Best Online Master’s in Industrial Engineering Programs
Does an online master's in industrial engineering interest you? We review this degree's admission requirements, standard courses, and career prospects.
Published May 16, 2022
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A master's in industrial engineering is a graduate program aimed toward engineers looking to build advanced or specialized skills in the field of industrial engineering. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average graduate school tuition was $19,790 during the 2019-2020 academic year.
Most online and in-person master's in industrial engineering take two years to complete. Students enrolled in part-time or self-paced courses may take longer to finish their degrees, while those enrolled in accelerated degree programs may need less time. In general, online degree programs provide more scheduling flexibility.
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The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) found that industrial engineers with a bachelor's degree earned a median annual salary of $95,300 as of May 2021. Earning potential increases for professionals in this field with a master's degree.
In the following sections, readers can discover examples of courses students take in these programs. We also offer admissions information for an online master's in industrial engineering.
What Can I Expect From an Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Program?
Industrial engineers streamline production processes by integrating systems that include workers, machines, and other available resources. Professionals in this field should be extremely detail-oriented and develop excellent organizational skills. Industrial engineers should be critical thinkers, with the ability to solve problems efficiently and creatively.
Attending a graduate program means investing time and money to gain more advanced skills and knowledge in a particular field. An online master's in industrial engineering typically takes two years to earn. Students complete about 30 credits. Professionals who plan to work full time while earning their degree can benefit from a part-time or self-paced program and should expect to graduate in three years or more.
Master's programs in industrial engineering typically confer one type of degree — a master of science (MS). These programs offer many specializations, including the following:
- Industrial economics
- Logistics and transportation systems
- Manufacturing systems
- Operations research
- Production planning
- Quality engineering and management
Most online master's in industrial engineering do not require students to write a thesis. However, they may need to complete a capstone project or practicum instead. Some programs may also require students to complete labs as part of their curriculum. Applicants can learn more about curriculum requirements by contacting the admissions departments of their potential schools.
Still Looking for the Right Fit? Discover Similar Degree Programs.
Popular Online Industrial Engineering Programs
Learn about start dates, transferring credits, availability of financial aid, and more by contacting the universities below.
What Courses Will I Take in an Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Program?
Information Systems Engineering
Information systems engineering explores how to use information technology and data analysis to improve workplace production. This course covers topics like process mapping, user interface development, and data organization.
Supply Chain Analytics
In supply chain analytics, students learn to analyze data associated with the attainment, processing, and distribution of goods. This course teaches students to make data-driven decisions to improve supply chain processes.
Through stochastic modeling, students learn to build models to forecast the probability of different outcomes under different conditions. This course builds skills in decision-making and data analysis.
Optimization Models and Methods
Optimization models and methods help students find preferred values of system design that will lead to the highest level of system performance. This course also helps students understand how to eliminate inferior system designs.
Regression analysis teaches students how to determine which variables have an impact. This course covers topics like diagnostics, linear and nonlinear regression, and biased and robust fitting.
What Are the Admission Requirements for an Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Program?
Admission requirements differ by school, but many programs require students to submit the same materials. Students should also note that admission requirements for online programs may be different than on-campus program requirements.
Master's programs for industrial engineering require applicants to possess a bachelor's in industrial engineering or a related field. Below, students will find a list of general requirements for graduate programs in industrial engineering. This list is not comprehensive as schools may ask for additional requirements like candidate interviews or specific undergraduate coursework.
Most colleges require students to submit an application. Both online and on-campus programs use online application forms. Applications ask for information such as educational and professional experience. Applicants may also provide financial information during the application process so that they can apply for financial aid if needed. Applications may include personal essay sections as well.
The GRE is a standardized test for students applying to graduate programs. This test includes sections for verbal reasoning, analytical writing, and quantitative reasoning. Students should take the GRE about one year before applying to grad school to allow enough time for retaking the test if necessary.
Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation should come from professional and educational mentors, such as professors, bosses, and advisors. Most schools ask for 1-3 letters of recommendation. Applicants should ask their intended letter writers early to give them enough time to prepare.
Resume and Work Experience
Applicants often need to submit a resume with all relevant professional experience. Even if the degree program does not require professional experience for admission, students should still add their resumes to the application to help them stand out from other applicants. Students should not include non-relevant work experience.
Application essays provide applicants the opportunity to communicate directly with the admissions department at a school. These essays allow students to explain why they want to earn this degree and what would make them a good fit for the program. These essays also allow students to expound on the life and work experiences included in their resumes.
All students must include official transcripts from previous educational experience to prove they hold the minimum requirement for a master's degree program. Students can obtain transcripts from their previous university, often for a small fee, and have them sent directly to the admissions department.
What Can I Do With an Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Degree?
Industrial engineering is an in-demand field for recent graduates. The BLS projects 14% growth in the field from 2020-2030, a rate much faster than the national average. By comparison, positions for all architectural and engineering professionals are only projected to grow 6% during the same period.
Industrial engineers earned a median annual salary of $95,300 with a bachelor's degree in May 2021. These professionals can often increase their earning potential with a master's degree. By comparison, the median annual salary for all architectural and engineering careers was $79,840 during the same period.
Professionals with an online master's in industrial engineering can find careers as industrial engineers, health and safety engineers, and logisticians. Readers can discover more potential careers for this field in the following section.
See where a master's in industrial engineering can take you. Learn more about STEM careers.
Industrial engineers maximize workplace efficiency through data analysis and optimization models. These professionals conduct interviews and review documents to understand a company's production process and then build models to improve output. Industrial engineers must account for factors like quality control and worker safety while building their models.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $95,300
Health and Safety Engineer
Health and safety engineers design systems and procedures to protect workers from illness and injury and protect property from damage. These professionals need a thorough understanding of health and safety regulations at the state and federal levels. Health and safety engineers may inspect equipment, change employee policy, and install new safety devices.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $99,040
Logisticians coordinate the supply chain for an organization from start to finish, including product acquisitions, allocation, and delivery. These professionals may conduct supply chain reviews and analyze data to create more efficient systems to minimize cost and shipping time. Logisticians are detail-oriented and need excellent organizational skills.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $77,030
Architectural and Engineering Manager
Architectural and engineering managers oversee and coordinate all activities in an architectural or engineering firm. These professionals manage budgets and personnel, including staff supervision. Engineering managers may also lead research and development projects to find new products or procedures. Professionals in this field need excellent communication skills.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $152,350
Cost estimators collect and analyze data to evaluate how much time, money, and labor will be needed to create a product. These professionals tend to specialize in a particular product or industry. Cost estimators often collaborate with engineers and other contractors to gain a better understanding of the resources needed to complete a job.
Median Annual Salary (May 2021): $65,170
Industrial Engineering Not For You? Check Out These Related Careers.
Professionals can pursue a doctoral degree in industrial engineering, though it is not required for career advancement. To earn a Ph.D. in this field, students must complete about 90 credits over three years.
Industrial engineers can also pursue certification from professional organizations. Some common certifications for industrial engineers include:
- Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI)
- Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE) certification from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME)
- Quality Engineer Certification (CQE) from the American Society for Quality (ASQ)
How Do I Choose an Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Program?
According to NCES, the average graduate school tuition was $19,790 during the 2019-2020 academic year. Readers should keep in mind that tuition costs for online and on-campus programs may differ. When budgeting for online college, students should always plan for additional expenses, such as materials and technology fees.
Online programs often provide more flexible scheduling options. For example, students may choose to attend classes part time or full time. They can also enroll in an accelerated program where they can finish their degree faster than average. Students can also explore synchronous vs. asynchronous learning options, giving them more control over when they have class.
Choosing an online program does not necessarily mean choosing a program across the country. Some online programs feature on-campus requirements, making it beneficial for online students to live nearby. Readers can find out if an online program has on-campus requirements by reviewing the college's website or contacting the admissions department.
Accreditation is a system of review by independent agencies that determine whether colleges meet certain educational standards. Accreditation occurs at two levels: institutional and programmatic. ABET is the leading agency in engineering program accreditation. Online degree programs can receive the same accreditation as on-campus programs. Readers should always look for schools and programs with accreditation, though most engineering graduate programs are not ABET-accredited. Programmatic accreditation is much more common at the undergraduate engineering level.
Most online programs offer student support services that may help students with academic and professional goals. Student services may include mentorship programs, career counseling, and internship placement. Students should take advantage of these services as they offer networking and career opportunities before and after graduation.
Best Accredited Online Master's in Industrial Engineering Programs
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Frequently Asked Questions About Master's in Industrial Engineering Programs
Is a master's in industrial engineering worth it?
Earning an online master's in industrial engineering can lead to career advancement and higher wages. This degree offers training in high-level skills in industrial engineering and provides many opportunities for specialization. While only a bachelor's degree is required for an entry-level position in this field, earning a master's opens the door to better opportunities.
Earning a master's degree does require time and money. Readers should always assess how returning to school can impact their career goals and financial status.
What can I do with a master's in industrial engineering?
A master's in industrial engineering can allow graduates to pursue more senior positions in the field, such as health and safety engineer, logistician, and cost estimator. Industrial engineers with a master's degree may also become eligible for management and/or training positions, which may offer higher pay and more favorable hours.
Before enrolling in a master's program, professionals can explore their advancement options by talking to their current employer about how a master's degree might impact their career. They can also network with other professionals in the field to find additional career opportunities.
Are industrial engineering graduates in demand?
The BLS projects that industrial engineers will experience 14% growth from 2020-2030, which is much faster than the national average. This projection indicates that industrial engineering careers will be in high demand over the next decade, which can also lead to higher, more competitive pay.
Readers should note that job availability in certain fields can heavily depend on location. If possible, industrial engineers should consider relocating somewhere with more career opportunities and higher pay in this field.
How much money can I make with a master's in industrial engineering?
According to the BLS, industrial engineers earned a median annual salary of $95,300 in 2021, but salaries for industrial engineers with master's degrees may be higher. Earning a master's degree often helps professionals earn promotions and/or higher salaries than their peers with a bachelor's degree.
Readers should note that earning a master's degree does not guarantee a specific salary. Compensation rates often differ depending on factors like the employee's level of education and experience, the location of the job, and the demand for that particular career.
What are the highest-paying jobs with a master's in industrial engineering?
One of the highest-paying careers for a professional with a degree in industrial engineering is an engineering manager. According to the BLS, these professionals earned a median annual salary of $152,350 in 2021. Industrial production managers also earn high salaries, with a median annual income of $103,150 during the same period.
Additional high-paying jobs might include health and safety engineers, who earned a median annual income of $99,040 in 2021, and management analysts, who made a median annual salary of $93,000 during the same period.
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