Whether you’re an A-level student deciding on further education, or a seasoned professional looking to expand on your knowledge and opportunities, we have the information you need to take the next step in your career. Watch the video of CIEHF members talking about their careers.
What do ergonomists and human factors specialists do?
Ergonomics and human factors specialists solve problems, sometimes before the problems even occur. They look at all types of work environments – from offices to spacestations – to understand how they can make things better for the people who work in those environments. They need to think creatively and use knowledge from a wide range of disciplines to come up with a solution that is simple, suitable and cost-effective.
They work in a huge range of sectors, from healthcare to research to energy to transport. They either work independently, as consultants, or within an organisation such as a nuclear facility or university. What they do depends very much on the organisation but their role generally is to look at the processes and systems that companies use to carry out their business to understand if they can be made safer, more effective, more usable or more accessible.
As an ergonomist, you could:
- design products to make them easier or more comfortable to use
- train people to work safely in hazardous places like oil rigs and power plants
- examine the physical strength and endurance of athletes
- analyse pilots’ tasks to ensure maximum performance under stress
- design protective equipment for people working in extreme environments
- improve accessibility for disabled people
Watch the video from Cardiff University on career pathways from psychology featuring CIEHF member Jodie Lewis who gives an insight into a career in human factors. (Used with permission.)
Watch the video of CIEHF member Ella Mae Hubbard talking about her career in academia.
How can I become an ergonomist and human factors specialist?
Rarely does a career in ergonomics and human factors follow a single path. Many of our members start out in an entirely different field and are drawn to ergonomics and human factors by the opportunity to use their experience in new and interesting ways. They are attracted by the flexibility, the variety and the opportunities for learning that becoming an ergonomics and human factors professional offers them.
If you’re not sure whether ergonomics and human factors is for you, or you want to network with established professionals, the best thing you can do is to come along to one of our many events. Our regional groups regularly run free events all over the country that are open to everybody. Or, if you want a real head-start, come along to our conference in April where you will meet hundreds of professionals and get the chance to find where your passion lies.