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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
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.
Average Length of Employment
Top Careers Before Laboratory Engineer
Top Careers After Laboratory Engineer
Hispanic or Latino9.7%
Black or African American1.0%
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Rochester Institute of Technology9.7%
Georgia Institute of Technology -7.8%
Arizona State University4.9%
University of Washington4.9%
Wayne State University4.9%
Pennsylvania State University4.9%
Iowa State University4.9%
University of Massachusetts - Lowell4.9%
University of Phoenix4.9%
Lawrence Technological University4.9%
Michigan State University4.9%
San Jose State University3.9%
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor3.9%
University of California - Berkeley3.9%
University of Toledo3.9%
University of Pittsburgh -3.9%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Rock Mechanics Laboratory Engineer/Geoscientist||Conocophillips Company||Bartlesville, OK||Sep 12, 2014||$118,664 -
|Lab Engineer||Cisco Systems, Inc.||San Jose, CA||Feb 04, 2015||$113,048 -
|Technologist Catalyst Laboratory Engineer||BP America Inc.||Naperville, IL||Sep 01, 2014||$111,790|
|Signal Integrity Lab Characterization Engineer||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Sep 03, 2012||$110,000 -
|Camera Lab Engineer||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Sep 15, 2012||$110,000 -
|Camera Lab Engineer||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Nov 21, 2011||$110,000 -
|Network and Lab Engineer||OKTA, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jan 28, 2016||$110,000 -
|Technologist Catalyst Laboratory Engineer||BP America Inc.||Naperville, IL||Oct 02, 2013||$108,246|
|Analog IP Lab Characterization Engineer||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Jul 17, 2013||$105,000 -
|Analog IP Lab Characterization Engineer||Apple Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Nov 07, 2014||$102,606 -
|Technologist Catalyst Laboratory Engineer||BP America Inc.||Naperville, IL||Oct 01, 2011||$100,000|
|Laboratory Engineer||IBM Corporation||Yorktown Heights, NY||Nov 23, 2015||$99,023 -
|Lab Engineer I||A2Z Development Center, Inc.||Cupertino, CA||Jun 03, 2015||$98,488 -
|Powertrain Emissions Testing Lab Engineer||FCA Us LLC||Auburn Hills, MI||Aug 15, 2016||$85,043|
|Lab Engineer||Nexius Insight Inc.||Menlo Park, CA||May 12, 2016||$85,000 -
|Hardware Lab Engineer||Lab126||Cupertino, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$85,000|
|Engineer I-Materials Lab Engineer||General Motors Company||Pontiac, MI||Mar 16, 2015||$85,000|
|Test Lab Engineer||Huf North America Automotive Parts Manufacturing, Corp.||Farmington Hills, MI||Sep 12, 2015||$85,000|
|Laboratory Engineer||M-I LLC Aka M-I Swaco||Houston, TX||Mar 05, 2014||$84,370|
|Laboratory Engineer||Schlumberger Technology Corporation||Sugar Land, TX||Aug 20, 2014||$84,000|
|Engineer 2/Lab Engineer||General Motors Company||Pontiac, MI||May 15, 2011||$70,956|
|Application Lab Engineer-Electrical||Actiontec Electronics, Inc.||Sunnyvale, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$70,791|
|Materials Lab Engineer||Special Testing & Consulting, LLC||Farmingdale, NY||Sep 09, 2016||$70,770|
|Laboratory Engineer||Riga Analytical Lab, Inc.||Santa Clara, CA||Sep 15, 2011||$70,554|
|Lab Engineer||Cisco Systems, Inc.||San Jose, CA||Feb 01, 2010||$70,304 -
|Lab Engineer||RAB Lighting, Inc.||Northvale, NJ||Aug 28, 2016||$70,204|
|Radio Access Technology Lab Engineer||American Technology Consulting, LLC||San Mateo, CA||Sep 07, 2015||$70,000|
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