Engineering Psychologist Career Information, Jobs, Degrees & Training Programs

Engineering psychologists specialize in designing safer and more user-friendly products. This field of psychology emerged during the 1940's, as more engineers began considering user factors when developing new programs. If you enjoy developing and improving products to meet people's needs, consider a career in engineering psychology.

Job Description

Safety concerns and user-friendliness became a critical issue during World War II since airplanes and other mechanical devices were being mass produced. The field of engineering psychology has evolved over the years since consumers have demanded safer and ergonomic computers, power tools, chairs, and other consumer goods. Engineering psychologists are primarily concerned with user interface, perception, and interactivity.

Engineering psychologists must possess an array of skills and knowledge from numerous disciplines. In addition to ensuring products are ergonomic, these specialists conduct tests to make sure consumers like the appearance and usability of products. While conducting tests, engineering psychologists frequently conduct surveys and seek feedback about previous products.

Engineering psychologists must also possess excellent analytical skills and work effectively in teams since they frequently collaborate with other professionals. It's also important for them to remain unbiased during design phases.

Engineering psychologists take into account these factors while designing new products:
  • Feedback: Implementing consumer feedback into designs, while ensuring products are safe and ergonomic
  • Human Error: Designing user-friendly and safe products while eliminating human error
  • Perception: Designing products that are not only safe, but also visually appealing
  • Profiling: Surveying enough population samples to ensure products appeal to men, women, children, college students, etc.
Jobs for engineering psychologists are primarily available in the private sector, government agencies, and colleges and universities.

Education and Training

Job requirements for engineering psychologists usually differ by organization. Students interested in this field should enroll in computer programming, physics, statistics, psychology, and engineering courses. It's also advantageous to complete internships to obtain hands-on experience. No single undergraduate degree is required to enroll in a doctorate degree program, but it's necessary to complete a program accredited by the Human Factor and Ergonomic Society (HFES).

Entry-level engineering psychology jobs can be obtained with a master's degree, but you'll have better job opportunities with a doctorate degree.

Prior Work Experience

Many companies prefer to hire applicants with engineering work experience. It's also advantageous to have experience in web development, computer programming, and information technology. If you want to work in a specific industry, try to acquire hands-on experience in a related field.

Career Advancement

Job growth is increasing at a high rate since most companies are continually trying to develop user-friendly products. Business managers and executives frequently consult with engineering psychologists while developing new products. Developers and engineers often do not have the skills or time to organize focus groups and surveys.

Many engineering psychologists are employed in the medical industry. New medical technology is constantly being developed, so it's the responsibility of these specialists to ensure new technology is safe, efficient, and ergonomic.

Companies often pay high salaries to qualified engineering psychologists to cut costs related to poor and unsafe product decisions. Those who excel often get promoted to management or supervisory positions.

Related Associations and Groups

The following groups represent the interests of engineering psychologists:

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