Approximately 68,300 industrial engineering technicians are employed in the United States. These technicians most often work in durable goods manufacturing, such as electronic and electrical machinery and equipment, industrial machinery and equipment, instruments, and transportation equipment. Others work in the automotive and aerospace industries. Some technicians are employed by engineering and business services companies that do contract engineering work. The U.S. Departments of Defense, Transportation, Agriculture, and Interior are also major employers, along with state and municipal governments. The military also has a need for industrial engineers and technicians.
Many industrial engineering technicians find their first jobs through interviews with company recruiters who visit campuses. In many cases, students are invited to visit the prospective employer's plant for further consultation and to become better acquainted with the area, product, and facilities. For many students, the career services office of their college or technical school is the best source of possible jobs. Local manufacturers or companies are in constant contact with these facilities, so they have the most up-to-date job listings.
As industrial engineering technicians gain additional experience, and especially if they pursue further education, they become candidates for advancement.
The typical advancement path for industrial engineering technicians is to become a supervisor, an industrial engineer, or possibly a chief industrial engineer.
Here are some examples of positions to which technicians might aspire:
Production control managers supervise all production control employees, train new technicians, and coordinate manufacturing departments.
Production supervisors oversee manufacturing personnel and compare departmental records of production, scrap, and expenditures with departmental allowances.
Plant layout engineers supervise all plant-layout department personnel, estimate costs, and confer directly with other department heads to obtain information needed by the layout department.
Managers of quality control supervise all inspection and quality control employees, select techniques, teach employees new techniques, and meet with tool room and production people when manufacturing tolerances or scrap become a problem.
Chief industrial engineers supervise all industrial engineering employees, consult with department heads, direct departmental projects, set budgets, and prepare reports.
Contact a local manufacturing facility to arrange for a tour and an information interview with an industrial engineering technician to become familiar with their duties and work environment.
Visit Web sites such as TryEngineering.org (http://www.tryengineering.org) to learn more about different engineering fields and jobs and receive insights from experts.
Become a member of a professional organization, such as the Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers. These associations can provide information on industry trends, news, local events, and networking opportunities.