Industrial Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

Industrial engineering is a versatile profession that focuses on optimizing complex processes or systems by reducing wastefulness in production. It is one of the oldest branches of engineering and typically requires a professional engineering license to practice. If you want to learn more about this field and pursue a career in it, contact the schools in our directory to receive detailed information to help you make a decision.

To work as an industrial engineer, you typically need a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. However, many practicing industrial engineers also have degrees in related fields like mechanical engineering, manufacturing engineering, industrial engineering technology, or general engineering. 

Benefits of an Industrial Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

When you obtain an industrial engineering bachelor’s degree, you have the opportunity to explore a wide range of career options. Industrial engineering offers versatility, allowing you to work in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, and more.

In addition to career opportunities, industrial engineers are always in demand. Industries require professionals who can streamline processes and reduce waste, ensuring job stability throughout your industrial engineering career. The growing focus on sustainability and reducing environmental impact further enhances job stability in this field.

6 Tips on How to Choose a School for Your Industrial Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

There are numerous schools in the U.S. offering industrial engineering bachelor’s programs. However, it’s important to understand that not all programs are the same. Here are six tips to help you make an informed choice:

  1. Consider the Accreditation and Reputation of the school

Accreditation is a quality assurance process that ensures the school meets certain education and professionalism standards. You can check the school’s accreditation status on the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) website. Reputation is another important factor to consider, which you can determine through rankings, reviews, and alumni feedback.

  1. Compare the Curriculum and Specialization Options

Choose a school with a curriculum that aligns with your interests and career aspirations. Some schools offer more flexibility and electives, while others have specific tracks or concentrations to specialize in. Review the course catalog and syllabus of each school to find the one that best suits your needs.

  1. Evaluate the Faculty and Facilities

Look into the backgrounds and expertise of the faculty members in the industrial engineering department. Consider their industry experience and research work. Additionally, assess the facilities and resources provided by the school, such as labs, equipment, software, libraries, and research centers.

  1. Assess the Cost

Cost is a crucial factor when choosing a school for your industrial engineering bachelor’s degree. Find a balance between affordability and the quality of education. Explore public universities that offer lower in-state tuition rates, and also consider private institutions that may provide scholarships to offset higher tuition. Don’t forget to factor in living expenses if you’ll be relocating for your studies, or consider an online industrial engineering program to reduce costs.

  1. Visit the Campus and Talk to Current Students

Visiting the campus is a great way to get a feel for the school. Take a tour, attend information sessions, sit in on classes, and meet with admissions counselors. Talking to current students can provide valuable insights and experiences.

  1. Consider Class Size and Student-to-Faculty Ratio

Smaller class sizes and lower student-to-faculty ratios can offer more opportunities for active learning, feedback, collaboration, and mentoring. They also allow for more customization of the curriculum and effective use of technology and equipment.

Industrial Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Courses and Curriculum

To become an industrial engineer, you typically need to earn a Bachelor of Science (BS) or a Bachelor of Science and Engineering (BSE) in Industrial Engineering (IE). Some Industrial Engineers hold degrees in Industrial & Operations Engineering (IOE) or Industrial & Systems Engineering (ISE).

Undergraduate industrial engineering programs include foundational math and science courses such as chemistry, physics, mechanics, materials science, computer science, and engineering design. Mathematics courses like calculus, differential equations, and statistics are required to prepare students for engineering licensure exams.

Specialized courses in industrial engineering cover areas such as systems theory, design or analysis, ergonomics/safety, stochastics, optimization, advanced mathematics, computation or modeling, engineering economics, and business-oriented courses. Bachelor’s degree programs include both classroom and laboratory experiences.

At the postgraduate level, you can earn a Master of Science (MS) or Master of Science and Engineering (MSE) in Industrial Engineering. These programs focus on operations research and optimization techniques, engineering economics, supply chain management and logistics, facilities and work-space design, quality engineering, human factors engineering and ergonomics, robotics, productivity improvement, operations management, time and motion studies, computer-aided manufacturing, and more.

Some colleges and universities also offer 5-year integrated bachelor’s and master’s programs in industrial engineering. Graduate degrees open up opportunities for working as a professor or in research and development. Accreditation for industrial engineering programs is provided by ABET.

Industrial Engineering Salary and Career Outlook

The employment of industrial engineers is expected to grow by 12% between 2022 and 2032, which is much faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Industrial engineers are employed in various settings, including manufacturing, professional services, technical services, and scientific services. 

According to the BLS, the average annual salary for industrial engineers exceeds $96,000. The highest paid industrial engineers are found in professional, scientific, and technical services settings, according to the BLS

Typical Careers for Industrial Engineering Bachelor’s Degree Graduates

There are many engineering careers, and an industrial engineering bachelor’s degree can help you pursue a range of career paths. Some common careers in this field include:

  • Manufacturing Engineer: Focuses on designing, optimizing, and overseeing manufacturing processes to ensure efficient production.
  • Quality Control Engineer: Monitors and improves production processes to ensure products meet specified quality standards.
  • Supply Chain Manager: Oversees and coordinates the movement of goods, from suppliers to consumers, ensuring efficiency and timely delivery.
  • Operations Analyst: Analyzes organizational processes and offers solutions to improve efficiency and effectiveness.
  • Project Manager: Leads and coordinates projects, ensuring they stay on time, on budget, and meet predetermined objectives.
  • Logistics Manager: Manages the transportation, storage, and distribution of goods in an organization.
  • Healthcare Systems Engineer: Optimizes healthcare processes and systems to improve patient care and operational efficiency.
  • Research and Development Engineer: Creates and tests new products or processes, driving innovation in various industries.
  • Environmental and Sustainability Consultant: Advises organizations on best practices for environmental conservation and sustainable operations.

How to Become an Industrial Engineer

If you’re interested in pursuing a career in industrial engineering, here are the steps you can take:

Earn an Industrial Engineering Bachelor’s Degree

To become an industrial engineer, you must complete a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering. Each institution has its own graduation requirements, so make sure to understand and meet them. Graduating with this degree will qualify you to work as an industrial engineer.

Gain Experience as an Industrial Engineer

After obtaining your bachelor’s degree, gaining practical experience is crucial. Look for internships, graduate programs, or entry-level jobs to apply what you learned in school. This experience will help you build a strong resume and open doors to better opportunities.

Obtain Licensure

While not always mandatory, obtaining a professional engineering license can enhance your career prospects and credibility as an industrial engineer. After graduating and gaining at least four years of experience, you can apply for licensure. There are two types of licensing: Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and Professional Engineer (PE) licensing.

The FE exam assesses your understanding of fundamental engineering principles, and passing it grants you an Engineer Intern (EI) or Engineer-in-Training (EIT) certification. The PE exam is more specialized and focuses on your specific engineering discipline. Passing the PE exam qualifies you as a fully licensed PE.

Working Life of an Industrial Engineer

Industrial engineers work in a variety of settings, both in offices and in the environments they aim to improve. They may observe workers in factories or staff in hospitals to identify problems, or work in offices to examine gathered data. Industrial engineers may also need to travel to various work settings to make assessments. The industries that employ the most industrial engineers include aerospace product and parts manufacturing, machinery manufacturing, professional services, and management of companies and enterprises. Good interpersonal skills are important for industrial engineers to collaborate with professionals from different backgrounds and bridge the gap between technical and business aspects.

According to a study conducted by the University of Chicago, industrial engineers ranked in the top ten careers associated with general happiness. This happiness is attributed to factors such as creativity, utilization of expertise, and the ability to help others. Overall, industrial engineers find satisfaction in using their quantitative and non-quantitative skills to improve processes and products.


If you’re interested in pursuing a career in industrial engineering, contact schools in your area for more information. We recommend comparing multiple programs to choose the best one for your goals and aspirations.

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