Besides playing an important role in giving companies a competitive edge, industrial engineering can be exciting and rewarding.
1. The Field Is Broad
Industrial engineering is an exceptionally broad field, which means you will not be stuck doing the same thing day-in and day-out for the next 30 to 40 years. Besides being able to switch roles within an industry, you can try out a different industry if you desire a change.
For instance, if you start your career in manufacturing but decide later that your real passion is healthcare, there is certainly a place for you in the healthcare industry.
If you are working on streamlining processes, but find your real talent lies in working with people, you'll fit right into a position within project management.
2. Pay Is Exceptional
Currently, the average starting salary of an entry-level industrial engineer is between $55,000 and $65,000. Furthermore, your salary will continue to rise throughout your years of employment. The average salary of industrial engineers as of May 2010 was $78,450, with the top 10% earning more than $112,000 a year. Even the lowest 10% earn close to $50,000, which is above the $44,410 average salary of all occupations.
3. Career Offers Movement
Once an industrial engineer gets some experience, it is not uncommon to be promoted to a managerial position. In fact, for someone whose ultimate goal is to get into management, industrial engineering offers a quick and easy pathway.
While industrial engineers receive similar business training as business students, they have a leg up due to their additional math, science, and technology training. Furthermore, industrial engineers often complete summer internships, which also make them more marketable and desirable to employers, and they also frequently minor in business administration or sales to complement their major. Many industrial engineers round out their education by earning an MBA, either directly after their bachelor's degree or after a few years of experience.
4. Demand Is High
Due to the wide range of services that industrial engineers provide, it only makes sense that the number of available jobs would continue to grow. With so many businesses looking to cut costs, the hiring of an industrial engineer pays for itself, thus making it a great career field for the future.
With nearly 203,000 employed in this field mid-2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects this number to continue to grow at a rate of 14% over the next decade – faster than the average of all other occupations. Regardless of the overall state of the economy, companies will always have a need for industrial engineers to continually help reduce costs and improve processes.
5. Degrees Are Available
While not every college offers a degree in industrial engineering, they are becoming more prolific. Accredited degree programs are now available at more than 70 schools nationwide, with Georgia Institute of Technology ranked at the top of the pack.
When choosing a college to attend, there is a good chance that you'll consider one with an industrial engineering program. Furthermore, some trade schools, such as the Milwaukee School of Engineering, do offer industrial engineering programs, so it is not necessary to attend a traditional university to get an accredited industrial engineering education.
6. Scholarships Are Available
College scholarships are available for industrial engineering students through various organizations, the most notable being the Institute for Industrial Engineers, which offers several scholarships each year. Other organizations offering scholarships to industrial engineering students include the Society of Women Engineers, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Association of Iron and Steel Technology Foundation.