Earning a Master's in Industrial Engineering Online

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An online master's in industrial engineering equips students with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed. Most graduates pursue careers as industrial engineers, manufacturing engineers, or mechanical engineers, depending on their interests. Use this guide to learn about the potential for salary increases, job growth opportunities, and how to fund a master's program. You can also explore degree requirements along with professional organizations and resources.

Why Get a Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering?

Earning a master's degree in industrial engineering is a great opportunity for students from different backgrounds. Many master's students enter their program immediately after completing their bachelor's degree. Some master's students want to pursue more specialized career opportunities while others may want to advance within their current company and take advantage of higher salary opportunities. Many students within master's in industrial engineering programs have previously considered earning a professional certification instead of a master's degree.

Pursuing Specialization

Graduates who hold their master's degree in industrial engineering can pursue specialized careers, including manufacturing engineering and mechanical engineering. The degree can also lead to specializations outside of the engineering field, allowing graduates to take their careers in a direction that caters to their specific interests and goals.

Career Advancement Opportunities

Holding a master's degree in industrial engineering allows professionals to advance into higher-level careers within the field or within their current company. Higher-level careers include more job responsibilities and higher salaries. Industrial engineering students often pursue their master's degree to take advantage of advancement opportunities.

Online Learning Technology

Students earning their master's in industrial engineering online enjoy the ability to take advantage of the most current communication technology.. Understanding advanced technology allows professionals to stand apart from others in the field.

Prerequisites for Online Industrial Engineering Programs

While students need to meet different admission requirements depending on the school, master's in industrial engineering programs feature similar prerequisite requirements.

    • Work Experience: At the master's level, industrial engineering program applicants do not typically need previous work experience. Most students come directly from a related bachelor's program with the intention to begin cultivating their work experience once they graduate with their advanced degree.
    • Exams and Test Scores: Most master's in industrial engineering programs require applicants to submit GRE scores. Each individual program sets specific minimum test score requirements. At some institutions, students who do not meet minimum score requirements can explore supplemental ways to gain admission.
    • Coursework: Applicants find that most master's in industrial engineering programs do not require specific prerequisite courses. Most master's programs, however, require applicants to hold a bachelor's degree in industrial engineering or a related field. Applicants also must satisfy minimum GPA requirements, usually a 3.0.
    • Recommendations: Many master's in industrial engineering programs require applicants to submit recommendation letters from either academic or professional contacts. Admissions teams typically require three letters, although each program is different.
    • Essays: Applicants must often complete an admissions essay to gain admission to their desired program. These essays must follow formatting and length requirements. While most essays require students to discuss their goals, some require applicants to provide a response to a specific question.
    • Interviews: Some admissions departments require students to complete an admissions interview. While uncommon, applicants who participate in admissions interviews provide admissions teams with answers to questions that allow them to gain more clarity before deciding on enrollment.
    • International Students: Typically, master's in industrial engineering programs require international students to meet all of the same admission requirements as traditional students. In addition, international applicants must provide passing scores on exams demonstrating their English speaking proficiency (TOEFL scores).

What to Expect from a Master's-Level Online Industrial Engineering Program

Curriculum and graduation requirements vary by school, but programs often share similarities in course topics. Although specific subjects vary, all industrial engineering programs provide students with the skills and knowledge they need to achieve success in the field. Students might also notice comparable major milestones and program lengths, usually lasting around two years for master's students.

Major Milestones

  1. Meet with Graduate Advisor

    Before the end of the first term, students should meet with their graduate advisor to schedule courses and review their program requirements. They can work with their advisor to map out their program and review available resources.

  2. Choose a Major Professor and Graduate Committee

    Major professors serve as students' primary mentor throughout their graduate program. Students should plan out their graduate committee with their major professor.

  3. Satisfy Coursework and Credit Requirements

    To graduate, students must complete coursework and credit requirements, completing their planned program of study to satisfy all of the necessary coursework.

  4. Conduct Ethical Research Training

    Although most engineering students follow a non-research curriculum, they must often complete ethical research training to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to conduct ethical work after graduation.

  5. Program of Study Approval

    Students must work with their major professor to create a program of study. Once they create their plan, they must get it approved by the board and file it formally before they can continue past their first 18 credits of coursework.

  6. Final Examination

    Many industrial engineering master's programs require students to complete a final oral examination, while others require a written exam. These exams allow students to demonstrate the culmination of everything they learned throughout their program.

Master's in Industrial Engineering Coursework

While students pursuing their master's in industrial engineering online experience different coursework depending on their college or university, all students see some similar courses, including the options listed below.

Production Planning and Control

In this course, students review both qualitative and quantitative issues related to manufacturing systems. Coursework allows students to analyze theoretical and practical perspectives while focusing on inventory control, forecasting methods, and operations scheduling.

Quality Assurance

This course exposes students to problem-solving methodologies and how to apply them. The course focuses on statistical process control, analysis of variance, and the design and analysis of saturated experimental designs.

Revenue Management

Students in this course review the fundamental concepts of revenue management, including mathematical models and algorithms, forecasting, network capacity control, dynamic pricing, and pricing under competition.

Principles of Engineering Management

Industrial engineering students complete this course to develop a solid foundation of the basic service management functions used across global settings. Coursework emphasizes challenges within the global economy.

Human Information Processing

This course reveals the design and development of a variety of human-machine systems, including psychological factors such as the ability to learn.

Licenses and Certifications

Students who earn their master's in industrial engineering online can pursue a variety of licenses and certifications relevant to their field. A certificate or license differentiates professionals from other job candidates and often allows them to pursue more specialized roles.

    • Professional Engineering (PE) License: To earn a PE license, individuals must earn a bachelor's degree in engineering from an accredited institution and pass the fundamentals of engineering exam. Additionally, they must finish four years of engineering experience.
    • Engineering Graphics Certificate: Earning an engineering graphics certificate allows graduates of two-year and four-year programs to complete a broad-based exam focused on industrial design ideas, engineering graphics, and standardized annotations.
    • Manufacturing Engineering Certification: This certification requires individuals to complete and pass a four-hour exam reviewing their general knowledge along with their manufacturing-specific knowledge. Eligible engineers must possess at least eight years of field experience.

How Much Can I Make with a Master's Degree in Industrial Engineering?

Earning a master's degree in industrial engineering can present graduates with many prestigious job opportunities with high salaries. The industrial engineering profession offers wages than can exceed six figures. Salary often depends on professionals' experience, education, and the scope of their skill set and knowledge base. Engineers who pursue nontraditional career opportunities can open themselves up to other high salary opportunities.

How Careers for Master's in Industrial Engineering Graduates Stack Up Against Similar Careers

Industrial Engineer

Median Salary: $87,040

Job Growth: 10% to 14%

Industrial engineers develop, design, evaluate, and test the integrated systems used in the management of industrial production processes. These engineers focus on quality and inventory control, cost analysis, production coordination, and human factors. A strong working knowledge of different software programs is essential.

Mechanical Engineer

Median Salary: $87,370

Job Growth: 5% to 9%

Responsible for carrying out engineering duties in designing and planning tools, machines, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment, mechanical engineers manage the operation, installation, repair, and maintenance of mechanical equipment.

Industrial Engineering Technologist

Median Salary: $63,200

Job Growth: 5% to 9%

Industrial engineering technologists focus on inventory control, quality control, and material flow methods. They also conduct statistical studies and analyze production costs as they supervise and inspect production processes. These technologists implement and develop unique programs to address specific problems.

Manufacturing Engineer

Median Salary: $96,980

Job Growth: 5% to 9%

In charge of investigating and resolving operational problems including material use variances, manufacturing engineers troubleshoot new and existing problems with product design, processes, and materials. They also determine necessary changes to manufacturing processes to enhance efficiency.

Industrial Safety and Health Engineer

Median Salary: $89,130

Job Growth: 5% to 9%

Industrial safety and health engineers inspect machinery, facilities, and safety equipment to determine potential hazards and enforce the proper use of safety regulation compliance. These engineers coordinate and conduct training for workers in safety laws and regulations, the proper use of safety equipment, and hazardous condition monitoring.

Industrial Engineering Technician

Median Salary: $55,460

Job Growth: -1% to 1%

Industrial engineering technicians apply engineering principles and theory as they work to solve problems within manufacturing production. They also focus on problem-solving for industrial layouts, typically supervised by engineering staff. These technicians focus on methods, time, speed, and motion pertaining to standard production rates.

Industrial Ecologist

Median Salary: $71,130

Job Growth: 10% to 14%

Industrial ecologists focus on natural ecosystems, applying various processes and principles as they create models for efficient industrial systems. These ecologists conduct technical and research reports, including environmental impact reports to communicate the results to individuals across the industry.

Commercial and Industrial Designers

Median Salary: $66,590

Job Growth: 2% to 4%

In charge of designing and developing manufactured products, including vehicles and home appliances, commercial and industrial designers rely heavily on artistic ability and talent. They also incorporate marketing skills and research on product use. These designers work toward creating the most effective design concepts for manufactured products.

Source: U.S. Department of Labor, O*net

Paying for an Online Master's in Industrial Engineering

Students can explore several ways to pay for their master's in industrial engineering online. Total program costs comprise different elements, including tuition structures, fees, and the cost of living assessed in a particular area. Many colleges and universities base tuition rates on whether a student lives in state or out of state. Some institutions allow online students to take advantage of in-state rates regardless of their residency. Students can often choose whether to enroll full time, part time, or in an accelerated option.

Different types of enrollment pertain to how long it takes students to earn their degree and how much the program costs. Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid is an important first step for all students to determine their financial aid eligibility.

Scholarships for Online Industrial Engineering Master's Students

Students enrolled in a master's in industrial engineering online program can pursue a variety of scholarships specific to their major. Each scholarship features its own eligibility requirements. Award amounts and deadlines differ depending on the scholarship program.

Professional Organizations and Resources

Students pursuing their master's in industrial engineering online can consider opportunities at a variety of professional organizations before and after graduation. Professional organizations connect members with other professionals in their field, leading them to exciting networking opportunities where they can learn about job opportunities and how to advance within their field. These organizations often deliver professional development ventures to members, broadening their skill set and knowledge base.

  • SAE International: This organization connects mobility professionals to advance their knowledge and provide cutting-edge solutions that benefit communities. The organization boasts nearly 130,000 engineers and technical experts.
  • American Institute of Chemical Engineers: Known as the world's leading organization for chemical engineering professionals, this organization provides field resources and expertise to more than 60,000 members from more than 110 countries.
  • American Society for Engineering Education: This nonprofit membership organization is committed to improving and promoting engineering technology and engineering education.
  • American Society of Civil Engineers: Representing more than 150,000 members across the civil engineering profession in 177 countries, this group unites the civil engineering community through conferences, events, and initiatives.
  • Society of Women Engineers: Focused on empowering women to reach their full potential in their engineering careers, this society acts as a positive force in the industry, improving the value of inclusion and diversity among engineers.
  • Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers: Functioning as the world's largest professional society dedicated to the industrial and systems engineering profession, this group emphasizes industry training, research, education, application, and development.
  • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers: This group operates as a professional organization for electrical engineers, focusing on information technology, computer engineering, communications, computer science, and electronics.
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers: A nonprofit professional and student organization, SME works to advance and educate professionals in the manufacturing industry to cultivate long-term success.
  • The American Society of Mechanical Engineers: Operating as a nonprofit promoting knowledge sharing, collaboration, skills development, and career enrichment across all disciplines of engineering, this group helps the global engineering community derive effective solutions to benefit communities.
  • National Society of Professional Engineers: This organization is dedicated to any non-technical concerns held by licensed professional engineers and addresses those concerns across disciplines.