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Become A Chief Engineer

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Working As A Chief Engineer

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Getting Information
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Deal with People

  • $106,277

    Average Salary

What Does A Chief Engineer Do

Industrial engineers find ways to eliminate wastefulness in production processes. They devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Duties

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, process flows, and other information to understand methods that are applied and activities that take place in manufacturing and services
  • Figure out how to manufacture parts or products, or deliver services, with maximum efficiency
  • Develop management control systems to make financial planning and cost analysis more efficient
  • Enact quality control procedures to resolve production problems or minimize costs
  • Design control systems to coordinate activities and production planning in order to ensure that products meet quality standards
  • Confer with clients about product specifications, vendors about purchases, management personnel about manufacturing capabilities, and staff about the status of projects

Industrial engineers apply their skills to many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration. For example, they design systems for

  • moving heavy parts within manufacturing plants
  • delivering goods from a company to customers, including finding the most profitable places to locate manufacturing or processing plants
  • evaluating job performance
  • paying workers

Industrial engineers focus on how to get the work done most efficiently, balancing many factors, such as time, number of workers needed, available technology, actions workers need to take, achieving the end product with no errors, workers’ safety, environmental concerns, and cost.

To find ways to reduce waste and improve performance, industrial engineers study product requirements carefully. Then they use mathematical methods and models to design manufacturing and information systems to meet those requirements most efficiently.

Their versatility allows industrial engineers to engage in activities that are useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, industrial engineers engage in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, conduct quality assurance activities to help businesses keep their customer bases satisfied, and work in the growing field of project management as industries across the economy seek to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

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How To Become A Chief Engineer

Industrial engineers must have a bachelor’s degree. Employers also value experience, so cooperative education engineering programs at universities are also valuable.

Education

Industrial engineers need a bachelor’s degree, typically in industrial engineering. However, many industrial engineers have degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. Students interested in studying industrial engineering should take high school courses in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences such as chemistry and physics.

Bachelor’s degree programs include lectures in classrooms and practice in laboratories. Courses include statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design, among others. Many colleges and universities offer cooperative education programs in which students gain practical experience while completing their education.

A few colleges and universities offer 5-year degree programs in industrial engineering that lead to a bachelor’s and master’s degree upon completion, and several more offer similar programs in mechanical engineering. A graduate degree allows an engineer to work as a professor at a college or university or to engage in research and development. Some 5-year or even 6-year cooperative education plans combine classroom study with practical work, permitting students to gain experience and to finance part of their education.

Programs in industrial engineering are accredited by ABET.

Important Qualities

Creativity. Industrial engineers use creativity and ingenuity to design new production processes in many kinds of settings in order to reduce the use of material resources, time, or labor while accomplishing the same goal.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineers create new systems to solve problems related to waste and inefficiency. Solving these problems requires logic and reasoning to identify strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to the problems.

Listening skills. These engineers often operate in teams, but they also must solicit feedback from customers, vendors, and production staff. They must listen to customers and clients in order to fully grasp ideas and problems the first time.

Math skills. Industrial engineers use the principles of calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced topics in mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Problem-solving skills. In designing facilities for manufacturing and processes for providing services, these engineers deal with several issues at once, from workers’ safety to quality assurance.

Speaking skills. Industrial engineers sometimes have to explain their instructions to production staff or technicians before they can make written instructions available. Being able to explain concepts clearly and quickly is crucial to preventing costly mistakes and loss of time.

Writing skills. Industrial engineers must prepare documentation for other engineers or scientists, or for future reference. The documentation must be coherent and explain their thinking clearly so that the others can understand the information.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level positions as an industrial engineer. A Professional Engineering (PE) license, which allows for higher levels of leadership and independence, can be acquired later in one’s career. Licensed engineers are called professional engineers (PEs). A PE can oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public. State licensure generally requires

  • A degree from an ABET-accredited engineering program
  • A passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Relevant work experience, typically at least 4 years
  • A passing score on the Professional Engineering (PE) exam

The initial FE exam can be taken after one earns a bachelor’s degree. Engineers who pass this exam are commonly called engineers in training (EITs) or engineer interns (EIs). After meeting work experience requirements, EITs and EIs can take the second exam, called the Principles and Practice of Engineering.

Several states require engineers to take continuing education in order to keep their licenses. Most states recognize licenses from other states, as long as the other state’s licensing requirements meet or exceed their own licensing requirements.

Advancement

Beginning industrial engineers usually work under the supervision of experienced engineers. In large companies, new engineers also may receive formal training in classes or seminars. As beginning engineers gain knowledge and experience, they move on to more difficult projects with greater independence to develop designs, solve problems, and make decisions.

Eventually, industrial engineers may advance to become technical specialists, such as quality engineers or facility planners. In that role, they supervise a team of engineers and technicians. Obtaining a master’s degree facilitates such specialization and thus advancement.

Many industrial engineers move into management positions because the work they do is closely related to the work of managers. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

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Chief Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

93.4%

Female

4.7%

Unknown

1.8%
Ethnicity

White

60.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.2%

Black or African American

11.3%

Asian

8.5%

Unknown

4.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

39.4%

Carrier

13.9%

French

11.1%

Russian

5.1%

German

4.6%

Chinese

3.2%

Arabic

3.2%

Italian

2.8%

Japanese

2.8%

Mandarin

2.3%

Portuguese

1.9%

Hindi

1.4%

Turkish

1.4%

Persian

1.4%

Romanian

0.9%

Korean

0.9%

Norwegian

0.9%

Hebrew

0.9%

Greek

0.9%

Croatian

0.9%
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Chief Engineer Education

Schools

Ferris State University

10.2%

University of Phoenix

9.8%

Purdue University

7.9%

Maine Maritime Academy

7.0%

Northeastern University

5.5%

Massachusetts Maritime Academy

4.9%

Pennsylvania State University

4.7%

Community College of the Air Force

4.5%

University of Washington

4.5%

Michigan State University

4.2%

The Academy

4.2%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.2%

A-Technical College

4.0%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.0%

Naval Postgraduate School

3.8%

Auburn University

3.6%

Michigan Technological University

3.4%

Houston Community College

3.2%

University of Southern California

3.2%

Texas A&M University

3.2%
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Majors

Electrical Engineering

15.2%

Mechanical Engineering

14.1%

Business

14.0%

Engineering

8.4%

Heating And Air Conditioning

7.5%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

4.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.8%

Management

4.7%

Civil Engineering

4.5%

Computer Science

3.7%

Marine Engineering

2.5%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.4%

Industrial Technology

2.0%

Education

1.8%

General Studies

1.7%

Computer Engineering

1.7%

Aerospace Engineering

1.7%

Project Management

1.6%

Communication

1.5%

Physics

1.4%
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Degrees

Other

30.7%

Bachelors

29.5%

Masters

18.8%

Associate

8.8%

Certificate

5.9%

Doctorate

3.2%

Diploma

2.5%

License

0.7%
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Chief Engineer Videos

U.S. - Engineering Services: Special Operations: A Day in the Life of a Chief Engineer

What it takes to be a Chief Engineer | Atlas Professionals

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Real Chief Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Chief Engineer EBAY Inc. San Jose, CA Aug 12, 2013 $295,000
Chief Engineer X.Commerce San Jose, CA Sep 30, 2013 $295,000
Chief Engineer/Vice Oprona, Inc. Houston, TX Mar 15, 2015 $225,000
Chief Engineer/Vice Oprona, Inc. Houston, TX Apr 11, 2013 $225,000
Powertrain Chief Engineer Polaris Industries, Inc. Wyoming, MN Aug 18, 2014 $210,060
Chief Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Analyst Insidersreferral.Com, Inc. Austin, TX Sep 04, 2015 $207,669
Chief Engineer American Biocarbon LLC White Castle, LA Feb 05, 2016 $200,000
Chief Engineering Manager Rubicon Systems America, Inc. Fort Collins, CO Jul 01, 2013 $200,000 -
$240,000
Chief Engineering Manager Rubicon Systems America, Inc. Fort Collins, CO Jun 30, 2015 $200,000 -
$240,000
Chief Engineer Firebird Petroleum LLC Houston, TX Oct 01, 2013 $200,000
Chief Engineer SGT, Inc. Greenbelt, MD Sep 04, 2015 $198,661
Chief Engineer Rrsat America-Global Communications Network Inc. Hawley, PA Jan 02, 2013 $180,000
Chief Engineering Officer 2253 Apparel Inc. Montebello, CA Aug 28, 2013 $175,000
Chief Engineer Leading Edge Aviation Services, Inc. Costa Mesa, CA Sep 18, 2014 $127,587
Chief Engineer Leading Edge Aviation Services, Inc. Costa Mesa, CA Sep 15, 2014 $127,587
Chief Engineer Leading Edge Aviation Services, Inc. Costa Mesa, CA Sep 01, 2014 $127,587
Chief Engineer Declarativ, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Apr 13, 2013 $125,000
Chief Engineer Declarativ, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jun 15, 2013 $125,000
Chief Engineer Phillips 66 Company Bartlesville, OK Oct 01, 2013 $123,440 -
$185,160
Chief Engineer Jason Fane DBA Ithaca Renting Company Ithaca, NY Apr 11, 2015 $122,678
Chief Engineer Barrick Cortez Inc. Crescent Valley, NV Feb 16, 2016 $104,000 -
$120,000
Chief Engineer Stant USA Corp Pine Bluff, AR Aug 15, 2015 $103,824
Chief Engineer Complex Polygon, Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 18, 2014 $103,787
Chief Underground Engineer Barrick Goldstrike Mines Inc. Carlin, NV Aug 20, 2014 $102,752 -
$124,903
Chief Engineer Barrick Cortez, Inc. Crescent Valley, NV Jan 03, 2015 $100,000 -
$150,000
Project Chief-Engineering Kyyba Inc. Auburn Hills, MI Jul 10, 2015 $100,000

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Top Skills for A Chief Engineer

  1. Life Safety Systems
  2. Hvac
  3. Preventative Maintenance
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Monitored and maintained life safety systems.
  • Managed Stationary Engineers and Maintenance Mechanics performing HVAC, Refrigeration, Electrical and Power Distribution system maintenance.
  • Managed physical plant operation of HVAC, boiler, and building systems, including operational problem-solving and preventative maintenance scheduling.
  • Managed the daily technical operations of a post-production film and videotape editing facility.
  • Manage a centralized plastics engineering department including Estimating and Project Engineering for a seven plant contract manufacturing company.

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Top 10 Best States for Chief Engineers

  1. Texas
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Wyoming
  5. California
  6. Colorado
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Arizona
  9. Michigan
  10. New Hampshire
  • (1,967 jobs)
  • (798 jobs)
  • (1,071 jobs)
  • (35 jobs)
  • (4,779 jobs)
  • (584 jobs)
  • (72 jobs)
  • (444 jobs)
  • (689 jobs)
  • (231 jobs)

Top Chief Engineer Employers

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Jobs From Top Chief Engineer Employers

Chief Engineer Videos

U.S. - Engineering Services: Special Operations: A Day in the Life of a Chief Engineer

What it takes to be a Chief Engineer | Atlas Professionals

Careers in Cybersecurity- Expert Advice From BlackHat & DEFCON

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