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How Can I Find Heavy Equipment Manufacturing Jobs?

Heavy equipment manufacturing jobs are available in assembly, quality control, machine operation, or engineering. Learn about job duties, education requirements, and job growth for positions in this field.

What Are My Career Options in Heavy Equipment Manufacturing?

Heavy equipment manufacturing includes different processes that require various operators and skilled workers to complete. Mechanical engineers, machine operators, assemblers, and quality control inspectors may contribute to the production of heavy equipment.

Mechanical engineers use their skills to develop new machinery and manage manufacturing, as well as making improvements to existing designs and the company's overall policies for production. Machine operators use production equipment for different jobs, such as lathes, milling machines, welding tools and the like, depending on their place of employment.

Using diagrams and plans, assemblers build different pieces of technology using component parts that have been created by machine operators and other workers. They also test finished products for integrity and functionality. Quality control inspectors check finished products for flaws and problems using specialized equipment, verifying that products are fit for public use based on quality standards they may have helped create.

The following chart offers an overview of how to enter these career fields.

Mechanical Engineer Machine Operator Assembler Quality Control Inspectors
Degree Required Bachelor's degree High school diploma or GED High school diploma or GED High school diploma or GED
Education Field of Study Mechanical engineering Machine operation, computer control operations Fabrication and assembly Experience checking materials and products after production
Licensure Required Engineers working for the public must be licensed Certification may be required Optional certifications available Optional certifications available
Job Growth (2018-2028) 4% growth* 8% decline 11% decline 18% decline
Median Salary (2018) $87,370* $36,080 (metal and plastic machine workers)* $32,820 (assemblers and fabricators)* $38,250*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Is a Mechanical Engineer?

As a mechanical engineer, you may set standards for improvement and quality control, develop new products, and oversee the manufacturing process. If there's a problem in the manufacturing or design process, you may be responsible for finding a solution. You may also develop production procedures and policies.

What Is a Machine Operator?

Running production equipment is your main job as a machine operator. You may operate different equipment, such as grinders, drill presses, or polishers. This job may involve heavy lifting and moving materials within the factory. You may also set up and tear down machines.

What Is an Assembler?

An assembler position involves putting together pieces that have been created earlier in the production process and completing the assembly of heavy equipment. Keeping records of the assembly, reading assembly diagrams, and testing finished products are also part of the job.

What Is a Quality Control Inspector?

Ensuring products are well made, meet company standards, and are ready for the customer is your job as a quality control inspector. You may use testing equipment and other tools to look for issues. Another of your duties can include organizing the inspection and production documentation. You may help develop quality standards and assist with creating quality control goals for the company.

How Do I Prepare for These Careers?

The education requirements for heavy equipment manufacturing jobs may range from on-the-job training to a bachelor's degree. For some positions, licensure or certification may be necessary.

Mechanical Engineer

To work as a mechanical engineer, you need at least a bachelor's degree in engineering and experience in manufacturing. Knowledge of heavy equipment manufacturing, experience using design software, and familiarity with design tools may also be required.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), every state requires licensing for engineers working with the public (www.bls.gov). To become licensed, you must pass multiple exams, secure work experience, and meet education requirements. You may also consider certification from professional organizations to provide proof of your engineering skills.

Machine Operator

Employers' main requirements for machine operator positions are mechanical skills and experience in manufacturing. There's usually no formal education requirement and employers usually offer training. A common requirement for this position is passing a drug test. You may also consider getting certified in operating a specific machine to prove your skills.


Typically, you do not need a college degree, but experience in manufacturing and knowledge of the field are needed to work as an assembler. Employers may require skills and knowledge of hydraulics, computers, blueprints, diagrams, and assembly. For this position, you typically must pass a drug screening.

Quality Control Inspector

You likely need to have experience with measuring tools, testing equipment, and quality control software, as well as skills in blue print reading and quality control management to become a quality control inspector. Employers may also require training in welding or inspection. You may need experience in manufacturing, which you can gain by working as an assembler or machine operator. Earning certification through the American Society for Quality may allow you to prove your skills to employers (www.asq.org).

What Type of Job Outlook Is Predicted for These Careers?

Job outlooks from the BLS for careers in heavy equipment manufacturing show declines in each career area. In many cases, though, you have the opportunity to increase your chances at securing employment through education or gaining work experience.

Mechanical Engineer

From 2018-2028, the BLS reported job opportunities for mechanical engineers will be average, with a predicted 4% job growth. However, you can improve your job opportunities by furthering your education and staying current with industry trends.

Machine Operator

Machine operators, according to the BLS, were predicted to see a decline in jobs of 8% from 2018-2028. Despite this decline, you may still find opportunities with companies who have a large number of retirements. You may increase your opportunities by earning certifications and becoming experienced with a variety of machines.


The BLS forecasted that assemblers would see a decline in jobs of 11% from 2018-2028. This decline may be attributed to a reduction in production or the increased usage of computerized machines. Your job opportunities may be limited due to the small change in employment, but through proving your experience, skills, and knowledge in the industry, you may find it easier to secure employment.

Quality Control Inspector

Quality control inspectors were expected to see a decline by 18 percent from 2018-2028, according to the BLS. Automated inspections and advanced quality control equipment may lead to the lack of growth, though a specific need for inspections by hand are always necessary. Your best opportunity for employment in this position is to advance from a machine operator or assembler position. You may also consider certification and education to help prove your inspection skills and knowledge.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Construction and building inspectors investigate the status of buildings and construction projects to verify whether or not they meet regulations and abide by building codes and contract specifications. They need only a high school diploma to find work. Materials engineers create and test materials that go into making a wide variety of products in many fields, from aerospace equipment to computers, based on what is needed by consumers. They will likely need a bachelor's education. Machinists use specialized, computer-controlled equipment to create technical parts and equipment to ensure a level of precision not normally capable in other forms of manufacturing. They will also require a high school education to find work.