California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

Industrial Engineers in San Diego County

May also be called: Operations Engineers; Packaging Engineers; Plant Engineers; Process Engineers; Quality Engineers; Supply Chain Engineers; Systems Engineers

What Would I Do?

Industrial Engineers can be found working in many different industries, for example aerospace, computer, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, and utilities. The jobs they perform may range from manufacturing sports cars, running an efficient amusement park, or shipping products internationally. However, their primary concerns are with increasing productivity through the management of people, methods of business organization, and technology.

Industrial Engineers look at a company’s total operations process in order to improve cost, productivity, quality, safety, and work environment. They determine the best use of facilities, equipment, material, and people to make procedures and systems more efficient and cost-effective. They also develop manufacturing methods, management control systems, and cost-analysis systems to promote efficiency. They make decisions on the handling and storage of incoming materials, packaging and shipping methods, production planning, as well as workforce scheduling.

Industrial Engineers design, develop, test, and evaluate integrated systems for managing processes. They oversee projects and solve problems that may arise during the development stage. Industrial Engineers may also specialize in information technology, information systems and design, material management, production planning, or work methods analysis. Other Industrial Engineers may concentrate their efforts on determining the locations of new facilities, the logistics and distribution of goods and services, and facilities layout and design.

Industrial Engineers use mathematical methods and models to gather, analyze, and interpret statistical data to determine standards and establish quality and reliability objectives of systems. Some may help develop budgets and forecasts, as well as wage and salary administration systems. They assess office automation, cost-containment, and consolidation efforts. Engineers also develop and write detailed instructions for procedures on newly developed operating processes. In addition, they evaluate and recommend methods to upper management for improving job performance.

Tools and Technology

Industrial Engineers use a variety of tools including computers, hydraulic motors, microcontrollers, and motion control systems. The technologies they use include various types of software, such as analytical or scientific, computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), program testing, and project management.

Green Economy

Industrial Engineers will play an important role in the emerging green economy. They will assist with the research and design of industrial, manufacturing, or other processes that will use fewer natural resources, produce less waste, and be more energy-efficient.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Plan and establish sequence of operations to fabricate and assemble parts or products and to promote efficient utilization.Engineering and Technology
Review production schedules, engineering specifications, orders, and related information to obtain knowledge of manufacturing methods, procedures, and activities.Production and Processing
Estimate production cost and effect of product design changes for management review, action, and control.Judgment and Decision Making
Draft and design layout of equipment, materials, and workspace to illustrate maximum efficiency using drafting tools and computer.Design
Communicate with management and user personnel to develop production and design standards.Oral Expression
Recommend methods for improving utilization of personnel, material, and utilities.Critical Thinking
Confer with vendors, staff, and management personnel regarding purchases, procedures, product specifications, manufacturing capabilities, and project status.Speaking
Apply statistical methods and perform mathematical calculations to determine manufacturing processes, staff requirements, and production standards.Mathematics
Study operations sequence, material flow, functional statements, organization charts, and project information to determine worker functions and responsibilities.Deductive Reasoning
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

The work of the Industrial Engineer is not physically demanding, but frequently takes the Engineer out of the office and into production and manufacturing areas. Today, this sometimes means traveling across the country or around the world to the manufacturing site. Work sites may be dusty, noisy, and subject to extreme temperatures. When working at these sites, Industrial Engineers should be trained in proper safety procedures to avoid risk of injury, which may be caused by machinery. Most Engineers work a standard 40-hour week but can expect occasional evening, weekend, or holiday work to meet deadlines.

Industrial Engineers are not often members of labor organizations.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Industrial Engineer may appeal to those who enjoy working with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. In addition, they must be able to search for facts using a variety of sources in order to figure out problems. Industrial Engineers should also be able to work alone or as part of a team. Effective oral and written communication skills are critical.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Industrial Engineers in California is $99,968 annually, or $48.06 hourly. The median wage for Industrial Engineers in San Diego County is $94,500 annually, or $45.44 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$79,019$99,968$125,543
San Diego County$77,690$94,500$118,919
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Industrial Engineers generally receive excellent benefit packages, including health and life insurance, vacation, sick leave, and pension plans. Other benefits may include profit-sharing and 401(k) plans.

What is the Job Outlook?

With the increased focus on environmentally sustainable business practices, Industrial Engineers should expect to have increased job opportunities. However, like many occupations, employment may be sensitive to the fluctuations of the economy.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Industrial Engineers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Industrial Engineers are expected to increase by 8.2 percent, or 1,900 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

In San Diego County, the number of Industrial Engineers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Industrial Engineers are expected to increase by 12.1 percent, or 320 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Industrial Engineers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
23,10025,0001,9008.26,800
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
2,6502,97032012.1770
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 180 new job openings per year is expected for Industrial Engineers, plus an additional 680 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 860 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 32 new job openings per year is expected for Industrial Engineers, plus an additional 77 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 109 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Industrial Engineers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
180680860
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
3277109
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

A bachelor's degree in industrial engineering is generally the minimum educational level that employers will consider for a position as an Industrial Engineer. Most engineering programs involve a concentration of study in an engineering specialty, along with courses in design, mathematics, physical and life sciences, and laboratory classes. Additional industrial engineering classes may include asset allocation in technical decision making, elements of electrical engineering, strength of materials, and vector statics. Advanced computer skills are also vital to the Engineer's education.

Experience

Many employers require at least two to five years of experience in industrial engineering. However, larger companies may offer entry-level engineering positions for college graduates and provide them with formal or seminar-type training. Entry-level Engineers usually work under the direction of a licensed Engineer. As they gain knowledge and experience, they are assigned more difficult tasks with greater independence to develop processes, solve problems, and make decisions.

Early Career Planning

High school students planning to become Industrial Engineers should take courses in English, mathematics, chemistry, and physics, as well as shop and drafting classes. Electives in electronics, business administration, and computer science will also provide valuable knowledge for a successful career in industrial engineering.

Work-Study Programs

Some colleges and universities help students find internships or work-study programs. Internships are usually paid and are an opportunity for the sponsoring organization to recruit future employees.

Continuing Education

Continuing education is not a requirement for Industrial Engineers. However, most Engineers will need to stay current with new production and manufacturing processes and the latest technological improvements in their field to properly do their jobs.

Licensing and Certification

Although a Professional Engineer’s (PE) license is not required for most Industrial Engineers, a licensed Engineer will have a competitive edge for advancement to more responsible positions.

To obtain a PE license, Engineers must first pass the Engineer-in-Training or Fundamentals of Engineering examination which requires at least three years of coursework from a college or university offering an engineering program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), or three years of engineering-related experience. The next step in the process is to pass the professional examination which requires a bachelor’s degree in engineering from an ABET-accredited institution, along with two years of eligible engineering experience. Engineers without a bachelor's degree in engineering must possess six years of eligible experience. The license must be renewed every two years. Contact the agency that issues the license for additional information. Click on the license title below for details.

Some certifications may be required for Industrial Engineers, such as Cost Engineer and Manufacturing Engineer. These certifications are offered by various professional organizations. For more information, go to the U.S. Department of Labor's Career InfoNet Web site and scroll down to "Career Tools." Click on "Certification Finder" and follow the instructions to locate certification programs.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Engineering, Industrial, Industrial Engineer, and Industrial Engineering.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Industrial Engineers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Aerospace Product & Parts Manufacturing 12.4%
Electronic Instrument Manufacturing 11.6%
Semiconductor and Electronic Components 9.1%
Architectural and Engineering Services 5.6%
Scientific Research and Development Svc 5.5%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

Finding a Job

Direct contact with employers is a traditional means to finding a job as an Industrial Engineer. Jobs may also be found through college placement offices, company recruiting events, job fairs, online job boards, or professional engineering organizations. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Industrial Engineers.

  • Aerospace
  • Automobile Manufacturing
  • Engineers-Consulting
  • Engineers-Industrial
  • Manufacturing

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Since Industrial Engineers work closely with a company's management in cutting costs and providing more efficient work processes, promotion to a general management position is one way to gain additional responsibilities, while earning higher pay and better benefits. Some Industrial Engineers earn graduate degrees and teach, while others work as consultants.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Industrial Engineers with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Civil EngineersGuide
Industrial Engineering TechniciansGuide
Materials EngineersProfile
Mechanical Engineering TechniciansProfile
Mechanical EngineersGuide

Other Sources

  • California Board for Professional Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Geologists
         www.pels.ca.gov
  • California Department of Consumer Affairs
         www.dca.ca.gov
  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology
         www.abet.org
  • American Society for Engineering Education
         www.asee.org
  • Institute of Industrial Engineers
         www.iienet2.org
  • National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying
         www.ncees.org
  • Society of Manufacturing Engineers
         www.sme.org

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification17-2112
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Industrial Engineers17-2112.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)IEC
   Human Factors Engineers and Ergonomists17-2112.01
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)IRE