Manufacturing Engineering Job Description

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manufacturing engineer job description and salary

“Manufacturing is more than just putting parts together. It’s coming up with ideas, testing principles, and perfecting the engineering, as well as final assembly.” – James Dyson

We love that quote from James Dyson because it blatantly contradicts some of the stereotypes regarding manufacturing that exist today.

It’s easy to think of manufacturing as just putting things together in a dark, dingy, factory; but the reality is that careers in manufacturing encompass many different skill levels, skill sets, and personalities to actually manufacture something from start to finish. If you’ll notice, Dyson also explains that perfecting the engineering is a very important part of the process. But who exactly does that?

Manufacturing engineers (often referred to as MfgE) focus primarily on design and operation systems for the production of “high-quality, economically competitive products,” according to Oregon State University. These types of systems include everything from computer networks to robots to machine tools, and sometimes even materials-handling equipment. This means that designing circuit board manufacturing processes, automating chemical manufacturing facilities, developing fabrication processes for nano-devices, and identifying the most cost-effective material handling for an aerospace manufacturing company all fall under the range of MfgE careers.

So, let’s say you want to learn more about what it takes to become a manufacturing engineer–what are your next steps? Well, as you might guess, high-quality education is key (which is why we are lucky to have some really fantastic partners in education here in Nebraska). For calculations and value judgments in this type of engineering field, strong math, science, and communications skills are all vital.

A good MfgE program will give graduates the basis needed in mathematical calculations to be able to determine things like the most cost effective material, etc. In manufacturing engineering, the production process from start to finish, just as James Dyson explains above, is the focus of a project. World Wide Learn explains that “successful students in manufacturing engineering degree programs are inspired by the notion of starting with a natural resource, such as a block of wood, and ending with a usable, valuable product such as a desk.”

Another way to determine if this could be the field for you is by actually stepping into the shoes of a manufacturing engineer for a day and seeing if it feels like a good fit.

And if you just don’t have time, there are some great online resources available too. For instance, The Sloan Career Cornerstone Center actually interviewed some real-life manufacturing engineers, like Jason Belaire from Delphi Chassis Systems, about their advice to students and what their typical days look like. Other useful interviews are Ken Harshbarger, staff engineer at Lexmark International and Kimberly Wiefling, project engineer at Hewlett Packard.

senior manufacturing engineer job description

From the shoes on your feet to the car you drive, nearly everything you use in your daily life is man-made, or ‘manufactured’.

At its most basic level, Manufacturing Engineering takes ideas from concept generation right through to working products.

The reality is more complex and much more interesting.

Manufacturing Engineers:

  • Design a product,
  • Select the best technologies and processes for manufacturing it,
  • Plan and design the factory that will produce the product, and
  • Oversee the running, management, maintenance and improvement of the factory. 

Manufacturing Engineers also get involved in supply chain management, logistics and distribution, quality management as well as environmental and life-cycle management.

In short, Manufacturing Engineering is the branch of engineering that is concerned with understanding, analysing and improving complex industrial, manufacturing and infrastructure systems. 

The growing importance of Manufacturing Engineering

We live in an age of rapid innovation, complex technology and sustainability. Naturally, the job of a Manufacturing Engineer has become even more important.

Organisations, both public and private, are crying out for Manufacturing Engineers because they have diverse analytical skills, especially skills in integrating technology with commercial and organisational solutions.

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What skills do Manufacturing Engineers need?

Manufacturing Engineering is based on core mechanical engineering skills, adding important elements from mechatronics, commerce, economics and business management.

For example, a modern factory would consult or employ a manufacturing engineer. Not only does the factory need to produce a product, it also needs to produce it efficiently and be able to meet the demand for the product, and do so at the right cost, quality and delivery timeframe.

GE Aviation's Quick Six With Manufacturing Engineer Jordan Kovacs | The GE  Aviation Blog | Aerospace & Flight News

Manufacturing engineers are trained to see the ‘big picture’ as well as ‘the specific details’.

Manufacturing Engineering is probably the most flexible and marketable of all the engineering disciplines. Many engineers that originally studied other engineering disciplines will end up practising as Manufacturing Engineers.

senior production engineer roles and responsibilities

As a manufacturing engineer you’ll have a high level of technical expertise and skill, which you’ll use to plan, design, set up, modify, optimise and monitor manufacturing processes.

Since the basic principles of manufacturing engineering apply to all industries, you can work in numerous sectors, including:

  • biotechnology
  • food and drink
  • oil
  • pharmaceuticals
  • plastics.

Your work will involve improving the process of producing high-quality goods efficiently using the most cost-effective methods and with the aim of reducing the impact of production on the environment.

Manufacturing engineers are designers, as well as analytical and creative thinkers. This means you can operate on your own initiative but also contribute as a team member working with engineers from various disciplines.

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Responsibilities

As a manufacturing engineer, you’ll need to:

  • design new systems, equipment and processes for the introduction of new products or the improvement of existing ones
  • work with other engineers, such as chemical, mechanical and electrical engineers, to ensure all product and system requirements are taken into account from the initial product conception to the finished result
  • examine, tender for and install new equipment, making sure you get the highest quality at the best price
  • liaise with suppliers and customers
  • plan and organise maintenance of equipment
  • identify faults, investigate production problems and repair equipment quickly and efficiently
  • improve current operations wherever possible
  • supervise junior engineers and sub-contractors and ensure effective communication in order to avoid errors
  • organise plant start-up and shut-down schedules to ensure minimum loss of production time and profits
  • keep statistical and financial records and work with finance professionals to manage budgets
  • liaise with research and development staff to ensure the company is at the forefront of ground-breaking research
  • keep up to date with current and developing trends in the manufacturing industry, at a national and international level.

manufacturing engineer Salary

  • Manufacturing engineers can expect to start on salaries in the region of £23,000 to £28,000.
  • With experience your salary can range from £25,000 to £40,000.
  • Chartered engineers earn salaries in the region of £40,000 to £60,000.

There’s scope to earn a higher salary in very senior executive positions. Chartered engineers may work on a consultancy basis and charge the company an hourly rate. Salary levels vary according to the industry, location and size of the organisation you work for. Income figures are intended as a guide only.

Working hours

Most companies operate a shift system. Working hours may include regular unsocial hours, including weekend and evening work. You may have to work extra hours, particularly at times when a new process is being installed and tested.

Career breaks are possible but the speed of technological change means that you should keep up to date with the profession or you may not be able to re-enter at the same level. Some employers run career break schemes, which allow jobs to be kept open.

What to expect

  • Manufacturing plants must adhere to strict health and safety rules and environmental policies.
  • Jobs are available both in traditional industrial areas and in newer industrial estates, in most parts of the UK.
  • Dress code can vary from smart casual in the office to protective clothing and equipment at the installation stage.
  • Women are under-represented in engineering but there are initiatives in place to try and encourage more women into the industry, such as WISE and the Women’s Engineering Society (WES).
  • You may need to travel for training purposes and if your company has plants at other locations, either nationally or internationally.

Qualifications

To become a manufacturing engineer you’ll typically need a degree in engineering. The following engineering degree subjects are particularly relevant:

  • chemical engineering
  • electrical/electronic engineering
  • manufacturing or production engineering
  • mechanical engineering.

Although you don’t need a Masters degree, having a relevant Masters in engineering, an engineering doctorate (EngD) or an integrated MEng degree can enhance your prospects.

It’s also possible to enter at a trainee level with an engineering HNC, HND or foundation degree. With experience and further qualifications, you’ll then be able to progress to more senior roles.

GE Aviation's Quick Six With Manufacturing Engineer Jordan Kovacs | The GE  Aviation Blog | Aerospace & Flight News

Having a qualification accredited by a relevant body such as The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) or the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) can help you to achieve incorporated engineer (IEng) or chartered engineer (CEng) status later on in your career. Details of accredited courses are available at the Engineering Council – Accredited Course Search.

It’s also possible to take an advanced manufacturing engineering apprenticeship. As part of the apprenticeship, you’ll complete a Level 4 NVQ in engineering leadership and will take a relevant HNC, HND or foundation degree, which could lead to progression to an honours degree in engineering technology.

Skills

You’ll need to have:

  • knowledge of a range of engineering functions and procedures
  • a practical and logical approach to problem-solving
  • interpersonal, presentation and communication skills
  • team working and people management skills
  • the ability to work well under pressure and take on new challenges
  • organisation and time management skills
  • project management skills and the ability to work to tight deadlines
  • commercial awareness
  • an awareness of health and safety issues.

Any previous work experience or activities at university that demonstrate these skills will be useful.

Work experience

Summer work placements or internships in the manufacturing industry will increase your chances of gaining employment upon graduation. Check with your careers service and look on the websites of engineering companies for details of opportunities.

Some degree courses offer a year in industry, which is useful for finding out what the career will be like, as well as for making good contacts for future job opportunities. This type of experience will provide evidence of skill development and commercial awareness.

Student membership with a relevant professional body such as the IET or IMechE will help you keep up to date with news and developments in the industry. This will show your interest in, and enthusiasm for, the manufacturing sector at interviews.

Employers

Manufacturing engineers can be employed in any industry that has an end product. You can find opportunities in:

  • aerospace
  • automotive
  • biotechnology
  • clothing
  • food and drink
  • oil refinery
  • pharmaceutical
  • plant and machinery manufacture
  • plastics.

Employers range from small local operations to large multinational organisations with plants and operations all over the world. Central and local governments also employ manufacturing engineers, as do the armed forces and utility companies.

Professional development

Structured graduate training programmes are offered by many of the large engineering firms. These programmes provide the opportunity to gain experience in different departments of the firm, while at the same time developing an understanding and appreciation of the day-to-day running of the business.

Manufacturing Engineer Job Description

Companies may also offer in-house training programmes delivered by experienced employees or specialist training companies.

All training provided is usually designed to meet the requirements of the relevant engineering professional bodies. These include:

  • Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE)
  • Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE)
  • The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET)

These professional bodies run their own continuing professional development (CPD) programmes.

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You’re likely to work towards gaining chartered engineer status (CEng), which is an internationally recognised qualification awarded by the Engineering Council. It can help your career progression and allow for higher earning potential. You’ll need to be a member of a relevant professional body and will apply through them for professional registration.

The process of becoming chartered is more straightforward if you’ve got an accredited Bachelors degree and a Masters or an accredited integrated MEng degree. You’ll also need to demonstrate that you have the required professional competencies and commitment, as set out in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC). More details about the process can be found at Engineering Council – Chartered Engineer.

Some employers will offer to support you for a part-time MSc in a relevant subject.

Career prospects

Career development will depend to a certain extent on the structure of the company you work for, as well as the organisational culture, size and nature of the business.

Before achieving chartered status, you’ll gain experience in numerous manufacturing processes, from the design stage through to installation. Ideally, you’ll be exposed to the various departments within your organisation and get in-house and on-site work experience.

You may progress to another company to gain more experience and exposure to different manufacturing industries. You could also take on training and supervision of more junior engineers. There may also be opportunities to progress into engineering or manufacturing management or into general management, marketing or sales.

It’s possible to become a project manager or to specialise in a particular area and concentrate on research and development. You could also specialise and progress into a related area such as plant/production engineering, environmental engineering or health and safety.

With substantial experience, you could become a partner in an engineering firm or become self-employed as a consultant.

manufacturing engineer description

In this career summary, you will find out what the job of a manufacturing engineer is about and what it is like.

After reading this, you will have a good idea of what the job is about and decide if this is the right career for you.


Job Description

Manufacturing Engineers design, integrate, or improve manufacturing systems or related processes. May work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.



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Salary

Average salary $99410 per year Average hourly wage $48 per hour


Manufacturing Engineers with little to no experience tend to make between $50750 and $69890 while the more experienced ones can earn over $126200 per year.

Top 5 paying statesHourlyAnnual
DC$64$132,530
MD$57$118,420
VA$57$118,390
AL$56$115,710
NJ$55$114,990

One of the easiest ways to increase your salary as a manufacturing engineer is to move to a higher paying state like DC. Right now, the highest paying states for Manufacturing Engineers are DC, MD, VA, AL and NJ.

However, a higher pay at DC doesn’t guarantee that you will make more because the living expenses at DC might be twice as high as where you are currently at now.

Three other factors that can increase your salary as a manufacturing engineer is the degree you hold, the industry you work in and lastly the company you work for.

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Requirements

Recommended degree level Bachelor’s Degree

We asked other Manufacturing Engineers what degree they had when they got the job and most of them said they had a Bachelor’s Degree followed by an Associate’s Degree.

Other than that, we also asked them what did they major in and here are the most popular majors that came up.

Engineering, General
Architectural Engineering
Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering
Laser and Optical Engineering

PROS AND CONS

Here are some of the pros and cons of being a manufacturing engineer.

 PROS
Suitable for people who like practical and hands-on work
Suitable for people who wants job security and a good working condition
This career is perfect for people who love to work indoors.
Very high salary (top 25% highest paid careers)

 CONS
Not suitable for people who like to help and teach others
It is hard to get into this career. A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for this career.
Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week)
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70% of Manufacturing Engineers said they were satisfied with their job and 60% said they feel like their job is making other people’s lives better.

IS THIS RIGHT FOR ME

Best personality for this career The Builders and The Thinkers

You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tends to like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery..

They also like working with ideas and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

It's Cool to Be a Manufacturing Engineering Major Again | NIST

manufacturing roles and responsibilities

Manufacturing Engineers focus on the design and operation of integrated systems for the production of high-quality, economically competitive products. These systems may include computer networks, robots, machine tools, and materials-handling equipment. For example, a manufacturing engineer might be hired to:

  • Automate a chemical manufacturing facility through computer integrated technology
  • Design circuit board manufacturing processes to reduce costs and improve product quality
  • Develop the best assignment of machines and equipment to various manufacturing cells in discrete parts manufacturing
  • Develop and implement fabrication processes for nano-/micro-devices
  • Identify the most cost-effective material handling and facility layout alternative for an aerospace manufacturing company

manufacturing engineer jobs

People who are curious about why a product works and how products are made could be suited for a career as a manufacturing engineer. At a manufacturing plant, high-tech machinery does the assembly-line work to produce goods. Manufacturing engineers ensure that assembly lines run smoothly. Experience through work in the manufacturing sector, as well as through college programs, can help you achieve a career as a manufacturing engineer.

Practical

To be a manufacturing engineer, helps to have experience as a junior manufacturing engineer to gain practical experience. Practical experience helps an engineer understand the limitations of an assembly line as well as human requirements. For example, a goal of a manufacturing engineer might be to produce quality products at a competitive cost. But the issue of human requirements of safety and environmental issues might set limitations on production methods. With practical analytical experience, a manufacturing engineer can assess the problem and resolve the issue to produce at the desired cost.

Industry-Specific

Some companies require industry-specific manufacturing engineering experience. For example, experience in the aerospace industry gives a manufacturing engineer the opportunity to work with a manufacturer on building aircraft products in various designs. Together, the manufacturer and engineer can identify the simplest design for the assembly-line process. Similarly, experience in the medical industry can give a manufacturing engineer experience developing innovative technological products for treating hypertension and other conditions. Some companies require five or more years of experience in a related industry.

AutoCAD Drafting

A manufacturing engineer must have experience with AutoCAD drafting software. Manufacturing engineers with drafting experience use the software to create design images for manufacturers. The images can include detailed dimensions and materials for the manufacturer to view from multiple angles. In this way, the manufacturer can associate the components and systems and either approve a design or ask the manufacturing engineer for revisions.

Technical Production Environment

One of the main functions of a manufacturing engineer is to provide technical assistance to production and quality control personnel. For example, a manufacturing engineer working with a stainless steel company should have three years of experience to be able to work with skilled operators in implementing a production assembly-line process. By working together, the manufacturing engineer and skilled operators ensure that the assembled parts and products meet quality requirements.

manufacturing engineering salary

 The average Manufacturing Engineer I salary in the United States is $70,343 as of October 29, 2021, but the range typically falls between $63,797 and $75,529. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on many important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, the number of years you have spent in your profession. With more online, real-time compensation data than any other website, Salary.com helps you determine your exact pay target. 

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