How to Become an Industrial Engineer

How to Become an Industrial Engineer

As the population expands and the need for cost-effective, efficient manufacturing processes increases, industrial engineers will continue to be a central component in maximizing efficiency and productivity, reducing costs and waste, and designing resource management systems.

What does an industrial engineer do?

Industrial engineers are responsible for creating effective, efficient processes for manufacturing products or providing services. Industrial engineers develop and assess systems for production, manufacturing and distribution, provide cost analysis and determine the best ways to reduce cost and waste, and develop methods for effectively using people and technology to improve productivity.

From determining the most efficient plant location to implementing management control systems, industrial engineers focus on optimizing efficiency and productivity. Because industrial engineering is very similar to management, industrial engineers often occupy management positions.

What kind of training does an industrial engineer need?

The majority of entry-level industrial engineering jobs require at least a bachelor degree in industrial engineering. Undergraduate industrial engineering programs include an emphasis on math, science and management principles to prepare industrial engineering students to enter the field of industrial engineering and immediately begin to design and improve systems for enhanced efficiency and productivity.

Industrial engineers who provide services to the public will need to meet mandatory licensing requirements. The licensing process includes completing a degree program approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), passing the Fundamentals of Engineering Exam and the Principles and Practice of Engineering Exam administered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES), and completing four years of work experience in the field of engineering.

What are the prospects for a career as an industrial engineer?

In 2006, there were approximately 201,000 industrial engineers employed across the United States. Career opportunities for industrial engineers are expected to increase by 20% by the year 2016, which is a significantly faster growth rate than the average growth rate expected across industries. This projected growth is due, in part, to the increasing need to reduce costs and increase productivity, which is a need found across the manufacturing industry. (1)

How much do industrial engineers make?

Entry-level industrial engineering salaries vary according to level of education and training, geographical region and additional certifications earned. The median base salary range for entry-level industrial engineer positions, such as Industrial Engineer I, is $44,110 to $62,722, with most industrial engineers in Industrial Engineer I positions making between $48,877 and $58,619. The median industrial engineer salaries for Industrial Engineer I positions by geographical region are $56,000 in the Northeast; Middle Atlantic, $55,400; South, $52,200; Midwest, $53,400; and West, $55,400. (2)

Students who truly appreciate efficiency and enjoy improving systems to enhance productivity and reduce cost will find industrial engineering an exceptional career choice.

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