Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomist Career

Job Description: 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.


Is Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomist the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomist Career

What Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists do:

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

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

Getting Information - Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.

Interacting With Computers - Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.

Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates - Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

Analyzing Data or Information - Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge - Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.

Provide Consultation and Advice to Others - Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.

Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships - Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events - Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.

Thinking Creatively - Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

Processing Information - Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards - Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Training and Teaching Others - Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.

Communicating with Persons Outside Organization - Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

Developing and Building Teams - Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.

Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information - Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.

Judging the Qualities of Things, Services, or People - Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.

Developing Objectives and Strategies - Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.

Coaching and Developing Others - Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others - Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

Performing Administrative Activities - Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others - Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

Scheduling Work and Activities - Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.

Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates - Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Holland Code Chart for a Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomist