Individuals considering careers in manufacturing engineering have to be prepared for training in diverse environments, which require them to be disciplined in several different specialty areas at once.
Let’s take a closer look at what it takes for students to secure mechanical engineering entry-level jobs and what earnings are made in these professions.
Gone are the days in which engineers simply ran a mind-numbing piece of machinery. Today, individuals specializing in this field have to tap into a multitude of other technical areas in order to incorporate all of the many facets of each job.
Occupational Specialization for Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineers
Even though manufacturing engineering jobs require such diversification of knowledge, most manufacturing companies do not expect their engineers to be specialized in all of the various areas of production and manufacturing. Instead, most engineers working in the manufacturing industry choose to specialize in only one or two job-specific areas.
For instance, a standards engineer works only within the technical confines of production, which include maintaining work areas and making sure they continually meet production needs. Standards engineers also are expected to research and report on possible improvements that can be made to improve production rate, quality, or consistency.
Additional Areas of Specialization
As previously mentioned, any numbers of specialized engineers are needed to work in different areas of production. For example, factory layout engineers plan and design work areas that are suitable for the specific demands of production. See also this post on Engineering Physics.
Afterward, production planner engineers step in to guide the personnel and establish the placement of workers to best utilize the specific area in which production will take place. Finally, tool planner engineers are consulted with regard to the proper and necessary use of implements and tools needed to run and maintain manufacturing machinery.
Typical Daily Job Functions
Engineers are required to directly oversee worker production in order to guide or correct any deviation in the production or rate of turnout on the manufacturing level. They also devise employee shift scheduling to maintain an optimal and continual rotation of workers.
Additionally, engineers can also expect to be in charge of any quality control issues that may arise. In sum, most engineers can expect to spend most of their workday on their feet moving around the production floor where the brunt of the production actually takes place like in the field developing engines for alternative fuels. Often, depending on the product being manufactured, engineering work can be a noisy, messy, and sometimes dangerous job.
Tools of the Trade
Not only does manufacturing engineering require a high degree of technical training and education, but it also requires the utilization of a variety of tools, some of which can seem quite daunting to the average layperson.
In addition to the typical calculators, charts, graphs, and drawings often associated with engineering, engineers are expected to be proficient with other instruments such as drafting equipment, measuring devices, and computer-generated manufacturing programs on a daily basis like in the field of physical engineering.
It is not uncommon for engineers to refer to outside resources such as engineering journals, in order to keep themselves abreast of the latest engineering advancements and industry standards.
Although manufacturing engineering is a demanding, highly specialized and technical field, engineers can look forward to being part of a team that solves problems and develops products that are beneficial to society.
From the development of specialized life-saving pharmaceuticals to the creation of a new toy, manufacturing engineering jobs provide a rewarding career choice that provides a creative outlet in any number of specialized manufacturing projects.
Mechanical Engineer Salary
Individuals seeking employment in any type of engineering field are usually well rewarded with a handsome salary and a nice benefits package to boot. Especially some interesting start-ups are ready to pay top dollar for top talent.
However, engineering salaries are not consistent across the board, as many factors and considerations are taken into account in order to work up a monetary figure that serves as an adequate salary for employees working at various levels within the engineering industry.
Salaries are Proportionate to the Type of Degree
One of the main variables affecting a manufacturing engineering salary is the level of education an individual has obtained to qualify them for employment positions. As in most professional industries, including the field of manufacturing engineering, the higher the degree, the larger the salary.
Therefore, individuals entering the job market with a Bachelors’s degree in engineering can expect to earn significantly lower wages than individuals entering the field with a Masters’s Degree or Ph.D. in engineering.
Geography Greatly Influences Engineering Salaries
Another variable affecting engineering salaries is the location in which they seek employment. A willingness to relocate and taking on a new job can mean the difference of tens of thousands of dollars each year in this industry.
Currently, Michigan and California are offering some of the highest engineering wages in the industry but bear in mind that it will take several years to become sufficiently qualified for top-paying positions.
Base Salary Ranges to be Initially Expected
According to recent pay scale data, engineers just starting out in the manufacturing industry can expect to earn anywhere from $42,000 to $82,000 dollars yearly. For an overview of the highest paying engineering jobs in the U.S., check out this post.
However, governmental engineering jobs pay significantly higher wages with an average median salary ranging from approximately $75,000 up to $107,000 annually. The United States Census Bureau attributes this substantial gap in median pay to variables such as previous job experience and area of specialization.
Specialized Aeronautical Engineering Pays Off
Engineers working in the aerospace, aeronautical, and astronautical engineering fields with a Master’s degree or greater can expect to earn some of the highest wages in the industry, reporting a median income of $85,000-$125,000 a year—much more than the salaries for manufacturing engineers. In fact, even engineers entering one of these alternate fields with Bachelors’s degrees can expect a starting salary averaging around $54,000 a year.
Engineering Salaries in Biomedical and Chemical Fields
Biomedical engineers usually earn a median income of approximately $74,000 a year with their chemical engineering counterparts earning slightly more at around $79,000 a year. However, as job experience increases, salaries in the biomedical field can skyrocket up to approximately $116,500.
This steep increase is due in part to the more lucrative nature of the medical industry as a whole, in addition to the fact that engineering companies across the board tend to greatly reward their engineers as they acquire multiple hours of on-the-job experience.
Although there are many factors such as job experience, specialization, and degree type that help to determine a manufacturing engineering salary, it is overall an industry in which individuals can expect to earn a higher than average salary when compared to other professional career choices. Furthermore, the current high demand for manufacturing engineers suggests a positive career outlook over the long-term for individuals interested in going into the field.