Manufacturing careers don’t always require a college degree or professional credentials, but as the industry evolves, so too are hiring standards. Today, many employers prefer to hire candidates with postsecondary education and/or advanced manufacturing certifications under their belts.
In the past, manufacturing was seen as a labor-intensive field that required more strength than skill. These days, proficiency and education are top qualifiers for job candidates, with about 45 percent of manufacturing companies now hiring workers based on skill. Manufacturing is more high-tech and cutting-edge than ever before. With artificial intelligence, robotics, and machine learning at the forefront of the industry, employers need highly trained workers who show mastery, innovation, creativity, and technique.
Whether you are interested in starting a manufacturing career, or a seasoned worker looking to advance your skills, taking the next step in your education is highly recommended. You can do so by two means:
- Complete a manufacturing certificate program, at the postsecondary level, and/or
- Achieve professional manufacturing certification(s) in your area of specialty.
Not only will employers value the above, but this advanced level of training will also help you stand out in the job market. This can, in turn, lead to higher pay. Research shows that more than 40 percent of manufacturing workers today have a college degree. Those who earn industry credentials or certificates are more likely to be employed, and also to reap more benefits in their career: In fact, they earn $2,000 more annually than those who do not earn a credential.
Ready to take your manufacturing career to the next level? Keep reading to find the best manufacturing certification pathway for you.
Postsecondary Manufacturing Certificates You Can Achieve Fast
Education can take you far in your manufacturing career. A study from Georgetown University, backed by the U.S. Department of Education, found that having at least some college education significantly increases one’s likelihood of landing a good manufacturing job. The report states, “Overall, workers with postsecondary education are best positioned to succeed in today’s manufacturing workforce.”
Whether you are new to manufacturing or leveling up your current career, here are some of the best manufacturing certificates you can pursue at the postsecondary level. These can be attained at a reputable manufacturing school, like Goodwin University:
• CNC Machining Certificate
This certificate teaches the basics of computer-numerical control, an evolving and in-demand specialization within manufacturing today. Typically, CNC courses cover the principles of machine operation, manufacturing mathematics, and CAM software. Students also gain hands-on experience working with CNC milling and turning machines. Learn about Goodwin’s CNC certificate here.
• Manufacturing Technology Certificate
As technology advances, so must the manufacturing workforce. This certificate program is designed to equip students with knowledge in machining, technical specifications, and manufacturing principles. At Goodwin, students in this program gain hands-on experience at local manufacturers, and can complete their CNC Machining, Metrology, and Manufacturing Technology certificate in as few as five months.
• Computer-Aided Design Certificate
Computer-aided design (CAD) is another growing sector of manufacturing and is essential in the production of goods. Students in this program learn how to develop designs and prototypes for fabrication, using computer-aided technologies, as well as plan the materials and specifications needed for production. At Goodwin, the CAD certificate can be completed fast, in just one semester.
• Industrial Service Technician Certificate
Industrial service technicians are needed at every corner of manufacturing, to set-up, maintain, and troubleshoot complex technologies. In this type of certificate program, students learn the ins and outs of electrical, hydraulic, pneumatic, and other manufacturing systems, which can carry through to their careers as service technicians and specialists. Learn more here.
• Mechatronics Certificate
Mechatronics is a branch of manufacturing and engineering, that focuses on the mechanical and electronic systems needed for production. For aspiring mechatronic engineers, this certificate program is a must. It teaches the basics behind electrical systems, motor controls, industrial robots, and computer-aided systems in manufacturing. At Goodwin, the mechatronics certificate can be completed in as few as 12 months’ time.
• Robotics and Automation Certificate
Robotics and automation are the way of the future in manufacturing, but advanced technicians, engineers, and specialists are still needed to manage and monitor these technologies. This manufacturing certificate program is one of the best you can attain today, due to the industry’s increasing focus on AI and automated processes. In a robotics certificate program, students learn the basics of maintaining, troubleshooting, and programming automated systems.
• Welding Certificate
Welding is an age-old profession that continues to hold value, perhaps more than ever, in current day. Welders are needed to fashion metal parts, ranging from minute medical tools to major bridges spanning cities. You do not need to spend years in school to learn welding. You can earn a welding certificate in as few as eight months, gaining hands-on experience and knowledge in a range of essential techniques: shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding, flux core arc welding, thermal cutting, and more.
Professional Manufacturing Certifications to Advance Your Career
Manufacturing certifications are credentials granted through professional organizations to validate the skill sets and competencies of manufacturing professionals. These credentials are pursued voluntary, and typically granted through examination or performance assessments.
Professional certification is a great way to advance your position in the field of manufacturing. Employers appreciate manufacturing certifications because they:
- Demonstrate your commitment to the manufacturing field,
- Showcase your proficiencies in certain areas of manufacturing,
- Help you stand out from other job applicants, and
- Improve a candidate’s skillset and quality of work.
In a study cited by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), it was made clear that employers see value in candidates who have pursued professional certification. One manufacturer explained, “I think that [a credentialed] employee will have more success on the job. They will be more engaged. They’ll contribute more to the company.”
Many agreed with this sentiment. In fact, 69 percent of respondents agreed that credentials help them easily identify qualified candidates in manufacturing facilities. Over half of manufacturers said that credential holders require less on-the-job training than those without, reducing the time it takes to onboard new hires. This government-supported survey found that the most sought-after manufacturing certifications include those in high-demand professions like:
- Quality Technicians
- Precision Machinists
So, which professional certifications should you consider for your career? Well, this answer ultimately depends on your interests and career goals. There are hundreds of manufacturing certifications you can obtain, all focusing on different areas and competencies in manufacturing. For example, you can pursue industry-recognized certifications in specializations like:
- CNC machining
- Quality control
- Lean manufacturing
- Project management
- Robotics and automation
- Production technician
- Additive manufacturing
- Industrial maintenance
- Control systems
- Safety practices
And many more. Your best resource for a complete list of nationally-recognized manufacturing certifications is from The Manufacturing Institute. Their Skills Certifications guide will connect you to potential credentialing opportunities from respected organizations like the American Welding Society, Manufacturing Skills Institute, the SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers), and more.
Why Earn a Manufacturing Certification?
“At all levels of educational attainment, workers who hold an industry certification or license are more likely to hold a good job than those who do not.” – Upskilling And Downsizing In American Manufacturing, 2019 report
According to this report, workers who have some college education and professional certification have a 73 percent likelihood of attaining a great job in manufacturing, compared to those without (41 percent).
Manufacturing has shifted away from production jobs, and is now geared towards efficiency, sustainability, automation, and computer-based technologies. This, in turn, has increased the expectations of manufacturing workers. Those with postsecondary education and professional certifications will be well-equipped for any modern manufacturing role.
Are you ready to level up your manufacturing career? Get started with Goodwin University. Learn about our flexible, fast-paced, and career-focused manufacturing certificate programs online here.