A bachelor's degree in industrial engineering is the minimum required for entry-level positions in engineering. These programs prepare students for Professional Engineer licensure. Graduates can also enroll in certificate programs offered through the Institute of Industrial Engineers. Areas of emphasis might include engineering management and industrial engineering professional skills.
Master's-level programs provide advanced education to current engineers who want to take their careers to the next level. They might expand their knowledge of areas such as hypothesis testing, data modeling and quality system structure. Potential career outcomes include senior modeling analyst and logistics project manager.
Doctoral programs focus on industrial engineering research. While studying topics such as integrated systems and variance analysis, learners take oral exams and conduct dissertation research.
State licensure is a requirement for industrial engineers. Experienced professionals must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering exam.
- Program Levels: Bachelor's, master's, PhD.
- Prerequisites: High school diploma or GED, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose essay for bachelor's degree; undergraduate degree in engineering, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and resume is required for admission to the graduate level and doctorate.
- Other Requirements: Bachelor's program finishes with a capstone project. Graduate levels commonly require independent experience and fieldwork.
Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering
Students in this bachelor's degree program have the option of choosing a concentration area, which includes general industrial and systems engineering, supply chain logistics, manufacturing systems, economics and finance, general business management and more. The curriculum includes studies in engineering technology, systems testing and design, leadership, research and computer science. Students learn to design computer software, work with clients, manage projects and solve engineering problems. The program concludes with a capstone project.
Admission to the industrial engineering degree program requires a high school diploma or GED. Some schools require letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose essay. Applicants should also have a strong background in mathematics and science.
Students take courses in computer programming, probability and statistics. Coursework covers topics in:
- Probability assessment
- Inventory management
- Mathematical modeling
Master of Science in Industrial Engineering
Designed for engineering professionals, this master's degree program consists of advanced training in industrial engineering and studies in business management. Areas of concentration include quality engineering, human factors and ergonomics, health systems engineering, manufacturing systems and quality management. Students develop skills in project management, inventory and cost control, scheduling and more. Admission requires a bachelor's degree in engineering, letters of recommendation, a personal statement essay, resume and acceptable scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE).
Students take courses in design, technology, experimentation and statistics. Topics that might be discussed in various concentration areas include:
- Hypothesis testing
- Quality system structure
- Data modeling
- Control theory
- Multistage manufacturing
Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering
This Ph.D. program is mainly focused on research and includes the rigorous study of operations research, statistics, systems design and more. The curriculum consists of preliminary, comprehensive and oral examinations, and a dissertation proposal in which the Ph.D. candidate presents a thesis on an industrial engineering topic. The program culminates in a doctoral dissertation. Admission requirements include a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering or related area, letters of recommendation, a 3.0 undergraduate GPA, and a combined verbal and quantitative score of 1200 on the GRE.
Coursework explores engineering theories, methods of conducting academic research, advanced studies in manufacturing systems and information systems. Course topics include:
- Integrated systems
- Variance analysis
- Product flow
- Industrial engineering management
- Factorial design
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Employment of industrial engineers is expected to grow 5% between 2012 and 2022, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov). The BLS also reports that industrial engineers earned a median annual salary of $81,490 and were employed in 236,990 positions in 2014.
Popular Career Options
Graduates of a master's program can move into advanced positions as industrial engineers or engineering managers. Career options for graduates include job titles such as:
- Logistics project manager
- Senior modeling analyst
- Operations research associate
Graduates of a doctoral level program will be prepared for careers in research, education, engineering design and management. Graduates can purse the following job titles:
- Engineering professor
- Research and development engineer
- Senior research engineer
Engineers are required to be licensed in their state to work as professional engineers (PEs). The first step to PE licensure is to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, which is offered through the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying (NCEES). Passing the exam results in either the engineer intern (EI) or engineer in training (EIT) designations. EIs and EITs are required to complete four years of supervised work experience before taking the Principles and Practices of Engineering (PE) exam, which can lead to PE licensure after meeting all state requirements.
Certificate Program Information
Industrial engineers are not required to become certified in their field. Industrial engineers who are interested in pursuing a certificate program can choose from several programs offered by the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE), including multiple-course and practitioner certificate programs. Program options are the engineering management, industrial engineering professional skills, enterprise risk manager and lean supply chain management certificates. Each certificate program consists of professional seminars and may culminate in an examination.