What Does a Field Industrial Engineer Do?

Field industrial engineers apply their engineering skills to improve business models and methods. Read on to explore the job description, duties and requirements of a field industrial engineer, and check the salary and outlook for this position. Schools offering Industrial Engineering degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Field industrial engineers are industrial engineers who fill a particular niche. These professionals help companies to bridge the gap between management and workers by improving working methods and conditions. They improve business models by streamlining manufacturing processes and labor-intensive services.

Field industrial engineers interact with workers to solve problems on-site or outside of a traditional working environment, as opposed to industrial engineers, who tend to observe workers and report to management or senior staff rather than the workers themselves. Field industrial engineers study how workers perform their daily routines and suggest alternative steps for completing tasks that reduce strain on both workers and machinery.

Other field industrial engineers may work outside of an office setting. For instance, they may work toward improving transportation and delivery of manufactured products, as well as reducing losses, accidents, and goods damaged during transportation. They may also study distribution and shipping centers and develop improvements, such as redefining how limited resources are allocated.

Important Facts About Field Industrial Engineers

On-the-Job Training Entry-level engineers may take company-sponsored courses or participate in seminars
Licensure Professional Engineering (PE) isn't always required, but it may be helpful
Key Skills Critical thinking, active listening, creativity, solid mathematical foundation, clear oral and written communication, problem solving
Similar Occupations Materials engineers, quality control inspectors, logisticians, industrial production managers, cost estimators, architectural and engineering managers

Job Requirements

Securing a position as a field industrial engineer may require many years of experience working in the field of industrial engineering. Because these engineers may not have access to all the resources that they would in a regular office position, they must rely on personal experience to make judgments and suggestions for improvement.

Because of their interaction with workers, field industrial engineers may be required to travel often. Travel may be as little as 30% of work time but may be as much as 70-80% of work time.

Becoming a field industrial engineer requires a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering or a related field. Professionals in industrial engineering may continue their studies with further education at the master's and doctoral levels.

Salary Info and Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov), the employment of industrial engineers, including those who work in the field, is expected to grow by ten percent between 2016 and 2026. The BLS also reported the median annual salary earned by all industrial engineers as $87,040 in May 2018.

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