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Industrial Engineering Schools: Industrial Engineering Degree Online

Industrial engineering is a specialization of engineering that focuses on integrated systems. An industrial engineer can be involved with the analysis and design of various projects, and works towards efficiency by maximizing resources. Industrial engineering can be applied in a variety of disciplines and industries, and offers flexible options for different careers. Industrial engineering schools provide students with the training and education to branch out into dynamic industries including manufacturing, production, systems processing, and operations management. An industrial engineering degree program that specializes in any of these areas provides the best education for a successful career in the field.

What Is Industrial Engineering?

Industrial engineering involves development and implementation of practical systems to solve many of the world's problems. This may take place at the level of production, where an industrial engineer is involved with operational performance, making use of energy resources, calculating production costs, or ensuring that processes are running smoothly. Industrial engineers are commonly involved with the study and implementation of various mathematical problems and formulas to solve problems. Industrial engineering also encompasses the area of product quality control, transportation, and industrial processes.

Job Description and Responsibilities of an Industrial Engineer

After completing industrial engineering career training, an industrial engineer is commonly involved with projects such as:

  • Development and design of new products in manufacturing
  • Streamlining production processes
  • Calculating cost of production
  • Analyzing product design to ensure efficiency
  • Analyzing the flow of products at a factory
  • Assurance engineering
  • Quality control processes and methods
  • Determining producibility
  • Production planning and control systems
  • Developing management control systems
  • Performing cost analysis
  • Solving organizational and production-related problems for efficiency

Industrial engineering colleges can prepare students with the skills and education they need to learn key mathematical and scientific principles. Many engineering colleges offer simulations and other lab-style classes that help provide hands-on experience.

Industrial Engineer Career Choices

After completing an industrial engineering degree program, students can choose from a variety of specializations and industries for a career. The most common industrial engineering career options and positions include:

  • Operations Management
  • Operations Research
  • Industrial Administration/Management
  • Production Planning
  • Logistics or Supply Chain Management
  • Statistical Process Management
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Computer Aided Manufacturing

Operations management usually involves supervising a staff of engineers, and ensuring efficient processes and controls. Operations research helps a company understand processes and performance, and an industrial engineer involved in this area will coordinate various systems and testing procedures. Industrial engineering administration and management occurs at both the production and deployment level. Logistics, statistical processes, manufacturing, and computer aided applications are research-intensive and are commonly pursued after completing a master's degree.

Enrolling in an Industrial Engineering Degree Program

An industrial engineering degree program trains students to become proficient in mathematics, statistics, physical sciences, computer aided engineering, and understanding process-based thinking. An industrial engineer may work at a plant or within a lab; they are trained to study product requirements, mathematical methods, and design information systems.

Most colleges offer a standard engineering degree, but a 2 or 4-year industrial engineering degree program will include both theoretical and scientific applications. Industrial engineering colleges may offer a bachelor's degree program, along with master's degree opportunities. A bachelor's degree in industrial engineering offers jobs beyond the entry-level for most graduates, but many engineers choose to pursue a master's degree in order to pursue a management position or further their research within the field. A strong high school background in math, physics, chemistry, and computer science will help those interested in pursuing an industrial engineering career. Industrial engineering schools have varying admissions requirements depending on the program and course of study.

An industrial engineering degree program can provide training in subjects such as:

  • Systems simulation
  • Human factors in design
  • Engineering economy
  • Engineering administration
  • Optimization of processes
  • Facilities design
  • Logistics
  • Supply Chain management
  • Statistical process control
  • Production planning

Completing education with an online industrial engineering degree also provides some flexibility with limited schedules. An online industrial engineering degree can be completed from a distance, and still provides extensive training in the fields of research and development. Simulations for different projects can be completed with the convenience of a home computer.

Accreditation for Industrial Engineering Schools and Colleges

The Accreditation Board for Education and Technology (ABET) is the accrediting organization for industrial engineering degree programs. This organization is also responsible for monitoring and certifying various mechanical engineering education programs and specializations.

Enrolling in an Online Industrial Engineering Degree Program

Earning an online industrial engineering degree can offer new opportunities for graduates, and the program can serve as a supplement to an existing engineering degree in a similar industry. Since an industrial engineer may be interested in pursuing a management position, they can increase their education and skills with an online industrial engineering degree program, and continue to work while they earn their credentials.

An online industrial engineering degree program offers flexibility for a student who is already working, or one that may be interested in pursuing an internship in conjunction with their education.

Future Employment Prospects and Earning Potential for an Industrial Engineering Career

An industrial engineering degree can branch out into a variety of industries, and the most common areas include semiconductor and electronic manufacturing, navigational, architectural services, aerospace products, and motor vehicle parts manufacturing. The areas of health and safety are another attractive industry for those with an industrial engineering degree.

Industrial engineering colleges offer a variety of programs to enhance or supplement a bachelor's degree, and many of these classes can be taken online. The typical industrial engineer with a bachelor's degree earned $47,051 in 2004, and the highest number of professionals in this industry were found in the areas of navigational and semiconductor manufacturing.


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