What Can You Do With an MS in Industrial Engineering?

21 September, 2022

Industrial engineering is vitally important in a variety of fields, including technology, medicine, and more. Two world-renowned CEOs, Tim Cook of Apple and Charles Holliday of Shell/DuPont/Bank of America, both started their rise to the top with degrees in industrial engineering. They are just two examples of leaders in a field leading the way toward a better world, with bold innovations like floating wind farms that generate sustainable energy, clean methods of recycling lead-acid batteries, 3D-printed prosthetic body parts, and new technology that turns humid air into drinking water.

With this spread of advancements, demand for workers with the knowledge and skills to forge new paths in industrial engineering careers has only continued to increase. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of industrial engineers is projected to grow 14% between 2020 and 2030, faster than the average for all occupations. If you’re interested in pursuing a career in this area, you might want to consider a Master of Science in Industrial Engineering. Understanding how this degree can prepare you for a range of jobs and salaries will help you pick the right path for your long-term goals. Some of the top core skills for industrial engineers include problem solving, critical thinking, quality management, and project planning, all of which can be obtained during the course of a masters in industrial engineering program.

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Careers with a Master of Science (MS) in Industrial Engineering

Job title Average salary
Industrial Engineer $76,152
Manufacturing engineer $72,021
Logistics engineer $71,915
Process engineer $75,494
Quality assurance (QA) engineer $74,843
Supply chain analyst $68,972
Data scientist $97,680

Source: Payscale

Industrial engineering has a very positive career forecast and job options with salaries that are higher than average. Let’s take a more in-depth look at some industrial engineering careers to see what roles might be the best fit for your future.

Industrial Engineer

Industrial engineers primarily work to improve and manage complex processes for their employer. They find ways to better utilize employees and equipment so their organizations can improve internal operations. An industrial engineer typically studies efficiency reports, then designs and implements strategies for improvements in training, staffing, and hardware maintenance. Many companies employ industrial engineers in managerial roles as well.

Manufacturing Engineer

Manufacturing engineers are experts in industrial production practices, overseeing research and optimization strategies for designing, building, and shipping products. They work for employers that produce goods such as building materials, electronics, furniture, vehicles, and even packaged food. They conduct wide-ranging research on current and emergent technologies and practices to figure out the best equipment — and the best ways to use that equipment — for their organization. As part of their constant quest to improve worker safety and job satisfaction, they may also write training manuals and lead performance reviews.

Logistics Engineer

Logistics engineers manage an organization’s supply chain operations to ensure goods and resources arrive at their destinations in a timely, efficient manner. They also collect data and perform statistical analysis to design process improvement measures that reduce the amount of resources needed while increasing profits.

Process Engineer

Every manufactured product undergoes a host of different processes before it is ready for consumers. Process engineers study these processes, usually in the context of chemical engineering. They observe processes for safety and effectiveness, evaluate procedures involving chemical interactions and equipment design, and recommend changes if they see room for improvement.

Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer

Quality assurance (QA) engineers oversee product integrity for manufacturers, ensuring that items for consumers are free from defects. The job requires strict attention to detail, as QA engineers develop new tests, run them, and carefully document the results. QA engineers play an especially crucial role in areas of manufacturing such as the automotive and health care industries, where maintaining consistent levels of product quality is essential for avoiding risk of injury or death.

Supply Chain Analyst

Supply chain analysts improve their organization’s performance by determining the best ways to acquire resources and deliver goods to consumers. They examine extensive collections of data to pinpoint where and why supply chain issues exist, or to spot areas for improvement. Supply chain analysts may coordinate with other engineers and quality assurance professionals across divisions to test and execute new processes. Their work is a crucial middle ground between a warehouse’s suppliers, carriers, and management, and the information technology (IT) technicians who help turn their solutions into a reality.

Data Scientist

Data scientists use advanced technologies and data collection tools to analyze vast amounts of information, with the overall objective of improving or better understanding various aspects of their organization. For example, a data scientist may review years of expense reports to get a clearer idea of a company’s spending, or compare internal customer data with market trends to design an advanced version of its best-selling product. Data science can identify problems or strengths within an organization that would have otherwise gone unnoticed.

What the Future Looks Like for Industrial Engineering Careers

The prospects for jobs with an industrial engineering degree look bright. The BLS projects a yearly average of 23,300 job openings for industrial engineering careers from 2020 to 2030. Many of those openings will likely result from the need to replace workers who exit the labor force by retiring.

In today’s job market, employers want workers who can bring cutting edge knowledge and detailed expertise to traditional workplaces and their established processes. A master’s in industrial engineering could be the key factor that lets you capture a host of new career opportunities at the vanguard of the next wave of industry and manufacturing.

About the University of Arizona’s Master of Science in Industrial Engineering

The online Master of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Arizona equips professionals with the skills they need to lead manufacturing and production control. Students can customize the 100% online curriculum to fit their interest and career goals, choosing from a flexible array of electives and options to complete a research project or thesis. Courses taught by Arizona’s faculty of expert educators, researchers, and engineers prepare graduates to succeed in a variety of organizations with insights into high-tech processes and real-world problem-solving.