How Much Do Engineering Psychologists Make?

The modern world relies on technology, from home appliances to smartphones to computers. How well workers design computer systems affect the user experience. To ensure various forms of technology run smoothly, safely and effectively, engineering psychologists work to improve the interaction between users and machines. (

The demand for engineering psychologists is growing because technology companies understand that getting psychologists involved in the design and manufacturing process helps the final product to function better. It also is more enjoyable for the consumer to use. Also, a system or product that is well designed from the ground up reduces the number of frustrated customers. A well-executed product from the beginning also avoids expensive redesigns, and this increases company profits.

There also have been well-publicized reports of major medical errors that were due to improperly designed medical devices. Engineering psychologists are now being used to better design medical equipment and devices to reduce the chances of dangerous mistakes.

Engineering psychologists can also enjoy a career in academia in human factors, ergonomics, human/computer interaction, or usability engineering. These psychologists also provide design advice to auto manufacturers, the Department of Transportation, NASA and the Federal Highway Administration.

Becoming an engineering psychologist requires extensive education; most professionals the field hold a Ph.D. in engineering psychology. If your career interest is in engineering psychology, it is critical to know how much you can make. Below is detailed salary information for engineering psychologists.

Engineering Psychologist Salary Information

Reliable sources of salary information for engineering psychologists include those listed below.

Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)

The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not provide specific salary information for engineering psychologists. However, the median wage for all psychologists is $79,010 as of 2018. The lowest 10% earned $43,800 and the top 10% earned $129,200. All other psychologists earned $100,700, and industrial-organizational psychologists made $97,200. (

BLS reported the highest salaries in psychology are in government at $96,400 per year. However, it is common for private consultants in engineering psychology to make $125,000 per year or more.

Engineering psychologists who want to work as professors can earn a median salary of $76,700. (

According to, an engineering psychologist or human factors engineer earns an average salary of $82,800, with a range between $62,000 and $121,000. (

A first-year human factors engineer can earn a wage of $65,000, and $120,000 after 20 years of experience.

The average salary for this career is affected by city, as well:

  • Washington DC: +16%
  • Boston: +6%
  • Houston: +3%
  • Minneapolis: +1%
  • San Diego: -3%
  • Philadelphia: -22%

The American Psychological Association (APA) reports that salaries for engineering psychologists are highest in the private sector. The lowest salaries are in research and academia. State and federal government work fall in between the two, according to the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society’s 2005 Salary and Compensation Survey. That source states engineering psychologists with a Ph.D. working for private companies earn $111,300 per year. Those working in academia make $92,600, and those in government employment earn $107,000.

Engineering psychologists with a master’s degree make $90,100 in businesses and $75,100 at universities. In all sectors, starting salaries in the field range from $48,000 to $75,300. Consultants with doctoral degrees earn the most – $179,000. (

This website reports that engineering psychologists in Chicago earn an average salary of $99,900 per year. The range is between $27,600 and $185,500. (

Also, the site reports that human factors psychologists earn an average of $100,800 per year, with a range between $29,000 and $155,500. Human factors psychology is another term for engineering psychology.

Sponsored Content

Job Outlook for Engineering Psychologists

The job outlook for engineering psychologists reflects that of the psychology profession overall. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that jobs in psychology will increase by 14% through 2028, which is much faster than average. (

APA notes that jobs for engineering psychologists tend to increase as the economy does better. In recent years, demand in the private sector has been growing as economic growth has improved. Improving technology and society’s reliance on computer systems will continue to boost job demand.


If you earn a Ph.D. in engineering psychology, there are many rewarding career paths before you. Whether you choose to work for a private company, as a consultant or in academia, you can earn a salary of at least $70,000 in most parts of the country. When you obtain more experience, you can make a six-figure salary. If you enter private consulting, it is possible to make $150,000 or more per year.