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Become A Human Factors Engineer

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Working As A Human Factors Engineer

  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Analyzing Data or Information
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Mostly Sitting

  • $105,566

    Average Salary

What Does A Human Factors Engineer Do

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Duties

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services
  • Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
  • Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient
  • Enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems or minimize costs
  • Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards
  • Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects

Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for

  • moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants
  • delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants
  • evaluating job performance
  • paying workers

Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers’ safety, environmental concerns, and cost.

To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully. Then they use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements most efficiently.

Their versatility allows industrial engineers to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

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How To Become A Human Factors Engineer

Industrial engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value experience, so cooperative education engineering programs at universities are also valuable.

Education

Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. Students interested in studying industrial engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences such as chemistry and physics.

Bachelor’s degree programs include lectures in classrooms and practice in laboratories. Courses include statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design, among others. Many colleges and universities offer cooperative education programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year degree programs in industrial engineering that lead to a bachelor’s and master’s degree upon completion, and several more offer similar programs in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a professor at a college or university or to engage in research and development. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative education plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain experience and to finance part of their education.

Programs in industrial engineering are accredited by ABET.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Industrial engineers use creativity and ingenuity to design new production processes in many kinds of settings in order to reduce the use of material resources, time, or labor while accomplishing the same goal.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineers create new systems to solve problems related to waste and inefficiency. Solving these problems requires logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to the problems.

Listening skills. These engineers often operate in teams, but they also must solicit feedback from customers, vendors, and production staff. They must listen to customers and clients in order to fully grasp ideas and problems the first time.

Math skills. Industrial engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing facilities for manufacturing and processes for providing services, these engineers deal with several issues at once, from workers’ safety to quality assurance.

Speaking skills. Industrial engineers sometimes have to explain their instructions to production staff or technicians before they can make written instructions available. Being able to explain concepts clearly and quickly is crucial to preventing costly mistakes and loss of time.

Writing skills. Industrial engineers must prepare documentation for other engineers or scientists, or for future reference. The documentation must be coherent and explain their thinking clearly so that the others can understand the information.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an industrial engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licenses from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Advancement

Beginning industrial engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classes or seminars. As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, industrial engineers may advance to become technical specialists, such as quality engineers or facility planners. In that role, they supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Obtaining a master’s degree facilitates such specialization and thus advancement.

Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work they do is closely related to the work of managers. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Human Factors Engineer Jobs

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Human Factors Engineer Career Paths

Human Factors Engineer
User Interface Designer User Interaction Designer Freelance Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
User Experience Researcher User Interaction Designer Design Consultant
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
User Experience Manager Senior Manager Global Director
Director Of Systems Integration
12 Yearsyrs
User Experience Designer User Experience Architect User Experience Manager
Director Of User Experience
10 Yearsyrs
User Interface Designer Interactive Designer Creative Director
Interactive Director
7 Yearsyrs
Senior User Experience Designer Design Consultant Senior Consultant
Lead Architect
8 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer Senior Graphic Designer Marketing Consultant
Marketing Strategist
6 Yearsyrs
User Experience Designer Product Designer Design Engineer
Principal Engineer
12 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer Project Manager Senior Product Manager
Principal Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
System Safety Engineer Senior Systems Engineer Program Manager
Product Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Systems Administrator Business Analyst
Product Owner
9 Yearsyrs
System Safety Engineer Systems Engineer Project Manager
Program Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Systems Engineer Project Leader Quality Assurance Manager
Quality Assurance Director
12 Yearsyrs
Engineer Process Engineer Quality Engineer
Quality Assurance Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Consultant Senior Technical Writer Logistics Engineer
Senior Logistic Engineer
9 Yearsyrs
Engineer Project Manager Senior Project Manager
Senior Product Manager
10 Yearsyrs
User Experience Researcher User Experience Designer User Experience Architect
User Experience Manager
9 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Human Factors Engineer?

Human Factors Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

62.0%

Female

34.6%

Unknown

3.4%
Ethnicity

White

60.1%

Hispanic or Latino

11.9%

Black or African American

11.5%

Asian

11.4%

Unknown

5.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

25.9%

Carrier

14.8%

German

11.1%

French

11.1%

Chinese

7.4%

Japanese

7.4%

Russian

7.4%

Danish

3.7%

Icelandic

3.7%

Portuguese

3.7%

Mandarin

3.7%
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Human Factors Engineer Education

Schools

Wright State University

10.5%

George Mason University

9.6%

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University - Daytona Beach

8.8%

San Jose State University

6.1%

New Mexico State University

6.1%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

5.3%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.3%

University of Idaho

5.3%

Clemson University

5.3%

University of California - San Diego

4.4%

Texas A&M University

4.4%

University of Iowa

3.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

3.5%

University of Massachusetts Amherst

3.5%

University of Southern California

3.5%

University of Dayton

3.5%

Carnegie Mellon University

3.5%

University of Texas at Arlington

2.6%

Kansas State University

2.6%

Savannah College of Art and Design

2.6%
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Majors

Psychology

20.5%

Industrial Engineering

17.2%

Experimental Psychology

11.4%

Engineering

9.1%

Business

6.7%

Computer Science

4.7%

Graphic Design

4.0%

Aviation

3.0%

Human Computer Interaction

2.7%

Counseling Psychology

2.7%

Systems Engineering

2.4%

Electrical Engineering

2.4%

Human Development

2.0%

Cognitive Science

2.0%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.7%

Biomedical Engineering

1.7%

Computer Information Systems

1.7%

Marketing

1.3%

English

1.3%

Project Management

1.3%
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Degrees

Masters

46.6%

Bachelors

24.0%

Doctorate

17.0%

Other

7.0%

Certificate

3.6%

Associate

1.8%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Human Factors Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Human Factors ENG MGR Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 13, 2016 $240,000 -
$260,000
Human Factor Engineer Twitter, Inc. New York, NY Oct 27, 2015 $175,000
Human Factor Engineer Twitter, Inc. New York, NY Oct 01, 2014 $175,000
Human Fact Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jul 28, 2016 $170,814 -
$191,000
Human Fact Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Nov 05, 2013 $164,661 -
$184,661
Human Fact Design ENG Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 02, 2016 $155,000 -
$175,000
Human Fact Design ENG 4 Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 05, 2016 $150,000 -
$170,000
Human Factors and Ergonomics Advisor Analysts International Corporation Houston, TX Sep 15, 2014 $149,221
Human Fact Design Engineer Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jun 11, 2015 $147,000 -
$183,500
Human Fact Design ENG Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 13, 2014 $135,000 -
$155,000
Human Fact Design ENG 4 Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 19, 2015 $131,269 -
$187,200
Human Fact Design ENG Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Feb 25, 2013 $130,000 -
$150,000
Human Factors Engineer Intel Corporation Santa Clara, CA Sep 22, 2014 $127,150 -
$152,800
Ui/Human Factors Eng/Mgr Citrix Systems, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Nov 09, 2016 $125,000 -
$135,000
Principal Human Factors Design Engineer Medtronic, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 18, 2013 $109,595 -
$120,197
Senior Human Factors Engineer SONY Network Entertainment International LLC San Francisco, CA Aug 22, 2013 $108,888 -
$122,027
Human Fact Design ENG 3 Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 01, 2014 $107,515 -
$129,900
Human Fact Design ENG 3 Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Aug 16, 2014 $107,515 -
$129,900
Human Factors Engineer Insight Product Development LLC Chicago, IL Jan 09, 2016 $106,000
Human Factors Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Apr 19, 2016 $105,706 -
$175,400
Ui/Human Factors Eng/Mgr Citrix Systems, Inc. Santa Clara, CA Jun 20, 2014 $105,000 -
$115,000
Human Factors Design Engineer 2 EBAY Inc. Austin, TX Dec 29, 2014 $105,000
Human Factors Engineer and Ergonomist Cap Barbell Inc. Houston, TX Jun 09, 2016 $93,142
Human Factors Engineering Consultant WS Atkins Inc. Houston, TX Jan 10, 2015 $93,142 -
$103,000
Human Factors Engineering Consultant WS Atkins Inc. Houston, TX Oct 01, 2015 $93,142 -
$103,000
Human Factors Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Aug 16, 2016 $90,979 -
$175,400
Human Factors Engineer/User Researcher SONY Electronics Inc. San Diego, CA Apr 01, 2016 $90,000
Human Factors Engineer 2Md, Inc. Coralville, IA Sep 21, 2014 $90,000
Human Factors Engineer Arris Solutions, Inc. Libertyville, IL May 07, 2013 $88,504

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Top Skills for A Human Factors Engineer

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  1. Human Factors Requirements
  2. Usability Tests
  3. System Safety
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Identified and addressed human factors requirements for C-5 Avionics Modernization Program and C-5 Reliability Enhancement and Re-Engining Program.
  • Conducted cognitive/heuristic evaluations and usability tests of user-interfaces and provided recommendations to designers/engineers.
  • Completed MIL-STD-882 (Standard Practice for System Safety) safety analyses.
  • Conducted research regarding the application of wearable computers within an on-orbit reduced gravity environment.
  • Conducted functional requirement analysis and task analysis using cognitive work analysis methodology and Task Architect software.

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Top 10 Best States for Human Factors Engineers

  1. California
  2. Wyoming
  3. Washington
  4. Massachusetts
  5. Texas
  6. Arizona
  7. Colorado
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Maryland
  10. Rhode Island
  • (2,255 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (381 jobs)
  • (405 jobs)
  • (823 jobs)
  • (205 jobs)
  • (246 jobs)
  • (116 jobs)
  • (317 jobs)
  • (25 jobs)

Top Human Factors Engineer Employers

Jobs From Top Human Factors Engineer Employers

Human Factors Engineer Videos

Integrating Human Factors Engineering into Medical Devices

Human Factors Engineering at the University of Michigan

Lauren Coyle - Human Factors Engineer

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