California Occupational Guides

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Summary Guide for

Industrial Engineers in California

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 design, develop, test, and evaluate integrated systems for managing processes. They determine the best use of facilities, equipment, material, and people to make procedures and systems more efficient and cost-effective.

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.

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.

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?

The median wage in 2017 for Industrial Engineers in California was $101,568 annually, or $48.83 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

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Annual Wages for 2017Low
(25th percentile)
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(75th percentile)
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2017 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
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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.

How Do I Qualify?

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. Advanced computer skills are also vital to the Engineer's education.

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 and CalJOBSSM at

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

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