Industrial Engineer Career Path

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Industrial Engineer Career Path

Industrial engineers are the ones who make sure that factories, manufacturing plants, and other large-scale facilities run smoothly. The design blueprints for new buildings or machines, oversee production lines to ensure everything is working properly, maintain equipment and solve problems related to plant operation. Industrial engineering is a growing profession with many opportunities in various industries around the world. Read on to learn more about what this career path entails.

1. What Is an Industrial Engineer?

An industrial engineer is a professional who applies engineering principles and techniques to the design, improvement, and installation of integrated systems for manufacturing or production. Industrial engineers work in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, construction, and transportation.

Industrial engineers find creative solutions to many kinds of problems. In a production environment, an industrial engineer might work on a process that turns the oil into gasoline or airplane parts into aircraft. However, being able to “see” the big picture is critical for this profession: Industrial engineers must examine complex situations and solve problems by looking at things from a bird’s-eye view.

Industrial engineers use tools such as computer modeling and simulation to analyze situations, evaluate options, and test alternatives before a final decision are made. This analysis can include information from many sources: customer requirements, technical specifications, financial data, current systems and processes, safety factors, and time constraints. Industrial engineers coordinate these inputs to improve productivity and efficiency while ensuring that all steps meet customer expectations.

Industrial engineers can find career paths in a variety of settings. Many industrial engineers work full-time on-site with the companies that employ them, such as aircraft manufacturers or food processing plants. These employees regularly report their progress to project managers. Others work for consulting firms that conduct assignments for private- or public-sector clients. Some industrial engineers work in teams with other engineers, such as electrical, mechanical, manufacturing, and information technology (IT) specialists.

2. What Do Industrial Engineers Do?

Industrial engineers are responsible for optimizing the flow of materials and resources within an industrial organization. They ensure that products are manufactured as efficiently and cost-effectively as possible. In addition, they may also be responsible for ensuring that workers are productive and that the workplace is safe and organized.

Industrial engineers work in a wide range of industries, including manufacturing firms, health care organizations, financial institutions, and insurance companies. They may also find employment with consulting firms or government agencies. Industrial engineers are at the professional level of industrial engineering or senior industrial engineering associate.

3. What Skills Do I Need?

Strength in solving problems: You must be able to see relationships among many factors and use those relationships to generate solutions.

Ability to work with stakeholders: Industrial engineers must be able to communicate and work effectively with a variety of people who may have different backgrounds and goals, such as top managers, workers on the shop floor, and business partners.

Creativity: You need imagination in order to find creative solutions that will help your organization stay profitable and competitive.

Strong computer skills: Being able to use computer software such as simulation or modeling is critical, especially in today’s workplace.

Ability to manage multiple priorities: Industrial engineers often juggle many tasks at the same time (e.g., re-engineering processes, enhancing worker safety, and designing new product lines).

4. What Do Industrial Engineers Study?

While they are called “engineers,” industrial engineers are not responsible for the design or construction of any physical items. Their work revolves around making changes to an existing process, system, or product. They may have degrees in engineering, but their education is more focused on the science behind how things work rather than on building something from scratch.

Industrial engineers learn about supply chain management, time management, product design, and inventory control. Most of their education tends to be practical rather than theoretical; they learn about what works best in a given situation instead of trying to memorize every theory that has ever been written about these topics.

Industrial engineers earn bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees, and Ph.D.’s in industrial engineering.

5. What Kind of Job Do Industrial Engineers Have?

Industrial engineers have a variety of career options, including the following:

  • Plant/Operations Manager
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Product Development Engineer
  • Quality Control Engineer *Systems Engineer *Supply Chain/Logistics Director
  • Project Manager
  • Process Engineer
  • Engineering Consultant
  • Technical Sales/Marketing Director for Industrial Engineering Supplies or Services.

6. What Is the Average Salary of an Industrial Engineer?

Industrial engineers earned a median annual wage of $84,770 as of May 2012. The top 10% earned more than $128,440 per year; the bottom 10% earned less than $44,000 annually. These figures come from the Occupational Employment Statistics Survey published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Industrial engineers can make even more money by breaking into one of the career paths listed above. Plant managers earned a median salary of $120,950; manufacturing engineers earned $101,600 per year; quality control engineers averaged $92,670 per year; and IT management earned $115,530 per year.

7. How to Become an Industrial Engineer?

Becoming an industrial engineer is not as difficult as one may think. There are a few key things that you can do to increase your chances of becoming one. First and foremost, it is important to get a good education. Industrial engineering degrees are offered at many universities across the country. Additionally, it is important to have some experience in the field. Internships and apprenticeships are great ways to gain this experience. Finally, it is also important to be well-rounded and have diverse interests. This will show potential employers that you are capable of thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative solutions required to do as an industrial engineer.

In order to obtain this degree, it is necessary to complete all the appropriate courses in math and science while pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Industrial engineering schools are readily available, but graduates can also find jobs in other fields. Many companies offer degrees in industrial engineering to their employees who wish to earn an advanced degree without leaving the company. Most industries need people from this field, so there is a good chance that you will not have any problems finding work when you graduate from college.

8. The Benefits of Being an Industrial Engineer

Some of the benefits of being an industrial engineer include:

  • Ability to improve processes where quality and productivity are not up to their expectations.
  • Cooperation skills with other people throughout all activities carried out by the industry.
  • They enjoy the analysis of complex problems or situations, making decisions based on these analyses and working well in teams.
  • Industrial engineers are creative and efficient problem solvers; they can go beyond their job description to find solutions that benefit the organization as a whole.
  • They like working with people who operate in diverse environments, because this enables learning new things every day.  It is essential for the industry to always evolve and remain competitive in modern society.
  • It is a specialized field of engineering, and because of this it offers a job stability throughout its career.
  • Knowledge, skills and abilities that are valued in the organizational structure.
  • Their work is always changing.

9. The Future of Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineering is the process of designing, creating, improving, and maintaining integrated systems of people, money, knowledge, information, equipment, and materials. The field of industrial engineering is growing rapidly as our world becomes more and more complex. Here are some of the ways in which industrial engineering will continue to grow and evolve in the future.

Industrial engineers of the future will need to keep an eye on their surrounding environments. With global climate change, environmental factors are likely to become more influential in how products are manufactured and distributed.

The demand for new technology is expected to grow at a rate of 6 percent annually. It would be beneficial to have industrial engineers involved with designing new products and creating new technology. As technological advancements become more widely available, the demand for new technology will increase.

Industrial engineers of the future may also find themselves working a lot more with software programs and apps. These programs are what keep businesses running smoothly from day today. Any company that does not have an efficient program to run their business would not compete with companies that do.

In the future, industrial engineers may find themselves seeking out even more education. Many companies are now requiring all employees to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree. It would only make sense for an industrial engineer to aim higher and strive towards a master’s or doctoral degree in order to keep themselves competitive.

10. Top Recruiting Companies for an Industrial Engineer

Some of the top recruiting companies for an industrial engineer include:

  • 1) NOVO Industrial Engineering Inc
  • 2) Millikan Associates
  • 3) Gower
  • 4) TEC Staffing Engineers
  • 5) FMC Technologies
  • 6) CRH Canada
  • 7) Siemens

11. Best Colleges to Study Industrial Engineering

We’ve compiled a list of some of the best schools in the country, all of which offer excellent programs in this field of engineering.

  • 1. MIT
  • 2. College of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering at Northeastern University
  • 3. Illinois Institute of Technology
  • 4. Milwaukee School of Engineering
  • 5. Clarkson University
  • 6. Purdue University
  • 7. Kettering University
  • 8. Rochester Institute of Technology 
  • 9. Missouri University of Science and Technology
  • 10 . New Jersey Institute of Technology


The industrial engineering career path is a great opportunity for people who are interested in the design and operation of manufacturing systems. It’s an excellent choice if you enjoy problem-solving because it involves designing processes to optimize efficiency while reducing waste. If this sounds like something that would be rewarding to you, then take some time to explore your options!

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