17 careers you can pursue with an industrial engineering degree (and salaries)
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Before you apply for industrial engineering jobs, it’s important to consider your career options. Industrial engineering careers span several specialty areas.
By researching different careers to pursue in industrial engineering, you can determine which jobs interest you the most and which to focus on in your job search.
In this article, we define industrial engineering, review why you should pursue a career in this field and list 17 career options with salary expectations and typical duties.
What is industrial engineering?
Industrial engineering is a sector of the engineering field where professionals focus on ensuring the efficiency of industrial processes.
This includes production assembly lines, manufacturing layouts and waste disposal systems. Industrial engineers aim to limit material waste during the production process.
Typically, those wanting to pursue a career in industrial engineering need to earn a bachelor’s degree. However, they can also become industrial engineers by obtaining a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing, mechanical or electrical engineering.
For more senior roles, you may need a master’s degree in one or more of those specialties.
Why pursue a career in industrial engineering?
A career in industrial engineering offers a variety of unique job opportunities for engineering professionals.
These include opportunities in data analysis, manufacturing operations, waste management, occupational safety, consulting and computer automation. This allows you to transfer your industrial engineering knowledge to different areas and allows you to develop your skills throughout your career.
17 careers to pursue with an industrial engineering degree
Review these 17 industrial engineering careers to determine which job title appeals to your salary needs and professional interests.
For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link by each job title below:
1. Manufacturing technician
National average salary: $41,162 per year
Primary duties: A manufacturing technician ensures quality production standards in manufacturing plants and factories. They use their manufacturing equipment and machinery knowledge to calibrate and manually manipulate them following production needs.
They also keep production logs and complete basic maintenance on equipment as needed. To qualify for a manufacturing technician job, individuals usually need to earn an associate’s degree in engineering or manufacturing technology.
2. Quality assurance inspector
National average salary: $59,101 per year
Primary duties: Quality assurance inspectors work in factories or manufacturing plants to inspect product quality before they ship products to warehouses or retail locations. They monitor the production process and select random products for testing.
They also maintain quality assurance records to determine whether current manufacturing procedures work correctly. Quality assurance inspectors usually have a high school diploma or an associate’s degree followed by onsite job training.
Related: Guide To Quality Assurance
3. Industrial mechanic
National average salary: $59,422 per year
Primary duties: An industrial mechanic uses their knowledge of manufacturing machinery and processes to troubleshoot mechanical issues, calibrate equipment and replace existing machinery. They also complete test runs after installations or repairs.
Individuals need to earn at least a high school diploma to become an industrial mechanic. However, some employers may prefer candidates to have an associate’s degree from a trade school.
4. Industrial electrician
National average salary: $59,918 per year
Primary duties: Industrial electricians work on construction sites, shipyards, and manufacturing plants to ensure electrical systems work effectively.
They work closely with the site manager to draw electrical blueprints, update electronic controls and install wiring systems. They also consult site managers about the types of lighting necessary to maintain a safe work environment.
Industrial electricians usually need a high school diploma, followed by an apprenticeship with an electrical company. However, they can also get an associate’s degree to work as an electrician.
National average salary: $61,880 per year
Primary duties: Professors specializing in industrial engineering usually have an extensive professional background, which qualifies them to instruct industrial engineering students.
They’re responsible for developing lesson plans, grading assignments and helping their students get professional experience through internships or placement opportunities.
6. Industrial designer
National average salary: $67,537 per year
Primary duties: An industrial designer creates product designs ahead of the manufacturing stage. They develop prototypes, draw blueprints, determine necessary materials and calculate relative production costs.
They also coordinate with manufacturing professionals to decide the average production time for each product to ensure quality while maintaining inventory needs. Industrial designers typically earn a bachelor’s degree in an area like industrial engineering or industrial design.
7. Manufacturing production supervisor
National average salary: $69,191 per year
Primary duties: Manufacturing production supervisors oversee the daily operations of one or more production floors within a manufacturing plant.
They delegate production tasks among employees, review production records and determine how to calibrate equipment for quality production results.
To become a manufacturing production supervisor, individuals need a bachelor’s degree in either industrial engineering or manufacturing engineering, followed by a few years of professional experience in a manufacturing role.
8. Supply chain analyst
National average salary: $70,943 per year
Primary duties: A supply chain analyst uses reports and data at each stage of the supply chain, including from the planning stage to the transportation of goods.
The data they analyze can determine whether current manufacturing and transportation standards work well together. They bring their findings to a supply chain leader at a corporation to help them choose the best ways to maximize their supply chain process.
Supply chain analysts usually earn a bachelor’s degree in an area like industrial engineering, supply chain management or statistics.
9. Cost estimator
National average salary: $73,086 per year
Primary duties: Cost estimators collaborate with corporations, manufacturing operations and construction companies to necessary costs to build infrastructure or manufacture products.
They do this by consulting with industry experts and reviewing relative costs to perform activities in a particular area. Based on the amount of time, labor and materials needed, cost estimators present a realistic overview of their client’s needs to achieve their business goals.
To qualify for a cost estimator position, individuals should earn a bachelor’s degree in an area like construction, business management or industrial engineering.
10. Mechanical designer
National average salary: $73,643 per year
Primary duties: A mechanical designer develops designs for manufacturing machinery and equipment. They draw blueprints, determine what raw materials to use and run tests on prototypes. They also review previous models and redesign them for maximum efficiency.
Mechanical designers may also help train manufacturing employees to use and calibrate equipment. Mechanical designers usually have a minimum of an associate’s degree in an area like manufacturing technology, but they can also benefit from obtaining a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering or mechanical engineering.
11. Industrial engineer
National average salary: $75,242 per year
Primary duties: An industrial engineer develops strategies to improve manufacturing and reduce waste. They do this by recalibrating manufacturing equipment, monitoring production assembly procedures and implementing new equipment to aid efficiency.
To qualify as an industrial engineer, individuals need to earn a bachelor’s degree in industrial or manufacturing engineering.
12. Quality engineer
National average salary: $75,247 per year
Primary duties: Quality engineers work for factories and manufacturing plants to ensure the quality of the products. They do this by helping establish production procedures and restructuring production systems if necessary.
They oversee employees throughout the product assembly process and instruct them on how to complete quality checks. Quality engineers also keep logs to track the progress of new policies or procedures.
Individuals looking to start a career as a quality engineer need to obtain at least an associate’s degree in quality engineering. However, quality engineers may also benefit from getting a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering.
13. Manufacturing engineer
National average salary: $81,957 per year
Primary duties: A manufacturing engineer ensures efficient manufacturing processes at factories and plants. On a typical day, they monitor the production process, use CAD software to design new systems and assist with calibrating equipment in accordance with production needs.
Manufacturing engineers may also help install or repair equipment depending on their qualifications. To become a manufacturing engineer, individuals should earn a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing or industrial engineering.
14. Energy efficiency engineer
National average salary: $85,282 per year
Primary duties: Energy efficiency engineers conduct energy audits and assist their clients in adjusting to more energy-efficient systems. They usually collaborate with commercial or residential builders, manufacturing plants and industrial sites to help them reduce their energy waste.
They also help install or upgrade energy systems in accordance with a client’s budget. Energy efficiency engineers need to earn a bachelor’s degree in energy systems engineering, industrial engineering or environmental engineering.
15. Process engineer
National average salary: $88,416 per year
Primary duties: A process engineer uses their knowledge of raw materials and manufacturing equipment to aid in producing goods using raw materials. They help create a variety of products by calibrating manufacturing equipment.
These include building tools, pharmaceutical medicines, food products, and energy sources. To qualify for a process engineering role, individuals usually need to earn a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, manufacturing engineering or chemical engineering.
16. Mechanical engineer
National average salary: $95,344 per year
Primary duties: Mechanical engineers design, install and repair a vast range of machinery and equipment. This includes home appliances, like refrigerators or microwaves, or commercial systems, like elevators or escalators.
Mechanical engineers can also contribute to the design of power-producing machinery like generators or gas turbines.
They need a bachelor’s degree in a field like mechanical engineering or industrial engineering to qualify for their roles.
17. Occupational health and safety manager
National average salary: $96,036 per year
Primary duties: Occupational health and safety managers work at construction sites, manufacturing plants and other industrial sites to establish safety procedures.
They determine potential risk factors for an industrial site based on the machinery and processes involved. From this, they develop plans to minimize health and safety risks.
They also conduct employee safety training to understand how to operate equipment and react to hazardous situations.
To become an occupational health and safety manager, individuals should have a bachelor’s degree in an area like industrial engineering or occupational health, followed by a few years of experience in a related role.
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