One of the main jobs of a manufacturing engineer is to meld commercial systems and procedures with scientific breakthroughs. Many different types of companies need skilled manufacturing engineers, from toy makers to aerospace missile designers. Most manufacturing engineers specialize and often companies list manufacturing engineering jobs under other names such as Process Engineer, Manufacturing Director, or Plant Engineer. When applying for manufacturing engineering jobs, a person should look at the job requirements rather than the job title.
In 2011, the United States federal government's Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system listed 17 different engineering specialties. This is a partial list because other agencies and engineering societies recognize more, usually in subdivisions of the 17 divisions. For example, civil engineering often includes transportation, which the SOC does not list as a separate specialty. Another example is materials engineering, which usually includes metallurgy, polymer, and ceramic engineering.
Some professions have unique manufacturing engineering jobs, such as a wood product producer that employs a Lumber Drying Research Engineer. Not all engineers develop new products or processes. Often they analyze and improve existing products or procedures. Other engineers' field of expertise concentrates more on people than on products. Two examples are Continuous Improvement Engineers and Ergonomic Process Engineers.
Aerospace engineering includes aeronautical, or aircraft engineering and astronautical, or spacecraft engineering. A few manufacturing engineering jobs in agriculture are designing machinery, equipment, and crop storage structures. Another agricultural area that needs manufacturing engineers is the food processing industry. Sometimes job fields overlap, such as food processing which may require an engineer with chemical training.
In the biomedical division of manufacturing engineering jobs, a person may work for a manufacturer of prostheses, artificial organs, medical instruments, and more. Besides working in the food industry, chemical manufacturing engineers work in a variety of industries. These may include electronics, energy, clothing, paper, and other industries. One of the newest industries open to manufacturing engineers is nanomaterials processing.
Other new areas for applicants to find manufacturing engineering jobs include environmental industries, work ergonomics, and energy-based industries. An engineer who works in ergonomics may be a Work Environment Engineer or a Process Engineer. This person solves operation and process problems, especially as they relate to the workers.
People who are interested in manufacturing engineering jobs should consider several things. One important factor is the type of industry or environment in which a person wants to work. Some jobs have a high percentage of time devoted to fieldwork while others are totally desk bound jobs.
Another factor is a person's educational background. Many companies prefer a bachelor's degree or similar education, but some companies require a master's or doctorate degree. Most companies prefer the applicant to have work experience in the same field or a closely related line of work.