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How to Become a Manufacturing Engineer

Do you have a knack for machinery and a passion for quality? Are your interpersonal and communication skills at a high level? You can put your detail-oriented skills to work in a rewarding career as a manufacturing engineer. 

Manufacturing engineers are responsible for creating effective manufacturing processes. They interpret requirements and develop processes to produce high-quality products that meet or exceed specifications and ensure quality. They design and utilize systems and machines in the development of processes. They need to have extensive knowledge of the manufacturing process, including product design, fabrication, assembly, tooling, and materials. They also test and improve existing processes and procedures.

To excel as a manufacturing engineer, you should be creative, have solid attention to detail, and have top-notch project management skills. Excellent planning and analytical skills are required for this role. A manufacturing engineer must also have a good head for numbers to assess production, labor, and material costs, and to estimate future costs. They must adhere to all health and safety standards. Good working knowledge of relevant software is also important to succeed as a manufacturing engineer.

Sample job description

Manufacturing engineers analyze, design, develop, and implement methods to create products that we use in everyday life. They are involved in the manufacturing process from beginning to end. To be a manufacturing engineer, you need excellent analytical, organizational, written, and verbal communication skills. [Your Company Name] is looking for a manufacturing engineer to help our business succeed. If you have experience in maintaining and improving a high level of manufacturing and product quality, designing new products and processes, and ensuring cost-efficiency and conformance with regulatory standards, please apply for the manufacturing engineer position at our company.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Evaluate manufacturing processes and workflows to identify opportunities for improvement
  • Apply a working knowledge of product design and assembly to the manufacturing process
  • Create processes and procedures to help the company meet budgetary and performance goals
  • Alongside the creative team, design and develop new products and product mock-ups
  • Participate in cross-departmental meetings to ensure collaboration
  • Establish effective and efficient work sequences
  • Solve existing manufacturing problems
  • Develop standardized design criteria for all products

Education and experience

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, process engineering, or a related field.

Some employers prefer a master’s degree or Ph.D. for certain positions or career advancement.

Required skills and qualifications

  • Expertise in working with engineering and computer-assisted design software
  • Demonstrated skill in solving highly technical problems
  • Advanced knowledge of production machinery and processes
  • Proficiency in computer technology and systems operations

Preferred qualifications

  • Bachelor’s and master’s in engineering
  • 3+ years of experience in engineering
  • Expert level with Wafer fabrication and processing
  • Experience with device physics
  • Experience with circuit analysis
  • Experience with data analysis
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills

Typical work environment

Manufacturing engineers might work in an office, a factory, a plant, a laboratory, a construction site, or an oil/gas production site. Most manufacturing engineers work 40-hour weeks with occasional overtime. Some manufacturing engineers may be required to travel frequently.  

Typical hours

Typical hours for this The typical work hours for a manufacturing engineer are from 9 AM to 5 PM. However, some manufacturing engineers may work non-traditional hours, depending on the needs of their company.

Available certifications

Manufacturing engineers work in a variety of manufacturing industries, and many institutions offer different certifications to help them develop their skills and expand their knowledge. Check out the following: 

  • Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE). This certification shows that you have the skills and knowledge in mathematics and engineering sciences, materials, manufacturing processes, design and development, quality control, and management. To earn your CMfgE, a minimum of eight combined years of manufacturing-related education and work experience (a minimum of four years work experience) is recommended. Candidates who hold a Certified Manufacturing Technologist (CMfgT) certification can qualify with seven combined years of manufacturing-related education and work experience. You must pass an exam to earn your certification. 
  • Six Sigma Green Belt. The International Association for Six Sigma Certification (IASSC) offers the Six Sigma Green Belt, which demonstrates your knowledge of the Lean Six Sigma Methodology in order to both lead and support improvement projects. Candidates must sit for the exam and pass with a score of 70% or higher. Prerequisites include completing the Six Sigma Yellow Belt course and 3 or more years of related work experience.

Career path

This position requires a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering, mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, process engineering, or a related field. Some employers prefer a master’s degree or Ph.D. for certain positions or career advancement. Job candidates can make themselves more attractive to employers by obtaining a certification such as Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE) from the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), especially when it comes to career advancement into supervisory or management positions.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 17-2112.03

2020 Employment292,000
Projected Employment in 2030315,300
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 10% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift23,300 increase

According to the industry website Industry Today, one major trend in the manufacturing engineering field is the increased use of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI). This technology will allow companies to gather more data about production processes and offer many opportunities to improve manufacturing efficiency. Another trend in manufacturing is distributed manufacturing, the process of assembling and packaging end products near their final destination. This concept will help companies save on shipping costs and increase customer responsiveness.