Manufacturing Careers: Options, Job Titles, and Descriptions

Steel worker
Thomas Barwick / Stone / Getty Images

Because manufacturing is such a broad field, there are many different manufacturing job titles that include a variety of job descriptions. Manufacturing involves creating new products, either from raw materials or from pre-made components.

Due to technological advances reducing the need for workers, this is one of the sectors for which the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects employment to decline slightly.

Types of Manufacturing Jobs

Manufacturing jobs can involve the mechanical, physical, or chemical transformation of materials to create these new products. Manufacturing plants and factories need more than just people who work on a production line. An efficient operation requires employees in numerous roles, including management and quality assurance.

Because advances in technology have lowered the number of manufacturing jobs available, some workers with experience in manufacturing are making the switch to learn and fill the many in-demand jobs within AI (artificial intelligence) and robotics.

Educational Requirements

Educational requirements vary significantly based on the job. Some positions may provide on-the-job training, while others may require a college degree. Although the adoption of new technologies may contribute to the decline in some positions, education, or certification in a technical area improves your chances of job security.

Since the industry is evolving, it’s important to keep your technical skills current. Workers who keep manufacturing trends in mind while orchestrating their career path will have a more successful experience in this field.

Salaries for Jobs in Manufacturing

The median annual wage for production occupations was $37,440 as of May 2020, which was lower than the median yearly wage for all occupations: $41,950. Some positions are higher-paying union jobs—usually skilled positions—while other unskilled positions typically receive lower wages.

In-Demand and Traditional Manufacturing Jobs

Here’s an overview of some of the in-demand manufacturing jobs, as well as traditional job titles for the manufacturing sector, with educational requirements, job outlook, and median wages.

Manufacturing Automation Job Titles

For those with experience in manufacturing and a willingness to learn a few new tech skills, there are thousands of new jobs available within manufacturing automation. While some automation jobs do require a full bachelor’s degree, many only require an associate degree or that you graduate from a coding bootcamp.

Robotics Technicians

Robotics technicians “Build, install, test, or maintain robotic equipment or related automated production systems,” according to CareerOneStop. Typical annual salaries range from $46,640 - $76,270.

Other job titles within this field include:

  • Instrumentation & Controls Technician
  • Instrument Specialist/Technician
  • Instrument & Automation Technician
  • Instrumentation & Process Controls Technician (I & P)
  • Automation Technician
  • Process Control Technician
  • Programmable Logic Controllers Technician

Mechatronics Engineers

Mechatronics engineers “Research, design, develop, or test automation, intelligent systems, smart devices, or industrial systems control,” according to CareerOneStop. Median salaries range from $75,380 - $134,480.

Other job titles within this field include:

  • Project Engineer
  • Senior Project Engineer
  • Automation Engineer/Specialist
  • Senior Design Engineer
  • Automation Engineer/Specialist
  • Process Engineer
  • Equipment Engineer
  • Development Engineer

Python & C++ Programmers

When it comes to coding instructions into manufacturing automation tools, the most common coding languages are Python and C++. Python and C++ programmers learn how to tell computers and machines what to do. They are critical to the advancement and maintenance of manufacturing automation.

According to BLS data, programmers make a median salary of $89,190. The top 10% earn more than $146,050 a year, while the bottom 10% earn less than $51,440.

Common Manufacturing Job Titles

Read below for a list of some of the most common traditional manufacturing job titles. Use this list when searching for a job in manufacturing or to encourage your employer to change the title of your position to fit your responsibilities.

For more information about each job title, check out the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook.


Assemblers and fabricators put together pieces of products and also assemble finished products. They use their hands, as well as tools and machines. Most assemblers and fabricators work in manufacturing plants. Most of these positions require a high school diploma, but many employees can get on-the-job training.

  • Assembler
  • Boiler Operator
  • Boilermaker
  • Bookbinder and Bindery Worker
  • Electronic Assembler
  • Expediter
  • Fabricator
  • Fiberglass Laminator/Fabricator
  • Floor Assembler
  • General Laborer
  • Material Handler
  • Packaging Engineer
  • Painting and Coating Worker
  • Photographic Processor
  • Precision Assembler
  • Processing Worker
  • Production Painter
  • Production Worker
  • Semiconductor Processor
  • Tool and Die Maker
  • Tool Crib Attendant
  • Tool, Die, and Gauge Maker
  • Warehouse Associate
  • Warehouse Worker
  • Woodworker


Welders, solderers, cutters, and brazers use equipment to cut and join metal parts. Most of these positions require some technical education through high school courses, vocational schools, community colleges, or similar programs. They also receive on-the-job training. These positions require an eye for detail, the ability to operate equipment, and the ability to read blueprints and diagrams.

  • Brazer
  • Cutter
  • Metal Worker
  • Solderer
  • Structural Metal Fabricator
  • Welder


Machinists and tool-and-die makers set up, maintain, and operate computer and mechanically-operated machines used to create parts for the manufacturing process. These positions require training, either in apprenticeship programs, vocational schools, or community or technical colleges. These employees also receive lots of on-the-job training.

  • Aircraft Mechanic
  • Chemical Plant Operator
  • CNC Machinist
  • CNC Operator
  • Coating, Painting, and Spraying Machine Operator
  • Computer Control Programmer/Operator
  • Configuration Analyst
  • Controller
  • Dairy Processing Equipment Operator
  • Design Engineer
  • Designer
  • Electrician
  • Electromechanical Technician
  • Electronic Technician
  • Equipment Technician
  • Field Service Technician
  • Food Technologist
  • Industrial Engineering Technician
  • Machine Operator
  • Machine Tool Cutting Operator/Tender
  • Machinist
  • Manufacturing Technician
  • Mechanical Technician
  • Millwright
  • Operator
  • Plant Operator
  • Plastic Machine Worker
  • Power Plant Operator
  • Printing Machine Operator
  • Process Operator
  • Production Technician
  • Safety Technician
  • Silicon Wafer Fabrication Operator
  • Surface Mount Technology Machine Operator
  • Wafer Processing Technician
  • Waste Treatment Plant Operator

Production Manager

Production managers oversee the day-to-day operations at manufacturing plants. They ensure that production stays on schedule, they hire and manage workers, and they fix any production problems. Many production managers will have a bachelor’s degree, typically in business or industrial engineering.

  • Assembly Supervisor
  • Assistant Plant Manager
  • Chief Manufacturing Executive
  • Chief Quality Control Executive
  • Civil Engineering Supervisor
  • Controls Engineer
  • Director of Quality Management
  • Distribution Manager
  • Division Manager
  • Engineer
  • Estimating Manager
  • Facilities Manager
  • Floor Assembly Supervisor
  • General Manager
  • Industrial Engineer
  • Machine Shop Maintenance Supervisor
  • Machine Shop Production Supervisor
  • Manager or Supervisor
  • Manufacturing Engineer
  • Manufacturing Process Engineer
  • Manufacturing Production Manager
  • Master Scheduler
  • Materials Management Supervisor
  • Materials Manager
  • Materials Planner
  • Mechanical Designer
  • Mechanical Engineer
  • Operations Clerk
  • Operations Manager
  • Plant Accountant
  • Plant Human Resources Manager
  • Plant Manager
  • Power Plant Dispatcher
  • Power Plant Distributor
  • Powerhouse Supervisor
  • Process/Product Design Engineer
  • Process Engineer
  • Processing Equipment Operations Supervisor
  • Product Development Engineering Manager
  • Product Manager
  • Product Marketing Analyst
  • Production Control Clerk
  • Production Control Manager
  • Production Engineering Manager
  • Production Foreman
  • Production Manager
  • Production Planner/Scheduler
  • Production Supervisor
  • Project Manager
  • Purchasing Agent/Buyer
  • Safety Manager
  • Safety Manager/Coordinator
  • Stationary Engineer
  • Supplier Quality Engineer
  • Test Engineer
  • Tool Room Supervisor
  • Warehouse Manager

Quality Control Inspector

Quality control inspectors examine materials and products for any hazards, defects, or deviations. They generally work in manufacturing plants, inspecting products. Most quality control inspectors require a high school degree and receive on-the-job training. If they are required to use technical equipment and computer programs to inspect products, they might need a higher degree, such as an associate degree in quality control management.

  • Customer Service Representative
  • Inspector
  • Quality Assurance Engineer
  • Quality Assurance Manager
  • Quality Control Analyst
  • Quality Control Inspector
  • Quality Engineer
  • Quality Inspector
  • Quality Manager
  • Reliability Engineer
  • Senior Buyer
  • Shift Supervisor
  • Shipping and Receiving Manager