Industrial engineering is a branch of engineering that specializes in manufacturing or service industry production procedures. More specifically, they investigate more productive and efficient ways to integrate machines, materials, energy, people, and information. Professionals with an engineering background often enroll in online college courses at the bachelor''s, master''s, and doctoral levels for career training in operations or systems engineering. Many experienced industrial engineering professionals move into management roles.
Industrial Engineering Degrees:
Undergraduate engineering students can begin their career training through coursework in chemistry, mathematics, physics, supply chain management, systems design, ergonomics, and statistics. Graduate programs leading to master''s and doctoral degrees offer advanced courses in manufacturing, technology, and process analysis.
Online Degrees in the Field:
Due to the heavy emphasis on theory, business, and information technology, industrial engineering is well suited for online study. You can tackle a large percentage of your academic requirements from the comfort of a home or office PC as you create workflow models and cost analyses for your various classes. However, more practical and hands-on aspects are also essential to industrial engineering. Career training that includes real-world experience through apprenticeships and internships is important both during and after your formal training.
Career Prospects in Industrial Engineering:
Job opportunities in industrial engineering are expected to grow quite rapidly through the end of the decade, as manufacturing and service businesses seek to streamline their processes, reduce waste, and cut costs in materials and labor. Global competition puts tremendous pressure on companies to maximize production and minimize drag using creative cost-cutting techniques. As a result, industrial engineers could continue to enjoy tremendous demand as globalization further refines the modern business landscape. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth could be as much as 20 percent from 2006 to 2016, which is nearly twice the national average for most other industries.
The bulk of these positions are in manufacturing, transportation, and design, both in the private and public sectors. Contact your local, state, or federal governments for licensing and certification requirements.
Salary and Outlook for Industrial Engineering:
Equally encouraging are the salary figures that potentially await you after graduation. In 2006, the median salary for industrial engineers was nearly $70,000. If demand continues on its 20 percent trajectory, it is reasonable to expect that median salaries could continue to keep pace as well. It is possible that the highest 10 percent of current industrial engineer salaries ($110,000 a year) could eventually present the new median.