Should You Consider a Career in Engineering Psychology?

This new fast-paced, digital world is calling for more engineering psychologists -- could this be the right career move for you?

When we mention engineering, we usually think of systems, industrial machines, design, as well as other advanced technology. People rarely mention engineers focused on the creation of inanimate object and computer programs. 

However, as the global online market grows, we are being littered with various products.

And this is where engineering psychologists come into play.

Psychology in Engineering

Competition is getting stiffer, and for a product to succeed, engineers have to start making devices that will not only solve human problems but will be easier to use and provide quicker results.

This applied field of psychology is relatively new; it was initially created as a part of experimental psychology and was meant to help Allied soldiers during World War I.

Even though some of the soldiers had proper training and lots of combat experience, they would make mistakes on the field. These issues contribute to the interaction between humans and machines. Psychologists started working on different methods that would change military equipment allowing soldiers to use it more efficiently.

While the profession had a major impact on history, it only started developing in recent decades.

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What are the Main Responsibilities of an Engineering Psychologist?

Professionals working in this field acts as a consultant during the development of a product and has to perform an ongoing research. An engineering psychologist has to find out what people think of a product or service prior to launching it. An individual has to perform various processes including surveys, focus groups, and test panels.

During this time psychologist is able to assess human behavior; their perception of a product, whether the product has the best possible safety measures in place and ultimately, to assess its overall performance. Engineers can use this knowledge to modify the item according to users’ requirements.

Engineering psychologists can work on various projects and in various areas.

Besides general methodology, a student has to study cognitive ergonomics, human factors, and human-computer relationships.

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Education and Salaries

Like most other engineering professions, a person has to finish a university program. You can start a career once you obtain an undergraduate degree; however, for better opportunities, it is much better to finish a graduate level course.

Besides bachelor’s degree or higher, there are two professional resources that students should go through Division 21 of the American Psychological Association and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Engineers with Ph.D.s can expect a salary between $92,000 and $111,000. Master’s degree allows you to earn between $72,000 and $91,000 while the average salary for a person with bachelors’ degree is between $48,000 and $75,000. Normally, a school which you finished, additional degrees, skills, and courses can drive your salary up.

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