Earning a Master’s in Industrial Engineering Online
Should I Pursue a Master's in Industrial Engineering Online?
Industrial engineering deals with the design, implementation, installation, and optimization of integrated systems of people, knowledge, and information. The field is comprised of several sub-specialties and sub-disciplines, including systems engineering, facilities engineering, manufacturing engineering, and safety. To this end, pursuing a master's in industrial engineering enables graduates to work in various industries.
Industrial engineers need specialized knowledge of mathematics and science as well as strong problem-solving, analytical, and quantitative and qualitative reasoning skills. A master's in industrial engineering online degree likely best fits students who enjoy algebra, trigonometry, calculus, chemistry, and physics.
Online learning provides students with maximum flexibility as they earn their degrees. Completing an online industrial engineering master's degree enables distance learners to take classes and complete assignments in the comfort of their own home or office. It also allows students to enroll in colleges and universities outside the city and state in which they reside.
Employment Outlook for Master's in Industrial Engineering Graduates
Master's in Industrial Engineering Salary
Industrial engineers apply science and mathematics to operations in electronics, metals, and technical services. Engineers in the computer and electronics manufacturing industry tend to earn a higher salary than those in the fabricated metal product manufacturing industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for all industrial engineers is roughly $85,000. As industrial engineers gain more experience in the field, they tend to earn a higher yearly income.
The following tables outline median annual wages for industrial engineers in the top five industries and their average pay by experience level.
Salaries for Industrial Engineers by Industry
|Industry||Annual Mean Wage|
|Computer and Electronic Product Manufacturing||$94,120|
|Professional, Scientific, and Technical Services||$93,830|
|Transportation Equipment Manufacturing||$89,080|
|Fabricated Metal Product Manufacturing||$73,940|
Master's in Industrial Engineering Careers
An online master's degree in industrial engineering can lead to careers in different industries. Graduates who want to oversee operations and supervise direct employees may want to pursue leadership and management roles. Those interested in the mathematics and analytics side of engineering may prefer to work directly in the field, developing and testing processes and programs. Graduates of online industrial engineering master's programs may pursue work in manufacturing plants, factories, warehouses, architectural and engineering firms, healthcare, and more.
Annual Median Salary: $85,880
Industrial engineers develop and test integrated systems for managing industrial product processes and operations. Using science and mathematics concepts, These engineers determine how to manufacture products, ensure quality control, maximize efficiency, and minimize waste. A master's degree can help an industrial engineer earn a high-level position in the field.
Architectural and Engineering Manager
Annual Median Salary: $137,720
Architectural and engineering managers develop plans for new products, propose budgets, and supervise staff. These engineers often lead the research process and ensure technical accuracy of their firm's work. Industrial engineering master's programs prepare architectural managers with the organizational skills needed to achieve excellence in the industry.
Annual Median Salary: $63,110
Cost estimators gather and analyze data to predict the amount of time, money, and labor needed for construction and manufacturing projects. Estimators read blueprints and technical documents, and they apply mathematics to calculate and adjust estimates as necessary. An online master's degree in industrial engineering ensures cost estimators possess analytical and mathematical skills necessary to excel in this role.
Health and Safety Engineer
Annual Median Salary: $88,510
Health and safety engineers design and implement safety systems to help protect people from illness and injury. Combining knowledge of engineering and health, these engineers ensure products, such as chemicals, machinery, and equipment, are safe to use. An online industrial engineering master's degree enables safety engineers to enter the field at a higher level.
Industrial Production Manager
Annual Median Salary: $100,580
Industrial production managers oversee the operations of manufacturing plants. Their responsibilities include hiring and training employees, maintaining schedules and budgets, analyzing production data, and ensuring quality control. An online master's degree in industrial engineering helps production managers acquire jobs at larger plants.
What Can I Expect from an Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Program?
Each master's program contains its own unique core curriculum, electives, and graduation requirements. Most online master's in industrial engineering degrees feature senior-level and advanced courses in mathematics, computational methods, statistics, quality control, production planning, and plant design. Finally, most master's programs culminate in a final thesis paper or capstone project.
Curriculum for an Online Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering
Production and Inventory Planning
Production planning courses focus on operations research methods, analytical models, and practical problem-solving. Topics cover inventory analysis, aggregate planning, master scheduling, lean manufacturing, purchasing, and forecasting techniques. Students develop modeling and analytical skills and the ability to make lot-sizing decisions, perform rough-cut capacity planning, and improve production performance and cost-effectiveness.
Statistical Quality Control
Statistical quality control courses teach students how to use statistical analysis, control techniques, and reliability models to assure the quality of products. Topics include history of quality control methodologies, modern quality control techniques, design of process control systems, and process improvement. Students develop skills in data characterization, control chart development, and performance analysis.
Industrial engineering optimization courses explore operations research. Topics include mathematical programming formulations, probability concepts, duality and sensitivity analysis, and linear and nonlinear programming. Students learn how to apply metaheuristic algorithms and formulate, analyze, and solve mathematical models, including network flow and shortest path problems.
Management Systems Engineering
Systems engineering courses explore the development of knowledge, goods, and services based on user needs and wants. Students learn how to implement algorithms for systems modeling, design, analysis, and optimization. Topics cover principles of concept exploration, design synthesis, data structures, analysis of alternatives, integration, documentation requirements, and system validation.
Human Factors Engineering
Human factors engineering courses focus on the analysis of human characteristics, capabilities, and limitations as related to the application of science, engineering, and mathematics to socio-technical systems. Topics cover human senses, fatigue, stress, cognition, decision-making, anthropometry, and safety. Students discuss the impact of work environment and workplace design on productivity.
Certifications and Licenses a Master's in Industrial Engineering Prepares for
- Professional Engineering License: When an industrial engineer earns state licensure, they becomes a professional engineer. Licensed engineers hold leadership roles, supervise other engineers, and sign off on large projects. State licensure typically requires a degree from an accredited program, passing scores on the Fundamentals of Engineering and Professional Engineering exams, and four years of work experience.
- Society of Manufacturing Engineers Certification: SME offers several voluntary industry-recognized credentials for engineers. SME certifications demonstrate dedication to continual learning and professional development. Certifications help engineers stand out against competition when searching for a job. Each certification contains its own set of requirements, but earning one typically requires eight years of education and four years of work experience.
Professional Organizations and Resources
Professional organizations represent valuable resources for industrial engineering students, recent graduates, and working professionals. Member organizations generally offer unique benefits and incentives to members, including access to private networking events, special discounts on conferences and subscriptions, and professional development opportunities. Graduates of industrial engineering master's programs can search for jobs through professional organizations' career centers and job-placement services. The following organizations can help aspiring industrial engineers begin their careers.
The National Society of Professional Engineers: NSPE provides industrial engineers a strong community in which to connect, collaborate, and network. Members benefit from live educational events and conferences as well as free online seminars, interest groups, and blogs.
American Society of Safety Professionals: ASSP dedicates itself to occupational safety, health, and risk management. The organization offers education and training opportunities, exclusive publications, and career support. ASSP also runs government safety advocacy programs.
American Society of Mechanical Engineers: A nonprofit membership organization, ASME dedicates itself to the art, science, and practice of engineering and sciences. Members benefit from career enrichment, skills development and training opportunities, special conferences and publications, and access to an online community.
SAE International: SAE's global association of engineers and technical experts provides members with career resources, an exclusive online community, and discounts on books, registration at conferences, and professional development opportunities.
Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers: IISE is the world's largest professional society dedicated to industrial and systems engineering. The organization offers an abundance of learning materials, training programs, social networks, and career resources. Members receive access to seminars, conferences, and discounted programming.
Society of Manufacturing Engineers: SME supports the manufacturing industry through its resources center and training and development programs. The organization offers student scholarships programs, mentorship programs, and special certifications for engineering professionals.
American Society for Quality: ASQ is a global community of individuals and organizations dedicated to quality control. The organization offers professional certifications, training programs, and networking opportunities. Members have access to newsletters, magazines, and books.
Production and Operations Management Society: An international professional organization dedicated to the improvement of the field through education and knowledge dissemination, POMS hosts conferences and offers members discounted registration fees. Members receive a job bulletin, research bulletin, and newsletter.
Board of Certified Safety Professionals: BCSP serves as a credentialing agency that offers 10 certification options for safety, health, and environmental practitioners. Other resources available include a career center, salary survey, credential holder directory, academic program directory, and exam and study materials.
Surface Mount Technology Association: A nonprofit international association of individuals and companies, SMTA supports the electronics engineering and manufacturing industry. Members benefit from free technical articles and webinars, access to an exclusive journal, and a unique Q&A message board.
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