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What is a Manufacturing Engineer? 2022 Guide

July 4, 2021

Manufacturing engineering refers to a branch of engineering focused on developing, operating, and maintaining manufacturing systems. Manufacturing engineers must advise on the best technologies and processes to manufacture a particular product and design the factory where it will be developed. 

Though the profession overlaps with other areas, including mechanical, industrial, and electrical engineering, it is a specific discipline that revolves around certain skills and educational accomplishments. Read on to learn more. 

What Do Manufacturing Engineers Do?

companies use different devices to manufacture goods

Manufacturing engineers work on every step of the manufacturing process, from design to production. In particular, they must identify possible improvements in product design and the assembly line processes. 

Other responsibilities include:

  • Designing new systems for production
  • Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of existing manufacturing processes
  • Creating prototypes
  • Conducting cost analysis with financial teams
  • Managing inventory control

Manufacturing engineers must also remain up-to-date on new manufacturing processes. This will help them make decisions when it comes to improving optimizations across product lines. They may also be asked to handle quality management, quality control, material flow, procurement, and supply chain management. 

How Can I Become A Manufacturing Engineer?

Education

The first step to take in becoming a manufacturing engineer is getting an education. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), anyone working in the industrial engineering industry should have a bachelor’s degree. 

Learn more about our bachelor’s degree program in Mechanical Engineering Technology today! Break into the field of manufacturing engineering with New England Tech.

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Though a degree in manufacturing engineering is preferred, other acceptable fields of study include mechanical engineering, industrial engineering, and process engineering.

Programs will cover engineering maths, machine systems, materials technology, engineering drawing, machines and equipment, machine tools, applied computing, lean manufacturing, parts manufacturing, and process protocol. 

To gain even more technical experience, some graduates will pursue additional training and education with a master’s degree program. There, students will develop the required business, financial, process, and product knowledge for a leadership role in engineering management. 

Training

Most manufacturing engineers receive the bulk of their training during their degree program. Before graduation, students will receive hands-on experience with standard tests, measurements, experiments, and experience analyzing and interpreting results to improve processes.

Certifications

If a manufacturing engineer has plans to work on a public project, they must have their Professional Engineer license. This is provided by the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). 

Licensing helps communicate to clients that you have the credentials needed to perform the job right. It also signals to employers that you’re experienced enough to take on more responsibility at work. 

To qualify for the test, engineers must:

  • Earn a four-year degree in engineering from an accredited engineering program
  • Pass the Fundamentals of Engineering (FE) exam
  • Complete four years of progressive engineering experience under a PE
  • Pass the Principles and Practice of Engineering (PE) exam

The renewal process depends on state guidelines. Check with local authorities to see what regulations apply in your location. 

Preferred Skills for Manufacturing Engineers

Manufacturing engineers should possess various skills to perform their jobs efficiently:

A typical engineer uses computers regular to complete projects
  • Analytical Skills: manufacturing engineers should look out for areas that aren’t operating efficiently and find ways to improve them. 
  • Communication Skills: professional engineers work with employees at all levels of the organization and must communicate information regarding the different systems and materials they may be working with. 
  • Technical Skills: engineers must be able to operate different tools, equipment, and technology related to the production process. 
  • Problem Solving Skills: manufacturing engineering professionals must find solutions to any disruptions in the manufacturing process.
  • Organizational Skills: a manufacturing engineer must organize projects, set schedules, provide training, and work with other individuals in the organization to reduce costs.  
  • Lean Manufacturing Skills: manufacturing engineers must be able to identify and reduce waste within the system without compromising productivity.

Manufacturing Engineer vs. Production Engineer

As mentioned above, manufacturing engineers are often confused with individuals working in other fields. Given the title and nature of work, production engineers are often confused with individuals in the manufacturing space. Though somewhat related, the two titles are tasked with notably different responsibilities

Manufacturing engineers spend most of their time researching design layouts for manufacturing plants and building the systems that make them possible. 

Meanwhile, production engineers spend most of their time maintaining these systems. They must also ensure everyone is adhering to the safety protocols in place, evaluate staff performance, eliminate waste and keep an eye on quality control. 

Do you enjoy solving problems? What about conducting experiments or collecting data? If so, a career as an engineering technician may be for you! Learn more.

Both professions work towards strategizing on maximizing productivity, delivering efficient results, and driving revenues up. They can also find work across the pharmaceutical, aeronautical, defense, and automotive industries.

Work Environment

Manufacturing engineering professionals can work in different environments. Some may find work within the medical sector, while others may be employed by a tool and instrument company, research institute, or furniture manufacturer. 

Those who work in plants or factories must wear protective gear, like gloves, goggles, and hard hats.

Regardless of where they work, manufacturing engineers will need to maintain their technical skills to keep up with this ever-evolving industry. They must remain familiar with computer programs and design software and renew certifications when necessary. 

How Much Do Manufacturing Engineers Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), industrial engineers earn $88,950 annually, with the highest 10 percent earning more than $136,930. Wages are highest among those working in professional, scientific, and technical services. 

The organization also predicts employment within the field will grow 10 percent from 2019 and 2029, a much faster average than occupations are slated to experience. 

Kick-Off Your Career As a Manufacturing Engineer With NEIT

Find work at a factory or across various industries

The New England Institute of Technology (NEIT) provides hands-on education from industry experts. Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career as a manufacturing engineer from our associate, bachelor, and master’s degree programs in mechanical engineering

Each program can deliver the skills, techniques, technology, and tools needed to excel in the field in as little as 18 months. We also offer flexible course schedules for working adults.

Learn more about how NEIT can help you achieve your goals by filling out the form below. 

START YOUR ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY CAREER

Earn your degree in Engineering Technology from NEIT and begin your new career path today!

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MASTER'S DEGREE

FAQ

Is manufacturing engineering the same as mechanical engineering?

While there is overlap between the two fields, manufacturing engineers focus on different tasks from mechanical engineers. Manufacturing engineers work to improve the manufacturing process, while mechanical engineering professionals are more focused on designing and developing specific machines. 

What qualifications do you need to be a manufacturing engineer?

You will require at least a bachelor’s degree to become a manufacturing engineer. Some employers may perform additional certification. Those interested in pursuing leadership positions in the future may also think about enrolling in a master’s degree program. 

What is a manufacturing engineering technology degree?

A manufacturing engineering technology degree revolves around the design aspect of product development and production. Degree programs will introduce students to quality, processes, automation, and tooling.

What skills does a manufacturing engineer need?

Manufacturing engineers must possess analytical, technical, communication, and organizational skills. These abilities will help them direct employees, increase efficiency, and solve problems on the spot.