Best Online Industrial Engineering Degree Programs 2024

Table of Contents

Why Choose an Online Industrial Engineering Degree Program?

Opting for an online Industrial Engineering (IE) degree program can be a strategic decision for individuals seeking to balance education with other commitments while aiming to advance in the field of engineering. Here are some compelling reasons to consider an online IE degree:

Flexibility and Convenience

  • Online IE programs offer the flexibility to complete coursework around your schedule, making it easier to manage work, family, and educational responsibilities simultaneously.
  • Students can access learning materials, lectures, and assignments at any time, from any location with an internet connection, reducing the need for commuting or relocating.

Broadened Access to Expertise

  • Many online programs are taught by the same faculty who teach on-campus courses, providing students with high-quality instruction from experienced professionals.
  • Online platforms often enable students to network with peers and professors from diverse geographic locations, expanding their professional circles and perspectives.

Application of Learning in Real-Time

  • The online format allows students to apply new knowledge and skills immediately to their current job roles, enhancing their performance and value to employers.
  • Projects and assignments can often be tailored to address real-world challenges faced in students' workplaces, creating a direct link between education and practical application.

Cost-Effectiveness

  • Online IE programs may reduce or eliminate costs associated with commuting, housing, and certain campus facilities, making them a more budget-friendly option.
  • Many institutions offer digital resources at reduced rates or included with tuition, decreasing the overall cost of educational materials.

Technological Advancements in Learning Platforms

  • Innovative online learning management systems facilitate interactive learning experiences, including forums, video conferencing, and virtual labs.
  • The use of cutting-edge technology in course delivery prepares students for the technologically-driven field of industrial engineering.

Diverse Program Offerings

  • Online degrees in industrial engineering are available at various levels, from bachelor's to doctoral degrees, catering to different career stages and educational needs.
  • Many programs offer concentrations or electives that allow students to specialize in areas like supply chain management, systems engineering, or quality assurance.

Accreditation and Recognition

  • Accredited online IE programs meet rigorous standards set by recognized accrediting bodies, ensuring that the education provided is of high quality and widely accepted by employers.
  • Earning a degree from an accredited program can be crucial for professional certification and licensure in the field of industrial engineering.
Choosing an online Industrial Engineering degree program can provide a path to career advancement while offering the adaptability needed to maintain personal and professional commitments. With the integration of technology into education, students are prepared not only with technical skills but also with proficiency in digital collaboration tools essential for today's engineering professionals.

Types of Online Industrial Engineering Degree Programs

Online industrial engineering degree programs offer a variety of educational pathways, each tailored to different career goals, schedules, and levels of expertise. Whether you’re a high school graduate eager to enter the field or a working professional looking to advance your career, there’s an online program designed for your needs.

Associate Degrees in Industrial Engineering

  • Duration: Typically takes about two years to complete.
  • Focus: Foundational courses in mathematics, science, and basic engineering principles.
  • Career Path: Prepares graduates for entry-level technician roles or for transfer to a bachelor’s program.

Bachelor’s Degrees in Industrial Engineering

  • Duration: Generally requires four years of full-time study.
  • Curriculum: In-depth coursework in systems optimization, operations research, supply chain management, and quality control.
  • Career Outcome: Equips students for roles such as industrial engineers, process engineers, or quality assurance analysts.

Master’s Degrees in Industrial Engineering

  • Duration: Can be completed in 1-2 years, depending on the student's availability and the program's structure.
  • Specializations: Options often include systems engineering, manufacturing, human factors, or operations research.
  • Career Advancement: Targets professionals seeking managerial positions or specialized roles in fields like healthcare systems or logistics.

Doctoral Degrees in Industrial Engineering

  • Duration: Usually takes 3-5 years post-master’s degree.
  • Research Intensive: Focus on advancing the field through original research, culminating in a dissertation.
  • Academic and Leadership Careers: Prepares graduates for positions in academia, high-level consultancy, or executive management.

Certificates in Industrial Engineering

  • Duration: Short-term programs that can often be completed within a year.
  • Purpose: Provide specific skills or knowledge in niche areas like lean manufacturing or Six Sigma.
  • Professional Development: Ideal for current engineers looking to upskill or professionals from other fields seeking to transition into industrial engineering.
Each type of online industrial engineering degree program comes with its own set of prerequisites, time commitments, and outcomes. Prospective students should carefully consider their personal circumstances and professional aspirations when selecting the program that best aligns with their goals.

Online Industrial Engineering Degree Admission Requirements and Application Process

Navigating the admission requirements and application process for an online industrial engineering degree is a critical step for prospective students. Understanding these prerequisites will ensure that candidates are well-prepared when submitting their applications to their chosen institutions.

Understanding Admission Requirements

To be eligible for an online industrial engineering program, applicants must meet certain criteria set forth by the educational institution. These requirements often include:
  • Academic Prerequisites: Most programs require a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants should have completed coursework in mathematics (particularly calculus), science (physics and chemistry), and English. Some institutions may require a minimum high school GPA or specific SAT/ACT scores.
  • Undergraduate Degree: For those applying to graduate programs, a bachelor's degree in engineering or a related field is typically necessary. The degree should be from an accredited institution, and a minimum undergraduate GPA may also be required.
  • Work Experience: Some master’s programs might prefer or require relevant work experience in the industrial engineering field or related areas.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Applicants may need to provide letters of recommendation from academic or professional references who can attest to their qualifications and potential for success in the program.
  • Statement of Purpose: A written statement outlining the applicant’s goals, interests, and reasons for pursuing an online industrial engineering degree may be requested to assess the candidate’s motivation and commitment.
  • English Proficiency: For non-native English speakers, proof of English proficiency through tests such as TOEFL or IELTS might be necessary.

Navigating the Application Process

The application process for an online industrial engineering degree typically involves several steps that candidates need to follow meticulously:
  • Researching Programs: Start by identifying accredited programs that align with your career goals and have favorable admission requirements. Pay close attention to the curriculum, faculty expertise, and the availability of resources such as virtual labs and libraries.
  • Gathering Documentation: Collect all necessary documents such as transcripts, test scores, recommendation letters, and any other materials specified by the program.
  • Filling Out the Application Form: Complete the application form carefully, providing accurate personal information, educational background, and any additional details required by the institution.
  • Writing Personal Statements: Craft a clear and compelling statement of purpose that reflects your passion for industrial engineering and articulates your long-term objectives.
  • Submitting Applications: Submit your application before the deadline, along with all the required documentation and application fees if applicable.
  • Following Up: After submission, keep track of your application status and be prepared to provide any additional information if requested by the admissions office.
Prospective students should also be aware that some programs may conduct interviews as part of the admission process. Preparing for potential interview questions can further demonstrate your readiness for an online industrial engineering degree program. Each educational institution will have its own specific set of requirements and application procedures. It is essential for applicants to thoroughly review these details provided by their chosen programs to ensure a complete and timely application.

Online Industrial Engineering Degree Program Curriculum and Specializations

When exploring online Industrial Engineering (IE) degree programs, prospective students will find a curriculum designed to provide a comprehensive understanding of the field. The curriculum typically balances core engineering principles with the application of systems thinking to optimize complex processes, systems, or organizations. Here’s an overview of what students can expect to learn:

Core Industrial Engineering Courses

The backbone of an online IE degree program is its core courses, which lay the foundation for understanding the discipline. These courses often include:

  • Engineering Statistics: Students learn statistical methods and how to apply them to engineering problems, focusing on quality control and process improvement.
  • Operations Research: This course covers mathematical modeling techniques used to make decisions in complex scenarios, including linear programming, network flows, and simulation.
  • Production Systems: Students examine the design, operation, and improvement of production systems, emphasizing efficiency and productivity.
  • Human Factors Engineering: This area focuses on designing systems that are user-friendly and accommodate human capabilities and limitations.
  • Supply Chain Management: Coursework explores the coordination of production, inventory, location, and transportation among participants in a supply chain to achieve the best mix of responsiveness and efficiency for the market being served.
  • Quality Control: Students learn about statistical quality control methods, process capability analysis, and the implementation of quality management systems.

Elective Courses and Specializations

Most online IE programs offer electives that allow students to tailor their education to their career interests. Elective courses may include:

  • Six Sigma: A course that teaches the methodologies and tools necessary for process improvement using the Six Sigma framework.
  • Health Systems Engineering: This elective delves into the application of industrial engineering principles to healthcare systems to improve efficiency and patient care.
  • Project Management: Students learn the skills necessary to plan, execute, and manage projects within time and budget constraints.
  • Sustainable Operations: This course explores practices for managing operations in an environmentally sustainable way.
  • Data Analytics and Big Data: Focuses on how to analyze large data sets to identify trends, patterns, and insights relevant to industrial engineering applications.

In addition to electives, some online programs offer specializations or concentrations within industrial engineering. These focused areas of study enable students to become experts in niche aspects of industrial engineering. Common specializations include:

  • Engineering Management: Combines technical knowledge with business and management skills, preparing graduates for leadership roles in engineering settings.
  • Advanced Manufacturing: Emphasizes cutting-edge manufacturing technologies and processes such as additive manufacturing, robotics, and computer-integrated manufacturing.
  • Logistics and Transportation: Focuses on optimizing the movement of goods and services through supply chain networks.
  • Systems Engineering: Centers on designing and managing complex engineering projects over their life cycles.

Capstone Projects and Practical Experience

An essential component of many online industrial engineering programs is a capstone project or internship experience. This hands-on learning opportunity requires students to apply their knowledge to real-world problems. Capstone projects often involve:

  • Analyzing a company's production process to identify inefficiencies.
  • Designing a new product line layout using simulation software.
  • Implementing a quality control system for a manufacturing facility.

An internship may be required or recommended as part of the program. Internships provide students with practical experience in industrial settings, facilitating networking opportunities and real-world insights that can be invaluable upon entering the job market.

Certification Preparation

Furthermore, some online IE degree programs incorporate coursework that prepares students for industry certifications such as the Six Sigma Green Belt or Black Belt, Project Management Professional (PMP), or Certified Systems Engineering Professional (CSEP). Obtaining these certifications can enhance a graduate’s credentials and employability in the competitive job market.

The curriculum of an online Industrial Engineering degree program is designed not only to impart essential knowledge but also to provide students with a flexible learning environment that accommodates their schedules. By engaging with diverse course offerings and specializations, online learners can shape their educational paths to align with their career aspirations in industrial engineering.

Online Industrial Engineering Degree Accreditation and Quality of Online Programs

When researching online Industrial Engineering degree programs, accreditation stands out as a critical factor for prospective students to consider. Accreditation serves as a benchmark for the quality and rigor of a program, ensuring that it meets specific standards of excellence in education.

Understanding Accreditation

Accreditation is the process by which an independent body evaluates and certifies that a program or institution meets established quality standards. In the United States, there are two primary types of accreditation:
  • Regional Accreditation: This is the most prestigious type of accreditation. Six regional accrediting bodies are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) to evaluate institutions within their respective regions.
  • Programmatic Accreditation: Specific programs, departments, or schools within an institution are accredited by specialized accrediting agencies. For industrial engineering programs, the main accrediting body is the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET).

The Importance of ABET Accreditation

For industrial engineering students, selecting a program with ABET accreditation is crucial for several reasons:
  • Career Prospects: Employers often prefer or require graduates from ABET-accredited programs, recognizing the high standards of education these programs meet.
  • Licensure and Certification: Graduates from an ABET-accredited program are typically eligible to pursue professional licensure and certifications, which may be mandatory for certain positions.
  • Continued Education: If you decide to further your education, credits from an ABET-accredited program are more likely to be accepted by other accredited institutions.
  • Global Recognition: ABET accreditation is recognized internationally, which can be beneficial for students who aspire to work abroad or with multinational companies.

Evaluating the Quality of Online Programs

Besides accreditation, various other factors contribute to the quality of online industrial engineering degree programs:
  • Curriculum Rigor: A robust curriculum that covers essential industrial engineering principles and practices indicates a program's commitment to comprehensive education.
  • Faculty Credentials: Distinguished faculty members with relevant industry experience and academic qualifications enhance the learning experience.
  • Technology Integration: The use of modern technology tools and platforms can significantly impact the effectiveness of online learning.
  • Interactive Learning Environment: Programs that offer interactive elements such as forums, live sessions, and collaborative projects foster a more engaging learning experience.
  • Student Support Services: Access to academic advising, career services, and technical support is vital for student success in an online setting.
  • Peer Networking Opportunities: Options for students to network with peers and industry professionals can enrich their educational journey and future career opportunities.
Prospective students should thoroughly research these aspects when comparing online industrial engineering programs. Additionally, considering student reviews and program outcomes, such as graduation rates and job placement statistics, can provide valuable insights into a program's effectiveness. In summary, accreditation by ABET and other quality indicators play a significant role in ensuring that an online Industrial Engineering degree program provides a reputable, valuable education that can support a graduate's career aspirations and advancement in the field.

Online Industrial Engineering Degree Program Tuition & Financial Aid

Navigating the financial aspects of an online industrial engineering degree program requires a clear understanding of tuition costs and available financial aid options. The investment in your education is significant, but with the right information and resources, you can make informed decisions that align with your budget and career goals.

Tuition Costs for Online Industrial Engineering Programs

Tuition for online industrial engineering degrees can vary widely based on several factors:
  • Institution Type: Public universities often offer lower tuition rates than private institutions, especially for in-state residents.
  • Program Level: Tuition can differ between undergraduate and graduate programs, with graduate degrees typically having a higher cost per credit hour.
  • Credit Requirements: The total cost of the program is also influenced by the number of credit hours required to complete the degree.
  • Residency Status: Out-of-state students may face higher tuition rates at public universities, although some online programs offer flat-rate tuition regardless of residency.
  • Fees and Additional Costs: Beyond tuition, there may be additional fees for technology, resources, or materials specific to online learning.
Prospective students should research the specific tuition rates posted by their chosen institution and calculate the total estimated cost, including any additional fees.

Understanding Financial Aid Options

Financial aid is a critical component for many students pursuing an online industrial engineering degree. Here are common types of financial aid available:
  • Federal Aid: Students can apply for federal grants, loans, and work-study programs by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
  • Scholarships: Numerous scholarships are offered by universities, private organizations, and professional associations based on merit, need, diversity, or field of study.
  • Employer Assistance: Some employers offer tuition reimbursement or assistance programs for employees seeking further education in fields relevant to their job.
  • Military Benefits: Active-duty military personnel, veterans, and their families may be eligible for education benefits through programs like the GI Bill®.
  • Payment Plans: Many institutions offer payment plans that allow students to spread out the cost of tuition over time rather than paying in one lump sum.
Students should explore all available financial aid options and consider their eligibility for each type of assistance. Applying early and meeting all deadlines is crucial to securing the best possible financial aid package.

Maximizing Financial Aid Eligibility

To maximize your eligibility for financial aid:
  • Maintain Good Academic Standing: Some forms of financial aid require maintaining a certain GPA or progressing satisfactorily toward degree completion.
  • Complete FAFSA Annually: Update your FAFSA each year to reflect any changes in your financial situation.
  • Search for Scholarships Regularly: New scholarship opportunities may arise throughout the year; regularly searching and applying can increase your chances of receiving awards.
  • Consult Financial Aid Advisors: Speak with financial aid counselors at your institution to get personalized advice and learn about additional resources.
By taking a proactive approach to understand tuition costs and diligently seeking out financial aid resources, students can more effectively manage the financial commitment of an online industrial engineering degree program.

Best Careers for Degree in Industrial Engineering in 2023 by Salary

Data sourced from the U.S. Department of Labor via the ONET Web API.

Career Opportunities with an Online Industrial Engineering Degree

Earning an online industrial engineering degree can open the door to a multitude of career paths in various industries. Industrial engineers are pivotal in improving systems and processes, making them more efficient and cost-effective. As a graduate with this degree, you can look forward to opportunities in sectors such as manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, and technology, among others.

Manufacturing and Production

Industrial engineers are integral to the manufacturing sector, where they streamline operations to enhance productivity and reduce waste. Career opportunities in this field include:
  • Process Engineer: Oversee and improve manufacturing processes to increase efficiency and quality while reducing costs.
  • Quality Control Engineer: Implement quality control measures, ensuring products meet industry standards and customer satisfaction.
  • Plant Manager: Supervise all aspects of a manufacturing facility, including staff management, production schedules, and budgeting.

Healthcare Systems Optimization

In healthcare, industrial engineers work to optimize patient care delivery systems. They focus on enhancing efficiency and patient outcomes through various roles:
  • Healthcare Systems Engineer: Collaborate with healthcare professionals to design efficient workflows and reduce patient wait times.
  • Clinical Operations Analyst: Use data analytics to improve hospital operations and resource allocation.
  • Medical Process Engineer: Implement process improvements within medical facilities to streamline procedures and enhance patient care.

Supply Chain and Logistics

The logistics industry relies heavily on industrial engineers to manage supply chains and distribution networks effectively. Graduates can explore positions such as:
  • Supply Chain Analyst: Analyze and optimize supply chain processes for better coordination and reduced costs.
  • Logistics Engineer: Design and implement efficient transportation routes and distribution strategies.
  • Inventory Management Specialist: Control inventory levels to ensure product availability while minimizing holding costs.

Technology and Innovation

With technological advancements constantly reshaping industries, industrial engineers play a crucial role in innovation. Career opportunities include:
  • Systems Analyst: Examine and improve IT systems within organizations to enhance operations.
  • Operations Research Analyst: Apply mathematical models and analytical methods to solve complex operational problems.
  • Product Development Manager: Lead cross-functional teams to develop new products from concept to market launch.

Consulting and Advisory Services

Many industrial engineering graduates gravitate towards consulting, offering their expertise to businesses seeking operational improvements:
  • Management Consultant: Advise organizations on how to enhance performance through better operational practices.
  • Industrial Engineering Consultant: Provide specialized knowledge in optimizing production systems, workflow, and ergonomics.
  • Project Manager: Plan, execute, and close projects that meet specific goals within various industries.

Sector-Specific Opportunities

Industrial engineers are also sought after in other sectors for their versatile skills:
  • Aerospace Industry: Optimize production and maintenance processes within the aerospace sector.
  • Automotive Industry: Improve manufacturing processes and supply chain management for automotive companies.
  • E-commerce Operations: Streamline order fulfillment and delivery processes for online retailers.
With an online industrial engineering degree, graduates possess the analytical skills, technical knowledge, and managerial capabilities required to excel in these dynamic roles. Their problem-solving expertise is applicable across various levels of operation within any industry that values efficiency and innovation.

FAQ's About Online Industrial Engineering Degree Programs

What Is an Online Industrial Engineering Degree?

An online industrial engineering degree is a program that allows students to study the principles and practices of industrial engineering through internet-based courses. This degree typically covers topics such as systems optimization, manufacturing processes, production planning, quality control, and operations research. Students gain the skills needed to design, improve, and manage complex systems in various industries.

Can I Get an Accredited Industrial Engineering Degree Online?

Yes, many accredited institutions offer online industrial engineering degrees. Accreditation ensures that the program meets certain educational standards and is recognized by employers. Prospective students should look for programs accredited by ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), which is the recognized accreditor for college and university programs in applied science, computing, engineering, and engineering technology.

What Will I Learn in an Online Industrial Engineering Program?

  • Engineering Mathematics: The application of advanced mathematics to solve complex engineering problems.
  • Engineering Sciences: Fundamental concepts in materials science, statics, dynamics, and fluid mechanics.
  • Operations Management: Techniques for managing operations, including logistics, supply chain management, and production scheduling.
  • Systems Design: Principles of designing efficient and effective systems incorporating human factors and ergonomics.
  • Quality Control: Methodologies for ensuring products and services meet quality standards and customer satisfaction.

How Long Does It Take to Complete an Online Industrial Engineering Degree?

The time it takes to complete an online industrial engineering degree can vary depending on several factors. A bachelor's degree typically takes four years of full-time study, while a master's degree may take two years. Part-time students or those with transferable credits may take longer to complete their degrees. Some programs offer accelerated options that can reduce completion time.

Is Online Industrial Engineering Education as Good as On-Campus Education?

Online industrial engineering education can be just as rigorous and comprehensive as on-campus education. Many programs offer the same curriculum, taught by the same faculty who teach on campus. The key difference is the delivery mode. With advances in educational technology, online learning environments are increasingly interactive and engaging.

How Do Online Industrial Engineering Courses Work?

Online industrial engineering courses are typically delivered through a learning management system (LMS) that allows students to access lectures, course materials, assignments, and exams. Students interact with instructors and peers through discussion forums, video conferencing, and email. Assessments may be conducted through online quizzes, projects, or proctored exams.

What Are the Technical Requirements for Studying Online?

  • A reliable computer or laptop with up-to-date software.
  • A high-speed internet connection for streaming video lectures and downloading course materials.
  • Webcam and microphone for participating in virtual classes and group discussions.
  • Access to specific software or tools required by the program, which may include statistical analysis or CAD software.

Are There Opportunities for Hands-On Experience in an Online Program?

While online programs are primarily virtual, many offer opportunities for hands-on experience through virtual labs, simulations, or industry projects. Some programs also have partnerships with local businesses where students can complete internships or practicums in a real-world setting.

What Kind of Jobs Can I Get with an Online Industrial Engineering Degree?

An online industrial engineering degree can open doors to a variety of careers in industries such as manufacturing, healthcare, logistics, consulting, and more. Potential job titles include:

  • Industrial Engineer
  • Process Engineer
  • Quality Engineer
  • Supply Chain Analyst
  • Operations Manager

Can I Continue Working While Studying for My Online Industrial Engineering Degree?

A major benefit of online industrial engineering programs is flexibility. Many working professionals choose online education because it allows them to balance their studies with work and personal commitments. Courses are often asynchronous, meaning students can access materials at any time that fits their schedule.

How Much Does an Online Industrial Engineering Degree Cost?

The cost of an online industrial engineering degree varies widely depending on the institution, program length, and residency status of the student. Generally, public universities may offer lower tuition rates for in-state students. It's important to factor in additional costs such as books, fees, and any required on-site residencies or workshops.

What Financial Aid Options Are Available for Online Students?

Online students have access to many of the same financial aid options as on-campus students, including:

  • Federal grants and loans
  • Scholarships from the institution or external organizations
  • Work-study programs
  • Tuition reimbursement from employers

Potential students should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine eligibility for federal aid.