The manufacturing industry has a reputation for primarily offering physically demanding work. However, automation and computer-controlled equipment have transformed employee opportunities on a different path. The top-paying manufacturing positions all demand problem solving and technical skills. Set your sights on a new career by pursuing the qualifications to get one of these five lucrative manufacturing jobs.
As one of the highest-paying manufacturing careers, an aerospace engineer position for a major manufacturer usually demands a pay range of around $115,000 a year as of 2018. That’s with just a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from a college or university. Very few positions in any industry offer that kind of pay scale for a bachelor’s degree, proving how lucrative a manufacturing career path can be for you.
If you prefer the technical side of things but would still like to join a rapidly growing industry, train to become an IT manager that specializes in manufacturing systems. Today’s industrial equipment is increasingly controlled by dozens of software tools that all require plenty of attention from a skilled IT specialist. Computer and information systems managers across various industries can earn an average annual salary of over $140,000, with salaries increasing for specialists with experience in the manufacturing industry. It may take a few years to work your way up through lower IT positions in manufacturing, but sticking to the same career path and building a base of experience in one particular sector will pay off with higher salary potential.
Operations managers, also known as industrial production managers, handle the day-to-day operation of the entire manufacturing facility. From planning labor allocation to overseeing maintenance plans, they have to keep everything in mind while working one-on-one with the managers and supervisors below them. With a bachelor’s degree in management and at least five years of operations supervision experience, an operations manager can expect an average annual salary of $103,000. Many people also find the job very rewarding because they can see the results of their efforts in improved facility safety and productivity, providing a sense of fulfillment to go along with the lucrative pay.
If you’re not interested in aerospace design specifically but still love engineering, a more generalized mechanical engineer position is a great idea. You’ll need a degree in mechanical engineering from a college or university, but a bachelor’s degree is usually sufficient for this position. Mechanical engineers are responsible for designing all the various tools, equipment, and parts necessary for manufacturing processes. From the dies that stamp shapes into the metal to the sensors that help automated systems function, you’ll be working on everything. Spending most of your day in the office far from the factory floor is a far different experience than many expect from the manufacturing industry. In addition to the comfortable and relaxed work environment, mechanical engineers enjoy an average pay of $87,000 per year.
One of the manufacturing jobs that require relatively little experience specific to the industry is that of a human resources manager. As long as you’re trained and skilled in HR, you only need to learn about the challenges and risks specific to the manufacturing process to expand into this particular position. Many companies are happy to train skilled HR managers on the manufacturing side of the job if they already have the soft skills necessary for the work. While the pay across the board for HR managers is only around $66,000, the pay rises to $98,000 when the manager is in charge of HR for a manufacturing or industrial facility.
With these five lucrative manufacturing jobs to choose from, you’re sure to find something that suits your interests and income needs. Don’t be afraid to explore more entry-level roles in manufacturing as well, since many offer higher pay scales than similar opportunities outside the industry with relatively low education requirements. The entire manufacturing industry is full of well-paying positions for hardworking people like you.