What does a human factors consultant do?
A human factors consultant is a broad term and can refer to a consultant that does research, usability testing, event reviews, hazard analysis, workflow assessments, and much more (National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, 2018). In essence, many of the prior careers I have discussed on this blog–user experience designers, user interface designers, usability engineers–could identify themselves as consultants if they give third party analysis and advice to companies. This is because a consultant is defined as “one who gives professional advice or services” (Merriam-Webster, 2018).In addition, consultants could work in a myriad of industries: healthcare, aviation, military, consumer products, or technology. Working as a human factors consultant is an exciting career for one who has a sense of entrepreneurship. Another benefit of working as a freelance consultant or for a consulting business is that one is able to specialize in what they find most interesting.
What education is required to be a human factors consultant?
“While there are some entry-level opportunities available to those with a bachelor’s degree, most careers in brain science and cognitive psychology begin with a master’s or doctoral degree” (APA, 2018). In addition, there are other degrees that one could study depending on their interests. For example, advanced degrees in human computer interaction and human factors or ergonomics could also help one break into the consulting field.
How much do consultants get paid?
Human factors consultants can make a range of salaries based upon their industry and years of experience. Careers in private consulting are much higher than those in academia and government. Those with 15+ years experience can expect a salary between $93,000-$152,000, while those with 1-3 years of experience can expect a salary between $61,000-$103,000 (Glassdoor, 2018). In addition, those with doctorate degrees will make a higher salary than those with master or bachelor degree.
I believe that ending my last blog post on the consulting industry in human factors is important because it shows how versatile and broad the human factors field. All one has to want is a desire to improve the systems, interactions, products, and environments that we all interact with on a daily basis. If one is more interested in design or analyzing data, then they have options in which they can specialize in a design or more analytical role.
American Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, 2018, www.apa.org/action/science/human-factors/education-training.aspx.
“Consultant.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, 2018, www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/consultant.