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Ergonomist

Ergonomists study the relationships among people and their tools, equipment and working environments. They apply their knowledge to enhance well-being, performance, comfort, and safety.

Also Known As

Human Factors Professional, Human Factors Specialist, Injury Prevention Specialist

NOC Codes

In Canada, the federal government groups and organizes occupations based on a National Occupational Classification (NOC) system. This alis occupation may not reflect the entire NOC group it is part of. Data for the NOC group can apply across multiple occupations.

The NOC system is updated every 5 years to reflect changes in the labour market. Government forms and labour market data may group and refer to an occupation differently, depending on the system used. Here is how this occupation has been classified over time:

  • 2006 NOC: Ergonomists (4161.1) 
  • 2006 NOC-S: Natural and Applied Science Policy Researchers, Consultants and Program Officers (E031) 
  • 2011 NOC: Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers (4161) 
  • 2016 NOC: Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers (4161) 
Interests & Abilities

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2006 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Ergonomists

2006 NOC: 4161.1

Interest Codes

Interest Codes for This NOC Group
INNOVATIVE

Interest in co-ordinating information to evaluate working and living environments

DIRECTIVE

Interest in consulting with clients to ensure that the design, configuration and use of equipment, procedures and environmental conditions maximize safety, productivity and comfort

METHODICAL

Interest in handling equipment to conduct research

Your Interest Codes

To identify or change your interest codes, complete the Interests Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Reading Interest Codes
A Quick Guide

The interest code helps you figure out if you’d like to work in a particular occupation. 

It’s based on the Canadian Work Preference Inventory (CWPI), which measures 5 occupational interests: Directive, Innovative, Methodical, Objective, and Social.

Each set of 3 interest codes for this NOC group is listed in order of importance.

A code in capital letters means it’s a strong fit for the occupation.

A code in all lowercase letters means the fit is weaker.

Learn About Interests

Abilities

Typical ability expectations for this NOC group
Your abilities

To fill in or change the values for your abilities, complete the Abilities Exercise in CAREERinsite.

Mental Abilities

General Learning Ability

Verbal Ability

Numerical Ability

Visual Abilities

Spatial Perception

Form Perception

Clerical Perception

Physical Abilities

Motor Coordination

Finger Dexterity

Manual Dexterity

Understanding Abilities

A Quick Guide

You are born with abilities that help you process certain types of information and turn it into action. These abilities influence which skills you can learn more easily.

The abilities or aptitudes shown for this NOC group come from the General Aptitude Test Battery (GATB). The GATB measures 9 aptitudes. It groups them into 3 categories: mental, visual, and physical.

The abilities scores range from 1 to 5, with 5 being stronger.

Learn About Abilities

Duties
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Ergonomics is about ensuring a good fit between people and the tools, equipment, and products they use where they play, travel, and work. It is a multi-disciplinary field that includes:

  • Biological and life sciences such as biomechanics, kinesiology, and medicine
  • Behavioural and social sciences such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology
  • Technical sciences such as systems design, mathematical modelling, and operations research

Ergonomists ensure that the design of products, tasks, and work methods is compatible with human performance. They evaluate human and machine systems by observing, measuring, and grading how people interact with each other and their equipment and workspaces. They do this to maximize safety, efficiency, and well-being. To accomplish this they may:

  • Develop experimental designs, collect data, and compare it with pre-set criteria to study system performance
  • Analyze the demands placed on workers by studying physical, postural, physiological, cognitive, stress, job, and work attitude parameters
  • Assess physical environments by using measuring instruments, subjective analysis, performance and response measurements, modelling, and simulations
  • Rank the suitability of products and systems in relation to the motor, sensory, and cognitive abilities of users
  • Design and put in place systems by doing audits and using creative techniques such as focus groups, participation-based design, and follow-up groups
  • Teach workers about body mechanics and work practices
  • Consult with other specialists about design and development problems to integrate data from a variety of scientific and professional points of view
  • Advise organizations on human factors in personnel management and the design, evaluation, operation, and maintenance of products and systems
Working Conditions
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Strength Required Lift up to 5 kg

Ergonomists work in diverse settings including laboratories, industry, offices, and teaching environments. They work with a wide variety of people including workers, union officials, managers, other professionals, students, and the public.

They may work overtime, evenings, and weekends to meet project deadlines or to assess systems involving shift workers.

Traits & Skills
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Ergonomists need:

  • Creativity
  • Attention to detail
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • An interest in how people interact with their environments

They should enjoy:

  • Co-ordinating information
  • Finding innovative approaches to problems
  • Consulting with people
  • Taking responsibility for projects
  • Bringing a systematic approach to their research
  • Working independently or with a team

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2011 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Top 10 Skills Employers Are Looking For

Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers

2011 NOC: 4161

This chart shows which job skills are currently in highest demand for this occupational group. It was created using this occupation's 18 most recent Alberta job postings, collected between Oct 27, 2021 and Sep 01, 2022.

Review these skills to learn:

  • Whether or not this occupation matches your skill set
  • What training you may need to get these skills
  • What skills to highlight in your resumé, cover letter, and interview.
Health benefits: Health care plan
Health benefits: Dental plan
Health benefits: Vision care benefits
Provide information to workers and managers/employers on methods to reduce the risk of injury or illness
Personal Suitability: Effective interpersonal skills
Personal Suitability: Accurate
Personal Suitability: Team player
Personal Suitability: Flexibility
Personal Suitability: Excellent oral communication
Personal Suitability: Excellent written communication
Educational Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Minimum Education 4 years post-secondary

The minimum education requirement is generally a bachelor’s degree in a related discipline. Increasingly, ergonomists have certification or post-secondary education such as a master’s degree in ergonomics, psychology, human kinetics, human factors, or biomedical engineering. Those working in systems design may have a master’s degree in industrial engineering. For more information, see the Industrial Engineer occupational profile.

To expand or narrow your search for programs related to this occupation, visit Post-Secondary Programs.

Completing a program does not guarantee entrance into an occupation. Before enrolling in an education program, prospective students should look into various sources for education options and employment possibilities. For example, contact associations and employers in this field.

Certification Requirements
Updated Mar 31, 2019
  • Certification Not Regulated

Certification is voluntary in Alberta. Ergonomists may belong to the Association of Canadian Ergonomists and be certified through the Canadian College for the Certification of Professional Ergonomists. To qualify for certification, applicants must have a bachelor’s degree with specified course content or an equivalent combination of education and experience. They must also meet competency and work experience requirements.

Employment & Advancement
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Ergonomists work for:

  • Government departments concerned with workers’ compensation, occupational health and safety, transportation, communication, and defence
  • Research councils and institutes
  • Schools
  • Computer and office furniture manufacturers
  • Manufacturing and processing companies
  • Heavy industrial and construction companies
  • Large corporations such as utility and telecommunications companies
  • Private consulting firms in areas such as health care and engineering

Self-employed ergonomists may contract their services to a variety of employers.

Advancement opportunities vary depending on the size and nature of the organization and the ergonomist’s qualifications.

Ergonomists are part of the larger 2011 National Occupational Classification 4161: Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers. In Alberta, 78% of people employed in this classification work in the following industries:

The employment outlook [pdf] in this occupation is influenced by a wide variety of factors including:

  • Trends and events affecting overall employment, especially in the industries listed above
  • Location in Alberta
  • Employment turnover (when people leave existing positions)
  • Occupational growth (when new positions are created)
  • Size of the occupation

In Alberta, the 4161: Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers occupational group is expected to have a below-average annual growth of 1.6% from 2019 to 2023. In addition to job openings created by employment turnover, 78 new positions are forecasted to be created within this occupational group each year.

Note
NOC groups often include several related occupations. Although there is labour market data for the larger NOC group, this occupation makes up only a part of that group. It means data for this occupation may be different than the data shown. For example, only some of the new positions to be created will be for this occupation. It also applies to other data for the NOC group such as number of people employed.

Source: Alberta Regional Occupational Demand Outlook

Employment turnover is expected to increase as members of the baby boom generation retire over the next few years.

Related Alberta Job Postings
Wage & Salary
Updated Mar 31, 2019

In Alberta, this occupation is part of 1 or more 2016 National Occupational Classification (NOC) groups. If there are multiple related NOC groups, select a NOC heading to learn about each one.

Natural and applied science policy researchers, consultants and program officers

2016 NOC: 4161
Average Wage
$47.99
Per Hour
Average Salary
$92,250.00
Per Year
Average Hours
37
Per Week
Average Months on Payroll
11.9
Survey Methodology Survey Analysis

Source
2019 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey

NOC 4161 Wage Profile

Unless otherwise noted, the data shown here is for all industries and all regions in Alberta.

All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production), and other forms of compensation.

To see the full survey data for this NOC group, visit the wage profile.

Other wage sources
To make an informed wage and salary decision, research other wage sources [pdf] to supplement this data.

A: High Reliability
Data Reliability Code Definition

High Reliability, represents a CV of less than or equal to 6.00% and 30 survey observations and/or represents 50% or more of all estimated employment for the occupation.


Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
  • Low
  • High
  • Average
  • Median
Starting
Overall
Top

Hourly Wage

For full-time and part-time employees
Wages* Low (5th percentile) High (95th percentile) Average Median
Starting $21.70 $52.51 $35.70 $35.83
Overall $27.47 $89.03 $47.99 $46.49
Top $32.97 $97.72 $59.05 $50.38

Swipe left and right to view all data. Scroll left and right to view all data.

* All wage estimates are hourly except where otherwise indicated. Wages and salaries do not include overtime hours, tips, benefits, profit shares, bonuses (unrelated to production) and other forms of compensation.

Pay brackets for hourly wages

  • Starting pay: average pay offered for entry-level positions
  • Overall pay: average pay across all employees in this occupation
  • Top pay: average pay offered to top-paid employees

Industry Information

Professional, Scientific & Technical Services
ALL INDUSTRIES
Public Administration
Educational Services

Skills Shortage

Employers that Recruited in the Last 2 Years
49%
49%)
Recruiting Employers that Experienced Hiring Difficulties
29%
29%
Employers with Unfilled Vacancies of over 4 Months
7%
7%
Vacancy Rate
2%
Related Post-Secondary Field of Study
  • Engineering, Architecture and Related Studies
  • Health Care and Medical Sciences
  • Physical Education and Recreation
  • Sciences
  • Social Sciences, Law and Religious Studies
Other Sources of Information
Updated Mar 31, 2019

Association of Canadian Ergonomists (ACE) website: ace-ergocanada.ca

Canadian College for the Certification of Professional Ergonomists (CCCPE) website: www.cccpe.ca

Get information and referrals about career, education, and employment options from Alberta Supports.

Updated Mar 31, 2019. The information contained in this profile is current as of the dates shown. Salary, employment outlook, and educational program information may change without notice. It is advised that you confirm this information before making any career decisions.

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