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10 Best Ergonomics Jobs And How To Get Them

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Tim Rhodes

Have you ever thought about getting an ergonomics jobs? If you answered yes to the question above, then this article is for you, but first, let’s cover the basics; what is ergonomics?

Ergonomics is “the application of psychological and physiological principles, to the engineering and design of products, processes, and systems”, according to Wikipedia.

Basically, as an ergonomist, you will be designing/planning things that fit the human body, rather than hurt it, when these items are in use.

There are three types of ergonomics namely; physical, cognitive, and organizational. 

Physical ergonomics has to do with the products we use with our bodies, while cognitive ergonomics is about how the brain functions when interacting, with other humans and systems.

Organizational ergonomics refers to how socio-technical systems work, such as communication, management, and more.

Now that we have established what ergonomics is, and the various types that exist, let’s have a look at the 10 best ergonomics jobs available right now.

1. Ergonomist for Automotive Industry

An ergonomist for the automotive industry can improve “the worker interface, by reducing/eliminating ergonomic issues associated with a product, process, tooling, workstation, and man-assignment”, as said in Ergoworld. 

In the automotive industry, ergonomics is very important, as both manufacturing automotive, and using them, involves a need for deep study of the human body. 

The automotive industry ergonomist is required to study the high-priority jobs in his manufacturing plant, making sure he unearths all risks and problems, before solving said problems.

He or she must also note all injuries that happen on the job, and other than problem-solving, the ergonomist must eliminate all non-essential workers for a certain section or position, as a means of optimizing the work process and reducing waste.

This helps optimize the job and speed up the process, and if there are changes in a product or job position, the ergonomist has to assess these changes, and note all the data he or she can while doing so.

This can help gather data, to prevent mistakes and slow processes in the manufacturing plant.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • A Bachelor of Science with a concentration in ergonomics, kinetics, kinesiology, or some related field is essential and non-negotiable
  • Certification is preferred but not necessary
  • Preferably more than two years in the ergonomics field, applying the skills in a manufacturing setting
  • Some plants require being bilingual, as they might be located in an overseas country, that does not speak English as a primary language
  • The ergonomist should also be familiar with Microsoft Office products, to ensure, that the ergonomist can perform his or her data recording duties competently
  • Along with this, secondary ergonomics analysis skills must be in the ergonomist’s repertoire

2. Environmental Health And Safety Specialist 

In the manufacturing industry, many accidents and injuries can happen, no matter how many safety precautions are put in place. 

This is where an environmental health and safety specialist comes in. 

While there is no foolproof safety program, the specialist can continuously improve upon existing ones, to actively prevent incidents from happening, and when they do, how to take care of them.

The specialist will have to work with management and assess the safety program, reporting back at set intervals, to ensure the leadership is kept up-to-date.

As manufacturing plants have hazards and dangerous locations, the specialist will have to interface, with personnel in those areas and monitor the activity.

He or she will have to check and make sure all processes and activities are proceeding smoothly, so as so to eliminate risks.

To make sure the specialist is keeping tabs with the situation, he or she will have to walk in and check with personnel, regularly.

The equipment used to manufacture products must also be inspected regularly, and the specialist will have to do this personally as well.

After conducting investigations, the specialist must write reports on his or her findings when in the field, and this will be done to ensure that, the manufacturing plant is following mandated standards, as well as other rules and regulations.

The specialist must also ensure that proper use of PPE is followed, to ensure safety, and reduce the risk of injury when workers are in the field.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • An Associate or Bachelor’s degree in ergonomics or a related field is required
  • At least six years of safety experience is required for the role of a specialist
  • Some environmental experience is also desirable
  • Having experience in driving a strong safety culture and developing safety programs is an essential
  • Knowledge of safety and environmental local laws and regulations is a must

3. Life Science/Bio Safety Specialist

In the life science industry, there are different risks and dangers, as compared to manufacturing plants. 

This industry still requires the skills of an ergonomist, but with a specialization in a different field, such as life science.

The life science safety specialist will first and foremost, be in charge of coordinating safety programs and inspecting construction sites.

This allows him or her to protect the safety of the workers, as well as find the cause of a problem or accident, should one arise. 

Using internal systems designed to track and record findings, the life science safety specialist will document relevant data, after conducting safety audits in hazardous work areas.

When a problem is found, clients will be made aware of it, and a suitable solution or solutions must be proposed, eliminate the problem or problems.

Attending meetings with leading figures of the company is important, allowing the life science safety specialist to communicate efficiently, and keep the leadership up-to-date.

Should a contractor or employee be injured on the job, the specialist must ensure the injured worker attends treatment processes.

The specialist must also keep the leadership updated, on the worker’s healing process and condition, particularly the worker’s supervisor, whom the specialist must report to.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • Bachelor’s degree in safety and health or related field, particularly ergonomics is essential
  • More than five years of construction safety experience is required
  • More than three years of experience in life science, health, lab, and/or pharmaceutical fields is required
  • Knowledge of testing equipment, to ensure the functionality
  • Excellent communication skills in writing and speaking
  • Microsoft Office skills are a must for documentation
  • Knowledge of local laws and regulations is a must
  • Knowledge of hazardous situations, as well as prevention and containment, is important
  • Team-building expertise

4. Ergonomic and Industrial Sports Medicine Support Provider

The support provider is the one to “provide pre- and post-operative care, for a variety of orthopedic-related disorders and sports-related injuries, rehabilitation of injured workers, and preventative care” as defined by Lensa.

In short, when an athlete is injured, hurt, or in some kind of discomfort, the support provider will give assistance to him or her. 

Physical therapy is common for athletes, as they are very often at risk of injury, particularly in very explosive sports or prolonged exertion.

The support provider will have to be on-site, as being in a remote job for a job like this is counterproductive. 

He or she will administer first-aid if required, as well as manage the on-site discomforts experienced by patients, whether work-related or not.

After a patient is treated, the support provider will have to file a report electronically, doing the same for bills. 

The company the support provider is working for will have created and implemented safety programs already, and it is the support provider’s job to implement them and coordinate them.

Should there be any flaws in the program, the support provider can also offer advice on how to improve upon it, to prevent injuries. 

Qualifications and Skills:

  • A bachelor’s degree in ergonomics, sports medicine, or related field is essential
  • CPR certifications as a Professional Rescuer and other related certifications are required, as this job might have the support provider tackle emergencies
  • At least two years of experience in healthcare
  • Excellent communication abilities in speech, writing, and electronic methods
  • Ability to manage time well and multitask in an environment with fast paces
  • Can pass a background check and drug screen when needed
  • Any experience with ergonomics is a plus

5. Assistant Furniture Installer And Delivery Tech

Furniture is everywhere, and quite integral to everyone’s lives.

Thus, furniture products must be designed to fit humans, and not humans adapting to furniture with potentially harmful results.

This is where the ergonomics expert comes in, with his or her expertise.

He or she must ensure, that the products sold by the company are up to ergonomic standards, and comfortable for consumers to use.

The installer and delivery tech must be knowledgeable in the ways of ergonomics, with the focus on preventing injuries.

When traveling to deliver furniture products, the person must help with all installation jobs, ensuring that employees of the client’s company will be comfortable, and not susceptible to injury.

With this job, the tech will be able to help the client’s employees minimize injury and reduce discomfort, as much as possible.

Among the furniture items are ergonomic chairs, keyboard trays, desks, and other common objects found in office areas. 

The installation will demonstrate, that the tech is mechanically knowledgeable and able to provide ergonomic support.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • The tech must have a valid driver’s license and spotless driving history, to ensure that the products arrive at their destination safely and intact
  • Higher education in ergonomics, like a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, is necessary
  • Desire to learn and accept training in company policies and methods is important
  • Knowledge and experience in physical ergonomics, particularly in furniture, is a plus

6. Human Factors Engineer

Another name of ergonomics is human factors, and these two are often used interchangeably. 

In this case, the human factors engineer is a job, that requires skill in ergonomics.

As a human factors engineer, your job is to design “objects, facilities, and environments, to optimize human well-being and overall system performance,” as said by OwlGuru.

In short, with consideration of the human body’s limits and comfort requirements, you must design products that do not hurt consumers.

As a human factors engineer, you will collect data from consumers, through observing and interviewing.

After that, you’ll write reports based on the data you gather, so that it can be evaluated, and further action can be deliberated.

Working with products means that you must assess them regularly, for any harmful factors, and if there are any, they must be eliminated.

When working with a safety program, the human factors engineer will have to review health codes and regulations frequently, so that the safety programs will run smoothly, and injuries don’t happen often.

You must also work closely with other staff and the leadership, to ensure everyone is kept up-to-date with the latest safety program, aware of common issues that might arise, and more.

With all of these duties considered, the central tenet to this position is to use all available ergonomics knowledge, to optimize quality, cost, safety, and other factors.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • A Bachelor’s degree and above in ergonomics or related fields is essential
  • Most companies hire candidates with Master’s degrees
  • Any experience with ergonomics and engineering is preferred
  • In most cases, more than two years of experience is asked for
  • Relevant hardware and software knowledge is needed for report writing and similar duties
  • Any certifications are a plus for employers

7. Ergonomics Researcher

Perhaps being in the field as a tech or specialist isn’t an ergonomist’s forte, and you just might be one of those people.

If you happen to be like this and prefer to spend time researching, then the position of an ergonomics researcher would suit you very well.

An ergonomics researcher’s main duty is, to carry out studies for the company, focusing on how to better implement new ergonomics knowledge and information, into the current practice.

In addition to this, there are a variety of other duties involved.

One of these duties is to test certain technologies and practices, though field testing is not the main focus.

The ergonomics researcher will also have to directly interact with the company’s clients, as he or she must build relationships with them, to perform optimally.

This means that if you want to work better, you’ll have to talk to the clients, to find out about the information that you need.

For example, knowing the client’s safety protocols and needs will save time, instead of having to figure things out from scratch.

In the event of an accident, you too will have to gather data and work on how to avoid such an accident, again.

While the primary duty of this position is to research ergonomics, you also have to be a great support provider when the situation calls for it.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • At the very least, you should have a Bachelor’s degree in ergonomics or a related field
  • However, for higher positions, postgraduate degrees are the standard and norm, and Bachelor’s degrees are usually for entry-level positions
  • Possessing competence and skill in computer usage is very important, as this will be a major part of the documentation and electronic communications
  • Skill in interpersonal communications is a must
  • Proficiency in mathematics and statistics is standard as data entry is part of the job
  • Experience in ergonomics is highly preferred
  • The ability to work under pressure and with multiple teams is a must, as there are many different duties to be handled at once

8. Student Ergonomics Specialist

Students are often cooped up in classrooms, listening to lectures for hours, as well as doing assignments, and sitting down for extended periods. 

As such, they might develop injuries and discomfort from studying too long, particularly if their equipment is not ergonomic.

This is where the student ergonomics specialist comes in. 

Using advanced knowledge in ergonomics, particularly with furniture in classrooms and other study spaces, the specialist will guide to the college or university, on which equipment is the best.

Objects and furniture that are often discussed are desks, chairs, document holders, and more.

As such, if a certain object is found lacking, the specialist must explain why and recommend a replacement to the institution, as this would benefit the students immensely.

Ergonomic furniture and objects have been found to boost student’s focus, as explained by a presentation.

To briefly summarize the presentation, good posture will increase blood flow and helps the muscles relax.

This way, the body will not be experiencing discomfort, and the student can study for longer periods, and more efficiently too.

The specialist has to ensure all of this happens, through research, analysis, and recommendation.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • A Bachelor’s degree and above in ergonomics, health science, or a related field is essential for this position
  • Skill and experience in customer service and health science are preferred
  • A valid driver’s license is a must as the specialist must travel when needed
  • The ability to work with customers on a one-on-one basis is important for this position

9. Hospital Injury Prevention Specialist

You’d expect hospitals to be very ergonomic, because, patients have to be cared for with the best equipment, and you’re right!

The injury prevention specialist is the person for the job, and unlike some of the other jobs listed here, this is quite specialized, even when compared to other jobs with “specialist” in the name.

A specialist must constantly inspect the workplace, to make sure all equipment is conforming to safety standards.

In the case of a hospital, the specialist will be focusing on medical equipment and, maintaining the safety programs of the hospital. 

As a hospital injury prevention specialist, you will be in charge of all the above duties, as well as writing reports, attending meetings, educating others in safety practices, and more. 

Working with software and hardware is very important, as both might pose occupational hazards if, not maintained or assessed regularly.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • At the very least, an Associate’s degree in ergonomics, nursing, or a related field should be the standard
  • Nursing degrees are accepted due to the nature of working in a hospital
  • Some years of experience in occupational safety and health are also important, because, hospitals cannot have mistakes happening
  • Some form of certified training is sometimes required, which may be provided by the employer, or by a different organization
  • The specialist should have above-average communication skills in verbal, electronic, and textual communication
  • Skill in computer software is required to file reports with

10. Flight Crew Integration Lead 

This particular position has very high qualifications, as seen by the position offered by Leidos.

The lead has to support the Human Factors team and, also focus on how astronauts live in space when they are sent to the ISS.

As such, the requirements and duties are very high-end.

The lead has to work with a lot of space hardware, and equipment while providing ergonomics advice.

This is to ensure, that the astronauts in space will not experience discomfort at the very least or experience an injury at worse. 

On the ISS, equipment is very sensitive, and the lead has to be precise, with calibrating the hardware and software.

Another example is working on airplanes, and the approach is very similar, as the lead has to work with the crew and, apply his or her ergonomics knowledge. 

This entails optimizing the crew operations of the plane, the technology used on the plane, and providing assistance with interfaces when needed.

The flight crew’s performance can be enhanced, and mistakes/accidents can be avoided or eliminated, with the input of the lead.

Other than these duties, the lead has to file reports regularly, as doing this allows the higher-ups to stay notified, thus streamlining any corporate decisions and processes.

Qualifications and Skills:

  • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree is required and the preference is a Master’s degree
  • More than seven years of experience in the field, particularly with leadership and related technologies
  • Strong leadership skills are a must
  • Any relevant qualifications in the field is a plus

Final Thoughts

The ergonomist’s main duty is to ensure the products, mentalities, and systems in the workplace are optimized, and errors are eliminated.

A wide variety of industries can use an ergonomist, from manufacturing plants to aerospace, showing how important ergonomists are.

With this, you can see that the field of ergonomics is not very simple, and is very diverse.

The qualifications for becoming one can range, from very basic entry-level qualifications to only hiring very experienced ergonomists, with the aerospace industry requiring the most, out of all mentioned jobs.

Other than ensuring consumers are not experiencing discomfort, or getting injured in the line of work, he or she also has to advise the leadership on safety problems, file reports, and communicate with clients. 

When there is injury or discomfort, the ergonomist will be the one in charge of making sure this doesn’t happen again.

In short, other than just designing chairs that fit the human body, ergonomics jobs are extremely varied and can be very specialized.

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