The Path to Becoming a Manufacturing Professional

Are you considering a career in manufacturing? Wondering what sort of background you need? The answers depend largely on the type of manufacturing career you want. Let’s take a look at the educational and training paths you might take for different areas of interest.

Manufacturing Career Options

Although every employer and role is unique, your manufacturing career will typically fall into one of a few clusters:

  • Production
  • Design and Development
  • Assembly
  • Logistics
  • Quality Control
  • Health and Safety
  • Installation and Maintenance

Formal Education

Most entry-level manufacturing roles don’t require formal education beyond a high school diploma or GED. But if you want a higher-level career, you may want to consider a college degree in engineering or a related field. This is especially true if you want to work in design and development, logistics, or health and safety. However, you do need to be compatible with the job requirements and the environments in which you will work.

Technology is becoming increasingly common in all aspects of manufacturing, so it makes sense to take at least a few software-related courses regardless of your area of interest. In addition, you might choose to go through a formal certification program to gain specific skills.

On-the-Job Training

Many manufacturing professionals build their careers with on-the-job training. If you have a natural aptitude for working with tools and machinery, you may be able to land a job with an employer that is willing to train you. If you want to go this route, look for a company that offers job shadowing and mentorships, both of which can help you climb the career ladder.

These positions are often found through temp or staffing agencies that specialize in manufacturing. Local manufacturers often look to staffing companies to find employee candidates that have the basic skills to promote and guide into these positions.


Although not as common as they once were, apprenticeships are still offered by the nation’s largest manufacturing companies as well as smaller organizations.

Each apprenticeship is slightly different, but they typically last between one and four years. You’ll get paid, though not as much as you will once you’re fully qualified. And you will typically learn the skills needed for one specific manufacturing career pathway. If you know what you want to do, but you have little or no experience, this can be an excellent way to reach your goals.

Ready for your next role?

Cardinal Staffing has been matching candidates across Ohio and Michigan with just the right light industrial, administrative, and professional positions for nearly 30 years. With deep roots in these areas, we’re experts on the local job markets. Contact us to learn more, or start searching for your next position today!