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.

Sample of reported job titles: Facility Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Plant Engineer, Process Engineer, Process Improvement Engineer

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

  • Troubleshoot new or existing product problems involving designs, materials, or processes.
  • Investigate or resolve operational problems, such as material use variances or bottlenecks.
  • Identify opportunities or implement changes to improve manufacturing processes or products or to reduce costs, using knowledge of fabrication processes, tooling and production equipment, assembly methods, quality control standards, or product design, materials and parts.
  • Apply continuous improvement methods such as lean manufacturing to enhance manufacturing quality, reliability, or cost-effectiveness.
  • Provide technical expertise or support related to manufacturing.
  • Incorporate new manufacturing methods or processes to improve existing operations.
  • Review product designs for manufacturability or completeness.
  • Determine root causes of failures or recommend changes in designs, tolerances, or processing methods, using statistical procedures.
  • Prepare reports summarizing information or trends related to manufacturing performance.
  • Prepare documentation for new manufacturing processes or engineering procedures.
  • Design layout of equipment or workspaces to achieve maximum efficiency.
  • Communicate manufacturing capabilities, production schedules, or other information to facilitate production processes.
  • Supervise technicians, technologists, analysts, administrative staff, or other engineers.
  • Design, install, or troubleshoot manufacturing equipment.
  • Evaluate manufactured products according to specifications and quality standards.
  • Estimate costs, production times, or staffing requirements for new designs.
  • Train production personnel in new or existing methods.
  • Design tests of finished products or process capabilities to establish standards or validate process requirements.
  • Analyze the financial impacts of sustainable manufacturing processes or sustainable product manufacturing.
  • Develop sustainable manufacturing technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize raw material use, replace toxic materials with non-toxic materials, replace non-renewable materials with renewable materials, or reduce waste.
  • Purchase equipment, materials, or parts.
  • Evaluate current or proposed manufacturing processes or practices for environmental sustainability, considering factors such as greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, water pollution, energy use, or waste creation.
  • Read current literature, talk with colleagues, participate in educational programs, attend meetings, attend workshops, or participate in professional organizations or conferences to keep abreast of developments in the manufacturing field.
  • Redesign packaging for manufactured products to minimize raw material use or waste.

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Technology Skills

  • Analytical or scientific software — Minitab Hot technology ; The MathWorks MATLAB Hot technology
  • Cloud-based data access and sharing software — Microsoft SharePoint Hot technology
  • Computer aided design CAD software Hot technology — Autodesk AutoCAD Hot technology ; Dassault Systemes CATIA; Dassault Systemes SolidWorks Hot technology ; PTC Creo Parametric
  • Computer aided manufacturing CAM software — CNC Mastercam; Geometric CAMWorks; Siemens NX
  • Data base user interface and query software — FileMaker Pro; Microsoft Access Hot technology
  • Desktop communications software — Eko
  • Development environment software — C; Microsoft Visual Basic Hot technology ; National Instruments LabVIEW Hot technology
  • Electronic mail software — IBM Notes Hot technology ; Microsoft Exchange Hot technology ; Microsoft Outlook Hot technology
  • Enterprise resource planning ERP software Hot technology — Product lifecycle management PLM software; SAP business and customer relations management software
  • Industrial control software — Computer numerical control CNC software; Programmable logic controller PLC software; Supervisory control and data acquisition SCADA software Hot technology
  • Internet browser software — Microsoft Internet Explorer; Web browser software
  • Object or component oriented development software — R Hot technology
  • Office suite software — Microsoft Office Hot technology
  • Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint Hot technology
  • Process mapping and design software — Microsoft Visio Hot technology
  • Project management software — Microsoft Project Hot technology ; SolidWorks Enterprise PDM
  • Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel Hot technology
  • Word processing software — Microsoft Word Hot technology
Hot technology Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment — Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.
  • Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Electronic Mail — 100% responded “Every day.”
  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 88% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 62% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 69% responded “More than 40 hours.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 62% responded “Every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 50% responded “Every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Contact With Others — 46% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 44% responded “Very important.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 42% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 65% responded “Some freedom.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 50% responded “Very important.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 35% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 50% responded “Important results.”
  • Time Pressure — 54% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 38% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 38% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Spend Time Sitting — 38% responded “More than half the time.”
  • Physical Proximity — 38% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Consequence of Error — 35% responded “Serious.”
  • Letters and Memos — 44% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Level of Competition — 77% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 35% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Four: Considerable Preparation Needed
Education
Most of these occupations require a four-year bachelor's degree, but some do not.
Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an accountant must complete four years of college and work for several years in accounting to be considered qualified.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.
Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include real estate brokers, sales managers, database administrators, graphic designers, chemists, art directors, and cost estimators.
SVP Range
2-4 years of preparation (7.0 to < 8.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Mathematics — Using mathematics to solve problems.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Operations Monitoring — Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Systems Analysis — Determining how a system should work and how changes in conditions, operations, and the environment will affect outcomes.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Technology Design — Generating or adapting equipment and technology to serve user needs.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Troubleshooting — Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
  • Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Operations Analysis — Analyzing needs and product requirements to create a design.
  • Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Management of Material Resources — Obtaining and seeing to the appropriate use of equipment, facilities, and materials needed to do certain work.
  • Negotiation — Bringing others together and trying to reconcile differences.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

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Knowledge

  • Engineering and Technology — Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
  • Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
  • Design — Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Physics — Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub-atomic structures and processes.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 76%
     
    responded: Bachelor’s degree required
  • 16%
     
    responded: Associate’s degree required
  • 4%
     
    responded: Some college, no degree requiredmore info

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
  • Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Mathematical Reasoning — The ability to choose the right mathematical methods or formulas to solve a problem.
  • Number Facility — The ability to add, subtract, multiply, or divide quickly and correctly.
  • Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.

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Interests

Interest code: RI
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Values

  • Working Conditions — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions. Corresponding needs are Activity, Compensation, Independence, Security, Variety and Working Conditions.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.

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Work Styles

  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wage data for Industrial Engineers.
Employment data for Industrial Engineers.
Industry data for Industrial Engineers.
Median wages (2021)
$45.82 hourly, $95,300 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2020)
292,000 employees
Projected growth (2020-2030)
Faster than average (10% to 15%)
Projected job openings (2020-2030)
23,300
State trends
Top industries (2020)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2020-2030 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

Related Occupations

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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