If you are looking for an engineering career that combines technical knowledge with real-world applicability, industrial engineering is a great option. The name "industrial engineer" can be misleading. People assume that practitioners of the discipline work only in manufacturing, but the skills and knowledge industrial engineers specialize in are applicable to many fields, such as healthcare, logistics management, or human resources. Industrial engineers specialize in making things work better. They study systems of industrial production to determine how to make high-quality products more efficiently. Companies often hire industrial engineers to streamline their business practices, increase worker safety, or determine how best to use new technologies. Industrial engineers help design products, reduce costs, and increase productivity in a wide variety of business environments.
People interested in industrial engineering can specialize in it at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Many schools that have engineering departments or colleges offer a B.S. or B.E. in industrial engineering. Engineering education at the undergraduate level includes introductory coursework in the sciences, economics and statistics, as well as advanced classes in systems theory, mechanical engineering, computer science and other topics. It is not uncommon, though, for industrial-engineering students to supplement their science education with classes in business or management.
At the graduate level, students can earn an M.S. in industrial engineering, specializing in fields such as industrial engineering management or operations research. An industrial-engineering master's degree takes two to three years to complete, depending on the school and the specific goals and interests of the student. Often, a master's degree in industrial engineering is sufficient to land an interesting, well-paying career in the field, but someone with a deeper interest in industrial engineering, or who wants a higher salary, will often pursue a doctorate in the field, which usually takes five or more years to complete.