An engineering psychologist is a specialist professional concerned with the way humans interact with the objects around them. Many psychologists working in this field focus on ergonomics and how changing the way people sit, stand act can affect the way they do their jobs. Though the history of the field dates back to World War II, it wasn’t until recently that schools offered degree programs in engineering psychology. When working on your undergraduate degree and thinking about the field, look at what you can expect to do on an average day.
Accidents in the Workplace
According to the American Psychological Association, the demand for engineering psychologist is on the rise. The APA found that entry level workers make a starting salary of $48,000 to more than $75,000 a year, which includes those looking at accidents in the workplace. An engineering psychologist might look at how different products can injure those working in an office setting or another setting. They often look at potential problems and find ways to reduce those problems from causing accidents. Some experts work for private firms that specifically go into different workplaces, while others work for companies that want to decrease on-site accidents.
Research is an important part of any psychology job. Many psychologists working in the engineering field work for firms that examine products before those products go onto the market. They will look at what consumers need and how they can improve those products to meet those needs. Psychologists use focus groups, which showcase different products to customers and ask what they think about the design and packaging, but others use surveys that they send out to current and potential customers.
In addition to researching new products, psychologists also look at existing products and determine how to improve those items based on current demographics. Through surveys and other forms of research, they identify the people who buy those products. Companies can then use that information to determine how to build a marketing campaign that targets those customers or a campaign that will help them reach people of different ages or backgrounds. Some companies hire psychologists because they want to find out why their products don’t perform as well in the market as others do. Psychologists will use focus groups and other methods to find out how people feel about products and analyze that data before presenting it to clients.
Ergonomics and Stress
While some engineering psychologists look at workplace accidents, others focus on how ergonomics can cause repetitive stress injuries in the workplace. They might find that some users sit too close to the computer screen, while others put more pressure on their lower bodies because of how they sit at a desk. The psychologists find new products that can reduce injuries, but they also examine the items used by workers in different settings, including on construction sites and in factories.
Psychologists can work with dozens of people on a daily basis. Those working in the engineering sector often look at existing products, research new products and analyze market data. An engineering psychologist might also spend more time working with clients to reduce accidents and stress in the workplace.