What is Industrial Engineering

Industrial engineering (IE) is the most wide-ranging engineering discipline in terms of career options. While other traditional engineering majors tend to focus on specific applications of skill sets, an industrial engineering education offers you the flexibility to build your career in the industry of your choice. We design, streamline and improve complex processes and systems for maximum efficiency, whether it be a hospital system, an airport, a manufacturing plant or a warehouse or a global supply chain or a distribution network. Managing the "human element" within these complex systems is a critical part of our discipline and leveraging information and analytics to drive system performance is unique to industrial engineering. Because industrial engineers focus on bridging the gap between management and operations in a cross-section of organizations and professional fields, they often begin their careers with varying job titles. Production engineer, quality engineer, management engineer, productivity manager and process engineer are common entry-level or early management jobs for our graduates in manufacturing, health care and other related engineering fields.

"IE beginning salaries rank in the top group of high-paying engineering disciplines and fast advancement of IE's up the ladder is not unusual. In fact, because so many IE's are moving into top management positions due to their unique training, the outlook for continued rapid growth in industrial engineering is excellent."

- Institute of Industrial Engineers, Planning Your Career as an IE/The People-Oriented Engineering Profession


Develop abilities in:

Prospective Job:
Industrial Engineering Focus Managing quality standards Quality manager/supervisor
Monitoring quality assurance activities QS/ISO auditor
Implementing Six-Sigma programs Continuous improvement coordinator
Planning, operating and controlling production and service systems Production control supervisor
Designing and implementing lean systems Lean manufacturing consultant
Managing extended enterprise supply chains Supply chain manager
Process performance management and problem solving Manufacturing systems engineer
Manufacturing system design and integration Plant manager
Implementing maintenance plans and policies Facilities engineer
Manufacturing Engineering Focus Simulating to design, test and build automated systems CIM specialist
Assessing material handling systems Automation engineer
Integrating CAD, CAE and CAM technologies Systems integration engineer
Managing cost in the product development cycle Product development program manager
Product conceptualization and realization Design and development engineer 
Using various CAE tools  Robust design engineer 
Incorporating quality into product design and prototyping Manufacturing engineer with quality focus
Performing reliability assessment/estimation for production equipment Reliability engineer
Introducing new methodologies for process improvement Six-Sigma consultant 

Some WSU ISE graduates also work as:

Healthcare management systems engineers – Designing processes and procedures to ensure efficient patient flow and optimum use of medical resources to reduce cost and improve quality.

Ergonomists in an automobile manufacturing plants – Designing the operations that workers use to assemble steering mechanisms to reduce the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

Manufacturing engineers with a production focus – Reviewing production schedules, engineering specifications, orders, and related information to obtain knowledge of manufacturing methods, procedures and activities.

Supply and procurement engineers – Conferring with vendors, staff, and management personnel regarding purchases, procedures, product specifications, manufacturing capabilities and project status.