One of the keys to a successful business, from manufacturers to amusement parks to medical offices, is constantly striving to evolve: to outdo the competition by doing things better and more efficiently. Figuring out ways to enact such improvements is precisely the job of an industrial engineer. Unlike degrees for some other engineering specialties, industrial engineering programs generally include a business component that teaches students how to look at a problem from multiple perspectives. As a result, industrial engineers might be asked to determine improvements for a customer service experience one day, then called upon to create efficiency in a manufacturing process the next. If you like puzzles and are always trying to find a fresh take on an old idea, an online industrial engineering degree could be right for you.
If you're interested in finding the perfect online industrial engineering degree program for you, you've come to the right place. Using data from the National Center for Education Statistics' Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS) and analyzing it with our proprietary methodology (details at the bottom of this page), we have identified several excellent colleges that offer online industrial engineering degree programs. Take a look at our list of 10 featured colleges for industrial engineering and see which one might be right for you.
Visit our methodologies page to learn more about how we use official data to evaluate schools.
Industrial engineers are part problem-solver, part fortune teller. Their job involves determining how much manpower and materials will be needed for organizations and manufacturers to run smoothly. But they can't do their job effectively without a solid understanding of math, science, business and even human psychology and behavior. That's where colleges offering online industrial engineering degree programs come in; the courses they offer and the skills they teach can be essential for success in this field. Here is a brief glimpse at what to expect from both.
Industrial engineering may be offered at the associate, bachelor's and master's degree levels. To work as an industrial engineer, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a person must earn at least a bachelor's degree.
However, there are still reasons to consider an associate degree program in this major. Such programs tend to be very hands-on — even online programs often have at least some on-campus requirement. Coursework emphasizes equipment and technology used on the job, such as computer-aided design and drafting, microprocessors and robotics or materials properties. Students may opt for an associate degree program in order to help them earn a position as a technician or a material handler rather than as an engineer, or they may use their associate degree to help them prepare for a bachelor's degree completion program.
Online bachelor's degree programs in industrial engineering also include technical training, but they expand on that to include such courses as:
Students also should expect to work in teams on case studies, examining problems, proposing solutions and researching implementation. Increased methods of distance communication, such as forums, instant messengers and webcams, make this kind of teamwork easier than ever before, allowing students on opposite sides of the country to learn from these group-based assignments together.
Online master's degree programs generally increase focus on career specialization — for instance, energy, facilities or supply chain. Students who have a clear idea of what kind of industrial engineering career they are looking for, or what aspects of the field interest them the most, can benefit greatly from the specialization options of this higher-level degree program. Coursework can be expected to spend more time on human factors, manufacturing processes and optimizing production.
Industrial engineers should have certain qualities in order to be successful — qualities that an online education in industrial engineering can help students develop.
As long as industrial business exists, professionals dedicated to improving industrial facilities, management and processes will be needed. If industrial engineering is something that interests you, you may want to consider one of the following careers in order to make your mark on this modern field.
Students who love dreaming up building ideas for industrial settings should consider architectural and engineering manager careers. In this unique position, college graduates plan, coordinate and direct architectural activities for their companies. They also determine staffing and equipment needs and lead teams of architects, bringing their dream buildings into reality through research and ingenuity.
Architectural and engineering managers typically require a bachelor's degree in architecture or engineering, along with related work experience. Experience in management may also be helpful.
Individuals who want to watch their ideas come to life may find great satisfaction in industrial production manager careers. These workers oversee the manufacturing of cars, computer equipment, paper products and an array of retail goods. They also help maintain equipment, decide when equipment needs to be replaced and ensure production stays on course and on budget. Basically, industrial production managers are in charge of every aspect of production across a wide range of manufacturing environments.
Most industrial production manager careers start with a bachelor's degree, although more advanced degrees are common and may increase your chances of earning the career you desire. Workers may also need related work experience and management experience to get started in this career.
Industrial engineers use their observational and critical thinking skills to reduce waste and make production processes more simple and efficient. They review processes and production schedules to look for poor planning, then figure out new processes or machinery that can make production faster and better. They also speak with clients about manufacturing specifications; negotiate with vendors; and oversee staff to ensure all systems are running smoothly.
In almost all cases, industrial engineering careers start with a bachelor's degree or higher. However, employers also value experience and hands-on skill, which is why workers with job experience may be given preference.