Jobs, Career, Salary and Education Information (2022)

Career, Salary and Education Information

What They Do: Industrial engineers devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service.

Work Environment: Depending on their tasks, industrial engineers work either in offices or in the settings they are trying to improve. For example, when observing problems, Industrial engineers may watch workers assembling parts in a factory. When solving problems, industrial engineers may be in an office at a computer, looking at data that they or others have collected.

How to Become One: 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.

Salary: The median annual wage for industrial engineers is $95,300.

Job Outlook: Employment of industrial engineers is projected to grow 14 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

Related Careers: Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of industrial engineers with similar occupations.

Following is everything you need to know about a career as an Industrial Engineer with lots of details. As a first step, take a look at some of the following Industrial Engineer jobs, which are real jobs with real employers. You will be able to see the very real job career requirements for employers who are actively hiring. The link will open in a new tab so that you can come back to this page to continue reading about the career:

Top 3 Industrial Engineer Jobs

  • Industrial Engineer - TPD - Tualatin, OR

    Do you have previous experience working as an Industrial Engineer ? Are you looking to further your career? Do you have experience managing Bills of Materials and routing? Then apply now! Our client ...

  • Industrial Engineer - Albin Engineering Services, Inc. - Fremont, CA

    The Industrial Engineer will work with cross functional teams to create, develop, and implement best in class manufacturing systems, improving our ability to exceed our customer's expectations

  • Senior Industrial Engineer - West Coast - Knowles Precision Devices - Valencia, CA

    The Industrial Engineer will need to possess excellent project management and communication skills. Must be able to interface with individuals at all levels of the organization and build consensus ...

See all Industrial Engineer jobs

What Industrial Engineers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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 of Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

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  • 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.

Some industrial engineers, called manufacturing engineers, focus entirely on the automated aspects of manufacturing processes. They design manufacturing systems to optimize the use of computer networks, robots, and materials.

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.

The versatility of industrial engineers allows them 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.

Work Environment for Industrial Engineers[About this section] [To Top]

Industrial engineers hold about 292,000 jobs. The largest employers of industrial engineers are as follows:

Transportation equipment manufacturing 18%
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 13%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 12%
Machinery manufacturing 8%
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 6%

Depending on their tasks, industrial engineers work either in offices or in the settings they are trying to improve. For example, when observing problems, they may watch workers assembling parts in a factory. When solving problems, industrial engineers may be in an office at a computer where they analyze data that they or others have collected.

Industrial engineers must work well on teams because they need help from others to collect information about problems and to implement solutions.

Industrial engineers may need to travel to observe processes and make assessments in various work settings.

Industrial Engineer Work Schedules

Most industrial engineers work full time. Depending upon the projects in which these engineers are engaged, and the industries in which the projects are taking place, hours may vary.

How to Become an Industrial Engineer[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Industrial Engineers near you!

Industrial engineers must have a bachelor's degree. Employers also value experience, so cooperative education engineering programs at universities are also beneficial.

Education for Industrial Engineers

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.

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Several 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 for Industrial Engineers

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.

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 for Industrial Engineers

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.

Each state issues its own licenses. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state's requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers offers certification, which requires a minimum of 8 years of a combination of education related to manufacturing and at least 4 years of work experience.

Other Experience for Industrial Engineers

During high school, students can attend engineering summer camps to see what these and other engineers do. Attending these camps can help students plan their coursework for the remainder of their time in high school.

Advancement for Industrial Engineers

Industrial engineers who are just starting out 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. Earning a master's degree facilitates such specialization and thus advancement.

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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.

Industrial Engineer Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

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The median annual wage for industrial engineers is $95,300. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $60,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $129,620.

The median annual wages for industrial engineers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Computer and electronic product manufacturing $99,340
Professional, scientific, and technical services $99,340
Transportation equipment manufacturing $97,090
Machinery manufacturing $80,260
Fabricated metal product manufacturing $78,210

Most industrial engineers work full time. Depending upon the projects in which these engineers are engaged, and the industries in which the projects are taking place, hours may vary.

Job Outlook for Industrial Engineers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of industrial engineers is projected to grow 14 percent over the next ten years, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 23,300 openings for industrial engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment of Industrial Engineers

This occupation is versatile both in the nature of the work it does and in the industries in which its expertise can be put to use

Because they are not as specialized as other engineers, industrial engineers are employed in a wide range of industries, including major manufacturing industries, consulting and engineering services, and research and development firms. This versatility arises from the fact that these engineers focus on reducing internal costs, making their work valuable for many industries. For example, their work is important for manufacturing industries that are considering relocating from overseas to domestic sites.

In addition, growth in healthcare and changes in how healthcare is delivered will create demand for industrial engineers in firms in professional, scientific, and consulting services.

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See all engineering jobs.

Employment of Industrial Engineers

Many companies will be seeking to make use of new technologies to automate production processes in many different kinds of industries, including manufacturing industries. Those with knowledge of manufacturing engineering may find better prospects for employment.

Employment projections data for Industrial Engineers, 2020-30
Occupational Title Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30
Percent Numeric
Industrial engineers 292,000 332,000 14 40,000

More Industrial Engineer Information[About this section] [To Top]

For more information about industrial engineers, visit

Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers

For more information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education

Technology Student Association

For more information about engineering summer camps, visit

Engineering Education Service Center

For more information about licensure as an industrial engineer, visit

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

National Society of Professional Engineers

For more information about certification as a manufacturing engineer, visit

Society of Manufacturing Engineers

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For more information about accredited engineering programs, visit

ABET

A portion of the information on this page is used by permission of the U.S. Department of Labor.


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FAQs

What is your educational attainment answer? ›

Educational attainment refers to the highest level of education that a person has successfully completed. Successful completion of a level of education refers to the achievement of the learning objectives of that level, typically validated through the assessment of acquired knowledge, skills and competencies.

Which is more important to you the job itself or your salary answer? ›

The truth is that, when it comes to a choice between the salary and the job, the satisfaction you get from the job is more important, and this is what most interviewers want. No employer wants an employee who is not passionate about their job.

Which is more important for career answer? ›

When choosing a career, personal fulfillment is more important than salary. If employees are happy at what they are doing then they will want to come to work each day. On the other hand, those who do not enjoy their jobs dread each long working day. Money is not the most important thing in life.

How do you answer interview questions about education? ›

How to answer the interview question: Describe your educational and ...

What are your salary expectations? ›

Choose a salary range.

Rather than offering a set number of the salary you expect, provide the employer with a range in which you'd like your salary to fall. Try to keep your range tight rather than very wide. For example, if you want to make $75,000 a year, a good range to offer would be $73,000 to $80,000.

How do I describe my education in an interview? ›

Here are some general tips for discussing your education during an interview: Keep it relevant and recent. Highlight aspects of your education that relate to the job and company at hand. Likewise, recent events are more applicable, so stay away from anecdotes about high school.

What is your qualification best answer? ›

OK answer: “I am qualified for this position because I have the skills you need and the experience to back it up.” Better answer: “I believe I am the most qualified for the job because I have completed 15 years in this field.

How do you explain qualifications in an interview? ›

Specific qualifications for the position should be outlined in the vacancy announcement. Determine which of your skills best suits the requirements of the position. Identify examples from past experiences that demonstrate those skills. Be able to “tell a story: of how you used those skills.

How important is the salary in your job choice? ›

From an employee perspective, the salary range for a role could easily determine whether you're ready to take the leap and accept a job offer or keep looking. But for companies, salary often comes down to statistics, averages, and what the company feels the role is worth.

Is salary important or position? ›

Over time, compensation almost becomes a hygiene factor and the poor salary bargainer more or less makes up if he takes care of a good job profile. So if you have a choice, bargain for a better role more than anything else. That's what will deliver the bang for the buck in the long run.

Why is it important to choose a career that you enjoy? ›

You'll motivate others.

When you're enthusiastic and productive at work, others will absorb your energy. If you love your job, your coworkers are more likely to love theirs. It's the benefit of a positive work environment. You'll be more likely to help others and compliment their work ethic.

What is important for you in a career? ›

Opportunities to grow and progress within the company. Be part of a positive culture where contributions are appreciated. Learn from peers and supervisors. Achieve a healthy work/life balance.

What are the 3 most important things in a job? ›

There are three key employer characteristics a job seeker should look for in an employment relationship: reputation, career advancement and work balance. These often show up in employment surveys as being most important for candidates.

How important is career and work? ›

There are many benefits to having a career purpose. First, it will inspire you to do and be more in your job, which will light you up and make your life come alive. You'll make more progress in your career too, because you're engaged and interested in what you're doing.

How does your education relate to your career? ›

When you earn a degree, you accomplish a big step. You gain knowledge, skills and experience to help you both in your career and in life in general. On top of that, by gaining additional skills in communication and problem solving and achieving your goals, you can also increase your confidence.

What is your educational experience? ›

Educational experience isn't limited to the classes on your college transcript. It also encompasses work-study jobs, field work, practicum experience and internships. If related to the job you are seeking, such experiences can be listed separately on your application.

What are the 10 most common interview questions and answers for teachers? ›

Bonus teacher interview questions
  • Why are you interested in teaching at this school?
  • What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
  • How do you use technology in the classroom?
  • What would you do if a student is in danger of failing your class?
  • What adjectives would you use to describe your presence in the classroom?

How do you answer a salary question on an application? ›

The best way to answer desired salary or salary expectations on a job application is to leave the field blank or write 'Negotiable' rather than providing a number. If the application won't accept non-numerical text, then enter “999,” or “000”.

How do you answer salary expectations online? ›

How To Answer Desired Salary on an Online Application
  1. Option 1: Leave It Blank. Your first option for delaying the salary discussion is to leave it blank. ...
  2. Option 2: Write in “Negotiable” ...
  3. Option 3: Identify a Suitable Range. ...
  4. Option 1: Postpone the Conversation. ...
  5. Option 2: Ask Questions.
Jun 30, 2022

What is your current salary best answer? ›

For the “current salary” part of the question, I recommend answering something like this: “I'm not really comfortable sharing that information. I would prefer to focus on the value I can add to this company and not what I'm paid at my current job.

How do I write my educational background? ›

How to write an education summary
  1. Write the name of the school and its location. The first thing you can add is the name of the school you attended or are currently attending. ...
  2. Add the degree you received. ...
  3. Include the dates you attended. ...
  4. List notable achievements. ...
  5. Consider what education to add.

What is your educational experience? ›

Educational experience isn't limited to the classes on your college transcript. It also encompasses work-study jobs, field work, practicum experience and internships. If related to the job you are seeking, such experiences can be listed separately on your application.

What is your qualification best answer? ›

OK answer: “I am qualified for this position because I have the skills you need and the experience to back it up.” Better answer: “I believe I am the most qualified for the job because I have completed 15 years in this field.

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