Industrial engineering technicians help industrial engineers implement designs to effectively use personnel, materials, and machines in factories, stores, healthcare organizations, repair shops, and offices. They prepare machinery and equipment layouts, plan workflows, conduct statistical production studies, and analyze production costs.

Duties

Industrial engineering technicians typically do the following:

  • Suggest revisions for methods of operation, material handling, or equipment layout
  • Interpret engineering drawings, schematic diagrams, and formulas
  • Confer with management or engineering staff to determine quality and reliability standards
  • Recommend changes to production standards for achieving the best quality within the limits of equipment capacity
  • Help plan work assignments, taking into account workers’ performance, machine capacity, and production schedules
  • Prepare charts, graphs, and diagrams to illustrate workflow, routing, floor layouts, how materials are handled and how machines are used
  • Collect data to assist in process improvement activities

Industrial engineering technicians study the time and steps workers take to do a task (time and motion studies). To set reasonable production rates, they consider how workers are doing operations such as maintenance, production, and service.

They also observe workers to make sure that equipment is being used and maintained according to quality assurance standards. They then evaluate the resulting data to recommend or justify changes to the operations or to the standards for improving quality and efficiency.

Industrial engineering technicians’ versatility allows them to be useful to a variety of businesses, governments, and nonprofits. For example, they work in supply chain management to help businesses minimize inventory costs, in quality assurance to help businesses keep their customers satisfied, and in the growing field of project management to control costs and maximize efficiencies.

Industrial engineering technicians generally work in teams under the supervision of industrial engineers.

Work Environment

Industrial engineering technicians held about 68,000 jobs in 2012. They work in various industries and businesses to coordinate activities that ensure the quality of final products or services.

The industries that employed the most industrial engineering technicians in 2012 were as follows:

Semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing 14%
Aerospace product and parts manufacturing 9
Plastics and rubber products manufacturing 7
Motor vehicle parts manufacturing 6
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and
control instruments manufacturing
5

Industrial engineers usually ask industrial engineering technicians to help carry out certain studies and make specific observations. Consequently, these technicians typically work at the location where products are manufactured or where services are delivered.

Work Schedules

Industrial engineering technicians usually work standard schedules. Most work full time.

Education and Training

Industrial engineering technicians typically need an associate’s degree or postsecondary certificate. Associate’s degree programs are generally offered by community colleges and technical institutes, and certificate programs are offered at vocational and technical schools.

Education

High school students interested in becoming industrial engineering technicians should take courses in math, science, and drafting, where available. Courses that help students develop computer skills are helpful when they later need to learn computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing software, known as CAD/CAM.

After high school, students interested in becoming industrial engineering technicians can continue at a vocational–technical school, community college, or technical institute.

Vocational–technical schools include postsecondary public institutions that serve local students and emphasize training needed by local employers. These programs generally award a certificate. 

Community colleges offer programs similar to those in technical institutes, but usually include more theory-based and liberal arts courses. Students who complete these programs earn associate’s degrees.

ABET accredits engineering and engineering technology programs.

Generally, prospective industrial engineering technicians should major in applied science, industrial technology, or industrial engineering technology.

Important Qualities

Analytical skills. Industrial engineering technicians must be able to help industrial engineers figure out how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.

Communication skills. Industrial engineering technicians receive instructions from industrial engineers. They must be able to clearly understand and follow instructions and communicate problems to their supervisors.

Critical-thinking skills. Industrial engineering technicians must be able to help industrial engineers figure out why a certain process or operation is not working as well as it might. They must ask the right questions to identify and correct weaknesses.

Detail oriented. Industrial engineering technicians must gather and record measurements and observations needed by industrial engineers.

Math skills. Industrial engineering technicians use the principles of mathematics for analysis, design, and troubleshooting in their work.

Observational skills. These technicians spend much of their time evaluating the performance of other people or organizations to make suggestions for improvements or corrective action. They must gather and record information without interfering with workers in their environments.

Pay

The median annual wage for industrial engineering technicians was $50,980 in May 2012. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $33,100, and the top 10 percent earned more than $76,020.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for industrial engineering technicians in the top five industries in which these technicians worked were as follows:

Aerospace product and parts manufacturing $63,170
Semiconductor and other electronic
component manufacturing
52,320
Navigational, measuring, electromedical, and
control instruments manufacturing
51,190
Plastics and rubber products manufacturing 47,890
Motor vehicle parts manufacturing 46,130

Industrial engineering technicians usually work standard schedules. Most work full time.

Job Outlook

Employment of industrial engineering technicians is projected to decline 3 percent from 2012 to 2022.

Industrial engineering is versatile because of its wide applicability in many industries. The growing emphasis on cost control through increasing efficiency is expected to sustain demand for industrial engineering technicians’ services in most industries, including nonprofits.

However, this occupation’s employment is expected to decrease overall in large part because of the expected employment declines in manufacturing industries, such as computer and electronic products, transportation equipment, and machinery manufacturing.

For More Information

For more information about industrial engineering, visit

Institute of Industrial Engineers

For information on general engineering education and career resources, visit

American Society for Engineering Education

Technology Student Association

For more information about accredited programs, visit

ABET

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, 2014–2015 Occupational Outlook Handbook, http://www.bls.gov/ooh.

Average Yearly Pay

$48,210

Holland Code

Building
Thinking
Organizing

Job Growth

4%

Similar Jobs

Share your thoughts