Human Factors Engineer

Make products easier to use by studying human behavior.

Quick Stats


Outlook
Good

Salary Range
$50,000 – $113,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor


What do Human Factors Engineers do?

Humans are unique and wonderful creatures. Nobody would refute that…except maybe you—the Human Factors Engineer. No, you’re not some grumpy, old person. It’s just your job, and you do it for a worthy reason.

As a Human Factors Engineer, you see commonalities among people. A job as a Human Factors Engineer is an interesting position that involves constantly studying human behavior and applying your findings to the products people use every day.

In basic terms, your goal is to adapt machines and products to reduce human error, increase safety, and maximize comfort. Let’s take airplane Pilots, for example. You study the way they communicate with the tower, how close they sit to the controls, what their average reach is, and how much space they have to work with. Then you design the layout of the control panels. It doesn’t make sense to have a low oil warning light underneath the seat, so you place it where it is sure to be seen.

You also make changes to hardware and software to improve the interaction between humans and machines. To do this, you study human expectations for performance. Then you adapt the program to meet those expectations and increase user satisfaction. An example would be making adjustments to the angle of a keyboard.

In a production facility, you might make changes to the process rather than to the product. For example, to increase productivity, you study the effects of reducing or increasing noise, light, and temperature.


Should I be a Human Factors Engineer?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Logical Thinker: You take a step-by-step approach to analyze information and solve problems.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Detail Oriented: You pay close attention to all the little details.

  • How to become a Human Factors Engineer

    We recommend at least a Bachelor's degree. Check out these schools offering Human Factors Engineer-related education!
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