5 of the Hottest Manufacturing Jobs in 2018

Many people associate manufacturing in the United States with the words layoffs and automation. However, the number of production jobs has grown since early 2017 with 37,000 new positions added in July 2018 alone.

If you are considering a job in manufacturing, here are five best bets according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Dental and Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians and Medical Appliance Technicians

Education: High school diploma
Median Pay: $35,250 per year (2017)
These professionals construct, fit or repair medical devices, including dentures, eyeglasses and prosthetics. About half work in manufacturing. Stores, doctors’ offices and wholesalers employ others. Although associate degree programs and specialty certifications are available, on-the-job training is common. The needs of an aging population will increase the demand for medical devices. Therefore, the job outlook from 2016 to 2026 is 13 percent or faster than average growth.

Sheet Metal Workers

Education: High school diploma
Median Pay: $47,990 per year (2017)
Sheet metal workers create and install products made from thin metal sheets, including ducts used in heating and air conditioning systems. Approximately 25 percent work in manufacturing, while contractors employ others. These workers train at technical schools, on the job or through apprenticeships. A rise in the number of building projects during the next decade will push job growth to a projected 9 percent.

Industrial Machinery Mechanics, Machinery Maintenance Workers, and Millwrights

Education: High school diploma
Median Pay: $50,440 per year (2017)
Mechanics and maintenance workers maintain and repair factory equipment, while millwrights install, repair and move machinery. More than half work in manufacturing. Others may be at construction sites or power plants. Most employers require some additional training either on the job, through apprenticeships or an associate degree. As manufacturing machinery becomes more sophisticated, companies will need more maintenance workers. Predicted growth is 7 percent through 2026.

Aerospace Engineering and Operations Technicians

Education: Associate degree
Median Pay: $67,240 per year (2017)
These workers operate and maintain the equipment used in developing and producing new aircraft and spacecraft. They use computer-based modeling, automation and robotics. About half work in manufacturing, while others are in research fields. Although employers may prefer workers with an associate degree, some accept vocational training or certification offered by the Federal Aviation Administration. With ongoing advances in transportation and defense, job rates are expected to grow 7 percent between now and 2026.


Education: Bachelor’s degree
Median Pay: $74,590 per year (2017)
Logisticians figure out how to move a product from a supplier to a consumer. This work is fast-paced, and they must solve problems quickly to keep on schedule. Approximately of 25 percent logisticians work in manufacturing, but they can be found in almost every industry. Employers look for a bachelor’s degree in business, systems engineering or supply chain management. As the need to transport goods in a global economy increases, so will the need for logisticians. The job outlook is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026.

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