Neverending Innovation: The Art of Manufacturing Engineering

Manufacturing engineering plays a significant role in everything we use on a daily basis. From the toys our children play with to the pots and pans we cook with to the automobiles we drive -- we owe it all to manufacturing engineering. An online degree program in manufacturing engineering can help you master the skills necessary for working in this innovative and exciting field. If you currently hold a bachelor's degree in engineering and you want to expand your education to focus on a specific area of interest, then enrolling in an online degree program in manufacturing engineering may be the right choice.

Manufacturing Engineering Degree Information

Industrial engineering is applied to nearly every industry, from distributing products to manufacturing automobiles that are more reliable. They use computer simulations for system analysis. Manufacturing engineering courses also focus on people, since this field of engineering deals with improving and designing production systems people will use every day. Classes about ergonomics and human factors show how people are part of that production system and how they work more effectively with a system designed for them.

Some of the best schools for manufacturing and industrial engineering are the Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of Michigan, UC Berkeley, Purdue University, Virginia Tech, Arizona State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York and Cornell University, home to the country's oldest industrial engineering program.

Make sure the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology accredits the school. It also helps to attend a program where both bachelor's and master's degrees are offered. Some schools even offer dual degrees where a student can earn his bachelor's and master's degree together in a cumulative program, which lasts slightly longer than a normal four-year undergraduate degree would.

Bachelor Of Science

Students will earn a Bachelor of Science in Manufacturing Engineering (B.S. in Mfg.) after completing coursework in mechanical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering and a choice of specialization. This degree will prepare students to organize productions of people and solve problems within systems. Part of the curriculum includes introductory courses in physics, chemistry, calculus and economics, along with other mathematics courses with probability, statistics and differential equations. Other classes include material handling systems, safety management, decision analysis, operations analysis and experimental design.

Master Of Science

Earning a Master of Science in Manufacturing Engineering prepares students for a career improving and designing systems for production. Applicants to masters degree programs must already have a solid background in science, probability, statistics, computer programming and calculus. Coursework includes operations research and management, supply chain management, engineering economics, materials processing design, design for manufacturability and global product development. Students will also have to take part in seminars and team projects developing their own system designs, which will require a lot of research and will count as a senior project.

Further Education

Ambitious students can continue their studies by earning a doctorate in manufacturing or industrial engineering. Ph.D. candidates will prepare a dissertation based on individual research in addition to attending seminars and taking a qualifying examination. Global manufacturing, microelectronic technology, human behavior and organization, scientific computing and statistical quality control are just some of the courses doctoral candidates in manufacturing engineering will most likely have to take.

Coursework

The coursework for engineering majors involves heavy amounts of advanced mathematics and science. Manufacturing engineering is no different, but its broad field means that students can specialize in a certain subject.

Specializations within manufacturing engineering include systems simulation, operations research, engineering economy, ergonomics, facilities design, logistics, stochastic systems, discrete event simulation and product planning and control. The third year of school is spent working on case studies in teams where the student and the team will have to develop ideas, research them and outline proposals including the cost for the new system.

Other classes manufacturing engineering students are likely to take include simulation and stochastic models, productivity improvement, ergonomics, facilities design, statistical process control and production planning and control.

Career Opportunities

The career opportunities for manufacturing engineers are varied, as the discipline covers many different aspects of system production. Private businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies all have a demand for manufacturing engineers in all sectors of industry. Look for jobs at manufacturing companies or government jobs at the Defense Mapping Agency, National Institute of Standards and Technology and the National Aeronautics and Aerospace administration in addition to hospitals, industrial machinery, electronics, universities, architectural firms and aircraft.

Besides having the title of manufacturing engineer or industrial engineer, job possibilities include logistics engineer, occupational safety specialist, production manager, quality control manager, safety engineer, material planning analyst, human factoring engineer or configuration analyst.

Earning Potential

Industrial and manufacturing engineers are expected to have a huge employment growth of 20 percent over the next 10 years. Companies will continue to look for engineers to improve productivity and create efficient systems that reduce costs. Industrial engineers earn a median salary of $71,430. Occupational safety specialists have average earnings of $54,920, while health and safety engineers can earn up to $100,000.

Manufacturing Engineering Degree FAQs

What Is Mechanical Engineering?

Mechanical engineering includes the design, development and manufacturing of nearly everything we use on a daily basis. From ordinary, everyday items to extremely technical parts and components used in the construction of vehicles, airplanes and other innovations, mechanical engineers have a key role. Individuals who graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering will create new ways of producing goods that increase cost efficiency and lessen the effect on the environment.

What Is the Curriculum of an Online Degree Program in Mechanical Engineering?

The curriculum for online degree programs varies, but certain topics must be a part of every mechanical engineering program. These include chemistry, engineering mechanics, manufacturing process, mechanics of materials, production engineering, engineering economy and quality assurance and control.

Many programs also feature a number of electives and supportive classes, such as public speaking. However, to be sure of a certain program's curriculum, thoroughly read class descriptions or contact the admission office for assistance.

Are Online Manufacturing Engineering Degrees Available From Accredited Colleges?

Yes. A number of accredited colleges and universities offer online programs in the field of manufacturing engineering. This is important, as your degree will earn recognition from potential employers as certifiable proof of a quality education.

What Can I Do With a Manufacturing Engineering Degree?

Since manufacturing engineering plays such a vital role in the development of so many products and goods, the opportunity for employment spans numerous industries. For instance, many graduates of online manufacturing engineering programs find work in the fields of microelectronics, the aeronautical industry, biomedical development and even in the processed food industry.

Can I Get a Scholarship for an Online Manufacturing Engineering Program?

Some accredited colleges and universities offer annual engineering scholarship awards. Even if there are no scholarships available, students who enroll in online degree programs are still eligible for financial assistance in the form of government grants or loans. The office of financial aid can offer more information on scholarships and financial assistance.

Manufacturing Engineering Student Guide

Manufacturing engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with developing, executing and evaluating integrated systems of people, information, equipment, material and processes. The branch of study involves engineering analysis and synthesis methods to predict and determine results from systems. Industrial engineers work to get rid of wasted money, energy and resources.

Manufacturing engineering is also known as industrial engineering, and although this may be confusing, it is because manufacturing engineering is an interdisciplinary study, in which manufacturing engineering is a more narrowed focus. Most schools assign a degree from an industrial engineering major.

Manufacturing Engineering Books

Students will study a number of manufacturing engineering texts over the course of their studies, along with papers and articles as supplementary material. Some of the books a student may read in class include "Manufacturing Engineering and Technology" by Serope Kalpakjian and Steven R. Schmid, "Production Inventory Planning and Control" by Steve Nahmias and "Stochastic Simulation: Algorithms and Analysis" by Soren Asmussen and Peter Glynn.

Manufacturing Engineering Articles, Journals And Databases

Although engineering generally involves textbook reading, solving problems and projects, classes will still require papers and analysis of projects completed. Go to the school library to find databases that lead to articles, academic journals and other publications. EBSCOHost, LexisNexis, ProQuest and WilsonWeb, along with the Web of Science, are all great databases to start searches. The Society of Manufacturing Engineering publishes a periodical with academic papers and industry news. Industrial Engineer and the Journal of Manufacturing Systems are also excellent resources for research.

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