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Become An Industrial Engineer

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Working As An Industrial 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

  • $76,502

    Average Salary

What Does An Industrial 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 An Industrial 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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Do you work as an Industrial Engineer?

Industrial Engineer Jobs

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Industrial Engineer Career Paths

Industrial Engineer
Engineering Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Continuous Improvement
14 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Operations Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Operations Manager Purchasing Manager
Director, Procurement
13 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Manager
Factory Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Manufacturing Manager
Lean Manufacturing Manager
12 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Manager Plant Manager
Manufacturing Director
14 Yearsyrs
Senior Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager Engineering Manager
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Warehouse Manager
Material Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Manufacturing Engineer Project Manager Program Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Quality Engineer Quality Assurance Manager Operations Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Program Manager Operations Director
Senior Director, Operations
14 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Supply Chain Manager
Supply Chain Director
14 Yearsyrs
Program Manager Technical Director Vice President, Technology
Vice President Of Global Operations
15 Yearsyrs
Senior Manufacturing Engineer Engineering Manager Plant Manager
Vice President Of Manufacturing
14 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as an Industrial Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Engineer, Methods 3.6 years
Packaging Engineer 3.5 years
Process Engineer 3.4 years
Top Employers Before
Internship 7.0%
Supervisor 2.5%
Engineer 2.4%
Consultant 2.0%
Top Employers After
Consultant 3.0%
Manager 2.9%

Do you work as an Industrial Engineer?

Industrial Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

77.1%

Female

19.8%

Unknown

3.1%
Ethnicity

White

56.4%

Hispanic or Latino

15.5%

Asian

12.6%

Black or African American

10.9%

Unknown

4.6%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

52.0%

Chinese

8.4%

French

7.8%

Mandarin

5.9%

German

5.6%

Italian

2.8%

Arabic

2.5%

Portuguese

2.2%

Japanese

2.0%

Cantonese

1.7%

Russian

1.4%

Hindi

1.1%

Persian

1.1%

Polish

1.1%

Korean

0.8%

Malay

0.8%

Tamil

0.8%

Carrier

0.8%

Marathi

0.6%

Yoruba

0.6%
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Industrial Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

8.7%

Mississippi State University

6.7%

Pennsylvania State University

6.5%

University of Phoenix

6.2%

Auburn University

6.1%

Clemson University

5.8%

Iowa State University

5.4%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

4.9%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.8%

University of Texas at Arlington

4.6%

North Carolina State University

4.5%

West Virginia University

4.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.4%

Northern Illinois University

4.3%

Texas A&M University

3.9%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

3.8%

Tennessee Technological University

3.8%

Arizona State University

3.7%

State University of New York Buffalo

3.6%

University of Pittsburgh -

3.6%
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Majors

Industrial Engineering

41.4%

Business

16.1%

Industrial Technology

7.4%

Engineering And Industrial Management

6.9%

Mechanical Engineering

5.2%

Manufacturing Engineering

3.7%

Management

3.0%

Engineering

2.0%

Finance

1.9%

Electrical Engineering

1.7%

Project Management

1.6%

Systems Engineering

1.3%

Operations Management

1.3%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.2%

Supply Chain Management

1.1%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.0%

Computer Science

0.9%

Computer Information Systems

0.8%

Engineering Technology

0.8%

Education

0.7%
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Degrees

Bachelors

49.1%

Masters

35.8%

Other

7.9%

Associate

2.8%

Certificate

2.3%

Doctorate

1.6%

Diploma

0.5%

License

0.0%
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Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Industrial Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Lead Industrial Engineer Nokia USA Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Oct 01, 2015 $157,000
Lead Industrial Engineer Nokia USA Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jan 10, 2015 $157,000
Operations Industrial Engineer Superbag Operating Ltd. Houston, TX Aug 23, 2016 $135,000 -
$150,000
Staff Supplier Industrialization Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Sep 19, 2016 $132,000 -
$142,000
Industrial Engineer Soofer Company, Inc. Vernon, CA Nov 22, 2016 $130,000
Industrial Engineer Control Air Conditioning Corporation Anaheim, CA Sep 13, 2016 $125,000
Staff Supplier Industrialization Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Aug 17, 2016 $125,000 -
$145,000
Industrial Engineer EURO-Pro Operating LLC Newton, MA Feb 03, 2015 $121,600 -
$151,600
Industrial Engineer Lam Research Corporation Fremont, CA Mar 10, 2016 $120,910 -
$150,000
Staff Supplier Industrialization Engineer Tesla Motors, Inc. Fremont, CA Aug 17, 2016 $120,910
Industrial Engineer C&O Manufacturing, Inc. Pico Rivera, CA Sep 12, 2015 $120,000
Industrial Engineer Do Best America, Inc. Los Angeles, CA Aug 03, 2016 $117,707
Industrial Engineer Ghafari Associates LLC Dearborn, MI Mar 15, 2016 $76,690 -
$88,088
Industrial Engineer Yanfeng Us Automotive Interior Systems I LLC Highland Park, MI Jan 12, 2015 $76,690 -
$93,600
Industrial Engineer Intel Corporation Hillsboro, OR Aug 16, 2015 $76,592 -
$96,400
Photo/Cmp/Metrology Area Industrial Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Boise, ID Aug 06, 2015 $76,500
Industrial Engineer Darby Equipment Company Tulsa, OK Jan 10, 2016 $76,500
Area Industrial Engineer Micron Technology, Inc. Boise, ID Dec 02, 2016 $76,500
Industrial Engineer I Ozburn-Hessey Logistics, LLC Brentwood, TN May 04, 2015 $76,279
Industrial Engineer A.B. Carter, Inc./ Gastonia, NC Mar 09, 2016 $67,500
Industrial Engineer-Retail Winn-Dixie Stores Inc. Jacksonville, FL Sep 20, 2016 $67,500
Industrial Engineer Association for The Blind and Visually Impaired Rochester, NY May 31, 2016 $67,434
Industrial Engineer Mitsubishi Caterpillar Forklift America Inc. Houston, TX Dec 09, 2016 $67,378
Industrial Engineer II IQOR Global Services LLC Louisville, KY Jun 30, 2016 $67,350
Industrial Engineer II New Breed, Inc. Memphis, TN Feb 19, 2015 $67,202

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Top Skills for An Industrial Engineer

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  1. Process Improvement
  2. Plant Layout
  3. Cost Savings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Contract position utilizing Industrial Engineering expertise to review processes across all lines of business for recommendation and implementation of process improvements.
  • Plant Layouts/Process Studies *Prodigy Member Services
  • Provided manpower analysis for Explosive Handling Wharf reallocation initiative, increasing efficiency and cost savings.
  • Assisted in developing long-term strategy in continuous improvements around safety & environmental compliance, quality, productivity, and capacity planning.
  • Set up a management reporting system to provide production efficiency and scrap feedback to manufacturing and other departments.

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Top Industrial Engineer Employers

Jobs From Top Industrial Engineer Employers

Industrial Engineer Videos

Top 10 Paying Engineering College Majors 2015

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