Industrial engineers are responsible primarily for enhancements of complex business processes or systems. Industrial engineers typically work within manufacturing and production environments, but with recent technological advancements in multiple industries, they are starting to enter more computer and tech-focused business environments.
Industrial engineering degrees are considered by some to be in high demand, mainly because so many businesses are better understanding "big data", and need someone to come up with better solutions using said data. Industrial engineers do just that - analyze the current processes, procedures, and systems in place, and come up with a better solution. Doing so results in better efficiency, massive cost savings, and frequently better staffing choices.
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Now is an outstanding time to get an industrial engineering degree, as the future looks very good for industrial engineers. You will need at least a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering to become an engineer. Below you will find some of the top industrial engineering degree programs - you can request more information from them for free, and talk with each program to figure out which might work best for you.
Types of Industrial Engineering Degrees
There are several different subsets within industrial engineering. Each are a good option, but it is important to understand the difference between each individual program concentration. As you would expect, the working environment and actual job responsibilities are a bit different for each degree holder.
Industrial Technology Degree
For students that really enjoy hands-on job experience (using and working with their hands), combined with a passion for technology should look at an industrial technology degree. Industrial technology engineering involves using technology and a real-world working knowledge of actual products, programs, or equipment, to find valuable solutions for companies. Industrial technology students are also finding agriculture technology as an effective career path with the improvements of GPS technology within the industry.
Industrial technology is not for people that interested in a cubicle or desk job in an office-setting. Rather there is a good mix of using technology such as computers, programs, applications, etc., and actually working with physical working pieces in a robotic machinery for example, then figuring out a better solution to fix or enhance the product or system. Many industrial technology students can expect to first learn theories and concepts within industrial technology, and then apply that knowledge within a laboratory environment.
The below video from Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Biosystems Engineering speaks with current students and alum to understand what students are studying currently, what opportunities are available later on, and what to expect while you are studying for your industrial technology degree.
The below video follows an industrial technology employee, so you can get a good understanding of what an industrial technology engineer actually does.
Online Industrial Design Degree
Another option that some decide on is the industrial design degree – a lot of these are available online. However, most interested in industrial engineering actually stay away from the design side of things and go to industrial technology engineering instead, as industrial technology still includes an element of design work and tends to be a much more broad degree with more options.
Industrial design involves the design of systematic processes and procedures or software to enhance a system’s efficiency. As stated, it is solely focused on design, and somewhat constricts degree holders. This is why most engineers opt for an industrial technology engineering degree online rather than an online industrial design degree.
Online Industrial Engineering Degree
An emerging degree is the online industrial engineering degree. Because software and the online learning/distance education experience is getting better with the advancement of technology, it is making more engineers go online to get their degree – this includes industrial engineering. There are also online engineering management programs that translate very well to industrial environments, since many industrial engineer degree holders tend to end up supervisory or managerial positions.
Industrial Engineering Degree Online Accredited Programs & ATMAE
The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE) is the accrediting body for industrial engineering degree programs. Make sure you are seeking out a ATMAE-accredited program, as the designation holds a lot of weight in industrial engineering circles and businesses.
Industrial Engineering Degree Requirements
Admissions requirements vary depending on the program, so be sure to check with your program of interest. However, we have studied a lot of industrial engineering degree programs. Most have similar requirements, such as GPA requirements of 2.00 or above, as well as transfer credit hours for students with an Associate’s degree transferring into a Bachelor’s program.
Industrial Engineering Courses & Curriculum Expectations
Most industrial engineering courses require the general education classes, but we will not dive into those. Regarding degree-specific courses, you can expect to study at least a few, if not all, of the following class subjects for an industrial engineering degree: Physics, OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration), Materials, Work Methodology, Six Sigma Industrial Quality, Machine Design Drafting, Machine Tools and Technology. Some programs require more specific and different programs such as more computer-integrated/focused classes, or robotics-focused courses.
What to Do With an Industrial Engineering Degree
There are many opportunities for a long and healthy career as an industrial engineer. All of these occupations generally require a Bachelor’s degree or above in industrial engineering. The most common careers are: Project Manager, Systems and Safety Engineer, Cost Estimator (growing), Quality Control Technician, Industrial Operations Manager, Production Manager, Time Study Analyst, and a Site Supervisor. Of course there are more opportunities, but these are the most popular within the industrial engineering field.