Industrial Engineering Degree

Find your next area of study: Industrial Engineering Degree

In the early 20th century, engineers began applying scientific theory to the manufacturing process. These engineers quickly become known as management engineers or industrial engineers. The field of industrial engineering is complex and diverse. It focuses on both the industrial and the manufacturing processes. While most of these engineers work to streamline existing processes and procedures, some industrial engineers work to create new manufacturing machines and systems.

Industrial engineers seek to determine the maximum efficiency in production lines and manufacturing processes. This field requires an understanding of the efficient flow of raw materials and energies through the production system. Industrial engineers collect data and use that information to improve the manufacturing process.

It is a common belief that industrial engineers deal with the integration of man and machine. While this basic premise holds true, today’s industrial engineer may find work in settings far removed from factories. In recent years, both the technology industry and the energy industry have begun to rely heavily upon those with an industrial engineering degree. Considered a very flexible degree, those individuals who have been awarded an industrial engineering degree may also find employment in other areas including:

  • Hospitals and other health-care operations
  • Transportation
  • Food processing
  • Finance/Banking
  • State, local, and federal government agencies

Most careers in the field of industrial engineering require a bachelor’s degree for even entry-level jobs. This is a highly specialized profession requiring a great deal of hands-on training and experience. For this reason, online degrees are seldom offered at the bachelor’s level.

Students enrolled in programs leading to an industrial engineering degree typically earn a bachelor’s degree in about four years. Those students can expect to complete coursework focusing in both the social and physical sciences. Some of the classes that may be required for a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering may include:

  • Computer systems
  • Mathematics
  • Statistics
  • Design
  • Management
  • Production
  • Inventory Control Systems
  • Industrial or Occupation Safety Practices
  • Economics of Manufacturing
  • Quality Control
  • Human Impact on Engineering
  • Engineering Economy
  • Robotics and Automation
  • Inventory Control
  • Facility Design

Even though the bachelor’s degree is most often taught in a traditional college or university setting, the Master’s of Science in Industrial Engineering is often taught through online programs. Since most candidates for the master’s degree are working professionals, they often prefer the flexibility provided by the online class format. Earning a doctorate degree may afford the student with the opportunity to teach or conduct research in a college or university setting. These Ph.D. programs typically require five years of study to complete.