Industrial Engineering Degrees

What degrees can I earn in industrial engineering?

Industrial engineering bachelors, masters and PhD programs are available at many colleges and universities across the U.S. While there are job opportunities available to graduates of bachelor degree programs, students earning top industrial engineering degrees from industrial engineering graduate programs may have the competitive edge in the job market. This may also be true if you choose to enroll in a traditional program, but online engineering degree programs are becoming more popular and attracting large numbers of students.

Industrial engineering certificate

Industrial engineering certificate programs can offer a practicing engineer added expertise in areas of specialization such as product design and innovative manufacturing. Most graduate and bachelors certificate programs require graduation from an accredited bachelors program in industrial design. The average length of time for an engineering certificate program is 15 credit hours, which will take most students 12 to 18 months to complete.

Industrial engineering associates degree

Campus-based and online engineering associates degree programs are typically offered in the field of industrial engineering technology. These professionals work alongside engineers to help design systems for improved manufacturing processes. If a career as an industrial design engineer is the goal, a minimum of a bachelors degree is required for most employment.

Industrial engineering bachelors degree

Colleges and universities offer the undergraduate industrial engineering degree as a Bachelor of Science or a Bachelor of Engineering with an industrial engineering concentration. Prerequisites for admission into an onsite or online engineering bachelors degree program will likely include a foundation in calculus and physics courses. As with most bachelors degrees, the undergraduate industrial engineering program will range in credit hours from 120 to 140 hours and will take 4 years to complete.

Industrial engineering masters degree

Students interested in earning an industrial engineering masters will either earn a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering or a Master of Engineering with an industrial engineering concentration. Masters degree programs take approximately 2 years to complete 30 to 40 post-baccalaureate credit hours. A minimum GRE score set by the engineering department may be required for admission into a campus-based or online engineering masters degree program.

Industrial engineering PhD

A doctoral track masters in industrial engineering will allow a student to transition from a graduate program to a PhD in engineering. The length of time required to complete an industrial engineering PhD program is an average of 5 years but can be shorter or longer depending upon the trajectory of the student research.

Are there any industrial engineering degree programs online?

Industrial engineering degree programs online are available at many colleges and universities across the U.S. While most are partial or hybrid bachelors, masters and PhD programs, there are a number of programs that are available fully online.

Online degrees in industrial engineering

While some programs may offer an industrial engineering associates degree online, it may be useful to know that the majority of employers in this field will require you to have earned a bachelors degree or higher. Many accredited industrial engineering online colleges offer the opportunity to transition into a bachelors program upon completion of an industrial engineering technology associates. It may be useful to attend 1 of these institutions so that you can seamlessly transition into a bachelors degree program if you choose to do so.

Committing to an industrial engineering bachelors degree online will require a significant amount of investment in time and financial resources. While some online programs can offer a significant cost savings, you are encouraged to do a cost analysis beforehand to weigh your options. Many online programs have a similar cost per credit hour as brick-and-mortar institutions, and you will want to be sure to budget for high-speed Internet and other technology costs inherent in online programming.

A benefit of attending a campus-based institution is to work with and exchange ideas with likeminded people. Earning your industrial engineering online masters degree may feel isolating at times due to a lack of personal interaction with faculty and classmates. You also may have to wait longer to receive feedback on your work or clarification on a question from a professor. Talk with the program director at your school to see how communication with online students is handled, and be sure to seek networking opportunities outside of your classes.

Earning a PhD in industrial engineering will likely require a great deal of research. One of the challenges of attending industrial engineering schools online is the potential lack of laboratory resources that will be available to you. The best industrial engineering online program will accommodate this lack of availability and will work to ensure that your research needs are met.

What kinds of industrial engineering classes will I take in my program?

Whether you choose campus-based or online engineering courses, there are required classes across all engineering disciplines. A student in an industrial engineering bachelors degree program will start by taking calculus, physics and introductory engineering courses and will progress to classes like human factors technologies and manufacturing processes.

Graduate students in an industrial engineering program will have completed general education courses and will be taking industrial engineering online courses or campus-based courses in performance analysis, operations research and project management.

As a PhD candidate in industrial engineering you will be required to take a combination of selected courses to assist you in defining your dissertation research. These courses may include classes in optimization, stochastic models and financial engineering. Part of your earned credit hours will also be dedicated toward the completion and defense of your dissertation.

What industrial engineering careers can I choose from?

Industrial engineering jobs are typically geared toward streamlining the manufacturing of a product or service, in order to enhance safety and efficiency. The best careers in industrial engineering are highly people-oriented and help enhance working conditions for employees in addition to improving product quality.


Ergonomics is a popular field in industrial engineering that analyzes work environments and designs ways to improve the health and safety of employees, whether they work in an office, hospital or factory. Industrial engineering jobs for ergonomists pay an average salary of $52,000 to $107,000, and require a bachelors in industrial engineering or a related field.

Quality Engineer

A quality engineer is someone who measures and evaluates products during the manufacturing process in order to ensure quality and safety. There is a high demand for quality engineers in the manufacturing sector, with most employers requiring a bachelors degree in industrial engineering. The average industrial engineering salary for someone in this field is $85,000.

Operations Analyst

Similar to a quality engineer, an operations analyst monitors the job processes at a plant or facility in order to ensure safety and efficiency, and provides guidance on how to improve these factors. Jobs for operations analysts require a bachelor degree, and provides an average salary of $78,000.

Is there anything else I should know about getting a degree in industrial engineering?

While not all engineers choose to pursue licensure, many industrial engineering jobs require applicants to undergo industrial engineering training to get a Professional Engineer license. Those that do not require licensure may pay higher wages to engineers who are licensed so it may be worth it to get your industrial engineering certification.

The first step toward this licensure is to take the Fundamentals in Engineering exam in order to be considered an engineer in training, which will allow you to gain professional experience until you are ready to sit for your licensure exam.

The Institute of Industrial Engineers offers engineering certification in industrial engineering professional skills with an emphasis on management expertise. The institute also offers a number of continuing education opportunities for engineers in the field, including webinars, open courseware and corporate onsite training that can be customized to the needs of an employer.