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Ergonomic Education

Friday, November 19, 2010
By Anne Kramer

It’s no secret; the study of Ergonomics is gaining popularity all around the world. From the earliest recorded consideration of the relationship between man and his tools in ancient Greece, to the first modern mention of the idea in the mid 19th century, Ergonomics has grown rapidly in popularity and practice. As this is the case, an increasing number of people are seeking to educate themselves in the field of Ergonomics.

As a result, it is now possible to study Ergonomics at many educational institutions. Indeed, at many major universities, Ergonomics and related fields are disciplines of respected standing. Below is just a sample list of some of the subjects generally studied by students of Ergonomics.

Kinesiology

While at its roots a health profession, Kinesiology shares many fundamental concerns, such as biomechanics and work physiology, with Ergonomics. As this is the case, Kinesiology serves as a larger "umbrella" discipline for many students interested in pursuing an ergonomically-oriented field.

Though it is uncommon to find a certificate or even bachelor program in Kinesiology, many bachelors programs, such as "pre-med," biology, and of course, those that are geared toward Ergonomics make a great springboard into Kinesiology study on the graduate level. Persons having completed a Master of Kinesiology degree find themselves in a great position to pursue professional careers in lifestyle education and training, product design, and consulting, among other opportunities. Kinesiology PhDs are free to pursue any of the above-mentioned fields, but are also free to undertake their own research, and of course, teach.

Anthropometry

Typically relegated to the confines of nutritional health sciences in the modern academic arena, Anthropometry, strictly speaking, refers to the measurement of the human anatomy for the purposes of understanding variation. This is of particular interest to the student of Ergonomics because any study of physical human interaction is concerned first and foremost with the human himself.

As with Kinesiology, it is difficult to find certificate or bachelor programs in Anthropometry. Instead, Master of Science degrees in Anthropometry can be found. Graduates of such a program generally move into related Doctoral study or undertake professional careers in clothing design, architecture, consulting, and health research.

Human Factors (Ergonomics)

Formally put, Human Factors (more commonly known as "Ergonomics") is the scientific study and analysis of the human, the machine, and/or the working environment interface.

A professional ergonomist uses analytic tools to make recommendations that improve the worker's capability, performance, and efficiency. Any number of degrees and certificates are available to the student interested in pursuing the study of Ergonomics. With a certification in Ergonomics, individuals are usually able to consult individuals and smaller firms with ease. Bachelor programs however, open up many more possibilities including full-time lifestyle education and training, as well as consulting positions. Of course with a Master of Science in Ergonomics, one is free to pursue these avenues, as well as Doctoral work.

While still a relatively new science, the field of Ergonomics continues to grow at an astounding pace with more students joining the discipline every day.




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