Engineering psychology focuses on the relationship between humans and products or machines that we use every day. Specifically, these psychologists focus on how we interact with, perceive, and are influenced by various devices and products. Engineering psychologists can also help in the design and production of new products to make them more functional and enjoyable. Just like every other psychologist, engineering psychologists aim to make life better for humans.
Demand for engineering psychologists is growing fast because of today’s boom in technology use. Humans are surrounded by technology and products at nearly every second of the day, which can have an impact on various aspects of the human experience. Engineering psychologists use research to understand how humans are impacted by technology and to make products safer and more efficient to use. The psychologists may conduct their research using pilot tests on panels, creating focus groups, and distributing surveys. One aspect of the research process that is particularly important to engineering psychologists is demographics. Demographics give the psychologists information about the types of products that certain people are using and why usage may be different from group to group. It also helps psychologists to understand which groups like a certain product based on look or functionality.
There are currently 70 American universities that offer Human Factors and Ergonomics Study (HFES) accredited graduate programs in engineering psychology. Jobs can be found with either a master’s or PhD, but individuals with PhDs generally make higher salaries and have greater control over their decisions and products. Salaries are highest in private industry, reaching above $100,000 with a doctoral degree. Master’s-level salaries typically fall around $90,000. Starting salaries range between $48,000 to $75,000 across all levels of education and occupational sectors such as private industry or academia.
To learn more about Engineering Psychology, visit the APA’s website and read the articles below: