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2023 Industrial Engineering Degree Guide

When resources are wasted in manufacturing, money is also being wasted. Industrial Engineering (IE) graduates use their skills to help create ways to efficiently use resources during production processes and save companies money that they can reinvest into their business.

Industrial Engineering students focus on how people use production systems, so they can make the systems easier to use. By discovering ways to help people use these systems more efficiently, less resources are wasted and more products are created. To learn these skills, students take classes in calculus, design, mechanics, engineering, and applied mathematics along with classes on ergonomics and how people factor into the production process.

Industrial Engineering Degrees Shrinking in Popularity

#87 Most Popular Major
9.1k Degrees Awarded
-4.1% Increase in Graduates

In 2020-2021, industrial engineering was the 87th most popular major nationwide with 9,072 degrees awarded. This represents a 4.1% reduction in IE degrees awarded over the prior year's total of 9,448.

This year's Best Industrial Engineering Schools ranking compares 94 of them to identify the best overall programs in the country. Explore this or one of our many other custom IE rankings further below.

2023 Best Colleges for Industrial Engineering
2023 Overall Best Industrial Engineering Colleges >

Best Industrial Engineering Schools by Degree

Associate Degrees in Industrial Engineering
Bachelor's Degrees in Industrial Engineering
Master's Degrees in Industrial Engineering
Doctorate Degrees in Industrial Engineering

Requirements for Getting a Degree in Industrial Engineering

Since Industrial Engineering takes into account the role people have in production, Industrial Engineers must have good interpersonal and communication skills. They will spend their time talking with customers and production staff about what improvements need to be made and how they will affect employees. Industrial Engineering students must also have strong critical thinking skills to create ideas for improving efficiency and teamwork skills to work with other professionals in testing and implementing solutions.

Industrial engineers work full time in office settings. They will occasional make visits to a factory or the company they are working with to observe employees and machinery, but planning is often done on computers through the use of computer-aided design programs.

Proper schooling along with relevant experience is required when pursuing a career in Industrial Engineering. It is recommended that students work a summer job or internship or participate in a cooperative-education program in this field while in school to gain additional, hands-on experience.

While a bachelor's degree will allow graduates to find entry-level jobs in this field, some Industrial Engineering professionals decide to get their master's degree. This advanced degree along with previous experience may lead to jobs with a higher salary.

Prior Education for an IE Program

industrial engineering degree applicants generally need have finished high school or their GED. Many schools may also have GPA and SAT/ACT score minimums that must be met. Once you obtain your degree, additional IE certifications required to pursue a career in this field.

Types of Industrial Engineering Degrees

There are various different levels of IE degrees. You can spend many years getting as high as a in industrial engineering to something that takes less time like a . Industrial Engineering programs can take anywhere between one to four or more years for a full-time student to complete.

Degree Credit Requirements Typical Program Length
Associate Degree 60-70 credits 2 years
Bachelor’s Degree 120 credits 4 years
Master’s Degree 50-70 credits 1-3 years
Doctorate Program required coursework including thesis or dissertation At least 4 years

A bachelor's degree is the most common level of education achieved by those in careers related to IE, with approximately 38.8% of workers getting one. See the the most common levels of education for IE workers below.

Level of Education Percentage of Workers
Bachelor’s Degree 42.7%
Master’s Degree 11.8%
Some College Courses 11.3%
Associate’s Degree (or other 2-year degree) 10.9%
Post-Secondary Certificate 6.3%

65.9% of IE workers have at least a bachelor's. The chart below shows what degree level those who work in industrial engineering have obtained.


The education level required is different depending on the IE career you are seeking.

Career Opportunities for A Degree In IE Graduate

Average Number of Jobs
$69k Average Starting Salary
6% Growth Job Outlook 2016-26

There are many possible careers for Industrial Engineering students. Some graduates have pursued careers in the aeronautics field, while others have gone to work at engineering firms, automobile manufacturers, or for architectural companies. Industrial Engineering graduates have a broad education that makes them well prepared for jobs in a variety of different industries.

Graduates should still be able to find jobs due to their versatile education. Many industries use machinery or production systems allowing Industrial Engineer graduates many career options.

Growth Projected for IE Careers

Want a job when you graduate with your IE degree? Industrial Engineering careers are expected to grow 6.3% between 2016 and 2026.

The following options are some of the most in-demand careers related to industrial engineering.

Occupation Name Projected Jobs Expected Growth
Industrial Engineers 283,000 9.7%
Architectural and Engineering Managers 190,000 5.5%
Industrial Production Managers 169,700 -0.5%
Engineering Professors 54,600 14.7%

How Much Money Do IE Grads Make?

Industrial Engineering graduates between 2017-2019 reported earning an average of $68,962 in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Earnings can range from as low as $32,617 to as high as $124,373. As you might expect, salaries for IE graduates vary depending on the level of education that was acquired.


High Paying Careers for IE Majors

Salaries for industrial engineering graduates can vary widely by the occupation you choose as well. The following table shows the top highest paying careers IE grads often go into.

Occupation Name Median Average Salary
Architectural and Engineering Managers $148,970
Engineering Professors $113,680
Industrial Production Managers $113,370
Industrial Engineers $91,630

Getting Your Industrial Engineering Degree

With over 321 different IE degree programs to choose from, finding the best fit for you can be a challenge. Fortunately you have come to the right place. We have analyzed all of these schools to come up with hundreds of unbiased IE school rankings to help you with this.

Study Areas in Industrial Engineering

Industrial Engineering is one of 40 different types of Engineering programs to choose from.

Related Major Annual Graduates
Mechanical Engineering 46,178
Electrical Engineering 28,844
Civil Engineering 21,388
Computer Engineering 17,987
Chemical Engineering 12,917

View All IE Related Majors >


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