Industrial engineers help increase the efficiency of production processes, eliminating wastefulness. Their plans for improvement may include modifications for workers, machines, information, materials, or energy that is used in the process of production. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the following as some common job duties for those with careers in industrial engineering:
- Analyze schedules for production, process flows, and other specifications to better understand the manufacturing and service process.
- Assess the most efficient way to manufacture parts, products, or deliver services.
- Work with managers, clients, and customers to create standards for design and production.
- Ensure that quality standards are met by designing control systems and planning production.
Jobs in industrial engineering require candidates with strong mathematical, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills. They will also need to be able to communicate and work well with other team members to come up with solutions to complex problems in their day to day work. Some common fields for jobs in this occupation include aerospace product and parts manufacturing; architectural, engineering, and related services; and motor vehicle parts manufacturing.
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Becoming an Industrial Engineer
An entry level industrial engineer is required to have a bachelor's degree in the field. They will need a strong foundation in mathematics, natural science, and computer technology. Most undergraduate programs will take four years of full-time study to complete. Students should also be sure to select a program that is ABET accredited, as many employers prefer this and it will be required should to obtain professional licensure.
Prospective industrial engineering students should anticipate a mixture of survey, seminar, laboratory, and field work courses. Internships or other structured professional experience components are often included in the curriculum. Below are a few topics students may be required to take as they train in industrial engineering:
- Engineering Math
- Manufacturing Processes
Some engineers may choose to pursue their professional engineer (PE) licensure, which may be beneficial for those working with companies that take on government contracts. This licensure requires the completion of an ABET-accredited engineering program, successful scores on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, relevant work experience, and a passing score for the Professional Engineering (PE) exam. In some states, PEs will still need to take continuing education classes to keep their licenses.