How to Become a Manufacturing Technician:
The Definitive Guide


If you’ve ever worked in a factory, you may have come across a Manufacturing Technician or two.

Most Manufacturing Technicians work with big equipment and machines, making sure that they are working correctly and without disruptions.

There are many areas in which a Manufacturing Technician can work, including the automotive industry, computers and cellphones, consumer electronics, and much more.

This type of career requires both mechanical and technical skills.


What is a Manufacturing Technician?

Most Manufacturing Technicians spend their days working with machinery.

In order to be a success at this job, it’s important to have a significant understanding of computers, processing systems, the mechanics of machinery, and how to create those machines.

While a Manufacturing Technician doesn’t often assemble the parts to the machines, they may put them together and repair things like automated welding machines, injection molding machines, CNC machines, and highly automated factory cells.

This type of career takes mental fortitude, which is why most Manufacturing Technicians earn an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree.

Duties

While the official day to day duties of a Manufacturing Technician can depend on the area of expertise, most Manufacturing Technicians have the following tasks:

  • Monitoring and checking product quality
  • Setting up and operating different machines
  • Ensuring all systems are safe and in working order
  • Keeping maintenance logs
  • Providing regular incident reports and update reports
  • Gathering data for the manufacturing process
  • Repairing and installing machinery

Salary

On average, as a Manufacturing Technician, you can make just about $57,000 annually.

That’s true for people who have been working in the field for a couple of years.

With a new Manufacturing Technician, that salary is closer to $35,000 a year, which still isn’t bad.

After many years of working as a Manufacturing Technician, and having certifications or specializations in the field, an advanced Manufacturing Technician can make close to $85,000 in some areas.

Areas that are popular in society at the current moment can play a role in how much salary a Manufacturing Technician makes.

Fields like automobiles and technology are huge right now, which means those types of Manufacturing Technicians may make closer to $85,000.

  • Annually
  • Monthly
  • Hourly

Annually National Average Salary: $59,400

$35K
$44K
$59K
$71K
$87K
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%

Average Annual Salary by State

StateAvg. Annual Salary
Alabama$52,480
Alaska$89,780
Arizona$60,980
Arkansas$45,780
California$65,490
Colorado$57,970
Connecticut$62,160
Delaware$55,610
Florida$54,010
Georgia$59,800
Idaho$51,070
Illinois$58,190
Indiana$48,280
Iowa$53,400
Kansas$53,160
Kentucky$56,520
Louisiana$76,990
Maine$58,660
Maryland$73,530
Massachusetts$61,740
Michigan$56,630
Minnesota$53,680
Mississippi$48,930
Missouri$56,720
Montana$64,090
Nebraska$56,270
Nevada$48,700
New Hampshire$58,860
New Jersey$55,820
New Mexico$80,790
New York$56,900
North Carolina$51,780
North Dakota$55,870
Ohio$56,250
Oklahoma$66,700
Oregon$60,290
Pennsylvania$58,070
Rhode Island$57,490
South Carolina$57,820
South Dakota$41,930
Tennessee$50,550
Texas$66,580
Utah$56,270
Virginia$53,960
Washington- NA -
West Virginia$55,120
Wisconsin$51,450
Puerto Rico$45,280

Annual Average Salary: Top 5 States

The top earning state in the field is Alaska, where the average salary is $89,780.

These are the top 5 earning states in the field:

Alaska - $89,780
New Mexico - $80,790
Louisiana - $76,990
Maryland - $73,530
Oklahoma - $66,700
*Salary information based on the May 2019 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey.
Conducted by: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

How to Become a Manufacturing Technician

Step 1Get an Education

There isn’t a set type of education you must receive in order to work as a Manufacturing Technician.

In fact, some Manufacturing Technicians start right out of high school.

However, for those looking to continue and make a lifelong career out of this job, formal education may be necessary.

It’s possible to earn an Associate’s degree or a Bachelor’s degree in order to become a Manufacturing Technician.

Degrees that involve manufacturing skills and computer science are the best for those interested in working as a Manufacturing Technician.

The types of courses you should take include:

  • Machine Repair
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics
  • Math
  • Manufacturing Technology

Technical schools offer programs that can provide certificates for those interested in working as a Manufacturing Technician, but don’t want to go to a typical university or community college.

These types of certificates can be gained online or in-person and can provide information on areas like:

  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Quality and Business Modules
  • Manufacturing Technician Training
  • Math and Measurement

A certificate can take anywhere from several weeks to a year to complete.

Step 2Gain Experience

After you get the proper education for the field you want to work in, you should gain some experience.

Experience can come from doing an internship through a manufacturing company, or through working an apprenticeship through your educational program.

Having experience as a Manufacturing Technician before you begin your career can open many more doors.

With two years of experience, it’s possible to become certified as a Manufacturing Technician.

Before certification, you will need to prove your competence in the field.

Computer science-based knowledge and manufacturing expertise will get you far in this career.

Step 3Become Certified

Having certification as a Manufacturing Technician can lead to a higher salary and more career responsibilities.

The Manufacturing Skills Institute offers a variety of Manufacturing Technician certifications including:

  • Certified Manufacturing Technician Level 1
  • Manufacturing Specialist
  • Certified Industrial Auditor
  • LEAN Practitioner

Each certification has its own requirements.

There may be other certifications available through your state and local associations, depending on where you work.

It’s not legally required to have a license or certification in order to work as a Manufacturing Technician, but it provides clients and customers the comfort of knowing you can do the job correctly.

These types of certifications and programs can cost anywhere from $150-$300 to complete.

Certifications like the Manufacturing Technician Level 1 require that you take at least twelve units of classes, including:

  • Math
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Business Acumen and Quality

Many of these certifications can be done online, but often require at least some form of in-person experience.

Step 4Advance Your Career

Once you become a Manufacturing Technician, work a couple of years, and gain certification, it’s likely you will want to gain promotions and raises as well.

Some employers may offer the Advanced Manufacturing Technician position, which is required at least a Bachelor’s degree in order to obtain.

An Advanced Manufacturing Technician will likely do the same tasks as a Manufacturing Technician, but they may also have some extra responsibilities:

  • Assisting engineers in the development
  • Training other technicians
  • Inspecting finished product for quality assurance
  • Planning and laying out work to be completed

Some other types of careers that could be a promotion from a Manufacturing Technician include:

  • Architectural Engineer
  • Plastics and Polymer Engineer
  • Biomedical Technologist
  • Computer Hardware Technician

Most advanced careers will require at least a Bachelor’s degree, which can take about four years to complete.


Education

To be a successful Manufacturing Technician, there are a couple of different forks in the road.

Some people choose to go to college and earn an Associate’s degree, then work as a Manufacturing Technician.

There are others who pursue an apprenticeship, which will allow them to work and go to school at the same time.

Others decide to walk right in and apply to become a Manufacturing Technician with no experience.

Depending on the company that you work for, that last one may work well, but most employers require at least a bit of education in order to work as a Manufacturing Technician.

This is because the career can be dangerous and requires dexterity and computer smarts.

There are many types of Associates degree programs that will work to gain employment as a Manufacturing Technician:

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

An Associate’s degree is going to take about two years to finish and should cover the basics needed to be a Manufacturing Technician.

There will be classroom time necessary to gain a degree in any of these programs.

You can expect to take courses including:

  • 3D Modeling
  • CAD/CAM
  • Math
  • Physics
  • Drafting
  • Computer Literacy
  • Environmental Studies

And many more.

These classes can vary depending on the type of program you choose, but most computer science and technology courses will suit this career well.

Most schools won’t require any type of lab or internship to work as a Manufacturing Technician, so it’s up to you to find the experience.

One way of gaining hands-on knowledge in this career field is to pursue an apprenticeship.

This is helpful when you want to go to school and work at the same time.

Oftentimes, apprenticeships are free and you may even get paid to work while you go to school.

Trade schools and community colleges offer several types of programs that can benefit Manufacturing Technicians.

Most apprenticeships take anywhere from 1-4 years to complete, and other programs can last 1-2 years, depending on the requirements.

Video About The Career


Certification and Licensing

If you are an individual Manufacturing Technician, it’s not necessary to get licensed or certified in the United States.

However, many employers and customers like to see a Manufacturing Technician with credentials.

This means that you will have the competence, experience, and knowledge to do the job correctly.

Even though certification isn’t mandatory, many people enjoy the benefits of credentials.

Some of the types of certifications for Manufacturing Technicians include:

  • Certified Manufacturing Technician Level 1
  • Manufacturing Specialist
  • Industrial Energy Auditor
  • LEAN Certification

Through your college or university program, it’s possible to find associations to connect with for certification.

The Manufacturing Skills Institute also offers many certifications and higher education programs.

Most Manufacturing Technician certifications require some type of classroom time.

In order to become certified as a Manufacturing Technician Level 1, you will need to showcase 12 critical technical skills:

    • Measurement
    • Algebra for Manufacturing
    • Math for Quality
    • Spatial Reasoning
    • Mechanics
    • Fluid Power and Thermodynamics
    • Electricity
    • Chemistry
    • Manufacturing Processes
    • Quality and Lean Manufacturing Concepts
    • SPC Concepts
    • Business

Then you will need to take an exam in order to show your proficiency as a Manufacturing Technician.

The exam depends on the type of certification that you are looking for, but most exams require at least 75% to pass.

For the Manufacturing Specialist credential, you will need to have a Certified Manufacturing Technician Level 1 certification as well as core factory skills:

  • Math
  • Measurement
  • Spatial Reasoning
  • Mechanics Fluid Power knowledge
  • Electricity chemistry

Once you have all of the requirements, you will be required to pass an exam as well.

The LEAN Certification works a little differently, instead of taking classes or an exam, this is a one-day assessment that will teach about LEAN concepts and technologies.

This certification would be perfect for an experienced Manufacturing Technician looking to gain more responsibility and salary.

Average Training Program Duration: 1-2 Years

There are a variety of training programs that you can enter as a Manufacturing Technician, so there is no average length of time it should take.

If you are looking to start a certificate program, it could take anywhere from 6 weeks to a year to earn the certificate, depending on the school or facility.

Some employers give one-day training programs that provide opportunities for advanced Manufacturing Technicians.

There are also many certificate programs at colleges and universities that will provide ample information on this career.

Popular Degree Programs


Job Outlook

Those who have a passion for engineering and manufacturing should be happy to know that this career will grow over the next decade.

However, that growth will be small, only about one percent in the next ten years.

This is due to the emerging importance of cost and the efficiency at which objects can be manufactured.

Most job prospects will go to those with relevant experience in the field, as well as those who have proper education and certification.

Advancements in technology have made it easier to use computers and machines, which also creates fewer job opportunities overall, as a computer can do the job of a human, faster.

Employment Growth Projection: 1%

68,500
2018
69,500
2028

That's a higher than average projected growth of 1,000 jobs.

Manufacturing Technician: Interest Over Time


Should You Become a Manufacturing Technician?

Overall Satisfaction: Medium

Overall Satisfaction

Becoming a Manufacturing Technician takes a couple of years, so you definitely want to know if you’ll like the job.

Chances are if you are good with computers and mechanics, this job will be easy for you.

Those who have worked in this career feel that it is satisfactory work, however, many feel that the salary is not adequate for the work.

Having a career as a Manufacturing Technician also means that you may not work a typical 9-5 job, sometimes things happen at midnight, and a Manufacturing Technician must be there to fix it immediately.

Don’t fret, this career can be a great step into the world of engineering and computers.

Average Salary: High

Average Salary

There are some great things about working as a Manufacturing Technician, and one of them is the salary.

Most experienced Manufacturing Technicians make up to $57,000 on average.

With certifications and many more years of experience, Advanced Manufacturing Technician can make over $85,000 in some states.

Those who are just beginning their career as a Manufacturing Technician should expect to make around $35,000 a year.

Working in areas with higher populations, as well as cities with many industrial companies will provide more salary and career opportunities for Manufacturing Technicians.

Job Growth Outlook: Low

Job Growth Outlook

With advancements in technology and more importance on cost-control means that the career growth for a Manufacturing Technician will only grow about one percent over the next ten years.

While this number is small, it is on track with most other careers in this field.

Many new career opportunities for Manufacturing Technicians will come from retirements and those who leave the job force.

Having relevant education and certification will provide better job prospects as well.

Even though this career will grow slowly, there will likely always be a need for engineers and technicians.

Education Duration: 1-2 Years

Education Duration

Most Manufacturing Technicians have a bit of education before they step into the job.

This is because working with heavy machinery and computers is a highly sensitive career.

Those who work as Manufacturing Technicians can enter an apprenticeship, which can take anywhere from 1-4 years.

Or, it’s possible to earn a degree for this occupation, either an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree will work well.

An Associate’s degree takes about two years to complete, while a Bachelor’s degree can take up to four for full-time students.

Personal Skills Needed

Personal Skills Needed

With a career as a Manufacturing Technician, you can expect to use computers a lot, and having manual dexterity will go a long way in this career as well.

Some of the other skills that it is great to have as a Manufacturing Technician include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Good communication skills
  • Great writing ability
  • Understanding of math and physics
  • CAD/CAM proficiency
  • Ability to read blueprints
  • Ability to stay calm under pressure
  • Ability to prioritize
  • Comfortable working with a team or alone
  • Alert and ready for action
  • Equipment safety knowledge
  • Reasoning and decision-making skills

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the average salary for a Manufacturing Technician?

Working as a Manufacturing Technician can bring a hefty salary, at around $57,000 a year in some areas.

With experience, certifications, and other credentials, it’s possible to make upwards of $85,000 a year.

Expect to find more lucrative careers in areas with higher populations, and with more industrial economies.

Don’t expect to make this much as a new Manufacturing Technician, someone with little experience will earn about $35,000 annually.

Q. What does a Manufacturing Technician do?

As a Manufacturing Technician, it is likely that you will work closely with computers and heavy machinery.

Not only will you assemble machinery and use programs, but you’ll also read blueprints and design computer modules.

There are many physics and math skills needed for this career since working as a Manufacturing Technician requires the use of CAD.

CAD is a design system and can help with this career immensely.

Q. How long does it take to become a Manufacturing Technician?

Most Manufacturing Technicians will take about two years to finish their education.

This can be done through an Associate’s degree program or even an apprenticeship.

Sometimes, apprenticeships can take a bit longer, anywhere from 2-4 years.

If you want to earn a Bachelor’s degree as a Manufacturing Technician, that can take roughly four years as well.

There are many options for people who are interested in becoming Manufacturing Technicians.

Q. What is the demand for Manufacturing Technicians?

Luckily, technology will continue to increase as the years go by.

This is good for Manufacturing Technicians because it makes their job easier, but it’s also bad because when things are easier to make, fewer man-hours are necessary.

Due to this, the growth of this career will only be about 1 percent over the next decade.

That’s not very much, but compared to most technician careers, it’s right on average.

Don’t fret and think there won’t be any Manufacturing Technician jobs in the future because there will be a steady stream of those.

Q. How much does it cost to become a Manufacturing Technician?

Earning an Associate’s degree can cost a pretty penny, anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 depending on the school you attend.

With an apprenticeship, it is likely that you will be paid for your work, and it won’t cost you a thing.

Other programs can cost anywhere from $150-$1,500, depending on the association in which you apply.

There are several ways to gain experience as a Manufacturing Technician that may not cost you any money at all.


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