Industrial EngineerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

An industrial engineer designs and implements processes that efficiently make products or provide services. The goal of an industrial engineer is to eliminate wastefulness in production processes and make sure systems make the best-integrated use of workers, machines, materials, information, and energy. Industrial engineers design processes for use in a wide array of industries, including manufacturing and health care. They review production schedules, design specifications, workflows, and other information to understand and adjust their company’s processes to make them more efficient.

Because workers are an essential part of most systems an Industrial Engineer designs, high-level interpersonal communication skills are vital in this role. Skills and experience in engineering are also crucial, as is planning and analytical thinking. Industrial engineers combine skill sets from several different jobs, including supply-chain management, project management, and quality assurance.

Sample job description

Industrial engineers are responsible for designing and implementing processes that efficiently make products or provide services while eliminating wastefulness and reducing costs in the production process. They need to have a solid understanding of the company processes to make them more efficient. To do this, an industrial engineer must possess exceptional interpersonal communication skills, solid engineering skills, and be an analytical thinker. [Your Company Name] is searching for an industrial engineer to take our business to new levels. The ideal candidate will have proven experience designing systems that maximize productivity, reduce wastefulness, increase cost efficiency, and ensure high product quality.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Review production schedules, specifications, orders, and related information to learn about manufacturing methods, procedures, and activities
  • Estimate production costs and the effects of product design changes on expenditures
  • Recommend cost-saving measures
  • Use drafting tools and computer-assisted design software to create the layout of equipment, materials, and workspace to illustrate maximum efficiency
  • Coordinate and implement quality control objectives, activities or procedures to resolve production problems, maximize product reliability, or minimize costs
  • Communicate with management and stakeholders to develop production and design standards 

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering or a related field. Some employers prefer that candidates have a master’s degree or PhD for specific jobs or career advancement.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Strong technical writing ability
  • Expertise in working with engineering and computer-assisted design software
  • Demonstrated skill in solving complex technical problems
  • Advanced knowledge of production machinery and job-related service delivery equipment and processes
  • High-level talent in computer technology and systems operations

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in engineering or related field
  • 3+ years experience as an industrial engineer
  • Be a self-starter who needs minimal management
  • Strong written communication skills

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for an industrial engineer is $81,700 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$81,250$109,950
Los Angeles, California$91,650$124,000
Denver, Colorado$76,050$103,350
Washington, DC$93,050$125,900
Miami, Florida$76,050$102,850
Orlando, Florida$70,150$94,850
Tampa, Florida$70,850$95,850
Atlanta, Georgia$74,300$100,550
Chicago, Illinois$85,400$115,550
Boston, Massachusetts$92,350$124,950
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$73,600$99,550
New York City, New York$97,200$131,550
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$79,150$107,100
Dallas, Texas$77,050$104,250
Houston, Texas$76,750$103,800
Seattle, Washington$88,850$120,250
National Average$69,450$93,950

Typical work environment

Industrial engineers typically work either in offices or in factory settings. They may be required to wear protective attire, including goggles and hard hats when at an on-site location. Most work full time during business hours but can work overtime to meet deadlines.

Typical hours

The typical work hours for an industrial engineer are from 9 AM to 5 PM. However, some industrial engineers may work non-traditional hours, depending on the needs of their company.

Available certifications

Manufacturing engineers work in a variety of manufacturing industries, and many institutions offer different certifications to help them develop their skills and expand their knowledge. Check out the following: 

  • Certified Production Technician(CPT). The Manufacturing Skill Standards Council offers this certification for professionals who demonstrate proficiency in the foundational core competencies of advanced manufacturing production. You can earn certification by completing one or more of the 5 assessments, or you can gain full certification by passing all 5 assessments. Certification must be renewed every 5 years.
  • Certified Oil Monitoring Analyst II (OMA II). This credential is designed for professional engineers, tribologists, maintenance supervisors, and onsite/commercial lab managers in supervisory positions who are working in the oil industry. Administered by the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers, the exam covers lubricant selection, system configuration, sampling and analytical methods, sampling intervals, suppliers, and more. OMA II certification is earned by scoring 70% or higher on the exam. Certification is valid for three years, after which individuals must recertify to maintain their OMA II status.

Career path

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering or a related field. Some employers prefer that candidates have a master’s degree or PhD for certain jobs. Industrial engineers can advance to positions such as quality engineer or facilities planner. Since industrial engineering is closely linked to management duties like improving efficiency and evaluating processes, many industrial engineers advance into management roles.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 17-2112.03

2020 Employment292,000
Projected Employment in 2030332,000
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 14% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift40,000 increase

According to the industry website Interesting Engineering, one trend that will affect all engineering sectors in the near future, including Industrial Engineering, is the increasing use of the Internet of Things (IoT). Smart devices are impacting the metrics by which factories’ productivity is measured. Another growing trend in engineering is the use of renewable energy. An estimated 19 percent of power in the U.S. will come from renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydropower in 2020, and renewable energy technology is expected to become even more popular. This trend should lead to new battery technology as well as advances in power grid management.

Sample interview questions

  • What is the role of a manufacturing engineer?
  • Can you describe a time when you executed a change and improved a specific product?
  • What was the least successful project you worked on?
  • How do you evaluate manufacturing processes?
  • What is value engineering?
  • How do you keep track of manufacturing activities and results?
  • How do you deal with employees who are reluctant to the changes you have made to a process?
  • Why do you want to work for us?
  • How do you ensure quality in the manufacturing process?
  • What is your biggest strength as a manufacturing engineer?
  • How do you keep up to date with manufacturing engineering trends?
  • What are the benefits and limitations of Six Sigma?
  • Do you have experience working with CNC machines?
  • What is lean manufacturing and how does it benefit an organization?
  • How do you ensure safety in the manufacturing plant?
  • Can you describe a typical day at work for you as a manufacturing engineer?
  • Can you explain what MES is and how it is used?
  • What challenges in the manufacturing process do you focus on for improvements you can design?
  • How do you calculate the cost of manufacturing work still in progress?
  • What is the difference between precision and accuracy?

Industrial Engineer Jobs in Ashburn

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