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Ask the Expert : Education

Continuing education?

I am entering Northwestern University this fall as a freshman to study industrial engineering. I was wondering if a career in industrial engineering requires a degree higher than a bachelor’s degree. Would a master’s or doctoral degree prove advantageous for an industrial engineering career? Would jobs be easier to come by with one of these degrees?


Higher education

Q: What disciplines can industrial engineers complete their master’s or doctorial studies in other than industrial engineering?


What’s utilization?

Q: What is the difference between utilization and optimization?


Intern dilemma

Q: I am working approximately 10 hours a week as an industrial engineering intern and have been asked to document detailed work instructions for a particular product. Some workers do not know the names of the parts they work with or the serial numbers, so this makes for a time-consuming task. Since I work only 10 hours a week, I am not present as much as I would like to be so that I may observe how the product is built. In addition, I don’t not want to take too much time away from the workers by asking a bunch of questions.

I have a spreadsheet of stock numbers and descriptions of the parts they use and I was going to present this spreadsheet to workers during their morning pep talk from the manager. I would have them mark which parts they use as well as the order that they installed them in. I would then observe them when possible and confirm what they wrote, but at least I would not be slowing them down with so many questions.

This is a job shop and I have also been asked to document other products. How do I set detailed work instructions for custom products? I was just going to make generic work instructions that describe the construction of the base model. What other approaches are there? They have no video recording equipment.


Distance degree

Q: I am a non-degreed engineering assistant with a full-time job. Is it possible to get an accredited online education in industrial engineering?


Global engineer

Q: I earned my industrial engineering degree outside the United States but would like to work as an engineer here now. Is my degree valid? What do I need to do?





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