Career Spotlight: Manufacturing and Industrial Technology

There's a growing cry for bolstering domestic manufacturing, and if you have an interest in the business of science and engineering, you might be the one to answer it.

Last Updated: May 2, 2014

There are people like to make things, to tinker, to fix. And there are those who have a knack for business, for leadership, for innovation. And when those skills overlap, you have a key player in the field of manufacturing, particularly as the industry evolves on a global scale. There’s a growing cry for bolstering domestic manufacturing as well, and if you have an interest in the business of science and engineering, you might be the one to answer it.

Closely related to similar fields of engineering, this major is intended to prepare individuals for practical careers in the research, development, and actual fabrication of materials, equipment, and other new products. The technologist will often assist a supervising engineer in product design and may act as a go-between with a manufacturer during production. The major may also touch upon elements of industrial organization and planning and productivity improvement. This study occasionally is found as a concentration within a general engineering program and may be called “manufacturing engineering technology” at some universities.

The plan of study usually begins with a strong liberal arts base, including the preliminary mathematics and science course work prerequisite to technology courses. There is an increasing emphasis on the use of computers in solving industrial problems; this will surely be an important component. In addition, at the upper-division level the program will lead students to integrate their knowledge and skills in order to solve industrial problems. Some business courses may also be required to enhance knowledge of management, statistics, and even accounting procedures.

Alternative related college majors include business administration, general engineering, industrial arts education, industrial engineering, industrial psychology, mechanical engineering, mining engineering, mining engineering, and operations research. Expect to take classes in calculus and advanced calculus, chemistry, physical chemistry, physics, and advanced physics, materials and processes, hydraulics, metallurgy, and computer-aided design. Suggested high school subjects include advanced mathematics, advanced science, computer science, and accounting.

Possible careers

  • engineering technologist
  • entrepreneur
  • factory supervisor
  • industrial consultant
  • industrial designer
  • manufacturer engineer
  • research technologist
  • sales representative
  • science teacher
  • technical writer

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