a Glance, Safran, www.safran-group.com/group-0.
“What Is Ergonomics? .” Definition and Domains of Ergonomics | IEA Website, International Ergonomics Association, 2018, www.iea.cc/whats/index.html.

20 Comments

  1. This post reiterates what was discussed during one of our lectures. As someone who is considering exploring the human factors/ergonomics field, this post is important to me. It lays out the basics of being an ergonomist, and the variety that exists within the field. All of the factors that you discuss – what it is, skill set, and salary – are basic facts that those entering the field want to know. I like how you included an image of a job description for an ergonomist.

  2. Interesting post on ergonomists. After reading your blog post, I wondered more about the different kinds of ergonomists out there. Furthermore, your article also poses the following question: why do most ergonomists jobs require a master degree in the field? Is it because most research requires a higher level of education?

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