These days, everyone has a college degree. Even in industries like manufacturing, which previously didn’t require anything higher than a high school diploma, are asking for higher-ed degrees.
With the constant development of technology in manufacturing, the work is becoming more computer and programming centered, rather than relying on humans for manual labor. Therefore, companies are requiring more education-background in technology. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 22% of manufacturing workers had a college degree in 1991. Today, that number has grown to over 40% and it’s climbing. It takes a lot more knowledge to work with the advanced machinery than it did years ago, due to the amount of software that now goes into handling these machines.
That being said, you don’t necessarily have to have a bachelor’s degree in automation or engineering to land a job in manufacturing. Many places are looking for associate degrees or experience at a trade-school. The idea is just that more places want to see proof of experience, so time in school can be an easy way to gain something for your resume.
While these changes are occurring, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost for people who don’t want to go to school for their career. Internships and apprenticeships in the industry are great ways to get experience and a foot-in-the-door into companies.
If you are considering a career in manufacturing, here are some education pathways to consider:
Get a Degree in Manufacturing Engineering
It doesn't hurt to have a degree in manufacturing engineering if you want to go into the field. You can find programs around the country that offer 2-year or 4-year programs for this at an affordable price.
There are tons of opportunities for apprenticeships in manufacturing. It’s a great way to get your foot in the door to companies in the industry, or a way to make money while you earn a degree. There are even government apprenticeships that offer amazing benefits.
Start out in an Entry-Level Position
Getting a job at a warehouse or manufacturing company at entry-level is still possible without a degree. That being said, your pay-scale may increase if you obtain a degree, and it is more likely that you will work your way up to high positions.