How to Become an Industrial Engineer

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An industrial engineer is basically responsible for developing cost-effective ways to increase efficiency and company productivity. Industrial engineers have an extremely high level of science and math ability, generally acquired in school or the military. To become an industrial engineer, you must have a degree from an accredited university. Some companies require an applicant to also get a master's of science degree in specialized areas. Here are some other tips to help you become an industrial engineer.

  • Have a bachelor's degree. A 4-year college degree in math, science, engineering or other applicable field is the basic requirement for all potential industrial engineers. Competition for jobs is fierce, so be sure to major in electrical, mechanical or civil engineering in school. Participate in university or company internships whenever possible. Any experience you can gain will ultimately improve your chances of being hired over others who do not have additional experience past the classroom. Be sure your college is certified by ABET, which stands for Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.

  • Get a master's degree. Many industrial engineers currently working in the field often decide go back to school and get a master's degree on the company "dime." Industry competition is fierce, and technology is ever-changing, so companies will gladly pay for employees to return to school. If you have done well as an undergraduate, know there is a lot of free money available to students for graduate and even postlevel education. Study industrial engineering and operations research, industrial management or production planning and control, for example.

  • Get certified with your state. All states require that engineers get an engineering license. To become an industrial engineer, you must get about 3 to 5 years of work experience past your college coursework. You will also need to pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) and the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) state exams. You must periodically recertify to remain an industrial engineer. Exam costs can range between $275 and $1,000.

  • Apply for a job. Contact an engineering department at a local university to find job bulletin boards, job internships and state or private sector fellowships. Universities have a lot of inside information about jobs not typically advertised to the general public.

Tips & Warnings

  • Be good under pressure. Industrial engineers have to work under a deadline.
  • The Georgia Institute of Technology, Purdue University and the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor are reported to have the best industrial engineering programs in the country.
  • Proofread your resume!

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