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Manufacturing Engineers

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

At a Glance

  • Have at least a bachelor's degree
  • Work strictly in a manufacturing setting
  • Design new manufacturing processes or improve existing ones
  • Often work with other technologists and engineers
  • Sit for long periods of time
  • Earn $82,920 per year (Hawaii median)


Manufacturing engineers design and improve manufacturing systems or related processes to increase production and decrease costs.

Manufacturing engineers use their knowledge of math and science to analyze a manufacturing process or production run. They help determine the best series of steps so products are made well and on time. They also make sure that the production uses the least amount of energy and raw materials. For this reason, manufacturing engineers have a strong future in the growing green sector of the economy.

Manufacturing engineers must be logical and detail-oriented. They study production methods to determine where problems might exist. They analyze data to recommend changes or improvements. They look at existing production processes or design new ones. They troubleshoot new designs and periodically review systems to identify problems. By keeping their skills up-to-date, they can apply new ideas about manufacturing. Knowledge of fabrication, tooling, production, assembly, logistics, and quality control are very important in this job. Having a good sense of materials, parts, and design is crucial, too.

Manufacturing engineers work with others, such as supply chain managers and validation engineers. They also discuss ideas with supervisors, directors, and other engineers involved in production.


Specific Work Activities

The following list of occupational tasks is specific to manufacturing engineers.
  • Identify ways to improve products or reduce costs.
  • Determine causes of failures using statistics. Recommend changes in designs, settings, or processing methods.
  • Provide technical expertise or support related to manufacturing.
  • Incorporate new methods and processes to improve existing operations.
  • Supervise technicians, technologists, analysts, administrative staff, or other engineers.
  • Troubleshoot new and existing product problems involving designs, materials, or processes.
  • Review product designs for manufacturability and completeness.
  • Train production personnel in new or existing methods.
  • Communicate manufacturing capabilities, production schedules, or other information to facilitate production processes.


Common Work Activities

Manufacturing engineers perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
  • Use computers.
  • Make decisions and solve problems.
  • Get information needed to do the job.
  • Analyze data or information.
  • Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
  • Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
  • Think creatively.
  • Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
  • Update and use job-related knowledge.
  • Provide information or drawings about devices, equipment, or structures.
  • Identify objects, actions, and events.
  • Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed.
  • Establish and maintain relationships.
  • Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
  • Schedule work and activities.
  • Process information.
  • Document and record information.
  • Inspect equipment, structures, or materials.
  • Develop and build teams.
  • Develop goals and strategies.


Related Occupations

Occupational Clusters:

  • Science, Technology,Engineering, and Mathematics

Related Occupations:

Hawaii Career Pathways:

  • Industrial & Engineering Technology

Related O*NET Specialties:


Skills and Abilities

Manufacturing engineers need to:


  • 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.
  • Use reasoning to discover answers to problems.
  • Combine several pieces of information and draw conclusions.
  • Develop rules or follow guidelines when arranging items.
  • Think of new ideas or original and creative ways to solve problems.
  • Concentrate and not be distracted while performing a task.
  • Make sense of information that seems without meaning or organization.

Use Math and Science

  • Choose a mathematical method or formula to solve problems.

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.


Working Conditions

In a typical work setting, manufacturing engineers:

Interpersonal Relationships

  • Have a high level of social interaction. They work with other engineers, technicians, and managers throughout the day.
  • Communicate with people daily by telephone, e-mail, and in person.
  • Are greatly responsible for the health and safety of workers.
  • Write letters and memos on a weekly basis.
  • Are responsible for the outcomes of work and for the work performed by others.
  • Occasionally are placed in conflict situations in which others may be rude or angry.
  • Work as part of a project team.

Physical Work Conditions

    • Nearly every day wear safety attire or protective gear.
    • Usually work indoors which may not be temperature-controlled. Occasionally work in outdoor spaces.
    • Are sometimes exposed to loud sounds and distracting noise levels.
    • Are occasionally exposed to contaminants.
    • Are occasionally exposed to hazardous equipment and conditions.
    • Sometimes work within a few feet of other workers.

Work Performance

  • Must be very exact and accurate in their work.Errors can delay production, which costs the employer money.
  • Rarely consult a superior before making a decisions or setting tasks and goals.
  • Meet strict weekly deadlines. This makes the work atmosphere somewhat competitive.
  • Daily make decisions that strongly impact coworkers and their company.
  • Repeat the same mental and physical tasks.

Hours / Travel

  • Usually work a standard work week, but overtime is common.


Physical Demands

Manufacturing engineers frequently:

  • Sit for long periods of time.

It is important for manufacturing engineers to be able to:

  • See details of objects whether they are nearby or far away.
  • Understand the speech of another person.
  • Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
  • Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
  • See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
  • Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
  • Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.

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

  • Determine the distance between objects.
  • Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
  • Use one or two hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
  • Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
  • Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
  • React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
  • Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
  • Make fast, repeated movements of fingers, hands, and wrists.
  • Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
  • Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
  • Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
  • Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
  • Use muscles for extended periods without getting tired.



Manufacturing engineers need knowledge in the following areas:
  • 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.
  • Production and Processing: Knowledge of how products are made and supplied.
  • Design: Knowledge of making and using plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Mechanical: Knowledge of designing, using, and repairing machines and tools.
  • Mathematics: Knowledge of the rules and uses of numbers. Areas of knowledge include arithmetic, algebra, geometry, and statistics.
  • Computers andElectronics: Knowledge of computer hardware and software.
  • Physics: Knowledge of the features and rules of matter and energy. Areas of knowledge include air, water, light, heat, weather, and other natural events.
  • English Language: Knowledge of the meaning, spelling, and use of theEnglish language.
  • Administration and Management: Knowledge of managing the operations of a business, company, or group.
  • Economics and Accounting: Knowledge of producing, supplying, and using goods and services. Also includes knowledge of the methods for keeping business records.
  • Education and Training: Knowledge of teaching and the methods involved in learning and instruction.
  • Chemistry: Knowledge of the properties of substances and the changes that occur when they interact.



Manufacturing engineers are people who tend to:
  • 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.
  • 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 recognition important. They like to work in jobs which have opportunities for them to advance, be recognized for their work, and direct and instruct others. They usually prefer jobs in which they are looked up to by others.
  • 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.
  • 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



Wages vary by employer and area of the country. The engineer's level of training, experience, and responsibility also affect wages.

Manufacturing engineers who work full time usually receive benefits. Typical benefits include sick leave, paid vacation, and health insurance. Some employers also provide a retirement plan.

Hawaii Hourly


United States Hourly



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

Major employers:

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



In Hawaii, outlook information is not specifically available for manufacturing engineers. However, they are included in a larger group of "engineers, all other." Little change in employment 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.

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. Also, competitive pressures will force companies to improve and update manufacturing facilities and product designs. These changes will increase the need for manufacturing engineers.

International competition will limit the growth of this occupation. However, job openings will continue to arise from the need to replace workers who transfer to other occupations or leave the labor force.

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 Change


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.Manufacturing engineers use math and science frequently. Try to take math classes through Trigonometry and science classes through Physics.

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:
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Computer Applications
  • Computer-Assisted Design (CAD)
  • Computer Science
  • Drafting
  • 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.



To work as a manufacturing engineer, you must:
  • have a high school diploma or GED;
  • complete a bachelor's degree in manufacturing engineering or a closely related field;
  • be curious and detail-oriented;
  • have strong analytical skills; and
  • be creative.

Education after high school

Most students prepare for this field by earning a bachelor's degree in manufacturing engineering. Many four-year colleges and universities offer this program of study. You may need between four and five years to complete this program. You may also be able to work in this field by completing a degree in industrial engineering or a related specialty.

Some two-year colleges have agreements with the engineering departments at four-year schools. These agreements allow you to take your first two years of courses at the two-year college. Then you move to the university for the last two years. Some liberal arts schools have similar programs to prepare you for engineering schools.

Some jobs require a master's or doctoral degree (Ph.D.). For instance, if you are interested in teaching manufacturing engineering you need a Ph.D. Also, many engineers go to graduate school to specialize in an area of manufacturing engineering.

Work experience

Consider participating in an internship with a manufacturing firm while in college. An internship offers you a chance to apply what you have learned in the classroom to a work situation. It also allows you to build skills and make contacts with people in the field.

On-the-job training

In general, manufacturing engineers receive on-the-job training. The length of training varies by employer. Recent graduates work under the guidance of experienced engineers. In large companies, you may also receive formal classroom training. As you gain knowledge and experience you have greater independence and work on more difficult tasks.


RelatedEducational Programs:

  • Engineering
  • Engineering Technologies


Hiring Practices

Most employers require that manufacturing engineers have at least a bachelor's degree in engineering. Many employers require a master's degree and experience in the manufacturing world.Employers also look for people with strong communication, computer, and technical skills. Certification or licensing may also be required.

Licensing / Certification / Designation / Registration

In Hawaii, engineers (except those employed by the federal government) whose work involves the safety or health of the public must be licensed by the Hawaii board of professional engineers, architects, surveyors, and landscape architects. In Hawaii, licenses are offered in seven disciplines of engineering which include agriculture, chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, and structural. Licensure requires meeting educational and experience requirements, passing an exam, and paying fees.


Advancement Opportunities

Manufacturing engineers advance by becoming licensed. After graduation, engineers usually take an exam on the fundamentals of engineering. Next, manufacturing engineers work under the supervision of a licensed professional engineer for a period of years that is determined by the state board of examiners. Once they have met the work experience requirements, they can take another exam to become a professional engineer.

Once manufacturing engineers pass the professional exam and get licensed, they have many options for advancement. They may be given more complex projects and be assigned as the lead engineer. They may move into management positions. Professional manufacturing engineers can also start their own consulting firms.


Additional Sources of Information

Library References

  • "Occupational Outlook Handbook" (Free on the Internet or $23.00 paper cover/$39.00 hard cover to purchase; p. 142)
    Bulletin 2800
    Publication Date: 2010-2011
    Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Information Available on the Internet

Labor Market Information

Data Sources
Occupational Wage Rates: Hawaii Dept. of Labor and Industrial Relations, Research and Statistics Office, OES BLS (State & Hon) and LEWIS (Other Counties)
The median wage is the estimated 50th percentile; 50 percent of workers in an occupation earn less than the median wage, and 50 percent earn more than the median wage. Entry level and Experienced wage rates represent the means of the lower 1/3 and upper 2/3 of the wage distribution, respectively. Data is from an annual survey.
Top Occupations Advertised Online: Online advertised jobs data