Engineering Psychology focuses on the science of the relationship between human behavior and machines. The field may address such topics as the efficient use of human energy, human factors and building machines that reduce operator fatigue, discomfort and injury.
The engineering psychologist is a different kind of psychological professional. While still a student of human behavior and a proponent for positive change, this professional works more at a distance to help workers improve their lives. By helping engineers find better ways of doing things, an engineering psychologist can make an impact in industry and health care.
What Does an Engineering Psychologist Do?
The study of engineering psychology is a new field, and is continually being developed to better improve conditions for workers. An engineering psychologist will gather feedback, study the impact of human error in working with machinery and study the perception of a product user in strengthening machinery products that are used for ergonomics and occupational safety and health.
The one-on-one approach of traditional psychology is present here, but it takes a more workplace-centric approach. An engineering psychologist is not going to be the go-to professional for someone suffering with problems of alcohol and drug abuse, but they will act as an advocate for the employee and can positively impact that person’s work life.
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Careers in Engineering Psychology
From academics and organizational activity to mechanical and industrial applications, there are abundant opportunities for engineering psychologists who know how to apply the science of human behavior to the workforce. Particularly in industrialized metropolitan areas, engineering psychologists can find full-time or long-term contract employment.
Many organizations prefer to hire engineering psychologists on a contract basis. While this may make things like health care and retirement more challenging, it also doesn’t handcuff an individual with an engineering psychology degree to one employer. Thus, pay possibilities often exceed the $100,000 mark.
Obtaining an Engineering Psychology Degree
You will need a doctorate to work in the field of engineering psychology. It’s also important to have some engineering background in order to better understand the technical and mechanical aspect of the work. Some states will also have specific licensing exams, so check with the licensing boards in the region you plan to work.