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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

  • $73,528

    Average Salary

What Does A Plant Engineer Do

A Plant Engineer is responsible for directing the smooth operation of the plant. They plan and coordinate activities concerned with the design, construction, modification, and maintenance of equipment and machinery in an industrial plant.

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.


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.


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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105,939 Plant Engineer jobs

State of Minnesota
Willmar, MN
Plant Mntc Engineer

$69,990 Estimated

Ventura Foods
Ontario, CA
Plant Engineer (Ontario)

$57,843 Estimated

Middlesborough, KY
Plant Engineer

$73,528 Estimated

State of Massachusetts
Bridgewater, MA
2nd Cl Power Plant Eng - CoGen

$76,991 Estimated

Koch Industries
Iowa Falls, IA
Plant Engineer

$60,732 Estimated

Bradley-Morris, Inc.
Casper, WY
Plant Engineer

$73,528 Estimated

Automotive MacHining & Assembly
Columbus, MS
Plant Engineer

$65,219 Estimated

Compass Minerals
Chicago, IL
Plant Engineer

$62,087 Estimated

Bay Systems
Cleveland, OH
Cable Plant Engineer

$60,304 Estimated

Flint Hills Resources, LP
Fairbank, IA
Plant Engineer

$60,732 Estimated

Las Vegas, NV

$68,050 Estimated

Koch Industries
Cuba, MO

$67,442 Estimated

Tolleson, AZ
Plant Engineer

$74,102 Estimated

The Pictsweet Company
Santa Maria, CA
Plant Engineer

$85,966 Estimated

Engineering Inspection Services
New Orleans, LA
Plant Engineer

$80,950 Estimated

Louisville, MS
Plant Engineer

$65,219 Estimated

Consolidated Asset Management Services, LLC
Lawrenceburg, IN
Plant Engineer

$68,170 Estimated

Holyoke, MA
Plant Engineer

$76,991 Estimated

Inspira Health Network
West Deptford, NJ
Plant Engineer

$72,920 Estimated

Andover, MA
Plant Engineer

$76,991 Estimated

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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 OLE Mexican Foods, Inc. Norcross, GA Sep 02, 2016 $110,000
Plant Engineer DRAX Biomass Inc. Bastrop, LA Feb 09, 2016 $110,000
Plant Engineer Encore Recycling Inc. Salinas, CA Sep 07, 2015 $110,000
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Top Skills for A Plant Engineer


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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

What Kind Of Companies Hire a Plant Engineer

  1. Shaw Industries
  2. The Dow Chemical Company
  3. Pfizer
  4. Lobostar Incorporated
  5. Propper International Inc.
  6. Ford Motor Company
  7. Masco Corporation
  8. Horseheads, Ny
  9. Holcim
  10. Cinram
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