Industrial technology [is the field concerned with the application of] basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of industrial engineers and managers. [Industrial Technology programs typically include] instruction in optimization theory, human factors, organizational behavior, industrial processes, industrial planning procedures, computer applications, and report and presentation preparation.
Planning and designing manufacturing processes and equipment is a main aspect of being an industrial technologist. An Industrial Technologist is the engineer's partner in implementing certain designs and processes. Industrial Technology involves management operation, and maintenance of complex operation systems.
The Association of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE), accredits selected collegiate programs in Industrial Technology. Additionally, an instructor or graduate of an Industrial Technology program may choose to become a Certified Technology Manager (CTM) by sitting for a rigorous exam administered by ATMAE and covering essential topics in the field.
ATMAE accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and holds the same acknowledgement that is given to the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET). CHEA recognizes ATMAE and ABET as independent fields which are equal in academic stature but have different objectives in focus and career intentions. It is fitting to conclude that an Industrial Technologist is equal in intellectual distinction to that of an ABET engineer.
Industrial Technology includes wide-ranging subject matter and could be viewed as an amalgamation of industrial engineering and business topics with a focus on practicality and management of technical systems with less focus on actual engineering of those systems.
Typical curriculum at a four-year university might include courses on manufacturing process, technology and impact on society, mechanical and electronic systems, quality assurance and control, materials science, packaging, production and operations management, and manufacturing facility planning and design. In addition, the Industrial Technologist may have exposure to more vocational-style education in the form of courses on CNC manufacturing, welding, and other tools-of-the-trade in manufacturing. This differentiates the field of Industrial Technology from other engineering and business disciplines. Graduates of Industrial Technology programs are seen as moderators between engineers, top management and production-line workers.
A common title that Industrial Technologist are characterized under is Production Manager. The reason they are seen as a production manager because they work with a budget on behalf of what the company gives them to work with. Every cost of the materials they use must fit according to the budget that is given to them.
Since Industrial Technologist is not a common job title, the actual bachelor degree obtained by the individual is obscured by the job title. Typical job titles include industrial engineer, construction engineer, detail/fabrication engineer, production supervisor, manufacturing engineer, and variations of these titles.
Industrial Technology program graduates obtain a majority of positions which are engineering and manager oriented. Based on the number of graduates from many Industrial Technology Programs throughout the nation, the next time you meet a manager or engineer you may well be talking to an Industrial Technologist.
The Technologist term is an unknown commodity within the United States and it is not clearly understood by employers so Technologist are inappropriately placed in positions as technicians. Usually, a Technologist is required to have a Bachelors Degree. Employers and Engineers incorrectly determine that Technologists are inferior graduates because their training in design issues is shorter than most engineering degrees. A technologist curriculum may focus on other specialized issues such as technical management, service, processes, or production improvements. In many cases a technologist maybe better suited to fill a position than a design engineer. Industrial Technology is considered to be a career path that is separate from engineering technology and equal in stature to an engineer. The Council for Higher Education (CHEA) acknowledges the different accreditations in technology and engineering as independent career paths which cannot be compared, just as psychology cannot be compared to engineering.
A major subject of study is technological development in industry. This has been defined as:
- the introduction of new tools and techniques for performing given tasks in production, distribution, data processing (etc.);
- the mechanization of the production process, or the achievement of a state of greater autonomy of technical production systems from human control, responsibility, or intervention;
- changes in the nature and level of integration of technical production systems, or enhanced interdependence;
- the development, utilization, and application of new scientific ideas, concepts, and information in production and other processes; and
- enhancement of technical performance capabilities, or increase in the efficiency of tools, equipment, and techniques in performing given tasks.
Studies in this area often employ a multi-disciplinary research methodology and shade off into the wider analysis of business and economic growth (development, performance). The studies are often based on a mixture of industrial field research and desk-based data analysis and aim to be of interest and use to practitioners in business management and investment (etc.) as well as academics. In engineering, construction, textiles, food and drugs, chemicals and petroleum, and other industries the focus has been not just on the nature and factors facilitating and hampering the introduction and utilization of new technologies but also on the impact of new technologies on the production organization (etc.) of firms and various social and other wider aspects of the technological development process.