Online Manufacturing Engineering Degree Programs
Talk about the manufacturing field often focuses on machinists, assemblers, sorters, testers, quality inspectors and other valuable jobs on the factory floor, but manufacturing engineers are just as important. Manufacturing engineer degree programs are ready to help you prepare for a challenging and rewarding career designing the assembly lines and other systems that help make the things we need.
The precise responsibilities of a manufacturing engineer tend to depend heavily on the type and complexity of systems needed in the facilities where they work, but their general duties are fairly common from job to job:
- Analyzing manufacturing systems using physical and statistical methods
- Troubleshooting quality or reliability problems in systems and products
- Designing, installing and training technicians on the use of manufacturing equipment
- Determining ways to improve product quality, decrease waste or reduce costs
- Reviewing product designs to ensure they meet system specifications
Although some manufacturing engineering jobs may have no formal education requirement, most positions in the field require at least a bachelor's degree. Employers also tend to prefer candidates with a thorough education in a related engineering discipline.
Coursework in Manufacturing Engineering Degree Programs
Different colleges and universities fill their degree plans with different sets of specific courses for students in manufacturing engineering programs, but the general direction is fairly similar from curriculum to curriculum.
Here are a few of the subjects students can expect to study on their way to manufacturing engineering degrees:
- Manufacturing process engineering
- Engineering physics
- Science of materials
- Instrumentation and control systems
- Engineering economics
- Quality assurance
Manufacturing engineering degrees at the graduate level are also available for professionals who already have an engineering education but are looking to switch into the manufacturing field. Graduate program specialties in manufacturing engineering include global product development, systems and operations research, microelectronics fabrication, manufacturing operations management and lean supply chain design.
Career Outlook for Professionals with Manufacturing Engineering Degrees
The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) projects that jobs for manufacturing engineers should increase by 3 to 7 percent between 2012 and 2022. Employment of industrial engineers, who employ skills similar to those of manufacturing engineers, is forecast by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to increase by 5 percent in the same period. Even though the manufacturing sector is projected to show an overall decrease in employment over the next several years, the versatility of the skills learned in engineering programs should keep employment on the rise.
The BLS places manufacturing engineers under an occupational designation that earned a median annual salary of $92,680 in 2013.
Alternate Career Paths
Depending on the direction they took during school, other occupations with different salary expectations might be open to graduates of manufacturing engineering degree programs:
- Materials engineers: $87,330 median annual income in 2013
- Logisticians: $73,400 median annual income in 2013$87,330 and $73,400
- Industrial production managers: $90,790 median annual income in 2013
"Employment Projections: 2012-2022 Summary," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, December 19, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.nr0.htm
"Manufacturing Engineers," Occupational Information Network, 2012, http://www.onetonline.org/link/summary/17-2199.04
"Industrial Engineers : Occupational Outlook Handbook," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172199.htm
"Engineers, All Others," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172199.htm
"13-1081 Logisticians," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 13, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes131081.htm
"11-3051 Industrial Production Managers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 13, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes113051.htm
"17-2131 Materials Engineers," U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, June 13, 2014, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes172131.htm