What Does a Manufacturing Engineer Do?

Manufacturing engineers are a vital part of the marketplace and the products we use on a daily basis. Professionals in this field help companies produce high-quality goods at the most cost-efficient prices. Manufacturing engineers work in a wide range of industries, including oil, food and drinks, plastics, and pharmaceuticals. Schools offering Machining & Manufacturing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

As a manufacturing engineer in any industry, you will be involved in the entire scope of the manufacturing process. You'll monitor different aspects of product development, make changes to production procedures, and strive to continually improve the way manufacturing operates. Companies in all industries are consistently looking for ways to increase production and profits. These companies need manufacturing engineers to come up with ways to make production more efficient and reliable, while reducing manufacturing costs.

Important Facts About Manufacturing Engineers

Key Skills Creativity, problem-solving, mathematical aptitude, communication
Work Environment Office setting, with field visits
Professional Certification PE (Professional Engineer); not mandatory
Similar Occupations Engineering manager, cost estimator, health & safety engineer

Duties and Responsibilities

As a manufacturing engineer, you're directly involved in designing, planning, and analyzing different aspects of a company's production methods. For example, you may coordinate and make improvements to quality control or implement new strategies for product assembly. You might design better production tools or use computer-aided manufacturing software to enhance operations. You'll also troubleshoot products for inefficiencies and make improvements throughout the process.

Education

Bachelor's degree programs in manufacturing engineering typically last four years and equip students with the math and science skills to solve production issues in the industry. You may take courses like engineering design and economics, manufacturing processes, calculus, and problem solving.

Master's degree programs typically last two years beyond undergraduate programs and focus more on theory and research in the field. In such programs, you can expect to complete coursework in engineering management and analysis, experimental design and advanced computer-aided design. Many programs also require you to complete an internship or capstone project at a company or manufacturing plant.

Career Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) projects that the employment of industrial engineers, such as manufacturing engineers, will likely grow by about five percent between 2012 and 2022. While this represents slower-than-average growth compared to other occupations, jobs were expected to open up as engineers retire or move into management positions. Another factor of the employment increase is the growing need for companies to reduce production costs and increase productivity. In May 2014, the BLS noted that industrial engineers earned a median annual salary of $81,490.

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