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Manufacturing Production Technicians

Overview | Specific Work Activities | Common Work Activities | Related Occupations | Skills and Abilities | Working Conditions | Physical Demands | Knowledge | Interests | Wages | Current Employment | Outlook | Helpful High School Courses | Preparation | Related Educational Programs | Hiring Practices | Licensing/Certification/Designation/Registration | Advancement Opportunities | Additional Sources of Information | Back to Green Careers

At a Glance

  • •Work with their hands to install, test, and fix manufacturing equipment
  • •Work with technologists and engineers
  • •Stand for long periods of time
  • •Have a one-year certificate or a two-year degree
  • •Ensure quality and safety
  • Earn $68,140 per year (Hawaii median)

Overview

Manufacturing production technicians set up, test, and adjust manufacturing machinery and equipment.

Manufacturing production technicians work with engineers and technologists to make sure that everything about production works efficiently. Technicians are close to the production process along with the line workers.

Overseeing the production process is the main task of manufacturing production technicians. They also make sure that production quotas are met. If they spot any problems, they make adjustments to tools, equipment, and machines. Periodically they must calibrate and reset the same tools, equipment, and machines to keep them running and working well. To perform these tasks, they use hand tools such as calipers, micrometers, height gauges, protractors, and ring gauges. They inspect finished products to determine if they meet quality standards.

Technicians set up new equipment or rearrange equipment for a new product or process. They test equipment to make sure it works well. They often plan production schedules. In addition, they start up and shut down machines at the end of a work shift or production run.

The green sector of the economy requires new environmentally-friendly products and more efficient manufacturing. Existing manufacturing processes are being retooled to be more energy efficient. As a result, there will likely be increased demand in the green sector of the economy for manufacturing production technicians in the future.

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Specific Work Activities

The following list of occupational tasks is specific to manufacturing production technicians.
  • Follow all regulations, policies, and procedures for health, safety, and environmental compliance.
  • Inspect finished products for quality and if they match customer specifications.
  • Set up and operate production equipment.
  • Calibrate and adjust equipment to ensure quality, using tools such as calipers, micrometers, height gauges, protractors, and ring gauges.
  • Set up safety equipment, making sure it works properly.
  • Monitor and adjust production processes or equipment for quality and productivity.
  • Troubleshoot problems with equipment, devices, or products.
  • Test products or subassemblies for functionality or quality.
  • Plan and lay out work to meet production and schedule requirements.
  • Start up and shut down processing equipment.

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Common Work Activities

Manufacturing production technicians perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
  • Make decisions and solve problems.
  • Control machines and processes.
  • Get information needed to do the job.
  • Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
  • Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
  • Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
  • Evaluate information against standards.
  • Update and use job-related knowledge.
  • Think creatively.
  • Identify objects, actions, and events.
  • Use computers.
  • Repair and maintain mechanical equipment.
  • Provide information or drawings about devices, equipment, or structures.
  • Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed.
  • Analyze data or information.
  • Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
  • Process information.
  • Document and record information.
  • Handle and move objects.
  • Establish and maintain relationships.

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Related Occupations

Occupational Clusters:

  • Manufacturing

Related Occupations:

Hawaii Career Pathways:

  • Industrial & Engineering Technology

Related O*NET Specialties:

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Skills and Abilities

Manufacturing production technicians need to:

Communicate

  • Express ideas clearly when speaking or writing.
  • Understand spoken and written information.

Reason and Problem Solve

  • Notice when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.
  • Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
  • Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
  • Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.
  • Develop rules or follow guidelines when arranging items.

Use Math and Science

  • Add, subtract, multiply, and divide quickly and correctly.

Perceive and Visualize

  • Imagine how something will look if it is moved around or its parts are rearranged.
  • Identify a pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in distracting material.
  • Quickly and accurately compare letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns.

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Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, manufacturing production technicians:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a low to medium level of social interaction.
  • Are somewhat responsible for the health and safety of others workers.
  • Communicate mostly by talking to others in person. They also write email and use the telephone on a regular basis.
  • Often work as part of a project team.
  • Occasionally write letters and memos.
  • Are somewhat responsible for the work done by others.
  • Occasionally are placed in conflict situations.

Physical Work Conditions

    • Wear safety attire or protective gear on a daily basis.
    • Usually work indoors. These sites may not be temperature-controlled.
    • Are often exposed to loud sounds and distracting noise levels.
    • Are exposed to hazardous equipment on a weekly basis.
    • Are sometimes exposed to contaminants.

Work Performance

  • Must be very exact and accurate when performing the job. Slowing down the production line costs money.
  • Usually consult a supervisor before making a decision or setting daily tasks and goals. Their decisions impact their employer's reputation and the work done by other employees.
  • Must meet strict weekly deadlines. This may make the work environment somewhat competitive.
  • Must match the pace of work to the speed of equipment.
  • Repeat the same physical and mental tasks.

Hours / Travel

  • Usually work a standard 40-hour work week, but overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines or quotas.
  • Shift work may be common.

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Physical Demands

Manufacturing production technicians frequently:

  • Stand for long periods of time.
  • Use their hands to handle, control, or feel objects, tools, or controls.

It is important for manufacturing production technicians to be able to:

  • See details of objects that are less than a few feet away.
  • Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
  • Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
  • Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
  • Use fingers or hands to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
  • Understand the speech of another person.
  • React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
  • Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.

It is not as important, but still necessary, for manufacturing production technicians to be able to:

  • Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
  • See details of objects that are more than a few feet away.
  • Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
  • See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
  • Determine the distance between objects.
  • Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
  • Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
  • Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
  • Be physically active and use muscles for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
  • Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
  • Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
  • Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
  • Keep or regain the body's balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.

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Knowledge

Manufacturing production technicians need knowledge in the following areas:
  • Mechanical: Knowledge of designing, using, and repairing machines and tools.
  • Production and Processing: Knowledge of how products are made and supplied.
  • Engineering and Technology: Knowledge of how to build machines, buildings, and other things. Also includes knowledge of how to use computers, machines, and tools to do work more usefully.
  • Mathematics: Knowledge of the rules and uses of numbers. Areas of knowledge include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and statistics.
  • Design: Knowledge of making and using plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Computers and Electronics: Knowledge of computer hardware and software.
  • English Language: Knowledge of the meaning, spelling, and use of the English language.

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Interests

Manufacturing production technicians are people who tend to:
  • Consider support from their employer important. They like to be treated fairly and have supervisors who will back them up. They prefer jobs where they are trained well.
  • Consider independence important. They like to make decisions and try out ideas on their own. They prefer jobs where they can plan their work with little supervision.
  • Consider achievement important. They like to see the results of their work and to use their strongest abilities. They like to get a feeling of accomplishment from their work.
  • Consider good working conditions important. They like jobs offering steady employment and good pay. They want employment that fits their individual work style. They may prefer doing a variety of tasks, working alone, or being busy all the time.
  • Have realistic interests. They like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like to work with plants, animals, and physical materials such as wood, tools, and machinery. They often prefer to work outside.
  • Have investigative interests. They like work activities that have to do with ideas and thinking. They like to search for facts and figure out solutions to problems mentally.

Occupational Interest Codes:

  • RI

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Wages

Pay varies with the worker's level of education, responsibility, and experience. Those who work in manufacturing may belong to a union. When they work overtime or on holidays, they are usually paid more than their usual wage.

Full-time technicians generally receive benefits. Typical benefits are health insurance, a retirement plan, sick leave, and paid vacation. Some companies provide money for continuing education classes.

Location
Pay
Period
25%
Median
75%
Hawaii Hourly
$25.69
$32.76
$40.54
Yearly
$53,440
$68,140
$84,330

Honolulu

Hourly
$26.64
$33.75
$41.63
Yearly
$55,410
$70,190
$86,600
United States Hourly
$20.47
$27.66
$34.87
Yearly
$42,580
$57,530
$72,520

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Current Employment

Specific information about the number of manufacturing production technicians in Hawaii and nationally is not available.

Major employers:

  • Aerospace product and parts manufacturers
  • Federal, state, and local government agencies
  • Motor vehicle parts manufacturers
  • Navigational and measuring instrument manufacturers
  • Semiconductor and parts manufacturers

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Outlook

In Hawaii, outlook information is not available specifically for manufacturing production technicians. However, they are part of a larger group of "engineering technicians, except drafters, all other." Slower than average employment growth is expected for workers in this group through 2018.

Nationally, the number of workers in this group is expected to grow slower than the average through 2018.

Competitive pressures will force companies to improve and update manufacturing facilities and product designs. These changes will increase the need for technicians. However, advances in technology are making technicians more productive. Examples of these advances are computer-aided design and computer simulation. These advances may reduce the number of technicians needed to do the same amount of work.

Because the growing green sector of the economy demands both new environmentally friendly products and more efficient manufacturing in general, this job has a bright future.

Employment of manufacturing production technicians is related to the economy. During slow periods, technicians will find fewer job openings. International competition will also limit the growth of this occupation.

The table below provides information about the number of workers in this occupation in various regions. It also provides information about the expected growth rate and future job openings.

   
Employment
Employment Change
 
2008
2018
Number
Percent
National
76,600
80,600
4,000
5.2
State
630
640
10
1.6

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Helpful High School Courses

In high school, take classes that prepare you for college. A college preparatory curriculum may be different from our state's graduation requirements. Click here for public school graduation requirements for students graduating in 2011 or 2012. Click here for public school graduation requirements for students graduating in 2013 or later. If you attend a private school, check with your school counselor for graduation requirements.

You should also consider taking some advanced courses in high school. This includes Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses if they are available in your school. If you do well in these courses, you may receive college credit for them. Advanced courses can also strengthen your college application.

Helpful electives to take in high school that prepare you for this occupation include:
  • Algebra
  • Computer Fundamentals
  • Electronics
  • Equipment Maintenance and Repair
  • Industrial Safety and First Aid
  • Manufacturing Systems

The courses listed above are meant to help you create your high school plan. If you have not already done so, talk to a school counselor or parent about the courses you are considering taking.

You should also check with a teacher or counselor to see if work-based learning opportunities are available in your school and community. These might include field trips, job shadowing, internships, and actual work experience. The goal of these activities is to help you connect your school experiences with real-life work.

Join some groups, try some hobbies, or volunteer with an organization that interests you. By participating in activities you can have fun, make new friends, and learn about yourself. Maybe one of them will help direct you to a future career. Click here for examples of activities and groups that may be available in your high school or community.

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Preparation

To work as a manufacturing production technician, you must:
  • have a high school diploma or GED;
  • complete a certificate in manufacturing production technology or a related field;
  • have practical, hands-on skills;
  • have good math skills; and
  • be creative.

Education after high school

Most people prepare for this occupation by getting a one-year certificate in manufacturing production after high school. Many community colleges and vocational schools offer one-year programs in this field. Some also offer associate’s degrees in this or a related field, such as industrial engineering technology.

It is important to verify the kind and quality of manufacturing production programs. Carefully select your program. Make sure the school has the type of training you want, up-to-date equipment, and qualified instructors. Check with employers to see which schools they prefer. Ask the schools for the names of employers where they have placed graduates.

Training programs approved by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) meet standards set by the industry. Graduating from an ABET accredited program can give you an advantage with employers.

Pre-engineering programs are not the same as technician programs. Pre-engineering programs stress classroom theory. In contrast, manufacturing production programs stress hands-on training.

Work experience

Working in jobs that give you practical experience is good background for this occupation. For instance, repairing, installing, or assembling devices and equipment is good experience for manufacturing production technician jobs.

On-the-job training

As a new technician, you perform routine tasks while closely supervised by an experienced technician or engineer. As you gain experience, you work on tasks that are more difficult. Training may last a month up to a year.

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Related Educational Programs:

  • Electrical/Electronics Technologies
  • Engineering
  • Engineering Technologies

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Hiring Practices

Employers look for manufacturing production technicians who have a certificate in manufacturing production. Employers also seek applicants with strong technical and mechanical skills. Good communication skills are very important because technicians work with engineers and other team members. An interest in math and science is also important. Previous experience in a manufacturing setting is attractive to employers.

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Advancement Opportunities

Manufacturing production technicians usually begin by doing routine duties. They work under the close supervision of experienced technicians, technologists, or engineers. As they gain experience, technicians are given more difficult assignments and have less supervision. Manufacturing production technicians with leadership skills may advance to supervisor positions. Keeping their skills current through continuing education classes helps technicians to advance.

With additional education, technicians can become engineers.

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Additional Sources of Information

Career Information Available on the Internet

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