Industrial Engineering Careers

Read on to learn about typical courses, resources, and careers in this field.

Staff Writer

2022-11-1415 min read

Industrial engineering focuses on enhancing how companies implement work procedures and manufacture products.

Industrial engineers use their skills in many different situations, from manufacturing to healthcare systems to business administration.

The versatility of this industry allows them to commit to activities that are valuable to various governments, nonprofits, and businesses.

Because their technical proficiency and skills are applied across numerous industries, industrial engineers can switch occupations with comparable repose.

Read on to find everything you need in your industrial engineering career.

Why Choose Industrial Engineering?

Industrial engineers solve problems by applying their understanding of production technologies and critical thinking abilities to boost organizational effectiveness.

Industrial engineers must be thoroughly aware of each step in the project lifecycle and have a broad systems view because their work demands them to oversee an organization's complete production system.

Industrial engineering experts must also comprehend conflict resolution and interpersonal communication, which is essential in managing and inspiring their teams.

How to Start Your Industrial Engineering Journey

A career in industrial engineering requires at least a bachelor's degree. However, many roles require more advanced degrees.

Graduates who obtain a degree in industrial engineering can prepare for several careers, depending on their area of specialization, as the industry is vast.

Many degree programs in industrial engineering accentuate transferable skills such as listening, problem-solving, research, critical thinking, etc.

These qualities are essential for a successful career in industrial engineering.

Education Requirements

Associate Degree

Associate degree programs teach students quality control and assurance, production management, and industrial computerization.

Students take a combination of social science and physical science courses, as well as classes in trigonometry, technical visuals, algebra, calculus, etc.

Graduates of associate's degree programs in industrial engineering can seek different career opportunities such as industrial technician, environmental health and safety engineer, and quality engineer.

Bachelor's Degree

Bachelor's programs in industrial engineering combine concepts and skills in physical sciences, mathematics, and business.

Students learn to apply multidisciplinary standards to modify integrated energy systems, people, information and materials, etc.

You can land industrial and process engineer roles with a bachelor's degree.

Master's Degree

Master's programs in industrial engineering build upon undergraduate pedagogy and work background to enable students to advance into management and governing roles within their industry.

The typical master's program takes about two years to complete.

With a master's degree, you can work as a process engineering manager, industrial engineering manager, etc.

Doctorate in Industrial Engineering

Doctorate programs in industrial engineering require learners to finish 60-90 credits of classes and dissertation work, which takes 4-6 years.

To enroll in these research-focused programs, applicants need a master's in industrial engineering or a closely related area.

With a doctorate, you can land positions as a supply chain consultant, industrial engineering professor, etc.

Employment Prospects

Industrial engineering graduates qualify for various high-demand roles with high job satisfaction ratings.

With your associate's or bachelor's degree, you can work in an entry position with room for improvement.

On average, demand for employment in architecture and engineering occupations enjoys 200,900 openings each year.

However, on average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also projects 22,400 openings for industrial engineers each year.

Industrial Engineering Career Forecast

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that architecture and engineering occupations will grow by 4% from 2021 to 2031.

However, within this sector, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that industrial engineers will see 10% job growth during the same period.

Most industrial engineering roles pay over $80,000, with several openings yearly.

Lucrative Industrial Engineering Career Paths

Industrial Engineering is an extensive field with various career paths and job prospects in different sectors.

Here are some of the Industrial Engineering careers.

Industrial Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Industrial engineering technologists and technicians assist engineers in solving problems encompassing manufacturing layout or production.

They formulate machinery and device plans, conduct statistical surveys, and analyze production costs.

Average Salary

Industrial engineering technologists and technicians earn a median annual salary of $60,220.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Obtain data to help in process modification activities
  • Interpret engineering drawings, and formulas
  • Propose revisions to operation methods
  • Confer with management on quality and dependability standards.

Industries Employing Industrial Engineering Technologists and Technicians

  • Machinery manufacturing
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services

Health and Safety Engineers

Health and safety engineers create procedures and design systems to safeguard people from injury and property from destruction.

They combine engineering and health knowledge to ensure that machinery, chemicals, and other products will not cause havoc to people or property.

Average Salary

Health and safety engineers earn a median annual salary of $99,040.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Ensure that buildings or products conform to health and safety regulations.
  • Install safety devices on machinery or authorize the installation of these devices
  • Maintain and apply knowledge of current safety policies and industrial processes
  • Assess plans and specifications for new machinery and equipment.
  • Recognize and correct potential hazards.

Industries Employing Health and Safety Engineers

  • Manufacturing
  • Government
  • Construction
  • Engineering services

Industrial Production Manager

Industrial production managers supervise the processes of manufacturing and related plants.

They coordinate, plan, and direct activities of creating products, such as computer equipment, paper products, etc.

Average Salary

Industrial production managers earn a median annual salary of $103,150.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Determine how to use a plant's workers and equipment for production goals
  • Ensure that production stays on plan and within the allotment.
  • Hire and evaluate workers
  • Analyze production data
  • Examine production reports
  • Monitor workers and procedures
  • Facilitate the production process
  • Direct staff in resolving crises or improving production.

Industries Employing Industrial Production Managers

  • Transportation equipment manufacturing
  • Fabricated metal product manufacturing
  • Chemical manufacturing
  • Machinery manufacturing
  • Food manufacturing

Quality Control Inspectors

Quality Control Inspectors monitor the quality of incoming raw materials and the products ready to be dispatched.

They also guarantee that manufactured commodities meet the quality standards set by the organization before being sent to customers.

The quality control inspector's role involves evaluating the measurements, performing tests, and regulating the production stage.

Average Salary

Quality control inspectors earn a median annual salary of $38,580.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Read blueprints and specifications
  • Approve or reject finished items
  • Monitor operations
  • Regulate electronic inspection equipment and software
  • Propose adjustments to the assembly or production process
  • Eliminate all products and materials that fail to meet specifications
  • Report inspection and test data.

Industries Employing Quality Control Inspectors

  • Manufacturing
  • Administrative and support services
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services

Mechanical Designer

Mechanical designers work with engineering teams to develop machines, devices, and equipment drawings.

Mechanical designers also help simplify and improve manufacturing processes.

Also called mechanical drafters, mechanical designers operate in engineering or architecture firms and manufacturing companies.

Average Salary

Mechanical Designers earn a median annual salary of $62,494.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Create designs and technical drawings
  • Improve manufacturing systems and processes
  • Provide support during the building and installation process
  • Analyze test results and change designs as needed.

Industries Employing Mechanical Designers

  • Architecture
  • Manufacturing
  • Technical services

Quality Engineer

Quality engineers ensure that manufactured products meet high-quality standards.

They also formulate processes, test procedures, and implement systems to ensure that products and operations meet safety regulations and clients' expectations.

Average Salary

Quality engineers earn a median annual salary of $70,141.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Create quality documentation
  • Examine and test processes and products
  • Establish and implement quality standards
  • Monitor workflows, processes, and products.

Industries Employing Quality Engineers

  • Medical & Pharmaceutical
  • Automotive
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Food & Beverage

Industrial Electrician

Industrial electricians oversee electrical controls, wiring, and worksite equipment at an industrial plant.

They ensure safety by following electrical-code regulations that relate to their work.

They work for different employers, including parts manufacturers, electrical firms, and steel production plants.

Average Salary

Industrial** **electricians earn a median annual salary of $60,040.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Install, test, and troubleshoot electrical components.
  • Translate Blueprint information
  • Outline specifications of machines
  • Handle new electrical systems
  • Maintain records and repair logs
  • Identify electrical problems

Industries Employing Industrial Electricians

  • Electrical contractors
  • Self-employed workers
  • Manufacturing
  • Government
  • Employment services

Industrial Supply Chain Analyst

Industrial Supply Chain Analysts improve the efficiency of supply chain operations through data collection and analysis.

This position requires excellent attention to an in-depth understanding of the delivery process and exceptional analytical skills.

They use interpersonal and problem-solving skills to collect information from different departments to propose ways of improving the supply chain.

Average Salary

Industrial supply chain analysts earn a median annual salary of $62,738.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Plan and carry out large-scale projects
  • Collect data on supply chain operations.
  • Measure supply chain performance
  • Develop and execute projects

Industries Employing Industrial Supply Chain Analysts

  • Manufacturing
  • Logistics
  • Engineering

Manufacturing Engineer

A manufacturing Engineer focuses on the design and operation of integrated systems for the creation of high-quality, competitive products.

These systems include computer networks, robots, machine tools, materials-handling equipment, etc.

Average Salary

Manufacturing** **engineers earn a median annual salary of $72,769.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Design and test new equipment and systems.
  • Install equipment.
  • Troubleshoot and repair equipment.
  • Plan and organize maintenance
  • Respond to breakdowns.
  • Research and implement opportunities
  • Supervise engineering and technical staff.

Industries Employing Manufacturing Engineers

  • Manufacturing
  • Engineering
  • Government
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Oil and gas

Mechanical engineer

Mechanical engineers are problem solvers who design, develop, build, and test different mechanical devices, tools, and engines, such as electric generators, internal combustion engines, refrigeration, air-conditioning systems, etc.

They also design other machines inside buildings, such as elevators and escalators.

Average Salary

Mechanical engineers** **earn a median annual salary of $95,300.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Examine mechanical and thermal devices
  • Design or redesign mechanical and thermal devices
  • Investigate equipment failures or difficulties
  • Supervise the manufacturing process for the device
  • Develop and test prototypes of devices they design
  • Evaluate the test results and change the design or system.

Industries Employing Mechanical Engineers

  • Architectural, engineering, and related services
  • Machinery manufacturing
  • Transportation equipment manufacturing
  • Computer and electronic product manufacturing
  • Scientific research and development services

Process Engineer

Process engineers transform raw materials into finished products.

They play a crucial role in the manufacturing sectors associated with most industries, including healthcare, energy, agriculture, and infrastructure.

Process engineers utilize their application knowledge of science to develop materials that people can use every day.

Average Salary

Process** **engineers earn a median annual salary of $76,189.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Test, monitor, and maintain equipment,
  • Research and assist in the purchase of new equipment
  • Design new equipment or redesign the flow of the process.
  • Supervising the operations of the plant
  • Oversee security employees
  • Collect and interpret data on efficiency and budgets
  • Analyze steps of the production process

Industries Employing Process Engineers

  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Healthcare

Industrial Cost Estimator

Industrial cost estimators obtain and evaluate data to analyze the time, money, materials, and labor needed to manufacture a product, provide a service, construct a building, etc.

Average Salary

Industrial cost estimators earn a median annual salary of $65,170.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Identify factors affecting costs
  • Read blueprints and technical documents
  • Collaborate with engineers, architects, clients, contractors, etc.
  • Analyze, and adjust estimates
  • Suggest ways to reduce costs
  • Protect records of estimated and actual costs

Industries Employing Industrial Cost Estimator

  • Specialty trade contractors
  • Construction of buildings
  • Manufacturing
  • Automotive repair and maintenance
  • Heavy and civil engineering construction

Energy Efficiency Engineer

Energy efficiency engineers find or maintain solutions for energy generation, storage, and consumption systems.

They research, develop, construct, maintain and implement these systems.

They also find sustainable energy solutions by harnessing energy from renewable resources.

Average Salary

Energy efficiency engineers earn a median annual salary of $65,031.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Design and test energy systems
  • Build or oversee the construction of power systems
  • Update and implement changes to existing power systems.
  • Create budgets and cost estimates
  • Perform site inspections and energy survey
  • Design and implement sustainable energy technology solutions

Industries Employing Energy Efficiency Engineers

  • Oil and Gas
  • Government
  • Engineering
  • Manufacturing

Industrial Designer

Industrial designers create concepts for manufactured products, such as toys, cars, home appliances, etc.

They integrate engineering, business, and arts to make products that people use every day.

When creating new product concepts, industrial designers regard products' function, production costs, and usability.

Average Salary

Industrial designers earn a median annual salary of $77,030.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Consult with clients
  • Research various ways a product can be used
  • Sketch ideas
  • Develop physical models of their designs
  • Develop virtual models of different designs
  • Examine materials and manufacturing requirements
  • Scrutinize product safety, appearance, and function.

Industries Employing Industrial Designers

  • Manufacturing
  • Specialized design services
  • Wholesale trade
  • Architectural, engineering, and related services
  • Self-employed workers

Industrial Engineer

Industrial engineers reduce material waste in production processes.

They assemble innovative systems that incorporate workers, machines, materials, information, energy, etc., to create a product or provide a service.

Average Salary

Industrial engineers earn a median annual salary of $95,300.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Review production schedules and engineering specifications.
  • Confer with clients about product specifications.
  • Manufacture parts or products, and deliver services.
  • Design management control systems
  • Develop control systems to coordinate activities
  • Enact quality control processes

Industries Employing Industrial Engineers

  • Transportation equipment manufacturing
  • Computer and electronic product manufacturing
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
  • Machinery manufacturing
  • Waste management
  • Fabricated metal product manufacturing

Product Engineer

Product engineers design and coordinate the manufacturing process of products.

Product engineers can work in almost any industry, provided manufacturing is involved.

They also analyze the market and competing products.

Average Salary

Product engineers earn a median annual salary of $73,724.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Develop unique product ideas
  • Test product prototypes to modify design deficiencies
  • Oversee manufacturing process
  • Analyze product prototypes to identify possible safety hazards
  • Determine cost-effective manufacturing procedures and materials

Industries Employing Product Engineers

  • Manufacturing
  • Agriculture
  • Government
  • Engineering

How to Boost your Industrial Engineering Career

There are several ways to boost your career after acquiring a degree.

You can take professional certification courses to advance your career, making yourself more attractive to hiring institutions.

Other ways to boost your career include:

  • Learn from a mentor
  • Join a professional engineering society
  • Keep building your skills
  • Attend conferences and webinars
  • Keep up with your industry
  • Internships
  • Networking

A combination of these can give you an edge in industrial engineering.

Pros and Cons of Industrial Engineering Careers

With a degree in industrial engineering, you can land high job demands.

Here are a few pros and cons of a career in industrial engineering


  • Range of industries
  • Ability to solve problems
  • Career Advancement
  • Job satisfaction
  • High salary


  • Low job flexibility
  • Many skills required
  • High-pressure environment
  • Independent work
  • Long career path
  • Demanding education
  • Dangerous work sites

Skills You'll Develop While Studying Industrial Engineering

Here are specific skills you will need to be proficient in, regardless of your role in industrial engineering.

These skills are essential as they provide a framework for career development.


There is a lot at risk with every decision industrial engineers make.

They can change the way company members function, and they can make changes toward a healthier work environment or otherwise.

They must scrutinize each decision and be ready for its consequences.

Critical Thinking

Industrial engineers frequently use logic and reasoning to identify the benefits and downsides of alternative solutions.

Critical thinking skills also help them resolve complex issues and implement ways to fix them.

Given the limited resources at their end, they must also think critically when prioritizing one action over another.


Industrial engineers use creativity and imagination to design new production processes to reduce the use of material resources, time, or labor while attaining the same objective.

Management and Leadership

Because industrial engineers will take on leadership roles as they advance in their careers, they must know how to interact well with other workers, show charisma, and lead honestly.


Industrial engineers will have to handle multitasking at times.

They are vigorously involved in several production areas, and they are expected to succeed in these areas.

And so, they must remain organized, schedule ahead, stick to the plans, and be ready to alter when required.

How to Prepare for an Industrial Engineering Career

1. Obtain a degree

Obtaining an industrial engineering degree is vital in your career journey.

They will help you develop the essential skills to be competitive in the industry and also help you to understand how to function and operate as an industrial engineer.

2. Gain relevant experience

While pursuing your degree or after, finding opportunities to gain related experience is a good idea.

An internship is a decent way to gain hands-on experience within the industrial engineering field.

Some degree programs mandate the completion of an internship, but an internship still proves beneficial if it does not.

During an internship, you will be exposed to industrial engineers operating daily and get the opportunity to put your education into practice.

3. Pursue specialized certifications

To increase your chances of earning an industrial engineer position after graduation, pursue specialized certifications.

Professional certifications are not always mandatory but help to establish your competency in the required skills.

They also show your commitment to your professional advancement.

4. Consider licensure

Professional licensure is another way to boost your career.

Getting licensed will boost your chances of earning a position and make it easier to advance in your career.

The two licenses to seek are the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and the Professional Engineer (PE).

Industrial Engineering Resources to Help Your Career

Below are educational and professional resources to help you start or advance an industrial engineering career

Publications :

Professional Organizations:

Open Courseware:

How to Switch to an Industrial Engineering Career

Experts in different engineering sectors often switch careers to adapt to evolving technologies and the unstable global economy. So, naturally, this leads them to where opportunities are lucrative.

Due to the multidimensional nature of engineering research and training, job changes also happen externally.

IT and business specialists with experience in data analysis, human resources, project management, etc., can hop to careers in industrial engineering.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is industrial engineering?

Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering concerned with optimizing intricate processes, or systems, by creating and implementing integrated networks of knowledge, people, information, equipment, etc.

What certification do I need for an Industrial Engineering career?

Industrial engineering certifications come in various categories provided by multiple different institutions.

Below are a few of them:

Can I get an industrial engineering degree online?

You can earn an industrial engineering degree online from different highly recognized and authorized industrial engineering programs that you can complete at your pace.

What fields can industrial engineering professionals work in?

Anyone with a degree in industrial engineering can work in any engineering-related industry, depending on their education level, skill sets, and experience.

Lucrative opportunities include :

  • Manufacturing technician.
  • Quality assurance inspector.
  • Industrial mechanic.
  • Industrial electrician.
  • Industrial designer.
  • Manufacturing production supervisor.
  • Industrial supply chain analyst, etc.

Is there a high demand for industrial engineering majors?

Industrial engineers are in high demand.

The demand for industrial engineers is due to the increasing number of businesses looking for experts in this field to help them with manufacturing and engineering processes.

Final Thoughts

Obtaining a degree in industrial engineering can prepare you for various positions in the engineering industry.

Depending on your interests, you can work in any space you choose. From process engineering to machinery manufacturing, the options are abundant.

Whatever your options, this guide will provide you with the necessary information you need to break into the field of industrial engineering.

Compare your school options

Made in Texas

600 Congress, 17th Floor | Austin, Texas

Privacy PolicyTerms of Service

2023 Authority - All rights reserved.