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Become A Plant Engineer

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Working As A Plant 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

  • $73,054

    Average Salary

What Does A Plant 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 Plant 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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Plant Engineer jobs

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Plant Engineer Career Paths

Plant Engineer
Plant Manager General Manager Maintenance Technician
Chief Engineer
10 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Manager Project Manager
Construction Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Process Engineer Senior Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Purchasing
10 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Product Manager Purchasing Manager
Director Of Strategic Sourcing
13 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Engineering Manager
Engineering Director
13 Yearsyrs
Engineer Project Engineer
Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Plant Manager
Manufacturing Director
14 Yearsyrs
Engineer Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer
Manufacturing Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Engineer Program Manager General Manager
Operations Director
9 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Construction Manager
Operations Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Plant Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Manager Operations Manager
Plant Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Program Manager General Manager
President Of Operations
11 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Estimator Project Engineer
Project Superintendent
10 Yearsyrs
Operations Manager Account Executive Sales Manager
Purchasing Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Plant Manager Operations Director
Senior Director, Operations
14 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Operations Manager
Senior Operations Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Production Manager Senior Project Manager Vice President, Technology
Vice President Of Global Operations
15 Yearsyrs
Senior Engineer Engineering Manager Plant Manager
Vice President Of Manufacturing
14 Yearsyrs
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Average Length of Employment
Plant Manager 5.5 years
Staff Engineer 4.3 years
Equipment Engineer 4.1 years
Plant Engineer 4.0 years
Air Plant Engineer 3.9 years
Facility Engineer 3.7 years
Engineer, Methods 3.6 years
Process Engineer 3.5 years
Project Engineer 3.4 years
Division Engineer 3.2 years
Engineer 3.2 years
Utility Engineer 3.1 years
Chemical Engineer 2.9 years
Top Employers Before
Engineer 4.7%
Internship 2.7%
Top Employers After
Engineer 3.8%
Manager 3.0%

Plant Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

88.9%

Female

8.8%

Unknown

2.3%
Ethnicity

White

76.3%

Hispanic or Latino

10.5%

Asian

9.5%

Unknown

2.9%

Black or African American

0.8%
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Languages Spoken

Spanish

47.1%

French

9.4%

Carrier

6.5%

German

6.5%

Arabic

4.7%

Chinese

3.5%

Mandarin

2.9%

Italian

2.9%

Portuguese

2.4%

Vietnamese

1.8%

Hindi

1.8%

Russian

1.8%

Japanese

1.8%

Romanian

1.2%

Dutch

1.2%

Urdu

1.2%

Thai

1.2%

Cantonese

1.2%

Swedish

0.6%

Swahili

0.6%
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Plant Engineer Education

Schools

Purdue University

10.1%

Pennsylvania State University

6.6%

University of Phoenix

6.6%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

6.2%

Tennessee Technological University

5.6%

University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez

5.4%

Mississippi State University

5.2%

University of Toledo

5.0%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

5.0%

Youngstown State University

4.8%

Iowa State University

4.8%

Texas Tech University

4.5%

Clemson University

4.5%

Texas A&M University

4.1%

University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

3.9%

New Jersey Institute of Technology

3.7%

Drexel University

3.7%

West Virginia University

3.5%

Cleveland State University

3.5%

Michigan State University

3.3%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

23.4%

Chemical Engineering

14.6%

Business

13.8%

Electrical Engineering

10.5%

Industrial Engineering

4.8%

Engineering

4.8%

Industrial Technology

3.8%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

3.4%

Electrical Engineering Technology

3.2%

Management

3.0%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.4%

Civil Engineering

1.8%

Project Management

1.7%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.5%

Drafting And Design

1.3%

Manufacturing Engineering

1.3%

Chemistry

1.2%

Heating And Air Conditioning

1.1%

Computer Science

1.1%

Finance

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

48.4%

Masters

25.1%

Other

14.5%

Associate

5.3%

Certificate

2.6%

Doctorate

2.5%

Diploma

1.2%

License

0.3%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

Real Plant Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Chemical Process Engineer Two Rivers Terminal LLC Pasco, WA Nov 19, 2014 $149,885
Plant Engineer Frontier Aluminum Corporation Corona, CA Sep 29, 2015 $139,497
Plant Engineer Thermcraft, Inc. Winston-Salem, NC Sep 10, 2014 $125,000
Plant Engineer Thermcraft, Inc. Winston-Salem, NC Aug 28, 2015 $125,000
Chemical Process Engineer Orion Engineered Carbons LLC Belpre, OH Feb 11, 2016 $117,874
Plant Engineer Pacific Coast Producers Lodi, CA Jun 16, 2016 $115,000
Senior Plant Engineer Bayer Healthcare LLC Berkeley, CA Jan 02, 2016 $112,059
Plant Engineer Encore Recycling Inc. Salinas, CA Sep 07, 2015 $110,000
Plant Engineer OLE Mexican Foods, Inc. Norcross, GA Sep 02, 2016 $110,000
Plant Engineer DRAX Biomass Inc. Bastrop, LA Feb 09, 2016 $110,000
Chemical Engineer-Process Engineering BP America Inc. Naperville, IL Aug 01, 2014 $108,000
Plant Engineer ACGE USA LLC Rockwood, TN Jan 10, 2016 $105,600
Plant Engineer Sovena USA, Inc. Rome, NY Sep 10, 2014 $105,000 -
$125,000
Senior Chemical Process Engineer Heliotrope Technologies, Inc. Berkeley, CA Apr 15, 2013 $105,000
Senior Chemical Process Engineer Alcoa, Inc. Point Comfort, TX Mar 10, 2014 $88,000
Chemical Process Engineer Yezak Technical Staffing, Inc. Houston, TX May 01, 2014 $87,654
Chemical Process Engineer Yezak Technical Staffing, Inc. Houston, TX Aug 01, 2015 $87,654
Chemical Process Engineer Yezak Technical Staffing, Inc. Houston, TX May 01, 2015 $87,654
Chemical Process Engineer Yezak Technical Staffing, Inc. Houston, TX Apr 01, 2014 $87,654
Chemical/Process Engineer Chemic Engineers & Constructors Inc. Hitchcock, TX Aug 16, 2014 $87,360
Hvdc Plant Engineer ABB Inc. Raleigh, NC Jun 05, 2015 $86,237 -
$134,300
Plant Engineer Calenergy Operating Corporation Calipatria, CA Sep 07, 2013 $85,966 -
$95,000
Plant Engineer Fabcon Precast, LLC Savage, MN Aug 26, 2015 $76,690
Plant Engineer Praxair, Inc. Burr Ridge, IL Aug 26, 2016 $75,504
Plant Engineer Tic Gums, Inc. MD Aug 09, 2013 $75,000 -
$95,000
C&Q Process Chemical Engineer Techno Pro Solutions, Inc. PA May 20, 2015 $75,000
Chemical/Process Engineer Conecsus, LLC Terrell, TX Jun 30, 2014 $75,000
Chemical Process Engineer B/E Aerospace, Inc. Lenexa, KS Aug 23, 2015 $75,000 -
$92,000
Plant Vehicle Team Engineer Aerotek, Inc. Avon Lake, OH Jun 22, 2015 $74,902

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Top Skills for A Plant Engineer

SafetyProgramsFacilityMaintenanceProceduresCapitalImprovementProjectsPLCReliabilityOshaHvacCADProjectManagementNewEquipmentProcessImprovementsControlSystemPreventativeMaintenanceProgramPlantEquipmentPlantMaintenancePlantOperationsPMaintenanceDepartmentProductionEquipment

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Top Plant Engineer Skills

  1. Safety Programs
  2. Facility Maintenance
  3. Procedures
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Administered EPA and safety programs, and implemented plant engineering and maintenance procedures to qualify facility for ISO/QS9000 certification.
  • Plant engineer charged with facility maintenance, environmental compliance, and special projects.
  • Instituted spending controls and streamlined maintenance procedures and scheduling.
  • Develop and implement expense and capital improvement projects annually.
  • Incorporated PLC's and robotics into several production operations greatly improving reliability and production speeds.

Top Plant Engineer Employers

Plant Engineer Videos

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