We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Become a Human Factors Engineer?

By Kenneth W. Michael Wills
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
PracticalAdultInsights is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At PracticalAdultInsights, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Human factors engineering is a growing field of importance, particularly in the design of products used by people to accomplish tasks. It is a fairly new field of study and application, synthesizing knowledge from a broad range of fields to include agronomics, psychology, cognition, probability, statistics, engineering, operations research and industrial design. Those looking to become a human factors engineer will usually need a Master’s in Human Factors Engineering or in a related discipline. Many of the graduate programs available will require undergraduate training in the discipline as a prerequisite for entry. Lacking such a degree will make it virtually impossible to secure a position as a human factors engineer due to the precise training required to succeed on the job.

In the workplace, a student who graduates and goes on to become a human factors engineer will conduct research and work with product and systems design teams to build products that end-users will feel comfortable using. Objectively, a human factors engineer will apply advanced scientific theory and sound engineering principles to optimize a product's design so that it responds to natural human movements. As such, a human factors engineer needs an extensive background in human factors science, human factors interaction, and human factors engineering. Additionally, there are several specialties in the field to include usability, human/machine interaction, cognitive ergonomics, and user experience engineering.

A new student, working to become a human factors engineer will need to first earn a bachelor’s degree in a field that directly deals with human factors, cognitive science, engineering and ergonomics. Undergraduate study will prepare students with the foundational knowledge required to conduct design studies and to understand human ergonomics and cognition, while gaining foundational understanding of engineering principles. Degree programs vary among colleges and universities, and are not always called human factors engineering. Terms utilized include applied psychology, applied cognitive science, industrial engineering and human ecology. It is important to note, however, that the undergraduate degree does not prepare one to work as a human factors engineer, but will usually get an applicant into a design study or research position.

After completing an undergraduate degree, a student will need to apply for and gain admissions to a graduate program if he or she wants to become a human factors engineer. Whether a master’s or a doctorate program, employers will require graduate training in a human factors engineering discipline, industrial engineering or applied psychology. Preferably, many employers seek candidates with a PhD, but will often consider those with a master’s degree. Increasingly, programs at the graduate level specialize as well, offering options to study human/computer or machine interaction, usability, cognitive science, or applied psychology. Experience working in an engineering environment is also important, and internships upon graduation can help students gain this experience.

PracticalAdultInsights is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

PracticalAdultInsights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

PracticalAdultInsights, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.