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Career profile Industrial Engineer

Also known as Continuous Improvement Engineer, Engineer, Facilities Engineer, Industrial Engineer, Operations Engineer, Plant Engineer, Process Engineer, Project Engineer, Quality Engineer, Research and Development Engineer (R and D Engineer)

Industrial Engineer

Also known as Continuous Improvement Engineer, Engineer, Facilities Engineer

Interests Profile
  • Investigative
  • Enterprising
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$57,950 - $136,930 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Active Listening
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Engineering and Technology
  • Production and Processing
  • Mechanical
Core tasks
  • Estimate production costs, cost saving methods, and the effects of product design changes on expenditures for management review, action, and control.
  • Plan and establish sequence of operations to fabricate and assemble parts or products and to promote efficient utilization.
  • Analyze statistical data and product specifications to determine standards and establish quality and reliability objectives of finished product.
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What does an Industrial Engineer do?

Industrial Engineers design, develop, test, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes, including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.

What kind of tasks does an Industrial Engineer perform regularly?

Industrial Engineers are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Estimate production costs, cost saving methods, and the effects of product design changes on expenditures for management review, action, and control.
  • Plan and establish sequence of operations to fabricate and assemble parts or products and to promote efficient utilization.
  • Analyze statistical data and product specifications to determine standards and establish quality and reliability objectives of finished product.
  • Confer with clients, vendors, staff, and management personnel regarding purchases, product and production specifications, manufacturing capabilities, or project status.
  • Communicate with management and user personnel to develop production and design standards.
  • Evaluate precision and accuracy of production and testing equipment and engineering drawings to formulate corrective action plan.
  • Recommend methods for improving utilization of personnel, material, and utilities.
  • Record or oversee recording of information to ensure currency of engineering drawings and documentation of production problems.
  • Draft and design layout of equipment, materials, and workspace to illustrate maximum efficiency using drafting tools and computer.
  • Direct workers engaged in product measurement, inspection, and testing activities to ensure quality control and reliability.
  • Develop manufacturing methods, labor utilization standards, and cost analysis systems to promote efficient staff and facility utilization.
  • Review production schedules, engineering specifications, orders, and related information to obtain knowledge of manufacturing methods, procedures, and activities.
  • Complete production reports, purchase orders, and material, tool, and equipment lists.
  • Coordinate and implement quality control objectives, activities, or procedures to resolve production problems, maximize product reliability, or minimize costs.
  • Implement methods and procedures for disposition of discrepant material and defective or damaged parts, and assess cost and responsibility.
  • Apply statistical methods and perform mathematical calculations to determine manufacturing processes, staff requirements, and production standards.
  • Study operations sequence, material flow, functional statements, organization charts, and project information to determine worker functions and responsibilities.
  • Formulate sampling procedures and designs and develop forms and instructions for recording, evaluating, and reporting quality and reliability data.

The above responsibilities are specific to Industrial Engineers. More generally, Industrial Engineers are involved in several broader types of activities:

Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Working with Computers
Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Thinking Creatively
Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is an Industrial Engineer salary?

The median salary for an Industrial Engineer is $88,950, and the average salary is $93,610. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Industrial Engineer salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Industrial Engineers earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Industrial Engineers earn less than $57,950 per year, 25% earn less than $71,630, 75% earn less than $111,360, and 90% earn less than $136,930.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Industrial Engineers is expected to change by 13.7%, and there should be roughly 23,300 open positions for Industrial Engineers every year.

Median annual salary
$88,950
Typical salary range
$57,950 - $136,930
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
13.7%

What personality traits are common among Industrial Engineers?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Industrial Engineer are usually higher in their Investigative, Enterprising, and Conventional interests.

Industrial Engineers typically have very strong Investigative interests. Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

Also, Industrial Engineers typically have moderate Enterprising interests. Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.

Lastly, Industrial Engineers typically have moderate Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Industrial Engineers typically have moderate Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Industrial Engineer tend to value Recognition, Independence, and Achievement.

Most importantly, Industrial Engineers strongly value Recognition. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer advancement, potential for leadership, and are often considered prestigious.

Second, Industrial Engineers strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Industrial Engineers strongly value Achievement. Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Industrial Engineers must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and integrity.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Industrial Engineers, ranked by importance:

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Integrity
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Adaptability/Flexibility
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Analytical Thinking
Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.

What education and training do Industrial Engineers need?

Many Industrial Engineers will have a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.

Industrial Engineers usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Educational degrees among Industrial Engineers

  • 0.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 6.4% completed high school or secondary school
  • 10.5% completed some college coursework
  • 7.8% earned a Associate's degree
  • 51.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 19.7% earned a Master's degree
  • 2.8% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Industrial Engineers

Industrial Engineers may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as engineering and technology, production and processing, or mechanical knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Industrial Engineers might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Design
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.

Important Abilities needed by Industrial Engineers

Industrial Engineers must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Industrial Engineers need abilities such as oral comprehension, written comprehension, and oral expression in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Industrial Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Industrial Engineers

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Industrial Engineers frequently use skills like reading comprehension, active listening, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Industrial Engineers, ranked by their relative importance.

Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Speaking
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.