Manufacturing workers are makers, creators, and innovators. They are problem-solvers, detail-oriented, and inspired by how things operate and how things are put together. Manufacturers are also essential contributors to our economy, our lifestyles, and are therefore in high-demand across the United States.
If you are looking to gain a foothold in a thriving and advancing field, a manufacturing career path might be on your agenda. You may be here now looking for an ‘in’ into the industry, or simply to see which types of entry-level manufacturing jobs you qualify for at this stage in your career. You may be considering a manufacturing training program as a next step, but are unsure if post-secondary education is needed for a starting position (or your dream position) in the field.
In the past, manufacturing employers did not typically make higher education a top requirement for applicants. Today, however, a post-secondary certificate, college degree, or in-field experience are consistently asked of prospective manufacturing workers. This demand for educated, highly-skilled workers is a direct result of an evolving industry.
Manufacturing has progressed exponentially over the last several decades, as technological advances, new “lean and green” manufacturing processes, and a greater demand for quality goods have since been born. Many companies are now looking for skilled, educated, certified workers to join them, to help manage, produce, plan, operate, and distribute. They are looking for driven, dedicated, and inspired workers like you.
From food to furniture, engineering to electronics, cars to aircrafts, to submarines, you can find entry-level manufacturing jobs in nearly every sector of the field. And these industries need more than just production workers – they need supervisors, assembly workers, engineers, maintenance workers, logisticians, painters, operators, quality control managers, and machinists, too.
Before diving into your many options, take some time to think about your career goals and where you see yourself in three, five, even ten years. Do you have what it takes to get there? Are you prepared to take the necessary steps to do so? Which entry-level position will give you the best leg-up in the future?
As a leading manufacturing and machining school in Connecticut, Goodwin College has put together some of the most popular entry-level manufacturing jobs you can achieve, with just a bit of education and a hand-full of experience in the field.
The following entry-level manufacturing jobs can be earned with a high school diploma or equivalent—though some experience or training will help get your foot in the factory door:
- Assembly line workers (requires some on-the-job training)
- Inspectors, testers, samplers, and weighers (requires on-the-job training)
- Packaging and filling machine operators (requires some on-the-job training)
- Welders, solderers, and cutters (will require hands-on training)
- Sales representatives (except technical and scientific products – requires some training)
- General maintenance and repair workers (requires formal training)
- Shipping and receiving clerks (may require informal training)
- Customer service representatives (may require some informal training)
The following entry-level manufacturing jobs can typically be achieved with a post-secondary certificate:
- First-Line Supervisor
- Certified Production Technicians
- CNC Machinists and Operators
- Certified Logistics Technicians
An Associate Degree (in Supply Chain & Logistics or Quality Management, for example) will qualify you for positions such as a:
- Calibration Technician
- Manufacturing Quality Inspector
- Materials Review Controller
- Quality Controller
- Quality Auditor
- Supplier Quality Assurance Supervisor
- Cargo & Freight Manager
- Logistics Analyst
- Procurement Specialist
- Production Control Analyst
- Production Planner
- Purchasing Analyst
- Shipping & Receiving Analyst
- Storage & Distribution Manager
- Supply Chain Manager
- Traffic Coordinator
- Warehouse Manager
A Bachelor’s Degree in Manufacturing Management will qualify you for manufacturing jobs as a:
- General and Operations Manager
- Industrial Production Manager
- Facilities Supervisor
- Inspection Supervisor
- Inventory Manager
- Maintenance Supervisor
- Human Resources Administrator
- Production Controller
- Quality Manager
- Safety Supervisor
It is important to note that educational and training requirements will vary job to job, company to company, and state to state. Typically, a high school diploma is the very minimum requirement for entry-level manufacturing jobs, though post-secondary schooling and on-the-job training is needed for more complex or advanced positions. Entering the field with some knowledge and skills under your belt can also improve job security later down the road – if you bring value to the table, you will be recognized as an invaluable, irreplaceable worker for years to come.
Hands-on experience in manufacturing is one of the qualities most desired by employers today. Even though it is not always “required,” it can undoubtedly make you stand out amongst other job candidates. For example, CNC machinists who complete their certifications or associate degree will have more job opportunities than those who do not. This is because employers believe hands-on experience makes things “click” and that it takes time and practice to build a great manufacturing skillset.
Manufacturing training can be found at career-focused schools like Goodwin College in Connecticut, or through job experience and apprenticeships. If you would like to learn more about advancing your manufacturing education and experience to land a job in the field, call us today at 800-889-3282 or visit www.goodwin.edu/majors/manufacturing/.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.