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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 Staff Engineer
Top Careers After Staff Engineer
Hispanic or Latino8.2%
Black or African American0.9%
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Pennsylvania State University6.8%
University of Southern California6.0%
University of Florida5.7%
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute5.5%
Arizona State University5.3%
Texas A&M University5.3%
University of Texas at Austin5.0%
San Jose State University4.9%
North Carolina State University4.6%
Rochester Institute of Technology4.6%
Iowa State University4.5%
University of Phoenix4.2%
Georgia Institute of Technology -4.2%
Illinois Institute of Technology4.0%
University of California - Los Angeles4.0%
New Jersey Institute of Technology4.0%
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University4.0%
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|Job Title||Company||Location||Start Date||Salary|
|Staff Engineer||Nicira, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Aug 29, 2016||$220,000|
|Staff Algorithm Engineer||Le Technology, Inc.||Bellevue, WA||Mar 17, 2016||$210,000|
|Staff Datacenter Engineer||Google Inc.||Mountain View, CA||Mar 08, 2016||$205,000|
|Staff Engineer||Vmware, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Oct 09, 2016||$200,000|
|Staff Engineer||Vmware, Inc.||Bellevue, WA||Oct 10, 2016||$200,000|
|Staff Engineer||Vmware, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Aug 31, 2015||$200,000|
|Staff Engineer||Nicira, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Nov 01, 2016||$194,000|
|Staff Engineer||Vmware, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Nov 28, 2016||$192,000|
|Staff Engineer||Vmware, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Sep 29, 2015||$190,000|
|Staff Engineer||Captricity, Inc.||Oakland, CA||Nov 07, 2016||$190,000|
|Staff Engineer||Nicira, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||May 12, 2016||$190,000|
|Staff Engineer||Vmware, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Aug 08, 2016||$190,000|
|Staff Engineer, Photolithography||Samsung Austin Semiconductor, L.L.C.||Austin, TX||Sep 10, 2015||$190,000 -
|Staff Engineer||Vmware, Inc.||San Francisco, CA||Jun 29, 2015||$190,000|
|Staff Dimensional Engineer||Tesla Motors, Inc.||Palo Alto, CA||Apr 04, 2016||$129,438|
|Staff Engineer, Packaging||Inphi Corporation||Westlake Village, CA||Dec 09, 2016||$129,001|
|Engineer, Staff||Qlogic Corporation||San Jose, CA||Dec 15, 2016||$129,000 -
|Staff Engineer||Mediatek USA Inc.||San Jose, CA||Dec 15, 2016||$129,000 -
|Staff Engineer||IBM Corporation||Costa Mesa, CA||Jul 29, 2015||$128,996 -
|Staff Soft. ENG. (Staff APP. Soft. ENG.)||Carl Zeiss Meditec, Inc.||Dublin, CA||Apr 30, 2016||$128,543|
|Engineer, Staff||Qlogic Corporation||Mountain View, CA||Aug 06, 2016||$128,232|
|Staff Engineer||ASML Us, Inc.||Santa Clara, CA||Sep 07, 2015||$128,160|
|Staff Engineer||Le Technology, Inc.||San Diego, CA||Jun 17, 2016||$99,861 -
|Network Development Staff Engineer||Dell Products L.P.||Santa Clara, CA||Aug 13, 2015||$99,838|
|Staff Engineer Hvic Technology||Infineon Technologies Americas Corp.||El Segundo, CA||Jan 11, 2016||$99,814|
|Staff Engineer, Vlsi Design||Ikanos Communications, Inc.||Fremont, CA||Aug 27, 2015||$99,798 -
|Network Development Staff Engineer||Dell Products L.P.||Santa Clara, CA||Nov 09, 2016||$99,796|
|Staff Engineer, Software-System||SONY Mobile Communications (USA) Inc.||San Mateo, CA||Sep 15, 2015||$99,711|
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