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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 Laser Engineer
Top Careers After Laser Engineer
Hispanic or Latino10.1%
Black or African American0.3%
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University of Rochester13.2%
Montana State University - Bozeman10.5%
University of Central Florida10.5%
University of Connecticut7.9%
San Jose City College5.3%
University of California - Riverside5.3%
Texas State Technical College - Waco5.3%
State University of New York Stony Brook5.3%
Old Dominion University5.3%
University of Arizona5.3%
University of Dayton2.6%
Bridgemont Community and Technical College2.6%
University of California - Los Angeles2.6%
Montgomery Community College2.6%
Indian Hills Community College2.6%
Washington State University2.6%
University of Massachusetts - Lowell2.6%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Engineer Principal, Optoelectronic Laser Engineer||JDS Uniphase Corporation||Milpitas, CA||Sep 19, 2014||$144,755|
|Staff Laser Engineer||Lumentum Operations LLC||Milpitas, CA||Oct 24, 2016||$136,000|
|Engineer Senior Laser Semiconductor||JDS Uniphase Corporation||San Jose, CA||Jun 04, 2015||$119,000|
|Engineer Senior, Laser Engineer||Lumentum Operations LLC||Milpitas, CA||Jan 09, 2016||$113,000|
|Laser Engineer||EO Technics International Inc.||Gilbert, AZ||May 01, 2016||$110,739|
|SR. Laser Engineer||Panasonic Corporation of North America||Newton, MA||Sep 18, 2011||$99,000|
|Senior Laser Engineer||JDS Uniphase||Milpitas, CA||Mar 19, 2012||$98,155 -
|Senior Semiconductor Laser Engineer||JDS Uniphase||San Jose, CA||Oct 01, 2011||$98,155 -
|Laser Engineer||California Institute of Technology||Pasadena, CA||Jan 15, 2013||$97,375|
|Laser Engineer||Talentlink, Inc.||Des Moines, IA||Feb 20, 2012||$96,000|
|SR. Laser Engineer||Alcon Lensx, Inc.||Aliso Viejo, CA||Jun 04, 2012||$95,000 -
|Manufacturing Laser Engineer||TYCO Healthcare Group LP||Irvine, CA||Aug 09, 2011||$91,000|
|Manufacturing Laser Engineer||TYCO Healthcare Group LP||Irvine, CA||Aug 12, 2011||$91,000|
|Fiber Laser Engineer||Thorlabs, Inc.||Jessup, MD||Oct 20, 2016||$90,176|
|Laser Engineer||Polaronyx, Inc.||San Jose, CA||Feb 18, 2013||$90,000|
|Laser Engineer||Lumentum Operations LLC||Milpitas, CA||Jul 28, 2016||$85,000|
|Fiber Laser Engineer||Prima Electro North America LLC||Chicopee, MA||Jan 09, 2014||$84,000|
|Fiber Laser Engineer||Prima Electro North America LLC||Chicopee, MA||Sep 01, 2014||$84,000|
|Laser Engineer||Electro Scientific Industries, Inc.||Fremont, CA||Sep 27, 2010||$83,430|
|Reliability Laser Engineer||Teradiode, Inc.||Wilmington, MA||Aug 23, 2016||$82,400|
|Laser Engineer||AFL Telecommunications LLC||Duncan, SC||Aug 18, 2016||$71,219 -
|Geomatic Engineer--3D Laser Scanning||Mollenhauer Group||Los Angeles, CA||Sep 30, 2009||$70,000|
|Laser Engineer||Excel Technology, Inc.||Setauket-East Setauket, NY||Oct 01, 2010||$70,000|
|Industrial Laser Engineer, R & D||Photonics Industries International, Inc.||Bohemia, NY||May 28, 2010||$70,000|
|Industrial Laser Engineer, R & D||Photonics Industries International||Bohemia, NY||May 28, 2010||$70,000|
|Engineering Research Lead/High Power Laser Engineer||University of Michigan||Ann Arbor, MI||Jan 21, 2009||$67,200|
|Laser Engineer||Photonics Industries International Inc.||Bohemia, NY||Oct 01, 2013||$62,525|
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