what is a manufacturing engineer?

Also called an industrial engineer or process engineer, a manufacturing engineer is a special type of engineer that focuses on industrial product production. Your job is an important part of the manufacturing process that turns raw materials into finished goods. As a manufacturing engineer, you're responsible for the various machines and tools that keep a factory running. You get to both design and operate the systems that run manufacturing sites. This can include working with things like machine tools, robotic equipment, and computer networks.

what a manufacturing engineer does

Some common examples of the types of tasks that you'll perform include:

  • using integrated computer technology to automate a factory
  • creating a cost-effective layout for machinery
  • developing a new fabrication process to produce products
  • identifying broken equipment and repairing it
  • supervising machine operators or other co-workers
  • calculating material, production, and labor costs for a new product
  • ordering and installing equipment at a factory

where a manufacturing engineer works

As you can probably guess, manufacturing engineers are very in-demand. Almost any field that produces products or goods will need a manufacturing engineer. You might end up working to make pharmaceutical items, car parts, clothes, or computer chips. Some manufacturing engineers are also involved in producing services for people to use. You can do things like help create an electric vehicle charging system or make software for computer owners.

Would working as a manufacturing engineer suit your unique blend of creativity and logical thinking? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a manufacturing engineer role.

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average manufacturing engineer salary

Being a manufacturing engineer is a fantastic way to earn a high salary. Like other engineers, you make significantly more than the national average salary of $61,000. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that manufacturing engineers make an average of $95,300 per year. You'll usually be paid an annual salary, but if your business pays an hourly wage, you'll earn around $45 per hour. There tends to be some variation depending on where you work. Very low-paying jobs are around $61,000 per year while very high-paying jobs are around $130,000 per year.

factors that impact job pay

Interested in getting a high-paying manufacturing engineer job that pays upwards of six figures? Getting more experience lets you take on extra responsibilities. Manufacturing engineers who have supervisory roles will get paid more. The field you work in also impacts pay. Some high-paying fields for manufacturing engineers include:

  • computer manufacturing
  • electronic product manufacturing
  • scientific services
  • technical services
  • transportation equipment manufacturing

Wondering what you can earn as a manufacturing engineer? Find out immediately with the Randstad salary checker! You can quickly and easily see what the average salary of a manufacturing engineer is.

male wearing protective eyewear and ear plugs
male wearing protective eyewear and ear plugs

types of manufacturing engineer

Most manufacturing engineer job categories focus on the level of experience you have. The manufacturing engineer 1 position is an entry-level position where you often work under a supervisor. Meanwhile, manufacturing engineer 2 jobs are for those with more experience and the ability to work independently. Some jobs also have senior manufacturing engineers who oversee others or handle very large projects. Another common way to categorize manufacturing engineers is based on the industry they work in. For example, a manufacturing engineer at a car factory might be an automotive engineer while one who automates machines is a control and instrumentation engineer.


working as a manufacturing engineer

Being a manufacturing engineer is a very engaging and rewarding career. Here's what you can expect if you choose to work in this field.


manufacturing engineer skills and education

This job requires extensive education before you are able to get a post. The bare minimum of education you'll need is a bachelor's degree in a related field. The most relevant bachelor's degree is one in manufacturing engineering. However, many employers also like people with a degree in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, or general engineering.

For higher-level engineering jobs, a master's degree is very useful. Though master's degrees are not a requirement, they show that you have additional training. Usually, you should get a master's degree in manufacturing engineering or industrial engineering. However, if your goal is to work in a specialized field like aerospace engineering, you might want to consider a more specialized master's program.

No license is required to sign up for an entry-level position. However, most employers will require a license for any role where you are supervising others. A very useful choice is a professional engineer (PE) license. This license requires you to pass multiple exams, but it gives you the authority to create and enact engineering designs independently. Another good option is a Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE) license which requires eight years of experience before you can get licensed.

skills and competencies

Years of education and experience are a great way to get the skills you need. Successful manufacturing engineers usually have these important traits.

  • mathematical skills: Most manufacturing engineers need to be familiar with calculus, trigonometry, and other advanced math. These are essential for both designing items and managing budgets.
  • problem-solving skills: A lot of your job revolves around solving problems. You need to be able to think about things like, "How can I fit equipment in this space?" and discover a solution.
  • writing: Like many other engineering jobs, documentation is essential. Your job involves crafting reports so other people can understand the work you're doing.
  • technical skills: Most manufacturing engineers work with a lot of computer software.
  • mechanical skills: You might work with mechanics who can handle details for you, but you'll still need to know how machines work. You should be comfortable handling and operating a variety of machinery.
  • communication skills: When supervising a team, you have to know how to instruct them clearly and concisely. Communication skills are also useful for ordering materials or explaining concepts to managers.
  • creative thinking: Manufacturing engineers don't just follow instructions by rote. You have to be very flexible and willing to try new concepts.
male working in a factory
male working in a factory

FAQs about working as a manufacturing engineer

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about manufacturing engineers.

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