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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 Quality Lead
Top Careers After Quality Lead
Hispanic or Latino9.6%
Black or African American0.6%
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University of Phoenix16.9%
Indiana Wesleyan University7.5%
Rochester Institute of Technology6.3%
Michigan State University5.6%
University of Puerto Rico - Mayaguez4.4%
University of North Carolina at Greensboro4.4%
Arizona State University4.4%
Pennsylvania State University4.4%
University of Alabama3.8%
University of Wisconsin Extension3.8%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute3.8%
University of Houston3.8%
University of Toledo3.1%
Texas A&M University3.1%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Advanced Quality Planning Leader||Ingersoll Rand Company||Minneapolis, MN||Jan 05, 2015||$130,000|
|Data Quality Lead||Brown Brothers Harriman &Amp; Co.||Jersey City, NJ||May 12, 2016||$130,000|
|Site Quality Leader||Zoetis Inc.||San Diego, CA||Oct 13, 2016||$129,397|
|Quality Lead (Engineer)||Futuris Automotive (Us) Inc.||Newark, CA||Jul 25, 2015||$126,000|
|Glng Downstream Quality Leader||Santos GLNG Corp||Houston, TX||Jan 05, 2012||$125,000 -
|Quality, Security & Governance Leader||Columbus Networks USA (2015), Inc.||North Miami Beach, FL||Jun 22, 2015||$120,750|
|Quality Management System Lead||Aegle Care, Inc.||Waltham, MA||Dec 20, 2016||$115,000|
|Digital Quality Management Lead||NIKE, Inc.||Beaverton, OR||Nov 04, 2013||$110,000|
|Quality Leader||Creation Technologies San Jose, Inc.||Santa Clara, CA||Sep 22, 2014||$110,000 -
|Digital Quality Management Lead-Mobile Test Exec||NIKE, Inc.||Beaverton, OR||Feb 24, 2014||$110,000|
|Global Customer Quality Leader||Honeywell International Inc.||Golden Valley, MN||Sep 30, 2012||$107,963|
|Software Quality Management Lead||NIKE, Inc.||Beaverton, OR||Sep 08, 2015||$107,000|
|Guest Data Quality Lead||Target Enterprise, Inc.||Minneapolis, MN||Sep 05, 2016||$105,997 -
|Supplier Quality Professional Lead||Halliburton Energy Services, Inc.||Houston, TX||Apr 22, 2013||$92,000|
|Guest Data Quality Lead||Target Enterprise, Inc.||Minneapolis, MN||Feb 05, 2016||$91,624 -
|Software Quality Lead||Nielsen Mobile, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Sep 17, 2011||$90,480|
|Quality, Security & Governance Leader||Columbus Networks USA, Inc.||North Miami Beach, FL||Sep 16, 2014||$90,000|
|Quality Leader I||Freeport-McMoran Morenci Inc.||Morenci, AZ||Sep 16, 2013||$89,000|
|Assembly Quality Leader||Cummins Inc.||Columbus, IN||Oct 22, 2014||$88,800 -
|Supplier Quality Leader||Cummins Inc.||Fridley, MN||Feb 08, 2016||$86,882 -
|Supplier Quality Leader||Cummins Inc.||Fridley, MN||Jul 09, 2016||$86,882 -
|Category Quality Leader||Kraft Foods Group, Inc.||Tarrytown, NY||Jan 05, 2015||$77,000|
|Information Systems Quality Leader||CSC Covansys Corporation||Overland Park, KS||Aug 02, 2011||$76,482|
|Special Processes and Quality Leader||Walbar Inc.||Phoenix, AZ||Sep 15, 2013||$76,274 -
|Quality Systems Leader||Cummins Inc.||Columbus, IN||Jun 21, 2012||$76,200 -
|Supplier Quality Leader||Cummins Inc.||Columbus, IN||May 25, 2012||$76,200 -
|Quality Leader||General Electric Company||Hanover Park, IL||Sep 06, 2013||$75,700|
|Quality Lead||Nagarro, Inc.||Coopersburg, PA||Aug 24, 2015||$75,600|
|Quality Lead||Nagarro, Inc.||Coopersburg, PA||Mar 03, 2014||$75,600|
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