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What Are the Requirements for a Career As an Industrial Engineer?

Industrial engineering is a field that requires professionals who are skilled in organizational optimization techniques. Many colleges offer the general engineering or industrial engineering programs required for starting a career in the field. Read about undergraduate and graduate degree options here.

Education Overview

According to The Institute of Industrial Engineers, the role of an industrial engineer is to streamline the processes that go into producing or manufacturing a service or product, as well as to improve the working conditions and efficiency of employees. The ultimate result of effective industrial engineering is reduced expenses and more productive employees. Industrial engineers need several years of education to learn the skills used on the job, and there are several degrees that students and professionals interested in industrial engineering can earn.

Important Facts About Industrial Engineers

Median Salary (May 2020) $88,950
Job Growth (2019-2029) 10%
Key Skills Critical thinking, acute listening, clear speaking and writing ability, problem solving, creativity
Similar Occupations Materials engineers, quality control inspectors, cost estimators, management analysts, occupational health and safety specialists, industrial production managers, architectural and engineering managers

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Baccalaureate Degree

While it is possible to find a job in industrial engineering with a two-year associate's degree, a bachelor's degree is typically the minimum educational requirement for starting a career as an industrial engineer. A bachelor's degree in general engineering or industrial engineering allows students to learn the techniques that are in high demand by companies interested in improving their manufacturing or production processes. Industrial engineering students learn about production optimization, materials management, lean manufacturing, and manufacturing technology. Upon successful completion of such a program, students earn a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering or a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering.

Graduate Degree

Most industrial engineers find that graduate-level studies enhance their abilities. A master's degree in industrial engineering allows engineers to build upon previous knowledge and gain field-specific skills, especially if they had studied general engineering at the undergraduate level. Topics covered in a master's program typically include economics of production, business efficiency, corporate design, and management control systems. Graduates of such a program would earn a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering.

Doctoral Degree

Industrial engineers interested in learning more about their field or considering a role in the academic world may pursue a doctorate degree. Students study many of the same subjects covered in undergraduate and graduate-level degree programs; however, doctoral courses tend to be more challenging and go into greater depth. This course of study results in a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering.