What Does a Typical Day Look Like for an Engineering Psychologist?

Asking what an average day is like for an engineering psychologist is like is similar to asking what your daily life is like when you take different classes every day of the week. This specialized area of psychology looks at the way that people interact with and use different forms of technologies and different products. They might look at how to reduce eye strain in offices that use computers one day before looking at how to improve manufacturing plants on another day. While no two days are exactly the same, there are a number of tasks that these psychologists use every day.

Analyze Products

According to the American Psychological Association, engineering psychologists earn an average salary of around $96,000 to more than $111,000 a year. Those on the lower end of the spectrum tend to work in academic professions and teach the future generation of psychologists, while those earning higher incomes often work for marketing and research firms. Those working in research often analyze new and existing products. They look at what works and what doesn’t work about those products, and they determine whether the general public will approve of those products.

Conduct Market Research

Market research is another important task handled by engineering psychologists. Before a company launches a new product, it looks at the market and what people need. While some companies find a high level of success, other companies fail. Coca-Cola suffered a number of problems when it decided to change its formula and introduce New Coke, which let Pepsi take over a large share of the market. An engineering psychologist will conduct research and hold open forums and focus groups to determine how users think about the design, look and feel or taste of a product, and they make changes to that product based on the market research.

Create New Products

Every time that you buy a new product, you’ll see a small warning label on that item. This label might warn you not to touch an iron while it’s hot or to avoid placing the plastic bag wrapped around an item over your head. These warning labels exist because of lawsuits filed by people who used those products in the wrong way. An engineering psychologist creates new products, but they look at the design of that product first. They ensure that people can easily use those products safely without suffering any accidentally injuries.

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Work with Medical Equipment

One area that some psychologists work in is the medical field. They look at products designed for handicapped and disabled people, but they also look at products used in doctors’ offices and hospitals. The newer beds that you see in hospitals were the result of the hard work of psychologists. These new beds now make it easy for patients to shift positions, get in touch with the nurses and even control their television sets. Psychologists look at how to change products and reduce the risk of injuries caused by human errors.

Prior to working as an engineering psychologist, you need to finish your undergraduate and graduate degrees and do some research in the field. A doctoral degree is necessary for working as a professor and in many research positions, but some jobs only require an undergraduate degree. As an engineering psychologist, you’ll often develop new products and conduct research into those products.

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