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Become A Project Lead Engineer

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Working As A Project Lead 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

  • $98,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Project Lead 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 Project Lead 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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Project Lead Engineer Career Paths

Project Lead Engineer
Project Manager Quality Manager
Project Quality Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Quality Manager Manufacturing Manager
Senior Manufacturing Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Quality Manager Plant Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Operations
14 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Information Technology Project Manager Engineering Program Manager
Senior Program And Engineering Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Project Engineering Manager Plant Engineering Manager Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Construction Manager Design Manager
Design Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Quality Assurance Lead
Quality Assurance Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Engineering Manager Quality Control Manager Processing Manager
Senior Process Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Engineering Operations Manager Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Test Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Project Leader Senior Systems Engineer Principal Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Lead Systems Engineer
Lead Engineer And Project Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Project Engineering Manager Engineering Operations Manager Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Project Manager-Manufacturing
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer Lead Designer Senior Design Engineer
Senior Engineering Team Leader
8 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer Senior Manufacturing Engineer Senior Product Development Engineer
Lead Product Developer
7 Yearsyrs
Senior Mechanical Designer Lead Engineer Senior Engineering Technician
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Information Technology Project Manager Engineering Program Manager
Manufacturing Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Engineering Group Leader Section Manager Production Superintendent
Launch Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Information Technology Project Manager Engineering Program Manager Product Engineering Manager
Global Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Manager Production Manager Continuous Improvement Manager
Manager Of Operations Excellence
10 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Project Lead Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Project Engineer 3.4 years
Top Careers Before Project Lead Engineer
Engineer 7.4%
Internship 3.4%
Top Careers After Project Lead Engineer
Consultant 5.1%
Engineer 3.5%
Manager 2.5%

Do you work as a Project Lead Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$98,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$75,000
Min 10%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$98,000
Median 50%
$127,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
HNTB
Highest Paying City
Austin, TX
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Project Lead Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Project Lead Engineer in the United States is $98,479 per year or $47 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $75,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $127,000.

Real Project Lead Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jul 07, 2016 $215,000 -
$230,000
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 26, 2016 $185,000 -
$190,000
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 26, 2016 $170,000 -
$187,200
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jun 21, 2016 $166,425 -
$191,000
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Apr 15, 2016 $165,000 -
$170,000
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jul 07, 2016 $164,382 -
$168,200
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Dec 23, 2016 $160,000 -
$168,200
Lead Project Engineer RLE International, Inc. Madison Heights, MI Sep 26, 2016 $160,000
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jun 21, 2016 $159,182 -
$191,000
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 23, 2016 $159,182 -
$168,200
Lead Project Engineer Relay 2 Inc. Milpitas, CA Nov 01, 2016 $158,000
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Jan 04, 2016 $155,000 -
$160,000
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Oct 15, 2015 $154,500 -
$164,900
Engineering Project Lead Apple Inc. Cupertino, CA Sep 21, 2015 $154,400 -
$187,200
Project Lead Electrical Engineer Fluor Enterprises, Inc. Sugar Land, TX Feb 03, 2015 $116,459
Project Lead, Release Engineering & Automation J.C. Penney Corporation, Inc. Plano, TX May 18, 2016 $115,794 -
$134,148
VP; GMO Project Lead Engr Bank of America N.A. New York, NY Oct 27, 2014 $115,000 -
$135,000
Project Leader II-Hc Pro E & Windchill Engineer GE Medical Systems, LLC Waukesha, WI Nov 22, 2013 $114,000 -
$124,000
Lead Project Engineer Icore Networks McLean, VA Dec 02, 2016 $113,464
Lead Project Engineer-Global Projects General Electric Company Alpharetta, GA Oct 01, 2014 $113,400
Project Leader & Windchill Engineer GE Medical Systems, LLC Waukesha, WI Apr 10, 2015 $109,000 -
$128,000
Lead Project Engineer ABB Inc. Raleigh, NC Feb 08, 2016 $93,516 -
$149,100
Lead Engineer, Global Engineering Project Manageme Hospira, Inc. McPherson, KS Sep 03, 2014 $93,215 -
$150,000
Project Leader-Electrical Engineering Volvo Group North America, LLC Greensboro, NC Sep 24, 2015 $92,747
Project Leader Engineering Eaton Moon, PA Sep 30, 2015 $92,178 -
$125,004
Project Leader Engineering Eaton Moon, PA Jun 27, 2016 $92,178 -
$125,004
Project Leader Engineering Eaton Moon, PA Jun 28, 2016 $92,178 -
$125,004
Lead Project Engineer Detroit Engineered Products, Inc. Warren, MI Sep 18, 2014 $92,000
Lead Engineer, Internal Projects Reval.com, Inc. New York, NY Jul 01, 2015 $92,000

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Top Skills for A Project Lead Engineer

  1. Project Management
  2. Engineering Department
  3. Facility
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Provide project management on the implementation of building management system for the environmental monitoring conditions for the production area.
  • Corroborate with Purchasing and Electrical Engineering departments to support assembly line deadlines.
  • Establish the systems and controls to manage/manufacture a combined product in a medical device facility.
  • Provided technical support during construction of structures, hardware and conductor stringing operations.
  • Designed and administered training for manufacturing engineers in support of new product development programs.

Rank:

Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Project Lead Engineers

  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. Massachusetts
  4. Colorado
  5. Michigan
  6. Texas
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Arizona
  9. New Hampshire
  10. Wyoming
  • (11,473 jobs)
  • (2,321 jobs)
  • (2,682 jobs)
  • (1,542 jobs)
  • (1,714 jobs)
  • (4,713 jobs)
  • (194 jobs)
  • (1,061 jobs)
  • (519 jobs)
  • (60 jobs)

Project Lead Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

76.4%

Female

12.8%

Unknown

10.8%
Ethnicity

White

53.7%

Asian

16.5%

Hispanic or Latino

14.3%

Black or African American

10.3%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

30.4%

French

10.9%

German

7.6%

Italian

6.5%

Chinese

6.5%

Arabic

6.5%

Mandarin

5.4%

Japanese

5.4%

Hindi

4.3%

Portuguese

3.3%

Malay

2.2%

Urdu

2.2%

Swedish

1.1%

Hmong

1.1%

Korean

1.1%

Indonesian

1.1%

Russian

1.1%

Tibetan

1.1%

Kashmiri

1.1%

Nepali

1.1%
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Project Lead Engineer Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

8.5%

Texas A&M University

8.2%

Purdue University

8.2%

University of Houston

7.4%

University of Texas at Austin

6.8%

Michigan Technological University

5.4%

Pennsylvania State University

5.1%

Arizona State University

4.5%

Rochester Institute of Technology

4.5%

University of Cincinnati

4.3%

Northeastern University

4.3%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

4.0%

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

3.7%

George Washington University

3.7%

Michigan State University

3.7%

University of Washington

3.7%

University of Michigan - Ann Arbor

3.7%

University of Illinois University Administration

3.4%

North Carolina State University

3.4%

University of Colorado at Boulder

3.4%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

22.3%

Electrical Engineering

17.8%

Business

12.6%

Computer Science

7.3%

Civil Engineering

5.6%

Project Management

3.8%

Engineering

3.8%

Chemical Engineering

3.2%

Engineering And Industrial Management

2.9%

Finance

2.5%

Management

2.5%

Computer Engineering

2.5%

Aerospace Engineering

1.9%

Industrial Engineering

1.9%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.9%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.8%

Industrial Technology

1.5%

Computer Information Systems

1.5%

Biomedical Engineering

1.4%

Construction Management

1.4%
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Degrees

Bachelors

46.6%

Masters

33.7%

Other

10.5%

Associate

3.4%

Doctorate

3.3%

Certificate

1.9%

Diploma

0.6%

License

0.1%
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