Complete Guide to an Online Industrial Engineering Degree

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Quick Facts
Accreditation: ABET
Degree Levels: Associate, Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral, and Certificate
Avg Tuition: $24,240
Avg Salary: $100,314

There are 42 online colleges and universities offering degrees in industrial engineering. Available at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, and certificate levels, online industrial engineering programs teach students to look at production processes and come up with ways to make these processes more efficient. Industrial engineers can work in a range of different industries, from manufacturing to governmental agencies to non-profit organizations.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is the predominant accreditation agency for industrial engineering programs. In addition to regional accreditation, prospective industrial engineering students should look for programs that have received ABET accreditation. This ensures that the degree programs meet rigorous academic standards and will provide students with the highest quality education.

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Comprehensive List of Accredited Online Schools - Industrial Engineering Degrees (42)

Online Industrial Engineering Degree Overview & Career Information

An online industrial engineering degree can be earned at the associate, bachelor's, master's, doctoral, or certificate level. An associate degree may prepare students for some entry-level work, as well as for continuing on to a bachelor's program. An online bachelor's degree is the usual minimum requirement to get started in the field of industrial engineering, and those who have earned a bachelor's degree may be able to work in a wide variety of positions. Common job titles available to those with a bachelor's degree are tool engineer, manufacturing engineer, and operations engineer.

Online master's degrees in industrial engineering are also available, and individuals who complete this level of degree will be able to advance to management and leadership roles within the field. Doctoral programs in industrial engineering can also be completed in an online format, though these types of programs are rare. Those who choose to earn a doctorate may be able to teach at the university level and conduct their own research. An online certificate program in industrial engineering or a related field may be an appropriate option for someone who already has a bachelor's degree in the field and who wants to add a specific skill set to their resume, but who isn't interested in completing a full degree program.

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Online Associate Degrees in Industrial Engineering

An online associate degree in industrial engineering may prepare students for a variety of entry-level positions within the field. It can also prepare them for continuation in bachelor's degree programs. In order to be admitted to an associate degree program, a high school diploma or GED will be required. Online industrial engineering associate programs can be found at colleges and technical schools and usually take around two years and 64 to 70 credits to complete. Coursework will include classes covering topics such as OSHA compliance, computer-aided drafting, quality systems, properties of materials, and manufacturing processes. Upon graduation, students may be able to get jobs in positions like assistant industrial engineer, quality engineering technician, time study technician, and methods technician.

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Online Bachelor's Degrees in Industrial Engineering

An online bachelor's degree is the typical minimum educational requirement for becoming an industrial engineer. Online bachelor's degrees usually take four years to complete and consist of at least 120 credits. A student may apply to an online bachelor's program directly after high school, but there are also online degree programs that are designed for students who already have an associate degree or other college coursework completed in the field and who wish to apply those credits to an industrial engineering bachelor's degree. Coursework will cover such topics as engineering management, production systems, operations research, electrical technology, and engineering graphics, as well as advanced math and science. Upon completing an online bachelor's degree, individuals may be prepared for jobs such as operations engineer, tool engineer, production engineer, and manufacturing engineer. Job duties may include checking on the safety of the workplace, providing estimates of what resources will be necessary to complete certain projects, giving estimates on the time it will take to finish projects, and investigating health and human performance factors that affect production. An online bachelor's degree in industrial engineering can be found at colleges and universities across the country.

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Online Master's Degrees in Industrial Engineering

Those who wish to study advanced topics in industrial engineering and increase their chances for promotions may be interested in earning an online master's in industrial engineering. Online master's programs usually consist of at least 30 credits and take around two years to complete. There are many flexible online options available for working professionals who wish to complete their degree while remaining employed. Typical coursework includes classes in factory simulation, production science, lean manufacturing, human factors in engineering, and mathematical programming. In order to be admitted to an online master's program, a student will need to have a bachelor's degree in a related subject with a GPA of at least 3.0. A statement of purpose or admissions essay is also a standard requirement. Depending on the school, prospective students may also need to take a graduate admissions test such as the GRE and provide letters of recommendation. Upon completion of a master's degree, graduates will be qualified for advanced management positions in the field. It may also allow professionals to find work teaching or conducting research. Online master's degree programs in industrial engineering can be found at colleges and universities.

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Online Doctoral Degrees in Industrial Engineering

Online doctoral programs in industrial engineering are not as readily available as online master's and bachelor's programs, but they do exist. An online PhD in industrial engineering may be an appropriate option for some professionals, especially if they want to conduct their own research or teach at the university level. In order to earn an online PhD, students will have to complete 60-72 semester credit hours, which includes classwork, research, and a dissertation. Coursework will cover advanced topics in the areas of production and logistics, stochastic models, mathematical programming, dynamic enterprise modeling, occupational biomechanics, and supply chain systems. The length of time needed to finish an online doctoral program will vary based on how long a student takes to complete his or her dissertation. In addition to a dissertation and coursework, a final exam will likely also be required. Online doctoral programs in industrial engineering can be found at a few universities in the U.S.

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Online Certificate Degrees in Industrial Engineering

There are also some online industrial engineering certificates available, as well as online certificates in other engineering fields that industrial engineers can earn in order to add to their skill set and resume. It is not as common to find these programs online as it is to find a bachelor's or master's degree online. Typically, these are programs that are at the graduate level, meaning that applicants will need an undergraduate degree in order to be admitted. Length of time to complete will vary depending on the program, but they can usually be earned in a year or less. Coursework topics may include engineering risk and decision analysis, engineering management and leadership, and project management.

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The Importance of Accreditation

When choosing an online degree program, accreditation is an important factor to consider. Prospective online students should find out whether the school they wish to attend is regionally accredited. Regional accreditation signifies that the school has been evaluated by an independent organization and has proven that it meets certain educational standards. Institutions that are regionally accredited are the only ones eligible for federal financial aid. Accreditation also eases in the transfer of credits between schools. Additionally, employers will look more favorably on job candidates who have a degree from an accredited institution.

There are also accreditation agencies that accredit specific programs within an institution. The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) is in charge of the accreditation of industrial engineering programs. Not all online industrial engineering programs are ABET-accredited; the ones that are have passed a rigorous evaluation process. Online programs accredited by ABET meet high educational standards, and students in these online programs can be sure that they are learning the skills that will make them competitive in the job market.

Careers in Industrial Engineering

Graduates of online industrial engineering programs may work in a variety of settings. Some of the more common sectors that industrial engineers find work in include the computer and electronic manufacturing industry, machinery manufacturing, aerospace parts and products manufacturing, and automobile parts manufacturing. Daily tasks of an engineer will vary based on the industry and location in which they work, but their main duties typically center around making systems more efficient and finding ways to get rid of waste during the manufacturing process. Some typical tasks include creating control systems, finding the most efficient way to create a product, and designing processes for quality control.

Upon completing an online degree program, aspiring industrial engineers will want to take the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam. This is the first step to finding a job and earning more advanced certification. In order to move up into supervisory roles within the industrial engineering field, a professional will want to apply for their Professional Engineer (PE) license. In order to obtain the PE license an individual must have already passed the FE exam, have four years of work experience, and earned a bachelor's degree from an ABET-accredited college. They will also need to pass another test.

References

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