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If ergonomics is something you have an interest in, you may be asking, “how do I become an ergonomic consultant?”
Ergonomics is one very critical field; it’s a science that pertains to organizing the workspace and, in general, what people use for work for an easier and more relaxing time while working.
So, you should be able to identify the conditions of that place, its arrangements, correct the mistakes, and give them the best solutions for them to work efficiently and boost productivity in their work.
As a consultant, you also educate people on the causes of various ergonomic injuries such as musculoskeletal disorders, lower back injury, neck injury, their causes, symptoms, and how to prevent them.
Table of Contents
- How Do I Become An Ergonomic Consultant?
- Educational Background
- What Knowledge Will You Need?
- The Skills You Require
- Do I need any certifications or certificates?
- Therapists as Ergonomic Consultants
- Selecting the Right Ergonomic Consultant for an Organization
- Educational Background
- Final Thoughts
How Do I Become An Ergonomic Consultant?
Let’s look at how you’ll achieve your dream of being an ergonomic consultant, as well as the scope of work and what you should expect out of it.
How do I become an ergonomic consultant and what educational background do I need?
Do this sound like you?
Well, to qualify as an ergonomic consultant, you need to possess a degree in ergonomics, it’s not a must though but most job descriptions will require this.
A degree in human factors or those that deal in looking into people’s physical and psychological capabilities is also an entryway to this, just in case you lack a degree in ergonomics.
So, in your university course, you can study subjects such as physiology, biology, or kinesiology.
In some cases, a job requirement may mention that a master’s degree in ergonomics, human factors, and biomechanics are a must possess.
On the other hand, some employers will prefer a degree in occupational health and safety, which still works closely to an ergonomic degree.
So, you will increase your employment chances if you study any one of these courses, and get better chances when you possess a master’s degree.
Of course, studying all these courses may be a challenge, so choose the ones you are most comfortable with and get as much practical experience as you can using that course.
All these degrees are relevant and pretty much revolve around the same thing, which is acquiring the necessary skills that will help you ensure safety and efficiency in a work environment.
They will also show you ways in which you can come up with new products that are applicable in almost all work environments.
In all these courses, you will learn how people relate to the working environment and the tools they use.
From this, you will know how to make these interactions comfortable and easy for them.
What Knowledge Will You Need?
You’d have to join the university to acquire the knowledge necessary to perform duties in line with that field.
And this not only applies to university studies alone.
From your early childhood education all through the university level, this is what you will need.
To be an ergonomic consultant, you would need to acquire basic Mathematics and English knowledge.
Why do I need to be conversant with Mathematics if what I will be doing is examining the workplace and coming up with solutions to make it more comfortable for the workers?
Being an ergonomic consultant, you won’t only be examining.
You should be able to give your client the measurements they need for their desks.
It would be best to show them how best to position themselves, the distance they should be at from the monitor, and many other things.
Basic knowledge of the English language is relevant in almost all fields, mainly because you will regularly communicate with employees and engineers.
You also need to have the capacity to carry out the primary tasks in a computer, from its correct settings to the best posture that will allow flexibility during working.
Is the engineering knowledge more so the mechanical part and accompanying technology crucial in this field?
Yes, you need to have this knowledge because you will have to design the best arrangement and tools for the workplace.
You will need to direct the clients on how an ergonomic office chair should look like.
In other cases, they will give you the task to come up with the chairs and desks yourself, so it’s indeed imperative.
The Skills You Require
When doing any work, you will need the necessary skills to make what you do be complete successfully.
Skills are mostly not things your lecture will teach you, some will guide you through the necessary skills you need, but most times, it’s up to you to practice them.
One crucial skill that you require is excellent interpersonal communication skills.
Remember, organizations will be contacting you to seek advice from you on factors affecting them in their workplace.
They will want to know the best way to position their chairs and monitors to work effectively.
At times, they won’t know what they need to make their work easier and avoid ergonomic work injuries.
Therefore, you will have to conduct intensive research of the place to clearly understand what is lacking and what they should remove or change.
Being an ergonomic consultant, you also need excellent analytical skills.
You need to thoroughly examine the workplace, know the risks that can affect the workers, and come up with ways to mitigate them.
Your thinking and reasoning skills need to be a plus.
You should be able to give the best possible solutions and surpass people’s expectations.
At the end of the day, you should ensure that the workers get the best satisfaction from your work and are able to work without straining.
Project management skills are also crucial to keenly supervise the project and ensure that its implementation is complete.
Do I need any certifications or certificates?
Professional certification is vital in ergonomics.
You will get more and better knowledge concerning this field and guarantee yourself of better job opportunities.
To start with, what are certificates and certification?
A certification is an initiative that evaluates the skills, capabilities, and comprehension of an individual to prove that they can carry out a particular task.
When an individual passes the certification exam, the examiners would declare that he is capable of performing tasks in line with that profession.
When it comes to a certificate, you will learn and assess whether you accomplish the objectives set in place.
Before getting into a program that offers either a certificate or certification, you need to have a degree relating to ergonomics.
Ergonomics is an applied science; degrees in engineering, healthcare, psychology, and others are also acceptable for getting the certificate or certification.
The certificates and certifications are different, and you choose the one you want to pursue, depending on the ergonomic level you wish to reach.
Here are several ergonomics certifications that you can get:
- Board Certification in Professional Ergonomics
- Certified Ergonomic Assessment Specialist
- Certified Ergonomic Evaluation Specialist
The certification you’ll get will depend on the country of residence.
However, some have recognition across the world, for example, the Board Certification in Professional Ergonomics.
Board Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE)
It gives a professional certification to people who want to become ergonomics consultants or any other career path related to human factors.
Upon getting this certification, it will be easier for you to seek employment and most likely get many jobs.
The certification is an indication that you have the best skills to work in the ergonomic field, and you have met the quality standard needed to carry out the job.
With a BCPE certificate, you can look for an ergonomic job anywhere in the world.
The Best Certification
The certification you’ll get will vary depending on the program and organization you enroll in.
Even before enrolling on the best, ensure you do an in-depth research study concerning the certification since not just any time that will see you through the ergonomic consultancy job.
The Board of Certification in Professional Ergonomics (BCPE) is among the best.
It has international recognition; therefore, you can exercise your skills anywhere in the world.
It’s an independent board, and upon passing the exam, it offers you get the Certified Professional Ergonomist certificate (CPE).
CPE is one best ergonomic certificates you can ever get.
However, it’s not a must you have it for you to practice an ergonomic consultancy job.
However, if you have experience in this field, you need to consider having it for boosting your resume and increasing your knowledge.
What is the Importance of Getting a Certification or Certificate in Ergonomic Consultancy?
One significant benefit of this is that it will be easy for employers to give you the job.
You have proof that you are a professional in that field, so they will trust you even more unlike when you are solely a degree holder.
Employers value the certification or certificate more, not just them but all the product consumers.
While going through the training process before acquiring the certificate, you’re in the process of acquiring knowledge.
And since you’ll be majoring in the ergonomics field, knowledge will be more relevant and supplement what you get from your college studies.
Therefore you’re in a better position to perform the ergonomic consultancy task.
Is the certification a must to become an ergonomic consultant?
Most probably, you have this question in mind.
The answer to it is no.
There are many people currently working as ergonomic consultants without certification.
In some cases, for you to take part in the certification training program, you need to have a degree in ergonomics or human factors and at least three years of minimum experience.
So clearly, it’s not a must you get the certification.
The main reason you should go for it is that some employers will need it before hiring you, to prove that you are a professional in ergonomics consulting.
If you’re looking at increasing your chances of getting a job, these certifications are a great way to boost your resume.
Therapists as Ergonomic Consultants
Maybe the occupation and the career path you choose entails either physical and occupational therapy.
If you have a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy, you are naturally fit to perform ergonomic evaluation work.
Nurses, doctors, and such are occupational therapists and still know about public health, and they can still get the ergonomics certification.
Physical therapists make the best ergonomic consultants relative to occupational therapists.
However, there is a strong correlation between these courses with the ergonomic word, making therapists an excellent fit to perform the ergonomic consultancy work.
So if your field of study is this, you can not only practice on the therapy itself but going ahead to get the relevant certification in ergonomics will boost your chances of getting a job.
And since there is no harm in trying new things; you will diversify your experience and learn a lot from the ergonomic world.
You also can correct and guide your clients on the measures they should take to ensure that their work environment is comfortable and efficient.
Physical therapists as ergonomic consultants
Physical therapists scrutinize the workings of human beings and their movements.
Using their technical know-how on human beings’ internal functioning and their movement, they can develop equipment and specify the work that a specific human can perform.
If you are in this field and you’ve got an interest in the ergonomic world, then go ahead and pursue the dream.
After this, you’ll have an excellent understanding of ergonomics.
You can give clients directions regarding lifting heavy weights, setting up of their computer, the posture they should maintain, and the best working tools to use without straining your body.
Regarding the equipment to use while working, you may run from the desks, chairs, computers, and others.
You’ll be able to give instructions on the best chairs and desks that fit the individual and help them position them to avoid workplace injury.
As said earlier, an occupational therapist can work as an ergonomic consultant, so if you are one, go ahead and start practicing on ergonomics.
If you aren’t one and want to become an ergonomic consultant, then you should pursue this course.
The training that ergonomic consultants go through equips them with knowledge regarding emotional, social, environmental, and many other factors that may injure people as they work.
Ergonomic consultants also train employees on the work injuries they can encounter and the measures they should take to combat.
They also advise them on the measures to take to ensure a safe work environment for the employees.
If you are an occupational therapist, you can go ahead with further studies in ergonomics to boost your knowledge in this field.
Selecting the Right Ergonomic Consultant for an Organization
By now, you have the insights on how to become an ergonomic consultant from the educational background one should have to the skills, knowledge and necessary certificates or certification that you require.
Knowing the above things is essential, but you need to go in-depth and see what employers will look for before selecting you to guide them on various factors relating to their organization’s comfortability.
Of course, if a client goes ahead to hire you for this job, you must be standing out among the rest, and once you get the go-ahead to start designing and arranging the work environment to be more ergonomic, you need to give the best results.
Before the client hires you, he first has to assess the organization’s requirements and clearly states what needs to put in place to make the workplace more comfortable.
Here is what organizations follow before they select the best ergonomic consultant.
The type of consultant they want to work with
The ergonomics field is vast, so are the ergonomic consultants.
The organization will set out the specific type of consultant they need, whether ergonomists or those who major in health.
This implies as you work towards being an ergonomic consultant, you can choose to narrow down the profession and deal solely on the ergonomic part or majorly on health.
In the health part, you will be guided on matters concerning injuries that occur in the workplace.
You can also choose to major in both; it’s a great advantage because some clients will want you to have knowledge of both.
In some cases, the client may choose to work with one and leave the rest.
It all depends on the kind of service he will be looking for and what best fits their goals.
The qualification in terms of expertise and experience
Yes, it’s okay; you have the relevant educational background that qualifies you to be an ergonomic consultant.
But why aren’t you getting the ergonomic consultancy job?
Once you complete these courses and still nothing get a job, you will most likely question whether your qualifications are okay.
Most probably, there is nothing wrong with your qualifications, but what the client wants doesn’t match what you have.
The main reason a client will pay an ergonomic consultant instead of making the work arrangements themselves is that they want an expert who will transform the organization and make it the dream workplace of employees.
So, a client will hire you if you have what he needs since they are sure that you will change the work environment and educate them on various matters concerning comfortability.
The goals of the organization
Before beginning the career journey towards being an ergonomic consultant, ensure you do in-depth research on the organizations you can work with.
You’ll note that different organizations have set out the goals they want to achieve in terms of making the place comfortable for their employees.
Getting such insights will help you acquire knowledge and expertise you feel you can give an exemplary performance.
You need to know the challenges that affect most organizations and the steps you should take to correct them.
After all, this is the main aim of being an ergonomic consultant.
Ensure during your course study; you get the best methodologies for solving the work problems.
You also need to make sure you get enough practice; this way, it will be much easier for you to secure a job.
Remember, the main things that an organization will look for are your expertise, experience, and the methodology of solving specific problems that are facing it.
Ensure you have these three things; they are part of your ergonomic consultants’ journey and will open more employment doors.
So, an overall answer to your question, “how do I become an ergonomic consultant?” is this.
Becoming an ergonomic consultant may not be easy, just like any other course.
It’s clear that if you have the relevant education requirement in the ergonomics field, having the necessary skills and knowledge as well will help you secure as many jobs available.
During your studies, you will learn how to solve many workplace problems and injuries and give the best advice on company measures that’ll ensure workers at comfortable in the workplace.
Ergonomic consulting is an exciting and engaging venture that has many available jobs across the world, however, ensure you do thorough research on what you need before starting.