“Is now the right time for me to make a career change to ergonomics?” “I’m interested in offering ergonomic services to add a new income stream, but where do I start?” If you find yourself asking these questions, then this post is for you.
Ergonomics is in-demand and is well-established in several sectors, such as industrial, manufacturing, and healthcare. Even though there are quite a few Ergonomic Service Providers in this field, the industry is still predicted to grow in the coming years, so career prospects are very good. If you’re considering jumping into ergonomics, this post can serve as your starting point. Below, we’re going to discuss the benefits of adding ergonomics to your services and practice and things you need to consider before you get started.
If you're like many of the healthcare professionals that I talked to who are considering adding ergonomics to their services, then you probably had to pick a career early in life, but over time you realize that you want something more. It could be that you’re rethinking your career because you want to increase your salary, or maybe you want to do something new and interesting. Well, you’re not alone. In 2021, a number of people started to rethink their careers and long-term goals, which led to the “Great Resignation” phenomenon.
Compared to 2020, there was a 20% increase in resignations in 2021. A study from Pew Research found that 53% of US workers who left their job in 2021 changed their occupations at some point last year. Statistics also say that 44% of American workers were planning a career change, with younger workers more likely to make the leap. The average age a person changes careers is 39 years old.
It surely feels better to make such a bold leap knowing that others are also going through this shift. So if you’ve been toying with the idea of jumping into ergonomics, whether as a side gig or full-time, now may be the time to take that leap of faith.
Recently, I asked the members of my free Facebook community what initially drew them into ergonomics. Their answers weren’t surprising, but at the same time, I think it's important to share the insights with you. My favorite answer is that doing ergonomics consulting is like doing detective work, where ergonomic professionals must find the driver of muscle imbalance or tension. So if you’re someone who loves drawing up creative solutions and using your unique skill sets, knowledge, and experience to help people stay healthy and make a positive impact, consider adding ergonomics to your practice.
Other reasons why many healthcare professionals want to jump into ergonomics is because of high demand and job availability, so there's an opportunity to increase revenue. Ergonomics is a very diverse field with a multitude of professions specializing in different niches, so there are many cool work environments where your services are needed. Plus, ergonomics is already in line with your expertise and experience as a Rehab and Healthcare Professional.
If you like all the benefits that I’ve mentioned so far about ergonomics, then the next step is to find out what you need to consider before making such a switch.
1. Think about what drew you to your profession
If you’re planning on making a switch to ergonomics, the first thing you need to do is to determine what attracted you to your healthcare profession in the first place. Was it the mastery of the subject? Was it your desire to help other people? Or was it the income that you could generate? Jot down what comes to your mind.
After that, decide whether you want to completely do ergonomics full-time, just as a side hustle, or as another in-demand service in your practice. The latter is much more straightforward to do as a revenue-generating activity. What I mean by that is that someone comes into your clinic with pain or discomfort, you treat their symptoms, and then you also offer an ergonomic service to really address the root cause of their problem. For many healthcare professionals, ergonomics complement what they're already doing professionally and bring in additional revenue. It's also in line with what drew them into their profession. For the side-hustlers, who will gradually jump into ergonomics by offering ergonomic services as a side gig first instead of taking one giant leap can lessen the stress and pressure of generating cash flow when you are first starting out, which can be tricky and time-consuming.
2. Evaluate Your Skills and Identify Gaps
The good thing about ergonomics is that you can translate many of the skills you’ve developed in your healthcare profession to ergonomics. So take some time to evaluate what skills you have and what other skills you would need. Determine where the gaps are that are required for you to get started. Decide on what setting you’d like to get started in. Do you have any experience doing an ergonomics assessment or any sort of ergonomics training before?
Let’s say you have a background in anatomy and physiology. That can help you build the foundation to do really great ergonomic assessments. However, what I've observed is that newer ergonomics consultants tend to rely on behavioral-based ergonomic solutions rather than on engineering-based solutions. Our clients expect us to have the expertise to solve both simple and complex cases, and some clients may need a different type of solution than just implementing stretching programs.
When you're offering ergonomic services, we are required to identify and resolve literally anything in the workplace that could be causing or resulting in that person's increased ergonomic risk of injury, loss in productivity, etc. That’s where active engineering solutions can really help you start to make a name for yourself, especially in the industrial ergonomics world. Engineering solutions include looking at the equipment the people are using, making adjustments, or changing the layout, type, or whatever entirely, and engineering out the risk. Engineering-based solutions will be more impactful and effective for your clients and for your business, especially focusing on those which are high impact-low cost.
3. Enhance Your Skills
Education is a key component when it comes to switching in this field. Additionally, you need to have a certain amount of ergonomics assessments completed before you can start charging. So your next step is to assess where you currently are and what you’ll need to go forward. Once you’ve done that, make a plan as to how you’re going to accomplish them. How long do you want to give yourself to learn how to do a really good ergonomics assessment? What are your timelines? When do you want to get started in the field?
There’s a chance that you may not have the skills and experience yet to shift into ergonomics. If that’s the case, consider taking programs designed to become ergonomic professionals. That's one way you can get ahead of this. Pick a really good program that will give you the skills and knowledge you need, and then do as many ergonomics assessments as you possibly can. And before you know it, you're going to get those hours in, and you can start generating income.
I’ve developed a program called the Ergonomics Blueprint that shows healthcare professionals the steps on how to do effective office ergonomics assessments, no matter what your experience. Everything you need to do good assessments (both simple and really complex assessments) is in this program. The Ergonomics Blueprint is here to help you get started if you’re ready to add office ergonomic assessments to your career.
Need even more help? I have good news for you!
Next Saturday, August 13th, I’m going to be hosting a FREE training designed to help you get a clear step forward in getting started with office ergonomic assessments. It's packed with valuable information to help you avoid those barriers that can limit your progress and start doing ergonomics assessments faster. Seats are only limited, so make sure to sign up now to save your spot. Looking forward to seeing you in the training!
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