Online Master’s Programs in Industrial Engineering

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Students who earn an online master’s in industrial engineering gain the skills to pursue a lucrative career in the field. Industrial engineers analyze business operations, manufacturing processes, and production schedules with the goal of minimizing waste and maximizing productivity.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), industrial engineers earn a median annual salary of $88,950, which is more than double the median annual salary of $41,950 for workers in other occupations. The BLS projects jobs for industrial engineers to grow 10% between 2019 and 2029, which is much faster than the projected 4% growth rate for all occupations.

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Top Five Online Master’s Programs in Industrial Engineering


  • Q. Where do industrial engineers work?

    Industrial engineers work in a variety of professional arenas, including aerospace, transportation, and computer and electronic product manufacturing.

  • Q. What can I do with a master's in industrial engineering?

    A postgraduate industrial engineering degree often qualifies degree-holders for project leadership jobs and executive management positions.

  • Q. Is industrial engineering in demand?

    Yes. The BLS projects a 10% growth rate for jobs in this sector between 2019 and 2029, which translates to the addition of approximately 30,000 new jobs.

Why Get a Degree in Industrial Engineering?

Several colleges and universities offer online master’s in industrial engineering programs in addition to their on-campus programs. Online enrollees can often save money since they do not incur additional expenses such as transportation and room and board.

Some schools allow out-of-state online enrollees to pay in-state tuition for certain programs, which can result in significant savings. Online students should inquire whether a prospective institution or program offers this privilege.

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How Much Does an Industrial Engineering Degree Cost?

The National Center for Education Statistics reports an average cost of $12,170 for one year of graduate enrollment (2018-19) at in-state public colleges and universities. The average cost of a master’s degree at private institutions was $27,780 for the same time period. Students can expect to pay approximately the same amount for one year of enrollment in a postgraduate industrial engineering program.

At the master’s level, colleges and universities often support students through fellowships and grants, many of which come with teaching or research responsibilities. Some fellowship programs, especially in the STEM field, cover tuition, fees, and books, and offer a modest living stipend. A fellowship or grant can significantly reduce attendance costs. Prospective students should research opportunities before enrolling.

Additional Online Student Fees for Industrial Engineering

Tuition rates for an online master’s in industrial engineering can vary depending on each school’s fee structure and tuition policies. Many colleges and universities charge the same tuition for onsite and online enrollees. However, some schools require online learners to pay an additional technology fee (per credit or per semester), which can significantly impact attendance costs.

An online master’s in industrial engineering program may also include certain on-campus requirements such as an orientation session, a comprehensive exam, or a thesis presentation. Students who do not live near their school should factor in travel expenses to their program’s final cost.

How Much Do Industrial Engineering Majors Make?

Highest Average Salary

According to the BLS, companies involved in the pipeline transportation of crude oil pay the highest average salary for industrial engineers ($120,850). Other top-paying fields for industrial engineers include the telecommunications industry ($114,920) and the petroleum and coal products manufacturing sector ($113,800).

Highest Salaries

Industrial engineers earn the highest salaries in New Mexico ($113,920), Washington ($111,310), Montana ($111,300), Wyoming ($109,640), and California ($108,130).

Master's Degree

States that hire the most workers in specific professional arenas also typically offer the most career options. This holds especially true for industrial engineers with a master’s degree. The top employers for industrial engineers include California (25,600), Michigan (25,380), Texas (20,490), Ohio (14,350), and Illinois (12,480).

In general, master’s degree-holders earn higher salaries than workers with a bachelor’s or an associate degree. The BLS reports a median weekly income of $1,545 for master’s degree-holders versus $1,305 for bachelor’s degree-holders and $938 for workers with an associate degree.

Courses in Industrial Engineering

An online master’s in industrial engineering program often follows the same curriculum as an onsite program. Colleges and universities typically offer foundation coursework in both formats. Some industrial engineering programs offer specializations in areas like quality assurance and control, engineering experimental design, applied engineering statistics, and lean operations and management.

While specific coursework varies between schools, many colleges and universities offer similar foundation coursework in engineering project management, optimization methods, and enterprise-wide information systems. See below for three common courses in industrial engineering programs.

  • Quality Control

    This course focuses on the statistical approach to quality control in manufacturing. Students examine the managerial responsibilities engendered by such an approach. The course covers specifications and tolerance limits, process capability indices, and acceptance sampling. Enrollees also learn how to construct and interpret various control charts.

  • Complex Systems Models for Industrial and Systems Engineering

    This course teaches students how to use simulation-based modeling methods to explore complex systems such as queuing networks, communication systems, supply chains, and financial markets. Learners hone their skills in modeling and analyzing different interacting and interdependent variables, components, and related subsystems, many of which are commonly used in industrial and systems engineering.

  • Design and Analysis of Work Systems

    Students learn how to analyze existing work systems and design more efficient alternatives by examining topics such as human-machine interaction, work sampling and workload balancing, direct time study, and methods and standards. The course familiarizes enrollees with several computer-based analytical and design tools that improve productivity and enhance workplace interactions.

How to Become an Industrial Engineer

An online industrial engineering degree usually comprises 30 credits and takes approximately two years to complete. Admission requirements typically include a bachelor’s degree in a related engineering or science field and a 3.0 GPA. Most schools require applicants to submit their most recent GRE scores. Prior to graduation, degree candidates often complete a culminating activity such as a thesis or a capstone project that demonstrates mastery of the program’s key learning outcomes.

Most states prefer engineers to obtain a professional engineer (PE) license before they can offer a full array of engineering services. The following section describes the requirements for the PE credential more fully.

Certifications and Licensure for Industrial Engineering

A state license or an industry-recognized credential presents the holder as a knowledgeable and skilled professional. Employers often prefer to hire licensed industrial engineers or practitioners certified in a specific arena for top managerial or executive positions. See below for three career-advancing opportunities for industrial engineers.

Professional Engineer License

PE candidates need at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an accredited institution. Candidates must pass two exams: the Fundamental Engineering exam and the Professional Engineering exam. PE candidates must also complete four years of training under a licensed engineer.

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Certified Quality Engineer

The American Society for Quality (ASQ) administers the CQE credential. Candidates must pass a five-hour exam that contains 160 multiple-choice questions. Candidates also need at least eight years of experience in one or more of the CQE practice areas. ASQ waives five years from the eight-year experience requirement for candidates with a master’s or doctorate in engineering, four years for a bachelor’s, two years for an associate, and one year for a diploma in engineering.

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Certified Professional in Supply Management

The Institute for Supply Management requires candidates to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and three years of full-time experience in the supply management field. Applicants without a bachelor’s degree must show five years of supply management experience. Professional experience cannot be in a clerical or support position.

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Best Online Master’s Programs in Industrial Engineering

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