Engineering salaries tend to be well-paying and greater than the national average. Industrial Engineers earn $77,090 on average according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics page on Industrial Engineers. Experienced professionals enjoy greater increases in salary. The top 10% earn $109,220 or more. Industrial Engineers also tend to move into Engineering Management roles quicker than other engineering specialties.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Industrial Engineers improve processes. FedEx is a good example of a company which built itself with the help of Industrial Engineers. The company started with the motto, “When it Absolutely, Positively Has To Be There Overnight®.” FedEx turned to Industrial Engineers to make good on that promise. Industrial Engineers studied and improved every aspect of the business to make FedEx one of the most respected parcel-delivery companies in the world.
Industrial Engineering took off during the industrial revolution with manufacturing. In the United States, however, businesses have recently outsourced manufacturing overseas. Graduates now tend to focus more on distributing products manufactured elsewhere. This trend shifted many positions from manufacturing plants to distribution warehouses.
Other specializations can include improving business processes. The health care industry has more recently taken a keen interest in Industrial Engineers. Consider emergency rooms, for example. The ability to respond to critical patients can mean life or death. Industrial Engineers would typically contribute by designing the facility layout and standard operating procedures of the emergency room.
Industrial Engineers can specialize in another high-paying niche: supply chain management (SCM). Those who take the career path of SCM concern themselves with overseeing every material resource from raw materials to finished products. They must network with other companies to cooperate in executing the lowest cost and most efficient processes for delivering finished products to consumers. The responsibility is very challenging, and SCM specialists can command much greater pay. Most professionals are rewarded with substantial bonuses based on performance.
Demand for Industrial Engineers is expected only to increase as time passes. The specialization is not as popular or well-known as other engineering professions. Graduates typically enjoy quick job placement. However, positions may require an extensive amount of travel or relocation. The US Government also employs many Industrial Engineers.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Training and Education Requirements
A four-year degree is typically required for Industrial Engineers. Work experience can be substituted in place of education. However, this is usually extended to older practitioners of the profession. The current trends for younger professionals gravitate toward educational training from a 4-year institution. University curricula require courses in a breadth of general engineering, math, and physical sciences. Students must pass courses in circuits, fluids, material science, physics, chemistry, and calculus. The number of students who drop out from Industrial Engineering tends to be less than other specialties. Industrial Engineering has also been recognized for a greater enrollment of female students. After graduation, Industrial Engineers receive on-the-job training to specific industries and maintain ongoing education.
ABET, the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology, certifies educational programs leading to a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering (BSIE). In the United States, ABET is the officially recognized body for certifying all engineering degrees, so request ABET accreditation from any program claiming to offer degrees in Industrial Engineering. Post-graduate training for Industrial Engineers can include Six Sigma, Total Quality Management (TQM), lean manufacturing, and Kaizen training. Traditionally, corporations will pay for these certifications as they can be quite expensive. However, many Industrial Engineers also pay for these certifications to improve their salaries in the market place.
Industrial Engineers are not usually required to become professionally certified by the state. Unlike Civil Engineers, for example, Industrial Engineers don’t typically need to sign or stamp official documents. The role is more in line with consulting or advising top business leaders in best practices.
That being said, Industrial Engineers can still become recognized by the government with professional licensing. This gives the engineer the designation P.E. which stands for professional engineer. The license requires passing an 8-hour exam with 4 hours on training and 4 hours on practice.
- Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE)
- Society of Professional Engineers (SPE)
- Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
The Institute of Industrial Engineers is the main organization for this profession. IIE maintains six publications within the field. Visit the Institute of Industrial Engineering website.
The National Society of Professional Engineers is more general and offers a group for licensed professional engineers from all specializations. Chapters are usually organized by state. Visit the NSPE Website for more information.
IEEE, pronounced I-triple-E, is one of the largest engineering organizations in the world. Because of this, engineers from many disciplines join IEEE for networking reasons. IEEE also maintains standards for electrical specifications such as the USB port in your computer, so it’s worth joining to stay abreast of current trends in technology. See www.IEEE.org to learn more.
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