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Become A Sustaining Engineer

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Working As A Sustaining 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

  • $91,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Sustaining 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 Sustaining 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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Sustaining Engineer Career Paths

Sustaining Engineer
Mechanical Engineer Process Engineer
Process Engineering Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Senior Mechanical Engineer
Mechanical Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Mechanical Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Product Engineer
Product Engineering Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Project Engineer Quality Assurance Engineer
Quality Assurance Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Process Engineer Research And Development Engineer Test Engineer
Test Engineering Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineer Project Manager Quality Manager
Supplier Quality Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Manager
Senior Manufacturing Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Engineer Manufacturing Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Director Of Manufacturing Engineering
15 Yearsyrs
Product Development Engineer Project Engineer Quality Manager
Director Of Quality & Engineering
14 Yearsyrs
Product Development Engineer Senior Project Engineer Engineering Program Manager
Senior Program And Engineering Manager
13 Yearsyrs
Product Development Engineer Engineering Manager Manufacturing Manager
Manufacturing Quality Manager
11 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Project Engineer Senior Process Engineer
Engineering Group Leader
7 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Product Engineer Senior Design Engineer
Senior Engineering Team Leader
8 Yearsyrs
Electrical Engineer Product Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Factory Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Senior Software Engineer Principal Engineer Manufacturing Engineering Manager
Project Manager-Manufacturing
9 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Senior Design Engineer Senior Product Development Engineer
Lead Product Developer
7 Yearsyrs
Development Engineer Design Development Engineer Production Engineer
Production Engineering Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Project Manager Information Technology Project Manager Engineering Program Manager
Manufacturing Program Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Application Engineer Production Supervisor Production Superintendent
Launch Manager
10 Yearsyrs
Engineering Manager Manufacturing Manager Product Engineering Manager
Global Engineering Manager
11 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Sustaining Engineer?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Product Engineer 3.5 years
Process Engineer 3.4 years
Packaging Engineer 3.4 years
Engineer 3.3 years
Value Engineer 2.7 years
Top Careers Before Sustaining Engineer
Engineer 4.9%
Internship 4.7%
Top Careers After Sustaining Engineer
Engineer 7.6%

Do you work as a Sustaining Engineer?

Average Yearly Salary
$91,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$67,000
Min 10%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$91,000
Median 50%
$124,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Apple
Highest Paying City
San Mateo, CA
Highest Paying State
Vermont
Avg Experience Level
3.1 years
How much does a Sustaining Engineer make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Sustaining Engineer in the United States is $91,817 per year or $44 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $67,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $124,000.

Real Sustaining Engineer Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Sustaining Engineer Staff Juniper Networks Sunnyvale, CA Jan 02, 2016 $148,803
Sustaining Engineer Staff Juniper Networks, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Feb 02, 2016 $131,000 -
$140,000
Senior Sustaining Engineer Mobile Iron, Inc. Mountain View, CA Aug 18, 2016 $130,000
Sustaining Engineer Datagravity, Inc. Nashua, NH Mar 25, 2015 $127,000
Sustaining Engineer Juniper Networks Sunnyvale, CA Jul 06, 2015 $124,750
Sustaining Engineer Five9, Inc. San Ramon, CA Dec 01, 2016 $122,880 -
$132,880
Sustaining Engineer Juniper Networks, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 03, 2015 $121,867 -
$128,000
Sustaining Engineer Juniper Networks, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Jun 20, 2016 $119,350 -
$140,000
Advanced Sustaining Engineer (Design and Development) Zebra Technologies Corporation Crystal Lake, IL Jun 05, 2016 $118,498 -
$135,520
Advanced Sustaining Engineer (Design and Development) Zebra Technologies Corporation Crystal Lake, IL Dec 05, 2016 $118,498 -
$135,520
Senior Sustaining Engineer Selligent, Inc. (Formerly Known As Strongview Systems, Inc.) Redwood City, CA Aug 19, 2016 $118,000
SR. Sustaining Engineer Strongview Systems Inc. Redwood City, CA Jul 03, 2016 $118,000
SR. Sustaining Engineer Strongview Systems, Inc. Redwood City, CA Aug 19, 2013 $102,000
Sustaining Engineer Moxie Software CIM Corp. Bellevue, WA Feb 13, 2016 $101,088 -
$114,400
Mocvd Process Sustaining Engineer Transphorm, Inc. Goleta, CA Feb 18, 2013 $100,000
Sustaining Engineer Juniper Networks, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Sep 29, 2014 $98,488 -
$105,000
Sustaining Engineer Juniper Networks, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Nov 21, 2014 $98,488 -
$250,000
Sustaining Engineer Zendesk, Inc. San Francisco, CA Mar 15, 2016 $97,300
Sustaining Engineer Zendesk, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 03, 2015 $97,300
Senior Sustaining Engineer Gyrus ACMI, Inc. Bartlett, TN Apr 01, 2014 $83,658 -
$92,725
Process Sustaining Engineer Cree, Inc. Durham, NC Sep 19, 2016 $83,000
Sustaining Engineer Hardware Juniper Networks, Inc. Sunnyvale, CA Feb 01, 2016 $80,454 -
$85,567
Polymer and Sustainability Engineer Octal, Inc. Plano, TX Dec 12, 2013 $80,200
Process Sustaining Engineer Cree, Inc. Durham, NC Jan 10, 2016 $80,000
Staff Sustaining Engineer Ethicon, Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 09, 2016 $80,000 -
$150,000
Process Sustaining Engineer Cree, Inc. Durham, NC May 23, 2016 $80,000
Software Engineer, Sustaining Engineering Verint Systems Inc. Alpharetta, GA May 09, 2016 $79,394 -
$96,325

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Top Skills for A Sustaining Engineer

  1. New Product Development
  2. Technical Support
  3. Cost Savings
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Advised and approved application of specs for use in new product development expediting commercialization.
  • Worked cooperatively with technical support engineers, systems/sales engineers and customers to gather data and to explain modifications.
  • Standardized company methodology for reporting and validating Six sigma project cost savings.
  • Develop mechanical assembly instructions and test procedures for manufacturing.
  • Team with customer's development engineering to develop and document containment actions, then identify permanent corrective actions.

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Top 10 Best States for Sustaining Engineers

  1. Massachusetts
  2. Texas
  3. Washington
  4. California
  5. Rhode Island
  6. Colorado
  7. Arizona
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Michigan
  10. Wyoming
  • (1,731 jobs)
  • (3,340 jobs)
  • (1,278 jobs)
  • (7,530 jobs)
  • (127 jobs)
  • (938 jobs)
  • (712 jobs)
  • (367 jobs)
  • (1,441 jobs)
  • (46 jobs)

Sustaining Engineer Demographics

Gender

Male

77.6%

Female

12.5%

Unknown

9.9%
Ethnicity

White

55.6%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Asian

14.3%

Black or African American

9.2%

Unknown

5.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

36.0%

German

12.0%

French

10.0%

Portuguese

6.0%

Carrier

4.0%

Polish

4.0%

Swahili

2.0%

Urdu

2.0%

Filipino

2.0%

Chinese

2.0%

Gujarati

2.0%

Russian

2.0%

Persian

2.0%

Braille

2.0%

Japanese

2.0%

Norwegian

2.0%

Hindi

2.0%

Mandarin

2.0%

Swedish

2.0%

Arabic

2.0%
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Sustaining Engineer Education

Schools

San Jose State University

8.4%

Northeastern University

8.4%

Rochester Institute of Technology

6.6%

North Carolina State University

5.4%

Georgia Institute of Technology -

5.4%

California State Polytechnic University - Pomona

4.8%

University of Washington

4.8%

University of Massachusetts - Lowell

4.8%

Texas A&M University

4.8%

California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

4.8%

University of Texas at Austin

4.8%

University of Houston

4.8%

University of Idaho

4.8%

University of North Carolina at Greensboro

4.2%

Ohio State University

4.2%

Purdue University

4.2%

University of California - San Diego

4.2%

University of Utah

3.6%

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

3.6%

Wichita State University

3.6%
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Majors

Mechanical Engineering

28.3%

Electrical Engineering

27.3%

Computer Science

7.0%

Business

6.0%

Electrical Engineering Technology

4.4%

Chemical Engineering

3.2%

Engineering

2.7%

Industrial Technology

2.4%

Industrial Engineering

2.2%

Aerospace Engineering

2.1%

Computer Engineering

1.9%

Mechanical Engineering Technology

1.7%

Drafting And Design

1.6%

Computer Information Systems

1.6%

Physics

1.6%

Management

1.4%

Manufacturing Engineering

1.3%

Civil Engineering

1.3%

Project Management

1.1%

Engineering And Industrial Management

1.1%
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Degrees

Bachelors

57.7%

Masters

21.1%

Other

10.0%

Associate

7.0%

Certificate

2.2%

Doctorate

1.4%

Diploma

0.6%
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