Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineering professionals explore the methods behind company service and production processes to search for avenues of improvement. Learn about necessary education, work duties, job outlook and earning potential for this field.

Is Industrial Engineering for Me?

Career Summary

Industrial engineering is a business-oriented field that integrates management and engineering with a special emphasis on the human factors issues involved. An industrial engineer, or IE, is concerned with design challenges and systems analysis. These professionals look for ways to improve performance and efficiency in manufacturing organizations or other work environments.

Specialties and Necessary Skills

Earning a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering may prepare you for employment in a variety of sectors, including the aerospace, energy and biomedical industries. Possible job titles include production engineer/manager, field industrial engineer, project manager, systems engineer, quality engineer and management analyst. Professional licensure may be required for some positions. Similar to other engineers, most IEs have good math and science skills. Furthermore, the successful IE, more often than not, has excellent communication and managerial skills as well.

Employment Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that as of May 2013, the median annual salary for industrial engineers was $80,300 ( The number of employed industrial engineers was expected to grow by 5% between 2012 and 2022, slower than the average of other occupations.

How Can I Become an Industrial Engineer?

Undergraduate Education

Most entry-level jobs will require a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering. Because this is such a broad field of study, expect to take courses in management, manufacturing design, graphics communication, ergonomics and facilities planning, as well as advanced math and physics. Many bachelor's programs culminate in a final project.

Graduate Studies

If you are interested in a research and development career, or you'd like to work as a university professor, a master's degree or doctoral degree may be required. You'll need to complete a bachelor's program in industrial engineering or a related engineering field before gaining admission to a graduate program. As a graduate student, you could specialize in supply chains, quality assurance or information modeling. Master's programs often culminate in a thesis project. On a similar note, completion of a dissertation is usually required in order to earn a doctoral degree.


Industrial engineers who offer their services to the public must be licensed by the state in which they work. For that reason, you should enroll in a bachelor's program that is accredited by ABET. In most states, licensure requirements include completion of an ABET-accredited program, two written exams and at least four years of experience.

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