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Industrial Engineering Master’s Online – Top 10 Degree Programs

Industrial Engineering Master's Online

If you’re reading this article, chances are you’re already familiar with industrial engineering. After a bachelor’s degree and some time in the field, you’ve cultivated skills to thrive in this role. You also know how rewarding this field can be, even in an entry-level position. It’s gratifying to watch ideas come to life! Not to mention the pay—according to the BLS, the median pay for industrial engineers in 2021 was over $95,000. But if you’ve spent some time in the field or have big ambitions coming off the heels of a bachelor’s degree, you may encounter one more question: What’s next? If you want better job opportunities and pay without straining your lifestyle, the answer is an industrial engineering master’s online.

Industrial Engineering Explained

What is a master’s in industrial engineering?

A master’s degree in industrial engineering is a graduate degree that allows you to build on the skills and knowledge you obtain through a bachelor’s degree.

What Does an Industrial Engineer Do?

The exact definition of what an industrial engineer does can be difficult to pin down. The skillset the job requires applies to so many different fields and positions. However, the Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers sums it up nicely:

“Industrial engineers figure out how to do things better.” 

 

Essentially, if there’s a process or system in any field—from construction to medicine to manufacturing—there’s a way to make it more effective, efficient, and safe.

Industrial Engineering Job Description

Industrial engineering can entail a broad swath of tasks. Here are some responsibilities of an industrial engineer today:

  • Analyze existing processes to identify and improve weak spots
  • Help facilitate efficient and helpful communication between management, workers, vendors, and consumers
  • Stay current on the latest information about the improvement of the field they’re working in
  • Observe the systems they design in person to make sure they work as expected and find ways to make them better

To accomplish their responsibilities, industrial engineers must communicate their ideas verbally and in written form. Communication plus a solid grasp of ergonomics and problem-solving empowers them to do what they do.

Where Do Industrial Engineers Work?

As you may imagine, the above skillset broadly applies to many types of industrial engineering jobs. That said, industrial engineers can find a wealth of employment in a few key fields. According to the EDD, some of the top fields for industrial engineers in California include:

  • Aerospace-related industries (especially those where manufacturing is involved)
  • Electronic instrument manufacturing
  • Medical equipment and supplies industry

Overview: Industrial Engineering Master’s Online

With our definitions out of the way, let’s explore what an industrial engineering master’s online might entail.

What To Expect

Like any graduate degree, an MS in Industrial Engineering advances and builds upon the engineering skills you already have in your arsenal. Graduate coursework is generally challenging and rewarding enough on its own. However, many programs offer a thesis option for students who want a more research-oriented experience.

The goal of a graduate degree is to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to advance your career. In conclusion, pursuing an industrial engineering master’s online takes about one to three years—30 to 35 credit hours. You’ll take on challenging coursework on a flexible timetable to advance your qualifications as a professional.

Industrial Engineering Courses

Graduate degrees offer more challenging and complex coursework than a bachelor’s program. While exact course requirements vary by program, most exhibit similar core requirements. For example, here are some topics you may cover while attending an industrial engineering distance learning graduate degree program:

  • Information Systems Engineering – Information Systems Engineering works directly with computers and software. Students learn to define, model, and organize the systems they manage. The benefits of computer technology in this field cannot be overstated, so competence in this area is essential.
  • Supply Chain Analytics – Supply Chain Analytics is a discipline exploring how data analysis improves supply chain management. This topic is broadly applicable to industrial engineers. But it is especially essential for those who specialize in any kind of manufacturing or product management.
  • Stochastic Models – Stochastic Models are a mathematical way to represent the random characteristics of processes and systems. In their problem-solving process, industrial engineers use stochastic models to account for the unknown. The “human factor” on a production line and unforeseen interruptions in a supply chain are examples of where engineers would use these models.
  • Optimization Models and Methods – Optimization is applied mathematics used to identify the best solution to a given problem. Industrial engineers use optimization to predict the impact of future solutions and improve current ones.
  • Regression Analysis – Regression Analysis is a specific type of data analysis that explores relationships between variables. Industrial engineers use it to identify and isolate factors most relevant to the improved systems and processes.

Industrial Engineering Degree Requirements

Most programs will have admission requirements or prerequisites you must meet before being admitted. Again, specific requirements vary by school, but almost all will require the following:

  • Application – Graduate programs generally require an application, even if their undergraduate degree came from the same school. An application is an opportunity to include material that helps you stand out, such as a resume or academic achievements.
  • Transcripts – Proof of an accredited undergraduate degree in a relevant field is essential for most graduate degree applications. Many schools send transcripts electronically. Even so, check with the institution to ensure you have time to request physical transcripts.
  • Exams – Some graduate programs will require one or more entrance exams, the most common of which is the GRE. International students, in particular, will also need to inquire about TOEFL scores. Students can take both of these tests and others online.
  • GPA Minimum – Many graduate programs require a minimum GPA from prospective students. While the exact minimum will vary by program, most require a minimum GPA of 2.5-3.0.
  • Letters of Recommendation – Some programs may ask for one or more letters of recommendation from prospective students. These letters may come from former professors, current or former employers, or professional organizations within the field.
  • An Essay or Cover Letter – Some programs may ask for an essay or cover letter to be submitted along with an application. Essays allow applicants to set themselves apart by sharing their motives and goals for a graduate degree.

Acquired Skills

In an Industrial Engineering master’s online, you will acquire and improve some of the skills that distinguish advanced professionals in the field. These include:

  • Spoken and written communication skills
  • Mathematical disciplines such as trigonometry, calculus, and statistics
  • Problem-solving and critical-thinking skills

Industrial Engineering Master’s Online Timeline

An advantage of earning a degree online is the inherent flexibility. How long it takes to earn your degree in industrial engineering depends on a few factors:

  • Are you a full-time student or part-time?
  • Does your degree path require research and a thesis, or just coursework?
  • Can you access the coursework you need year-round?

Each program defines and answers these questions differently. Generally speaking, an industrial engineering master’s online can take anywhere from 1 to 3 years to complete.

Paying For Your Online Degree

Remember that many schools have different tuition costs for online and on-campus programs and in- or out-of-state costs. When deciding how to pay for your master’s in industrial engineering in USA, here are a few options to keep in mind:

  • Student Loans – With fewer credit hours to pay for and more experience under your belt, a student loan can be a reasonable option for paying for your degree.
  • Payment Plans – Many colleges offer student payment plans, breaking tuition costs into manageable payments. Consider checking with your prospective college’s financial aid department to investigate options.
  • Consider Going Part-Time – One standout advantage of online degrees is their flexibility compared to in-person classes. Students can engage in self-paced coursework without sacrificing their income. Also, if you want to pay as you go, consider taking on part-time coursework.

How To Choose The Right Program

When choosing a program, there are several factors to consider, including but not limited to these:

  • Cost – Many factors affect the cost of your degree, for example, part-time versus full-time coursework. Other cost factors are in-state versus out-of-state tuition, and potential scholarships or other financial aid opportunities.
  • Admission Requirements – Each program will have unique admission requirements. In other words, pay special attention to GPA requirements and required test scores to ensure you qualify.
  • Program Format – Online degrees come in many shapes and sizes. Some are 100% online, while others require occasional on-campus visits or proctored testing. Be sure to consider these elements to ensure the program fits your needs.
  • Location – If your program requires in-person elements, ensure you have access to a local campus or proctored site. Additionally, your location affects the cost of your degree, depending on whether you qualify for in-state tuition or financial aid.
  • Accreditation – It’s vital to affirm that your school and degree are accredited. Accreditation qualifies you for higher education and even advanced professional opportunities. ABET accredits many programs, but other accrediting organizations do exist.
  • Certification Opportunities – While not strictly necessary, earning certifications alongside your degree can be convenient and efficient. Consider whether a program offers certifications, either through additional classes or built into the coursework.

Top Industrial Engineering Graduate Programs Online

University of Central Florida

Degree Program: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering
Accreditation:
ABET
Duration: 30 credit hours, 1-2 years

The first on our list of best industrial engineering schools is the University of Florida’s Master of Science in Industrial Engineering. In this program, students may choose from one of six focus areas:

  • Human Systems Engineering/Ergonomics
  • Interactive Simulation and Training Systems
  • Operations Research
  • Quality Systems Engineering
  • Simulation Modeling and Analysis
  • Systems Engineering
View More About This Program

Texas A&M University (Kingsville)

Degree Program: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering
Accreditation:
SACSCOC
Duration: 30-36 credit hours, 1-2 years

This master’s in industrial engineering online program allows students to select one of three different degree plans that are available 100% online.

View More About This Program

Texas Tech University

Degree Program: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering
Accreditation:
ABET
Duration: 30 credit hours, 1-2 years

This program allows students to choose a thesis or non-thesis degree plan and pull coursework from five specialty areas:

  1. Engineering Management
  2. Ergonomics and Human Factors Engineering
  3. Manufacturing and Quality Assurance
  4. Operations Research
  5. Statistics and Quality Assurance
View More About This Program

Louisiana Tech University

Degree Program: Master of Science in Engineering/Industrial Engineering
Accreditation:
ABET
Duration: 36 credit hours, one year

Louisiana Tech divides its year into four quarters (as opposed to two or three semesters), making its credit requirements and degree scheduling unique. This calendar makes an already-flexible online program even more customizable for part-time and full-time students.

View More About This Program

University of Central Missouri

Degree Program: Master of Science in Industrial Management
Accreditation:
ABET
Duration: 33 credit hours, 1-2 years

This program allows students to earn a Lean Six Sigma Graduate Certificate by adding specialization to their degree. This certification is powerful in its own right. Still, it can also serve as the first step to other certifications.

View More About This Program

Mississippi State University

Degree Program: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering
Accreditation:
ABET
Duration: 30 credit hours, 1-2 years

This program requires students to choose a “concentration” to further define and specialize their coursework. Students can choose from concentrations in:

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Industrial Systems
  • Management Systems Engineering
  • Manufacturing Systems
  • Operations Research
View More About This Program

Northern Illinois University

Degree Program: Master of Science in Industrial & Systems Engineering/Engineering Management
Accreditation:
NIU is accredited by ABET
Duration: 31-32 credit hours, 1-2 years

This program offers a specialization in Engineering Management specifically for online students, with two tracks to choose from: engineering decision analysis and global logistics.

View More About This Program

North Carolina State University at Raleigh

Degree Program: Master of Industrial Engineering
Accreditation:
ABET
Duration: 30 credit hours, 1-2 years

This program requires students to select four courses from five different breadth requirement groups. Overall, it lends focus and specificity to an area of industrial engineering that is of particular interest or relevance to one’s goals.

View More About This Program

University of Alabama in Huntsville

Degree Program: Master of Science in Engineering/Industrial Engineering
Accreditation:
ABET
Duration: 30 credit hours, 1-2 years

This program allows students to choose between concentrations in Industrial Engineering or Systems Engineering.

View More About This Program

Oklahoma State University

Degree Program: Master of Science in Industrial Engineering & Management
Accreditation:
ABET
Duration: 30-33 credit hours, 1-2 years

This program requires students to choose one of four tracks for their industrial engineering degree:

  1. General Industrial Engineering
  2. Engineering Management
  3. Operations Research
  4. Supply Chain & Logistics
View More About This Program

Licensing

While licensing is a vital part of being a professional for many engineers, this is not necessarily the case with industrial engineers. That said, putting in the effort to earn licensure as an engineer is not without its rewards:

  • Licensed engineers may have more job opportunities
  • Better pay than just the industrial engineering salary with master’s degree
  • The benefit of contributing to the standardization of the profession

You must pass the Fundamentals of Engineering and Practice of Engineering exams to become licensed. The NCEES administers these exams. The prerequisites for these exams vary by state, but generally include the following:

  • An ABET or EAC-accredited bachelor’s degree
  • At least four years of work experience

Even if you don’t currently meet the qualifications for licensure, plan ahead and consider licensure as you pursue a master’s degree.

Industrial Engineering Jobs

Career Outlook

The industrial engineering careers & their outlook is encouraging. The BLS predicts higher-than-average growth in employment for industrial engineers over the next ten years. Because what they do translates to lowering costs and eliminating waste for businesses, industrial engineers are integral to the growth of many businesses and organizations. Therefore they can expect employment opportunities, especially with a master’s degree under their belt.

Career Paths

It’s clear how versatile an industrial engineering master’s degree can be. According to the BLS, the best industries for industrial engineers are as follows:

  • Computer and electronic product manufacturing
  • Professional, scientific, and technical services
  • Transportation equipment manufacturing
  • Machinery manufacturing
  • Fabricated metal product manufacturing

Of these fields, the highest median industrial engineering salary goes to computer and electronic product manufacturing at $99,340 per year. The industrial engineering salary with a master’s degree that is lowest is Fabricated metal product manufacturing at $78,210 per year. Both the highest and lowest industrial engineering salaries are significantly higher than the national average.

Next Steps after Industrial Engineering Programs

Industrial engineering is a vast, diverse, and rewarding field. There is so much more than even this article could hope to cover. With that in mind, consider exploring some of these topics as you consider a masters in industrial engineering.

  • Professional Organizations – If you wish to go far in your career as an industrial engineer, you should consider joining a professional organization. The IISE and HFES host events and provide educational opportunities for networking and professional development.
  • Certifications – While not generally required by employers, additional certifications for industrial engineers can help distinguish and specialize one’s resume. Moreover, they are pursuable alongside a master’s degree. Certifications like Lean Six Sigma are generally a smart investment.
  • Continuing Education – Depending on your state, you may have to meet certain continuing education requirements as an engineer. Check out your state’s requirements as part of your preparations to obtain your master’s.

FAQs

Is it worth it to get a master’s in industrial engineering?

A master’s degree in industrial engineering guarantees higher pay, more job opportunities, and specialized professional development. Of course, your choice will be based on your personal goals and career vision. Still, for many industrial engineers, it’s a resounding “yes.”

What can I do with a master’s degree in industrial engineering?

A master’s in industrial engineering will equip you with the knowledge and skills you need to grow as a professional. It also lays the foundation for further education through licensing and certifications. Finally, it will increase your job offers and earnings. In short, a master’s degree in industrial engineering can empower you to do what you do better, at a higher level, for more money.

How long does a master’s in industrial engineering take?

Depending on the program and format, a master’s in industrial engineering will involve 30-35 credit hours of coursework. These credits generally take one to three years.

Apply Today!

An industrial engineering master’s online may not be for you. But, with the many benefits, you might think twice before passing on this opportunity. As industrial engineering fields grow and become more competitive, a master’s is an important tool in the toolbelt of any engineer. With excellent prospects and the convenience of an online degree, it’s hard to say no to an industrial engineering master’s online.

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