Learn about the manufacturing industry and different kinds of manufacturing jobs. Read about the different career paths you can take in manufacturing. Find out what training you need and where to start your job search.
Manufacturing means making things. About 18% of jobs in the USA are manufacturing jobs. People working in manufacturing make medicine, cars, technology, or food. The clothing, mineral, and printing industries are also types of manufacturing. Most manufacturing jobs are in large factories or mills where most workers operate large machines. But many other jobs are in small workshops.
Which manufacturing job?
Manufacturing is an exciting industry! It is always changing and improving. Because of new technology, your job could change quickly. If you work hard, there are a lot of ways you can get promoted. You do not always need experience to get a job in manufacturing. Many major manufacturing companies offer on-the-job training. They will teach the skills you need to advance.
Here are some manufacturing jobs:
- Machinist – sets up and takes care of manufacturing machines. Fixes major problems with broken machines.
- Customer service representative – talks to the companies buying the product. Makes sure they are happy with the product and arranges delivery.
- Field service technician – goes to the customer’s location and fixes products that have problems.
- Warehouse associate – a warehouse is where all parts are stored. Warehouse associates make sure that there are enough parts. They order parts and package them.
- Processing operation/assembly – uses the machines to put together parts. Cleans the machines and fixes small mechanical problems. This is the most popular job for people that did not finish college or high school.
- Expeditor: Manages the equipment and people to make sure everything is happening as quickly as possible. Figures out ways to make work happen faster.
- Brazer and welder – melting, bending, and adjusting metal parts with tools. You will need to contact the American Welding Society and take a test to get a certification.
- Operations manager – managing multiple processes and people to make sure that the product is put together correctly. Most employers are looking for workers who have a business degree.
- Safety technician – testing machines before and during use to make sure they are safe. Deciding ways to improve the machines so the workers will not get hurt. Employers look for occupational health and safety, biology, and chemistry degrees.
- Quality control inspector – makes sure that products work, look good, and are put together right.
Are manufacturing jobs right for me?
Some manufacturing jobs can be hard on your body. You might be standing for most of the day. You also may have to work during the night or very early in the morning. You will need good eyesight and good coordination. Many manufacturing jobs mean doing the same task in the same pattern all day long. You will probably be working in a noisy place.
Many manufacturing jobs involve teamwork and attention to detail. If you can work well in a team and stay focused on details, manufacturing may be a good job for you. It is also a good industry for people who want to learn new skills and technology.
Watch a video about working as an assembler
Where do I start?
Most companies prefer to employ people who have previous experience in manufacturing. But many are short of reliable workers, and they will train you themselves.
Training and skills
Some employers may want you to have an associate’s degree (a two-year degree) for some skilled jobs, such as being a machinist. Other employers may want you to do an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship is a training period where you learn on the job and are not paid much until you are fully trained.
Good computer skills are useful in manufacturing because many machines are run by computers. Khan Academy offers all kinds of free classes, including many computer programming classes.
Find a class near you
Many community colleges offer low-cost computer training classes and associates degrees in manufacturing-related subjects. Find a community college near you. For some jobs, you will need a university degree in science, engineering or business. You can read about degrees in manufacturing engineering.
What if I am already qualified in another country?
If you have technology qualification or a degree from another country, Upwardly Global helps work-authorized immigrants, refugees, asylees, and visa holders restart their professional careers in the United States.
What else do I need?
Start your job search
There are various ways to start your job search
You can start at an employment center. Government employment centers are free. They offer advice and keep a list of local jobs. They help with resumes and job applications. They can connect you to job training and education. Find an employment center near you.
These are the top 10 companies that will be hiring the most manufacturing workers in the next few years. You can search for jobs on their websites:
You can also use job websites. Manufacturingjobs.com is a job website just for manufacturing jobs.