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Production Careers in Manufacturing

Production workers in manufacturing make the actual products that businesses sell. These hands-on careers are at the heart of manufacturing.

These hands-on careers include operators, technicians, and laborers with a variety of skill and education levels. Manufacturing in the United States is becoming more and more technical. Due to these high technical skills, production workers in manufacturing can earn much higher salaries than their counterparts in other industries.

A production career in manufacturing could be for you if you like:

  • Working with current tools and technology and learning about ones that are new and emerging
  • Keeping equipment in top condition
  • Working on a team
  • Leading and coordinating others

Explore the production careers below. Click on the job title to learn more. You can also explore businesses in this cluster.

Job Title Median
Hourly
Wage
Typical Education Required Alternative Job Titles
Electrical and Electronic Equipment Assemblers $15.64 High school diploma or equivalent Assembly Worker, Electronic Assembler, Watchmaker  
Drilling and Boring Machine Operators $17.52 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Lathe and Turning Machine Operators $19.62 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Coating, Painting, and Spraying Machine Operators $17.45 High school diploma or equivalent Hand Sprayer, Industrial Painter, Powder Coater  
Molders, Shapers, and Casters $15.89 High school diploma or equivalent Chiseler, Glass Bender, Glassware Finisher, Moldmaker, Pot Maker, Statue Carver  
General and Operations Managers $42.21 Associate's degree Chief Operating Officer (COO), Facilities Manager, Plant Manager  
Electro-Mechanical Technicians
$29.48 Associate's degree Civil Engineering Designer, Electro-Mechanical Technician (E/M Technician), Electronics Technician  
Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers
$29.39 High school diploma or equivalent Plant Manager, Construction Foreman, Production Supervisor  
Electromechanical Equipment Assemblers $15.63 High school diploma or equivalent Assembly Worker, Electronic Assembler, Watchmaker  
Slaughterers and Meat Packers $13.03 Less than high school Meat Manager, Meat Packer, Meat Trimmer  
Extruding and Drawing Machine Operators $16.35 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Cutting, Punching, and Press Machine Operators $16.12 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Machinists
$21.63 High school diploma or equivalent Machine Operator, Machine Repair Person, Machinist Tool and Die  
Power Plant Operators $33.64 High school diploma or equivalent Nuclear Control Room Operator, Operations and Maintenance Technician (O and M Technician), Transmission System Operator  
Crushing, Grinding, and Polishing Machine Operators
$18.73 High school diploma or equivalent Crusher Operator, Grinder Operator, Miller  
Dental Laboratory Technicians $17.67 High school diploma or equivalent Dental Ceramist, Denture Technician, Dental Technician  
Production Helpers $10.88 Less than high school Sawmill Worker, Machine Operator, Material Handler  
Supervisors of Helpers, Laborers, and Material Movers $23.64 High school diploma or equivalent Plant Manager, Construction Foreman, Production Supervisor  
Machine Feeders and Offbearers $15.39 Less than high school Sawmill Worker, Machine Operator, Material Handler  
Grinding, Lapping, Polishing, and Buffing Machine Operators $17.19 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Plating and Coating Machine Operators $15.91 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Chemical Equipment Operators $23.27 High school diploma or equivalent Chemical Processor, Production Technician, Chemical Operator  
Mixing and Blending Machine Operators $19.57 High school diploma or equivalent Coater Operator, Ink Blender, Mixer Operator  
Forging Machine Operators $21.78 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Print Binding and Finishing Workers $16.80 High school diploma or equivalent Book Conservator, Custom Bookbinder, Machine Operator  
Furnace, Kiln, Oven, Drier, and Kettle Operators $19.36 High school diploma or equivalent Evaporator Operator, Furnace Operator, Kiln Fireman  
Packaging and Filling Machine Operators $14.04 High school diploma or equivalent A-Operator, Fabrication Technician, Machine Operator  
Supervisors of Transportation and Material-Moving Workers
$26.13 High school diploma or equivalent Plant Manager, Construction Foreman, Production Supervisor  
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technicians $25.80 Associate's degree Civil Engineering Designer, Electro-Mechanical Technician (E/M Technician), Electronics Technician  
Mechanical Engineering Technicians $25.27 Associate's degree Civil Engineering Designer, Electro-Mechanical Technician (E/M Technician), Electronics Technician  
Supervisors of Production and Operating Workers
$26.56 College certificate Plant Manager, Construction Foreman, Production Supervisor  
Molding, Coremaking, and Casting Machine Operators $16.95 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Core Machine Operator, Core Oven Tender, Die Setter, Machine Operator, Molder  
Tool and Die Makers $25.04 High school diploma or equivalent Jig and Fixture Builder, Jig and Fixture Repairer, Toolmaker  
Desktop Publishers $22.69 Associate's degree Design Editor, Electronic Console Display Operator, Graphic Artist  
Commercial and Industrial Designers $28.13 Bachelor's degree Design Engineer, Product Designer, Product Engineer  
Meat, Poultry, and Fish Cutters $12.38 Less than high school Meat Manager, Meat Packer, Meat Trimmer  
Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Operators $17.59 High school diploma or equivalent Fabricator, Finishing Technician, Welder  
Printing Press Operators $20.19 High school diploma or equivalent Press Operator, Printer, Pressman  
Woodworking Machine Operators $15.22 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Operator (CNC Operator), Sander Operator, Machine Operator  
Cutting and Slicing Machine Operators $18.39 High school diploma or equivalent Die Cutter Operator, Paper Cutter, Skiver Operator  
Extruding, Forming, Pressing, and Compacting Machine Operators $16.51 High school diploma or equivalent Extrusion Operator, Rubber Extrusion Operator, Tuber Operator  
Ophthalmic Laboratory Technicians $13.95 High school diploma or equivalent Optical Technician, Surfacing Technican, Lab Technician  
Industrial Truck and Tractor Operators
$17.34 Less than high school Fork Lift Technician, Fork Truck Driver, Material Handler  
Industrial Engineering Technicians $24.55 Associate's degree Civil Engineering Designer, Electro-Mechanical Technician (E/M Technician), Electronics Technician  
Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) Machine Tool Programmers $22.90 High school diploma or equivalent Manufacturing Engineer, Process Engineer, Computer Numerical Control Programmer (CNC Programmer)  
Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers
$18.95 High school diploma or equivalent Fabricator, Maintenance Welder, Welder-Fitter  
Wood Sawing Machine Operators $15.61 High school diploma or equivalent Machine Operator, Rip Saw Operator, Sawyer  
Inspectors, Testers, Sorters, Samplers, and Weighers
$17.80 High school diploma or equivalent Quality Technician, Picker/Packer, Quality Auditor  
Industrial Production Managers
$43.12 Bachelor's degree Manufacturing Coordinator, Plant Manager, Production Control Manager, Maintenance Manager, Operations Supervisor, Plant Manager, Site Manager  
Sheet Metal Workers $33.20 High school diploma or equivalent HVAC Sheet Metal Installer (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning), Journeyman Sheetmetal Worker, Sheet Metal Mechanic  
Structural Metal Fabricators and Fitters $19.85 High school diploma or equivalent Fitter-Welder, Steel Fabricator, Ironworker  
Team Assemblers $14.55 High school diploma or equivalent Assembly Line Worker, Assembly Technician, Operator Technician  
Computer-Controlled Machine Tool Operators
$17.79 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Machine Operator, Computer Numerical Control Operator (CNC Operator)  
Rolling Machine Operators $17.93 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Milling and Planing Machine Operators $17.33 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Multiple Machine Tool Operators
$16.40 High school diploma or equivalent Computer Numerical Control Machinist (CNC Machinist), Die Setter, Machine Operator  
Prepress Technicians and Workers $21.66 College certificate Electronic Prepress Operator (EPP Operator), Plate Maker, Prepress Technician  
Sewing Machine Operators $12.01 Less than high school Sample Maker, Seamstress, Sewer  
Separating, Filtering, Clarifying, Precipitating, and Still Machine Operators
N/A High school diploma or equivalent Brewer, Dryer Operator, Refinery Operator  
Hand Grinding and Polishing Workers $15.49 Less than high school Buffer, Jewelry Polisher, Metal Finisher  
Hand Cutters and Trimmers
$14.00 Less than high school Fabric Cutter, Finisher, Glass Cutter  
Paper Goods Machine Operators $18.49 High school diploma or equivalent Corrugator Operator, Paper Machine Backtender, Stitching Machine Operator  

This shows that demand is higher than other occupations in Minnesota over the last six months. It indicates current, not future, demand.

Source: Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development