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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 Process Development
Top Careers After Process Development
Hispanic or Latino9.0%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Phoenix9.4%
Rochester Institute of Technology5.8%
Iowa State University5.2%
University of California - Berkeley4.7%
University of Cincinnati4.7%
Ohio State University4.7%
Pennsylvania State University4.7%
University of Colorado at Boulder4.7%
University of Massachusetts - Lowell4.2%
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign4.2%
University of Maryland - College Park3.7%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute3.7%
University of Pittsburgh -3.7%
California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo3.1%
Wayne State University2.6%
Unfortunately we don’t have enough data for this section.
|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Director of Process Research and Development||Brown-Forman Corporation||Louisville, KY||Sep 01, 2013||$185,000|
|Director of Process Development||Purevision Technology Inc.||Fort Lupton, CO||Apr 29, 2013||$180,000|
|Director of Upstream Process Development||Alder Biopharmaceuticals, Inc.||Bothell, WA||Oct 01, 2013||$175,300 -
|Engineer, SR. Principal-Process Development||Broadcom Corporation||Irvine, CA||Jan 22, 2014||$169,700|
|Websphere Process Developer||Adecco Group Na/Modis, Inc.||Jersey City, NJ||Sep 24, 2014||$169,569|
|Websphere Process Developer||Adecco Group Na/Modis, Inc.||Jersey City, NJ||Mar 23, 2014||$169,569|
|Scientific Director, Process Development||Amgen Inc.||Thousand Oaks, CA||Jan 12, 2016||$165,766|
|Director of Downstream Process Development||CMC ICOS Biologics, Inc.||Bothell, WA||May 07, 2016||$159,411 -
|SR. Director, Pharma Process Development Management||Genentech, Inc.||South San Francisco, CA||Aug 21, 2016||$154,482 -
|Director, R&D Innovation and Process Development||Pinnacle Foods Group, LLC||Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ||Sep 01, 2013||$150,000|
|Director, R&D Innovation and Process Development||Pinnacle Foods Group, LLC||Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ||Oct 01, 2013||$150,000|
|Technologist Process Development||WD Media, LLC||San Jose, CA||Feb 28, 2014||$144,220 -
|R&D Group Leader-Process Development||Afton Chemical Corporation||Richmond, VA||Jan 03, 2016||$135,800|
|Research Scientist I, Process Development||Gilead Sciences, Inc.||Oceanside, CA||Dec 08, 2014||$96,410 -
|Scientist, Upstream Process Development||Uniqure, Inc.||Lexington, MA||Mar 14, 2016||$95,100 -
|Business Process Developer||Kana Software, Inc.||Chicago, IL||Aug 07, 2015||$95,000|
|Senior Engineer, Process Development||Bridgelux, Inc.||Livermore, CA||Aug 16, 2013||$95,000 -
|Associate Scientist, Process Development||Gilead Sciences, Inc.||Oceanside, CA||May 01, 2016||$94,016|
|Scientist, Process Development||Biomarin Pharmaceutical Inc.||Novato, CA||Sep 11, 2014||$94,000 -
|Engineer, Process Development||Scientific Design Company, Inc.||Little Ferry, NJ||Dec 14, 2016||$93,561|
|Engineer-Wet Process Dram/Em/R&D||Micron Technology, Inc.||Boise, ID||Aug 23, 2016||$93,000|
|SR. Scientist-Downstream Process Development||Advanced Bioscience Laboratories, Inc.||Rockville, MD||Jun 29, 2015||$78,998 -
|Associate Scientist I, Process Development||Gilead Sciences, Inc.||Oceanside, CA||Mar 09, 2015||$78,820 -
|Senior Scientist-Cell Culture Process Development||Pfizer Inc.||Chesterfield, MO||Jan 07, 2016||$78,300 -
|Director of Process Development||Weststar Precision, Inc.||Apex, NC||Oct 01, 2014||$78,000|
|Business Process Developer||Tekivy Inc.||Aurora, CO||Sep 15, 2016||$75,000|
|Engineer II, Process Development||Microvention, Inc.||Tustin, CA||Aug 28, 2014||$75,000 -
|Scientist III, Upstream Process Development||Therapeutic Proteins International LLC||Chicago, IL||Mar 23, 2015||$75,000|
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