A method and system for providing real-time, closed-loop control of the induction hardening process. A miniature magnetic sensor located near the outer surface of the workpiece measures changes in the surface magnetic field caused by changes in the magnetic properties of the workpiece as it heats up during induction heating (or cools down during quenching). A passive miniature magnetic sensor detects a distinct magnetic spike that appears when the saturation field, B.sub.sat, of the workpiece has been exceeded. This distinct magnetic spike disappears when the workpiece's surface temperature exceeds its Curie temperature, due to the sudden decrease in its magnetic permeability. Alternatively, an active magnetic sensor can measure changes in the resonance response of the monitor coil when the excitation coil is linearly swept over 0-10 MHz, due to changes in the magnetic permeability and electrical resistivity of the workpiece as its temperature increases (or decreases).