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Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kNXMJBQ6oL4.
Quick Facts: Industrial Engineers
2023 Median Pay $99,380 per year
$47.78 per hour
Typical Entry-Level Education Bachelor's degree
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training None
Number of Jobs, 2022 327,300
Job Outlook, 2022-32 12% (Much faster than average)
Employment Change, 2022-32 38,400

What Industrial Engineers Do

Industrial engineers design, develop, and test integrated systems for managing industrial production processes.

Work Environment

Industrial engineers work in a variety of settings, such as offices and manufacturing plants. Most work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become an Industrial Engineer

Industrial engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering or a related field, such as mechanical or electrical engineering.

Pay

The median annual wage for industrial engineers was $99,380 in May 2023.

Job Outlook

Employment of industrial engineers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 22,800 openings for industrial engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for industrial engineers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of industrial engineers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about industrial engineers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

What Industrial Engineers Do About this section

Industrial engineers
Industrial engineers collect data on processes and production.

Industrial engineers devise efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service. They assess workers, quality control, logistics, and other factors involved in coordinating production.

Duties

Industrial engineers typically do the following:

  • Evaluate manufacturing, delivery, customer experience, or other systems and identify ways to improve productivity and quality
  • Collect data on processes and production through observations of work activities, time studies, and staff surveys
  • Analyze data to identify trends and areas for improvement
  • Design processes, systems, or enhancements to maximize productivity, efficiency, or space
  • Collaborate with other departments to develop and implement recommendations for improving productivity or performance
  • Present analysis and recommendations to management and other stakeholders

Industrial engineers focus on efficiency, balancing factors such as time, number of workers needed, and available technology to accomplish goals safely and within budget. They create products and services that are useful to a variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, and transportation. For example, they might design systems to help move heavy parts within manufacturing plants, improve hospital wait times, or increase vehicle safety.

The following are examples of types of industrial engineers:

Human factors engineers help with products, facilities, and systems to enhance overall well being and system performance. They study the relationship between humans and technology and use those insights to optimize products and systems. For example, they may study how workers interact with manufacturing equipment and detect potential for human error that may lead to safety risks.

Manufacturing engineers design or improve manufacturing systems or related processes. They may focus on the automated aspects of manufacturing production, upgrades to facility layout, or changes to processes to reduce costs and improve product quality. They also design manufacturing systems to optimize the use of computer networks, robots, and materials.

Validation engineers ensure that equipment and systems create products that meet safety and quality requirements. They develop and supervise tests, and they evaluate test data or products to determine whether requirements have been met. They also may inspect equipment or computer systems used in the production process.

Work Environment About this section

Industrial engineers
Industrial engineers may observe factory or production layouts.

Industrial engineers held about 327,300 jobs in 2022. The largest employers of industrial engineers were as follows:

Transportation equipment manufacturing 16%
Professional, scientific, and technical services 13
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 12
Machinery manufacturing 9
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 6

Industrial engineers work in a variety of settings. For example, they may observe workers assembling parts in a factory or spend time in an office analyzing data.

Industrial engineers may need to travel from one work setting to another, such as from their office to a hospital or railyard.

Work Schedules

Most industrial engineers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.

How to Become an Industrial Engineer About this section

Industrial engineers
Industrial engineers often collaborate with workers across an organization.

Industrial engineers typically need a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering or a related field, such as mechanical or electrical engineering.

Education

High school students interested in industrial engineering should take classes in mathematics, such as algebra, trigonometry, and calculus; computer science; and sciences, such as chemistry and physics.

Industrial engineers typically need a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering or a related field. Some prospective industrial engineers have degrees in other engineering disciplines, such as mechanical, manufacturing, or general engineering. Human factors engineers may need a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Bachelor’s degree programs include academic and laboratory coursework in subjects such as statistics, production systems planning, and manufacturing systems design. Colleges and universities may offer internship or cooperative education programs with businesses, allowing students to gain work experience while completing their education.

Some colleges and universities offer 5-year programs that lead to both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.

Programs in industrial engineering are accredited by ABET.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Licensure is not required for entry-level industrial engineer positions. Experienced engineers may obtain a Professional Engineer (PE) license, which allows them to oversee the work of other engineers, sign off on projects, and provide services directly to the public.

State licensure typically requires a bachelor’s or higher degree in engineering, a passing score on the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam, several years of relevant work experience, and a passing score on the PE exam.

Each state issues its own license. Most states recognize licensure from other states, as long as the licensing state’s requirements meet or exceed their own licensure requirements. Several states require continuing education for engineers to keep their licenses.

Although certification is not required, some industrial engineers choose to earn a professional credential. For example, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and the Project Management Institute offer certification specific to their areas of focus.

Advancement

Some industrial engineers advance to management positions. In these roles, they may supervise a team of engineers and technicians. For more information, see the profile on architectural and engineering managers.

Important Qualities

Communication skills. Industrial engineers must be able to convey complex information, both orally and in writing, to technical and nontechnical audiences.

Computer skills. Industrial engineers use software to analyze data and must be proficient in certain programs or applications, such as computer-aided drafting tools.

Creativity. Industrial engineers use ingenuity to design new production processes or service systems in many settings.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineers use logic and reasoning to identify alternative solutions or approaches to the processes and systems they assess.

Interpersonal skills. Industrial engineers often collaborate with workers across an organization and must be able to work as part of a team.

Math skills. Industrial engineers use calculus, trigonometry, and other mathematics in their work to analyze, design, and troubleshoot.

Problem-solving skills. Industrial engineers must be able to recognize issues that arise during production processes and recommend resolutions.

Pay About this section

Industrial Engineers

Median annual wages, May 2023

Engineers

$102,660

Industrial engineers

$99,380

Total, all occupations

$48,060

 

The median annual wage for industrial engineers was $99,380 in May 2023. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $65,320, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $142,220.

In May 2023, the median annual wages for industrial engineers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Professional, scientific, and technical services $103,440
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 101,250
Transportation equipment manufacturing 99,630
Machinery manufacturing 95,640
Fabricated metal product manufacturing 82,520

Most industrial engineers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week.

Job Outlook About this section

Industrial Engineers

Percent change in employment, projected 2022-32

Industrial engineers

12%

Engineers

7%

Total, all occupations

3%

 

Employment of industrial engineers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2022 to 2032, much faster than the average for all occupations.

About 22,800 openings for industrial engineers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Industrial engineers focus on reducing internal costs, making their work valuable in manufacturing and other industries, such as consulting and engineering services and research and development firms. As more companies look to lower costs, demand is expected to increase for industrial engineers to optimize production processes, manage supply chains and logistics, and provide expertise on automation.

Employment projections data for industrial engineers, 2022-32
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2022 Projected Employment, 2032 Change, 2022-32 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Industrial engineers

17-2112 327,300 365,700 12 38,400 Get data

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OEWS data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.org. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of industrial engineers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help on Entry-Level Education 2023 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Architectural and engineering managers Architectural and Engineering Managers

Architectural and engineering managers plan, direct, and coordinate activities in the fields of architecture and engineering.

Bachelor's degree $165,370
calibration technologists and technicians Calibration Technologists and Technicians

Calibration technologists and technicians inspect, adjust, and test measurement devices against standards, such as those used in manufacturing, healthcare, and other industries.

Associate's degree $62,790
Cost estimators Cost Estimators

Cost estimators collect and analyze data in order to assess the time, money, materials, and labor required to make a product or provide a service.

Bachelor's degree $74,740
Health and safety engineers Health and Safety Engineers

Health and safety engineers combine knowledge of engineering and of health and safety to develop procedures and design systems to protect people from illness and injury and property from damage.

Bachelor's degree $103,690
Industrial engineering technicians Industrial Engineering Technologists and Technicians

Industrial engineering technologists and technicians help engineers solve problems affecting manufacturing layout or production.

Associate's degree $62,610
Industrial production managers Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers oversee the operations of manufacturing and related plants.

Bachelor's degree $116,970
Logisticians Logisticians

Logisticians analyze and coordinate an organization’s supply chain.

Bachelor's degree $79,400
Management analysts Management Analysts

Management analysts recommend ways to improve an organization’s efficiency.

Bachelor's degree $99,410
Occupational health and safety specialists Occupational Health and Safety Specialists and Technicians

Occupational health and safety specialists and technicians collect data on, analyze, and design improvements to work environments and procedures.

See How to Become One $77,580
Quality control inspectors Quality Control Inspectors

Quality control inspectors examine products and materials for defects or deviations from specifications.

High school diploma or equivalent $45,850

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about industrial engineers, visit

Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers

For more information about general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education

Technology Student Association

For more information about licensure as an industrial engineer, visit

National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying

National Society of Professional Engineers

For more information about certification as a manufacturing engineer, visit

Society of Manufacturing Engineers

For more information about accredited engineering programs, visit

ABET

For more information about human factors engineers, visit

Human Factors and Ergonomics Society

Occupational Requirements Survey

For a profile highlighting selected BLS data on occupational requirements, see

Industrial engineers (PDF)

O*NET

Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists

Industrial Engineers

Manufacturing Engineers

Validation Engineers

Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Industrial Engineers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/architecture-and-engineering/industrial-engineers.htm (visited July 09, 2024).

Last Modified Date: Thursday, May 16, 2024

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2022

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2022, which is the base year of the 2022-32 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2022-32

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032. The average growth rate for all occupations is 3 percent.

Employment Change, 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2022-32

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2022 to 2032.

2023 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2023, the median annual wage for all workers was $48,060.