Industrial Management Degrees: Bachelor's, Master's, MBA & Online Course Info

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What kind of job can you get with a degree in industrial management? Find out program requirements, online options and info on courses and industrial management bachelor's and master's programs.
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Studying Industrial Management: Degrees at a Glance

Studies in industrial management are designed for people who need in-depth management training for mid- and high-level positions in the service or manufacturing industries. Industrial management programs usually have some focus on technical subjects, such as engineering, math and science, followed by business management studies.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that industrial production managers were projected to see a 9% increase in jobs between 2010 and 2020, which was slower than the average for all occupations. The BLS noted that foreign competition and an increasing use of automated manufacturing equipment was likely to limit the employment growth of the domestic manufacturing industry.

Bachelor's Master's
Who is this degree for? Individuals seeking entry-level management positions in manufacturing or related industries Professionals who plan on pursuing higher-level management positions in manufacturing or related industries
Common Career Paths (with approximate median salary) - Industrial production manager ($88,000)*
- Purchasing manager ($97,000)*
- Manufacturing engineer ($59,000)**
All of the positions bachelor's degree holders are qualified for plus:
- Manufacturing director ($135,000 - with 10 years of experience)**
- Top division manufacturing executive ($175,000 - with 10 years of experience)**
Time to Completion 4 years, full-time About 2-3 years, full-time
Common Requirements - Roughly 6-12 courses in math and science
- About 8-10 courses in management and business
- Internship/work experience
- About 5-7 core courses in industrial management
- Approximately 3-5 elective courses
- Thesis or research project
Prerequisites High school diploma or equivalent - Bachelor's degree in a related field
- GRE/GMAT scores
Online Availability No Yes

Sources: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2011 figures), **Salary.com (October 2012 figures).

Bachelor's in Industrial Management

Bachelor's degree programs in industrial management are somewhat uncommon. However, this is one of the few bachelor's degree programs that combine scientific principles with business concepts. The breadth of course options provided in this program can be applied to an assortment of different industries and management jobs. Some schools may offer a degree plan that requires a set of management courses while allowing the student to pick the other areas they wish to focus on, which might include engineering, supply chain operations, manufacturing management or statistics.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Required for most industrial management careers
  • Covers a wide range of technical subjects, making the program useful for a variety of careers
  • Typically provides an internship opportunity, giving you a chance to get experience before you graduate

Cons

  • Limited number of programs means you may have difficulty getting admitted
  • Broad curriculum means you probably won't become an expert in any particular subject
  • Master's degree holders may be preferred by employers

Courses and Requirements

The bachelor's degree program requires some advanced math courses, including calculus, statistics and differential equations. You'll also take some basic science and business courses. Students may also need to a take a couple of writing or communications courses, which can be useful for managers in any industry. Industrial management programs include a set of management courses, which might include:

  • Quality management
  • Production planning
  • Industrial safety
  • Procurement
  • Product development
  • Risk analysis
  • Managerial accounting

You'll typically have the opportunity to participate in an internship or a study-abroad program towards the end of your studies.

Online Options

Due to the limited number of programs and the hands-on nature of the curriculum, this program is not currently available in an online format. Your school may offer some prerequisite courses online, but the majority of your industrial management courses require you to travel to the campus on a regular basis.

Getting Ahead with This Degree

Since this degree program can prepare you for many different careers, you could benefit from a variety of certifications. If your career involves quality management duties, you might be interested in the Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence designation offered by ASQ. This designation is available to professionals who have 10 years of experience (that number is reduced for bachelor's degree holders) and pass the necessary exam.

The International Facility Management Association confers the Certified Facility Manager (CFM) credential to qualified professionals. Candidates with bachelor's degrees don't need to have as much experience as those who have only completed some college coursework. The certification that's right for you usually depends on your job responsibilities and the industry you work in.

Master's in Industrial Management

The master's program features a technical curriculum that is meant for students pursuing management positions and is not usually intended for those who hope to work in academia. Most schools prefer incoming students to have a bachelor's degree in engineering or industrial management, but you may be able to substitute manufacturing management experience and take some prerequisite courses if you have a degree in a different field.

Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs in industrial management are rare, but some schools may give you the opportunity to create a specialized degree plan that includes courses suitable for industrial management. Students entering an MBA program should have a strong background in business and may be required to have completed specific undergraduate courses.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Most programs are designed for working professionals and offer evening courses so these students don't have to leave their job
  • Programs usually offer a variety of elective options, which allows you to focus on the areas of industrial management that you'll most likely encounter in your chosen career path
  • Can lead to high-paying career opportunities (manufacturing directors earned a median salary of about $135,000 in 2012)*

Cons

  • Most industrial manufacturing management positions only require a bachelor's degree
  • Programs generally don't offer internship or work-study options
  • Offshore manufacturing plants and increased use of automated equipment may limit your career options in manufacturing**

Sources: *Salary.com (October 2012 figures), **U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010-2020 growth projections).

Common Courses and Requirements

Most industrial management programs require you to complete a sequence of core courses, which might include safety in the workplace, industrial economics, project management principles and industrial systems management. The bulk of your remaining coursework is made up of electives, such as:

  • Quality management principles
  • Manufacturing control systems
  • Lean production
  • Automation manufacturing
  • Environmental management
  • Logistics management

Some schools require you to complete a capstone, while others may give you the option to complete a research project or a thesis. Since most of these programs are designed for people who already have jobs, you typically won't find any internship opportunities in this field of study.

MBA programs include a core set of business courses that all students take, such as marketing, decision making and cost management. Course options for students specializing in industrial management include industrial development strategies, industrial safety and facilities management. A research project may be required towards the end of the program.

Online Course Options

The master's degree is currently offered in an online format and usually takes the same amount of time to complete as an on-campus one. Some schools are creating more industrial management online course options, so you may find that hybrid formats are becoming common for this type of program. You can expect to have the same course selection in a distance-learning format as you'd have in an on-campus program, and you'll typically have the option to choose a thesis or non-thesis plan of study.

Although MBA programs are commonly available online, you may not find the industrial management specialization or the necessary courses in a distance-learning format. If you are set on obtaining your MBA via the Internet, you'll probably need to see what course options are offered online at the schools you're considering prior to enrolling.

Standing Out with This Degree

If you're looking to get an edge over other job candidates for management positions, you may want to obtain a professional certification. The American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS) offers the Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) certification to those who have at least 2 years of relevant work experience. You'll need to pass a series of exams before you can earn this designation. CPIM holders looking to take the next step might be interested in the Certified Fellow in Production and Inventory Management (CFPIM) credential. The CFPIM designation requires participation in a number of professional development activities, such as giving presentations, teaching courses and getting your work published.

Popular Schools

  • Online Programs Available
    1. Benedictine University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelors in Organizational Leadership
      • BAM - Human Resources Concentration
      • BAOL - Human Resources Concentration
      • Bachelors in Management
  • Online Programs Available
    2. Colorado Technical University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Business Administration - Human Resource Management
      • BS - Business Administration - Management
      • B.S. - Psychology - Organizational Behavior
      • B.S. - Psychology - Consumer Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Organizational Behavior
      • Bachelor of Science in Business Administration - Business Development
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Keiser University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Human Resources
      • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
      • Business Administration, BA - Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. Herzing University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Business Management: Human Resource Development Concentration
      • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration
  • Online Programs Available
    5. American InterContinental University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Human Resources
      • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
      • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist
  • Campus Locations:
    6. Virginia College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • Bachelor: Human Resource Management
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Southern New Hampshire University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Business Administration
      • BS in Business Admin - Human Resource Mgt
      • BS in Business Studies - Human Resource Mgt
      • BS in Business Admin - Org Leadership
      • BS in Business Studies - Business Adminis
  • Campus and Online Programs
    8. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • B.S. - Music Business
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Excelsior College

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS in Business (Management of Human Resources)
      • BS in Business (General Business)
  • Iowa City, IA

    University of Iowa

Featured Schools

Benedictine University

  • Bachelors in Organizational Leadership
  • BAM - Human Resources Concentration
  • BAOL - Human Resources Concentration

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Colorado Technical University

  • BS - Business Administration - Human Resource Management
  • BS - Business Administration - Management
  • B.S. - Psychology - Organizational Behavior

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Keiser University

  • B.A. - Business Admin: Human Resources
  • B.A. - Business Admin: Management
  • Business Administration, BA - Management

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Herzing University

  • B.S. - Business Management: Human Resource Development Concentration
  • B.S. - Business Management With No Concentration

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American InterContinental University

  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Human Resources
  • Bachelor of Business Admin: Management
  • Bachelor of Business Administration - Generalist

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Virginia College

  • Bachelor: Human Resource Management

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Southern New Hampshire University

  • BS in Business Administration
  • BS in Business Admin - Human Resource Mgt
  • BS in Business Studies - Human Resource Mgt

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Full Sail University

  • B.S. - Music Business

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