Manufacturing engineers find work in most fields of manufacturing. Their job is to look at the entire manufacturing process and devise ways to improve the flow and efficiency of production. They also seek ways to improve the manufactured product itself. A career as a manufacturing engineer usually requires at least a bachelor's degree.
According to a salary survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, industrial and manufacturing engineers reported an average starting salary of $57,784 in 2010. NACE also reports that the median-earning half of industrial and manufacturing engineers earned between $53,000 and $62,000 during their first year on the job.
Entry-Level Pay by Sector
According to NACE, industrial and manufacturing engineers report different starting salaries depending on the sector of manufacturing they work in. Those in computer manufacturing reported the highest starting salary in 2010, $72,500, followed by those in petroleum and coal product manufacturing, who averaged $67,000. Those in electrical equipment manufacturing averaged $57,875 their first year, while industrial and manufacturing engineers in food manufacturing reported an average entry-level salary of $55,000. The lowest average starting pay, $50,000, was in paper manufacturing.
Average Salaries in Manufacturing Engineering
As manufacturing engineers gain experience, they usually enjoy higher pay. According to a joint study of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers and the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2012, manufacturing engineers earned an average salary of $97,770 per year across all employment sectors and experience levels. The median-earning 50 percent of manufacturing engineers brought home between $70,000 and $116,000 per year, while the highest-paid 10 percent reportedly earned $146,000 or more.
Between 2010 and 2020, the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects the number of American jobs to increase by approximately14 percent. By comparison, the government jobs website O*Net Online reports that jobs for manufacturing engineers will grow at a slower rate of between 3 and 9 percent. Aspiring manufacturing engineers should expect competition for jobs, not only because new jobs are growing at a relatively slow rate, but because hiring has been slow for several years and the market is flooded with more qualified workers than jobs.