High-Paying Manufacturing Jobs

While some manufacturing jobs pay average salaries, there are opportunities to work in manufacturing careers with high incomes. These jobs are typically classified as design, engineering or management careers.

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Career Options for High-Paying Manufacturing Jobs

Manufacturing involves assembling products. Those who work in manufacturing may be involved in creating products, determining how products should be manufactured or putting materials together. The national median average for all occupations in 2016 was $37,040, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), and this article focuses on career options involving manufacturing that had a significantly higher median annual salary of $50,000 or more.

Job Title Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2014-2024)*
Biomedical Engineers $85,620 23%
Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic $50,580 19%
Industrial Designers $67,790 (commercial and industrial designers) 2% (commercial and industrial designers)
Operations Research Analysts $79,200 30%
Industrial Production Managers $97,140 -4%
Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians $68,020 4%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Career Information for High-Paying Manufacturing Jobs

Biomedical Engineers

Biomedical engineers need creative talents and engineering skills, as well as a bachelor's degree in their field, in order to work in this occupation. They create things that are used in healthcare, such as medical equipment and artificial organs. They are directly involved in production because they make things like artificial joints. Biomedical engineers enjoy a high median annual salary of $85,620, according to the BLS.

Computer Numerically Controlled Machine Tool Programmers, Metal and Plastic

Machines play a crucial role in the manufacturing process, and computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers are responsible for creating programs that operate those machines. They use computer code to instruct the machines to properly perform the correct tasks. While a high school diploma or its equivalent and on-the-job training may be sufficient, job seekers with related postsecondary training may have the best job prospects. The BLS reported that these programmers earned a median annual income of over $50,000 in 2016, which is significantly higher than the median salary for all occupations.

Industrial Designers

Industrial designers are the creative force behind the products that people use. They come up with product ideas, develop design plans and determine how their creations will be manufactured. Industrial designers can begin their career with a bachelor's degree and typically study subjects such as industrial design in college. Their reported median annual income was over $67,000 in 2016, per the BLS.

Operations Research Analysts

Operations research analysts enjoyed a median annual income of almost $80,000 in 2016, according to the BLS, which makes this a manufacturing-related occupation that pays more than double the national median salary for all careers. Operations research analysts review how a business operates and use research to develop recommendations about how to improve operations. They may work to solve specific problems or identify strategies that will help the company be more efficient. Although it's possible to start out in this career with a bachelor's degree, most operations research analysts are required to have a master's degree.

Industrial Production Managers

Industrial production managers are involved in hiring and supervising staff and developing strategies to ensure products or parts are manufactured on schedule. They focus on the organization of manpower, how and when equipment is used, and how they can make production more efficient. The BLS reported these decision makers earned a median annual income of $97,140, which makes this a high-paying manufacturing career option. In addition to a bachelor's degree, aspiring production managers need to have practical management or production experience to effectively compete for jobs in this field.

Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians

Aerospace engineering and operations technicians are engineering professionals who play a crucial role in testing equipment that's used to construct things like aircraft. They help ensure that the machines being used by manufacturing workers are operating properly, and they also test aircraft systems before they're installed to ensure they work the way they are intended. It's common for employers to require aerospace engineers and operations technicians to have an associate's degree in engineering technology to prepare for this career. With a median annual income of over $68,000, per the BLS, aerospace engineering and operations technicians earn almost double the national median salary for all occupations.

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