Industrial engineer certifications supplement job experience and provide access to positions within manufacturing and engineering firms — often certifications can serve as markers of expertise to prospective employers and provide a source of continuing professional education.
Industrial Engineer Certifications
Industrial engineering is a profession that focuses on improving processes and systems. The certifications discussed in this article reflect different levels of expertise in managing complex systems and teams.
Industrial engineers will want to consider pursuing the following certifications for their professional development: Six Sigma Green Belt, Six Sigma Black Belt, Project Management Professional, Certified Manufacturing Engineer, and Certified Quality Engineer.
|Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt||LSSGB||IASSC|
|Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt||LSSBB||IASSC|
|Project Management Professional||PMP||PMI|
|Certified Manufacturing Engineer||CMfgE||SME|
|Certified Quality Engineer||CQE||ASQ|
Why should Industrial Engineers Pursue Certification?
There are multiple benefits to earning certifications. As a formal designation of professional expertise, certifications provide both legitimacy to your resume and provide additional training that could improve your job performance.
Job seekers often benefit the most from earning a certification. Potential employers utilize certifications to evaluate you against other candidates when considering you for employment. Given two candidates with similar levels of experience and education, an additional certification can be the difference that sets the candidates apart. The key to securing a great job is to stand out amongst the competition, and certifications are among the cheapest, fastest, and most effective ways to stand out.
The process of getting certified also provides industrial engineers with a learning experience that could improve their ability to do their job. All of the certifications listed require industrial engineers to conduct hours of self-study, instructional courses, and examinations. This makes them highly valuable to employers as a designator of a high-performing engineer.
Industrial Engineer Certification Online
Earning an industrial engineer certification online has never been more accessible. In the past, engineers would have to travel to local colleges or institutions to take classes and examinations for their certifications. This was time-consuming and restricted access for many engineers with busy lives and careers. Now certifications are accessible on-demand. Every single certification listed in this article can be completed online and asynchronously.
Asynchronous access to certifications means that engineers can study, take prep courses, and take the exam entirely at their own pace. This especially benefits industrial engineers, who often work on-site or near the manufacturing line and cannot break away during the day to study.
Industrial Engineering Certification Courses
There are generally three steps to getting any certification: attending certified training, completing the application, and taking the exam.
All the industrial engineering certifications on this list have their own forms of certified training courses. These training courses are offered by the issuing organization or by third parties accredited by the issuing organization. The course cost can range from $200 to $500, and there are many options available, including in-person and online courses.
Taking these courses and learning the course material is important to complete the application requirements, and they also will teach you the material on the test. The length of the courses varies. For example, the Project Management Professional certification has courses that can be completed in less than a month. In contrast, the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt course can take engineers over a year to complete.
Once the course is complete, engineers need to complete their application for the certification. The applications are evaluated by the issuing organizations to verify that industrial engineers have met a certain threshold of experience and training. The thresholds for every application are different.
For example, the Project Management Professional application requires engineers to prove that they have three years of work experience as a project manager. In contrast, the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification does not require work experience. Instead, it requires engineers to complete a Green Belt improvement project. In all instances, a review board at the issuing organization will assess all the application elements and decide if a candidate meets the standard to be permitted to sit for the exam.
Once the application is accepted, the final step in earning a certification is to take and pass the exam. All certification exams on this list can be taken at a test center or online in your home. The exam times vary, but it can be said that all exams are difficult enough to require multiple hours of self-study. It is unlikely that an engineer would be able to just complete a prep course and then pass the exam without any further self-study. These examinations test for an understanding of the principles and methodologies of the certification and how to apply them in real-world engineering situations. All exams are closed notes, so engineers need to memorize key concepts and apply them to be successful.
Passing the exam means that you have earned the certification, and you can now proudly attach it to your resume. Most of these certifications have continuing education requirements that need to be conducted to maintain the certification over time. Each individual issuing organization will have the details for continuing education requirements.
Featured Certifications: Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Black Belt
The Lean Six Green Belt and Lean Six Sigma Black belt certifications are varying levels of certification within the Lean Six Sigma Process Improvement methodology. Simply put, Black Belts lead Green Belts in process improvement and lean projects. The Black Belt is the higher tier certification. It takes more training, experience, and knowledge when compared to the Green Belt Certification.
The Lean Six Sigma Green Belt certification demonstrates that an industrial engineer possesses a thorough understanding of how to implement, interpret, and apply Lean Six Sigma to remove waste and reduce errors. Lean Six Sigma applies the principles of Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve, and Control (DMAIC) to engineering problems to reduce waste and defects. This certification is highly relevant to industrial engineers who work in the manufacturing industry.
The exam and certification are offered by the IASSC and cost $295 for the 100 questions and three hours long online test. Earning a Green Belt certification can significantly help industrial engineers find new careers or secure higher salaries. The Six Sigma Daily organization states that Green Belts earn upwards of $104,099 per year in the United States.
The Lean Six Sigma Black Belt certification demonstrates a mastery of lean concepts. It signifies that engineers are trained to lead complex improvement projects by implementing, performing, and interpreting Lean Six Sigma methodologies. Similar to the Green Belt certification, the exam is highly relevant to industrial engineers who work in the manufacturing industry. Often, engineers earn the Green Belt certification, gain relevant experience at the Green Belt level, and then earn the Black Belt certification. The exam and certification are offered by the IASSC and cost $395 for the 150 questions and four hours long online exam. According to the Go Lean Six Sigma organization, Black Belts earn on average $125,551 per year in the United States.
Cost and Time Considerations for Earning a Certification
With hundreds of professional certifications available on the internet, picking the proper certification and issuing organization is critical in ensuring that you receive a good return on investment for your time and money. The proper certifications are absolutely worth the time and cost commitment. Some certifications have multiple issuing organizations, so it is essential to do your own research and ensure that you apply for the best choice. PMI, the issuing organization for the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, estimates that managers who have earned the PMP certification earn on average 25 percent more than their counterparts without the certification. This can equate to the difference between a $95,000 annual salary and a $118,750 annual salary.
As a general guideline for industrial engineering, certifications should be sought if they are relevant to your field or interests, pay a verifiable return in salary compensation without charging a large sum of money, and are achievable in less than one year of study. All of the listed certifications in this article will cost less than $1,000 to achieve and are attainable within a year (assuming you have the necessary experience).
Opportunities Once You Earn Your Certification
A new certification is like a badge that you need to advertise to make people aware of your acquired skill and credential. The first thing you should do is update your resume and LinkedIn account to reflect your new certification. If you are actively searching for jobs, you should ensure that any open job applications have a copy of your updated resume with the certification on it.
Suppose you are employed and would like to stay at your current company. In that case, the new certification can be an opportunity to have a conversation with your manager about a salary increase or a promotion. Many industrial engineers have leveraged their new credentials during annual reviews and discussions with their employer to justify pay increases, increased responsibility, or a promotion.