Career Definition of Ergonomic Consultants
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) defines ergonomics as adapting a job for the worker rather than forcing the worker to adapt for a job. This means that work processes and any needed technology and equipment are designed to maximize the performance and safety of workers.
The job duties of an ergonomic consultant can include conducting inspections of workspaces and tools to identify ergonomic improvements and risks, collaborating with building or construction staff to update workspaces as needed, and tracking and evaluating work-related injuries. They may conduct routine inspections of workspaces to ensure continued ergonomic compliance and determine if improvements are effective. They may also educate and encourage workers to adopt ergonomic practices, such as mindful stretching. Other job responsibilities could involve organizing company health fairs, creating project progress reports, and conducting employee safety training. These professionals may work for consulting firms or as independent consultants.
|Educational Requirements||Bachelor's Degree|
|Job Skills||Interpersonal communication skills, analytical abilities, and project management skills|
|Median Salary (2018)*||$60,913 (Ergonomic Specialists)|
|Job Outlook (2016-2026)**||10% (Industrial Engineers)|
Sources: *PayScale.com, **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
A bachelor's degree qualifies one to work as an ergonomics consultant. Appropriate fields of study include industrial engineering, occupational biomechanics, and kinesiology. Some employers prefer that candidates possess industry-relevant certifications, such as the Certified Human Factors Professional or Certified Professional Ergonomist.
As an ergonomics consultant, superior interpersonal communication skills are a necessity since you'll be in constant communication with managers, engineers, and employees. For example, the consultant often educates company personnel on safe work procedures and must clearly communicate potential workplace hazards. In addition, you will need excellent analytical abilities to assess the workplace, identify dangers and risks, and develop ways to minimize or reverse such issues. In your role as an ergonomics consultant, you will also need effective project management skills in order to oversee the implementation of projects and solutions.
Career Outlook and Salary
PayScale.com listed a median annual wage of $60,913 for ergonomics specialists in 2018. The job growth for ergonomics consultants is not covered in detail by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), although ergonomists and human factors engineers are classified as 'industrial engineers.' Industrial engineers have a projected 10% job growth for 2016-2026, which is considered faster-than-average growth for all careers.
Ergonomics focuses on how people's environments impact them. There are a variety of careers that emphasize human safety and may involve engineering or inspection, including those presented below.