College of Aeronautics

College of Aeronautics

Aviation Human Factors and Safety

Our Programs | Key Factors | Careers

Human factors refers to the field of study that attempts to identify the principles of human-machine interaction and applies those principles to the design and operation of engineered systems. Safety, generally considered a subset of human factors, is arguably the most important aspect of engineered systems that the study of human factors strives to improve. Although the range of engineered systems of interest in human factors is very wide, the human factors programs through the College of Aeronautics concentrate on human factors in aviation.

Human factors and safety are paramount in all aspects of the modern aviation industry. Human factors in aviation examines the various characteristics of users and the systems in which they work. Aviation-related human factors studies range from aircraft cockpit design and maintenance methods and procedures to complex ground-based entities such as the National Airspace System. Human factors is now recognized as an indispensable component of systems design and evaluation, accident investigation and prevention, simulation, training, procedures development and system performance testing. Considerable research is being conducted in this field by government and private entities around the world.

Our Programs

Human factors and safety covers a broad array of topics from psychology to engineering, the College of Aeronautics has developed a few degree programs in an effort to increase the importance human factors and safety in aviation. Degrees focused on human factors in aviation as well as aviation safety are available at both the graduate and undergraduate levels at Florida Tech.

Human Factors & Safety B.S.

The Bachelor of Science in Human Factors & Safety from Florida Tech is designed to give students from all disciplines an introduction to core concepts of human factors and safety. This degree program prepares students to pursue an advanced human factors or safety degree or seek entry level positions in a variety of fields including safety analysis, human centered design, and accident investigation.

Human Factors & Safety with Flight Option B.S.

The Bachelor of Science in Human Factors & Safety with Flight from Florida Tech prepares students for a career as a professional pilot. In addition to earning at least their commercial, multi-engine, and instrument ratings students are provided with a strong foundation for a professional career in aviation human factors and safety. Students of the Human Factors & Safety degree program with flight are afforded increased flexibility in their career path. 

Aviation Human Factors M.S.

The Master of Science in Aviation Human Factors further examines the study of human factors in aviation. The program focuses on the study and application of principles and theories of human centered design, engineering, and psychology and how they can be applied to improve the complex aviation environment.

Applied Aviation Safety M.S.A.

The Applied Aviation Safety degree is designed to help meet the professional growth needs of persons interested in a wide range of aviation careers. The degree is especially relevant for those who have earned baccalaureate degrees in aviation and those who have worked in the aviation field and now require more specialized knowledge. This degree prepares students for careers in aviation safety, accident investigation, technical consulting and educational, and regulatory or investigative positions in organizations around the world.

Key Factors in Aviation Human Factors and Safety

Human Performance

Students of human factors and safety learn how human performance plays a factor in aviation systems. Students examine how stress, fatigue, anxiety, and error, have an effect on human performance. Information processing models, human error, language, and signal-detection theory are all key concepts in the study of human performance. A thorough understanding of factors affecting human performance and how individuals identify and process information helps students of human factors in aviation to develop processes and systems with improved efficiency, ease of use, and safety.

Situational Awareness and Decision Making

Situational awareness and decision making are very important aspects of human factors in general and even more so of human factors in aviation. In the cockpit of a commercial aircraft, the awareness and decision making of the pilots and crew can decide the safety of the flight. Students of human factors and safety examine individual, distributed and collaborative awareness, and decision making and available flight deck information to understand and improve situational awareness and decision making in the complex cockpit environment.

Aviation Safety

Students of human factors and safety in aviation study a variety material and methods that are key to analyzing aviation safety. Students explore safety databases, team performance analysis, and safety management systems in order to develop a strong foundation for aviation safety management. Students of human factors and safety in aviation also have the opportunity to expand their knowledge of aviation accident investigation by using some of the same tools and techniques used by the NTSB, FAA, and ICAO. Students learn investigation techniques and lab methods for reconstructing accidents and how to analyze flight mishaps using the resources available to them.

Careers in Aviation Human Factors and Safety

Aviation safety jobs abound in the modern aviation industry as media outlets focus more and more on the safety systems in place at airlines and other commercial aviation organizations. Aviation human factors and safety degree programs through the College of Aeronautics prepare students for aviation safety jobs as well as positions focusing on human factors in design and product development. As airways become busier and technologies and systems more complex the need for more, and more qualified, candidates in aviation human factors and safety jobs is increasingly apparent. Students pursuing human factors and safety degrees today are absolutely critical to the success of the aviation industry. 

Real-World Experience

Classes get you theories. The only place to get experience is in the workplace. That is why the College of Aeronautics challenges its students to take advantage of the opportunities available to them. Over the years the College of Aeronautics has worked to foster relationships at nearby airports and local aviation businesses as well as airports and organizations in the industry that lead to student internships. Students have the opportunity to pursue aviation human factors jobs and internships at local airports and other organizations to exercise the concepts they learn in the classroom. Oftentimes these internships and part-time position lead to desirable full-time job offers after graduation.

Positions in Human Factors and Safety

Graduates are prepared for various aviation safety jobs and a range of human factors roles in a myriad of industries. Upon graduation students move on to pursue advanced degrees or start their careers in positions and industries such as...

  • Product Development Team Lead
  • Integration Specialist
  • Ergonomist
  • Safety Scientist
  • Technical Specialist
  • Human Factors Research Scientist
  • Usability Expert
  • Avionics Technician
  • Airport manager
  • Systems Management
  • Airport Security Manager
  • Freight and Cargo Management
  • Air Traffic Controller
  • Federal Department of Transportation
  • National Transportation Safety Board
  • Department of Homeland Security
  • International Airports everywhere