Industrial engineering technicians assist industrial engineers in devising efficient systems that integrate workers, machines, materials, information, and energy to make a product or provide a service. 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 to 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
  • Help plan work assignments, taking into account workers’ performance, the capabilities of machines, 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 perform operations such as maintenance, production, and service.

The versatility of industrial engineering technicians allows them to be useful in a variety of projects. 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.

Manufacturing engineering technicians are a type of industrial engineering technician whose work improves manufacturing processes to raise product quality and profitability. They plan, test, and custom make industrial products, and thus assist the engineers in implementing improvements in production and output. Specifically, they may assess prototypes, analyze performance of machinery, or try new methods of plant production.

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Work Environment

Industrial engineering technicians held about 68,300 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of industrial engineering technicians were as follows:

Computer and electronic product manufacturing 18%
Transportation equipment manufacturing 15
Machinery manufacturing 9
Professional, scientific, and technical services 7
Chemical manufacturing 6

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 a postsecondary certificate. Community colleges and technical institutes generally offer associate’s degree programs, and vocational–technical schools offer certificate programs.

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 the students later need to learn computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing software, known as CAD/CAM.

Postsecondary programs in industrial engineering are offered at vocational–technical schools, technical institutes, and community colleges. Vocational–technical schools and technical institutes 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.

Personality and Interests

Industrial engineering technicians typically have an interest in the Building, Thinking and Organizing interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Thinking interest area indicates a focus on researching, investigating, and increasing the understanding of natural laws. The Organizing interest area indicates a focus on working with information and processes to keep things arranged in orderly systems.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Thinking or Organizing interest which might fit with a career as an industrial engineering technician, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Industrial engineering technicians should also possess the following specific 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 $56,550 in May 2019. 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 $35,850, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $87,790.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for industrial engineering technicians in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Chemical manufacturing $59,710
Transportation equipment manufacturing 59,050
Computer and electronic product manufacturing 58,470
Professional, scientific, and technical services 58,210
Machinery manufacturing 54,410

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

Job Outlook

Employment of industrial engineering technicians is projected to show little or no change from 2018 to 2028.

The growing emphasis on cost control through increased efficiency, along with their role in assisting with automation, is expected to sustain demand somewhat for industrial engineering technicians’ services.

However, this occupation’s employment is projected to show little or no change from 2018 to 2028 in large part because of the projected decreases in employment in the manufacturing industries in which these technicians work, such as computer and electronic product manufacturing, chemical manufacturing, and primary metal manufacturing.

For More Information

For more information about industrial engineering, visit

Institute of Industrial & Systems Engineers

For more information about manufacturing engineering, visit

Society of Manufacturing 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

 

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