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Industrial Management

Earnings Potential

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial managers made an average of $73,000 a year. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $43,660, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $123,010. The middle 50 percent made between $55,700 and $94,000 a year.

Facts at a glance

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  • While there is no standard preparation, a college degree is helpful.
  • Applicants with a college degree in industrial engineering, management, or business administration, and particularly those with an undergraduate engineering degree and a master's degree in business administration or industrial management, enjoy the best job prospects.
  • Employment of industrial production managers is expected to grow more slowly than average as overall employment in manufacturing declines; however, because production managers are so essential to the efficient operation of a plant, they have not been as affected by efforts to flatten management structures.

Summary of what this career entails

Industrial production managers plan, direct, and coordinate the production activities required to produce millions of goods every year in the United States. They make sure that production proceeds smoothly and stays within budget. Depending on the size of the manufacturing plant, industrial production managers may oversee the entire plant or just one area.

Examples and or details of work

As production operations become more sophisticated, increasing numbers of employers are looking for candidates with graduate degrees in industrial management or business administration. Combined with an undergraduate degree in engineering, either of these graduate degrees is considered particularly good preparation. Managers who do not have graduate degrees often take courses in decision sciences, which provide them with techniques and statistical formulas that can be used to maximize efficiency and improve quality. Companies also are placing greater importance on a candidate's interpersonal skills. Because the job requires the ability to compromise, persuade, and negotiate, successful production managers must be well-rounded and have excellent communication skills.

Degrees that lead to this career

  • B.S. in Business Administration/ Operations Management
  • B.S. in Industrial Engineering and Management
  • M.S. in Business Administration/ Operations Management
  • M.S. in Business Administration- Industrial Management
  • M.S. in Industrial Management
  • M.S. in Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences


Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2006-07 Edition, Industrial Production Managers, on the Internet at

(Visited October 25, 2006).