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Career and Education Opportunities for Manufacturing Engineers in Chicago, Illinois

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for manufacturing engineers in the Chicago, Illinois area. There are currently 8,960 jobs for manufacturing engineers in Illinois and this is projected to grow 6% to about 9,470 jobs by 2016. This is not quite as good as the national trend for manufacturing engineers, which sees this job pool growing by about 6.7% over the next eight years. Manufacturing engineers generally apply knowledge of materials and engineering theory and methods to design, integrate, and improve manufacturing systems or related processes.

Manufacturing engineers earn about $40 per hour or $83,500 annually on average in Illinois and about $42 hourly or $88,570 yearly on average nationally. Earnings for manufacturing engineers are better than earnings in the general category of Engineering in Illinois and better than general Engineering category earnings nationally. People working as manufacturing engineers can fill a number of jobs, such as: automation engineer, manufacturing engineering manager, and manufacturing director.

There are 180 schools of higher education in the Chicago area, including three within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree to start your career as a manufacturing engineer. The most common level of education for manufacturing engineers is a Bachelor's degree. It will take about four years to learn to be a manufacturing engineer if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Manufacturing Engineer

In general, manufacturing engineers apply knowledge of materials and engineering theory and methods to design, integrate, and improve manufacturing systems or related processes. They also may work with commercial or industrial designers to refine product designs to increase producibility and decrease costs.

Manufacturing engineers identify opportunities or implement changes to further optimize products or reduce costs using knowledge of fabrication processes, tooling and production equipment, assembly methods, quality control standards, or product layout, materials and parts. They also apply continuous improvement methods such as lean manufacturing to enhance manufacturing quality or cost-effectiveness. Equally important, manufacturing engineers have to communicate manufacturing capabilities or other data to enable production processes. They are often called upon to train production personnel in new or existing methods. They are expected to layout testing methods and test finished products or process capabilities to determine standards or validate process requirements. Finally, manufacturing engineers supervise technicians or other engineers.

Every day, manufacturing engineers are expected to be able to read and understand documents and reports. They need to articulate ideas and problems. It is also important that they listen to and understand others in meetings.

Manufacturing engineers sometimes are asked to purchase equipment or parts. They also have to be able to design layouts of equipment or work spaces to attain maximum efficiency and layout or troubleshoot manufacturing equipment. And finally, they sometimes have to furnish technical expertise or support pertaining to manufacturing.

Like many other jobs, manufacturing engineers must be able to absorb the factors involved and a problem and provide a well thought out solution and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Aerodynamics Engineer. Perform a variety of engineering work in designing, constructing, and testing aircraft, missiles, and spacecraft. May conduct basic and applied research to evaluate adaptability of materials and equipment to aircraft design and manufacture. May recommend improvements in testing equipment and techniques.
  • Agricultural Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering technology and biological science to agricultural problems concerned with power and machinery, electrification, structures, soil and water conservation, and processing of agricultural products.
  • Biomedical Engineer. Apply knowledge of engineering, biology, and biomechanical principles to the design, development, and evaluation of biological and health systems and products, such as artificial organs, prostheses, instrumentation, medical information systems, and health management and care delivery systems.
  • Chemical Engineer. Design chemical plant equipment and devise processes for manufacturing chemicals and products, such as gasoline, synthetic rubber, and pulp, by applying principles and technology of chemistry, physics, and engineering.
  • Civil Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning, designing, and overseeing construction and maintenance of building structures, and facilities, such as roads, railroads, airports, bridges, harbors, channels, dams, irrigation projects, pipelines, power plants, water and sewage systems, and waste disposal units. Includes architectural, structural, and geo-technical engineers.
  • Computer Engineer. Research, design, and test computer or computer-related equipment for commercial, industrial, or scientific use. May supervise the manufacturing and installation of computer or computer-related equipment and components.
  • Electrical Engineer. Design, develop, or supervise the manufacturing and installation of electrical equipment, components, or systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use.
  • Electronics Engineer. Research, design, and test electronic components and systems for commercial, industrial, or scientific use utilizing knowledge of electronic theory and materials properties. Design electronic circuits and components for use in fields such as telecommunications, aerospace guidance and propulsion control, acoustics, or instruments and controls.
  • Fire Prevention Research Engineer. Research causes of fires, determine fire protection methods, and design or recommend materials or equipment such as structural components or fire-detection equipment to assist organizations in safeguarding life and property against fire, explosion, and related hazards.
  • Health, Safety, and Environment Manager. Plan, implement, and coordinate safety programs, requiring application of engineering principles and technology, to prevent or correct unsafe environmental working conditions.
  • Industrial Engineer. Design, develop, and evaluate integrated systems for managing industrial production processes including human work factors, quality control, inventory control, logistics and material flow, cost analysis, and production coordination.
  • Materials Engineer. Evaluate materials and develop machinery and processes to manufacture materials for use in products that must meet specialized design and performance specifications. Develop new uses for known materials. Includes those working with composite materials or specializing in one type of material, such as graphite, metal and metal alloys, ceramics and glass, plastics and polymers, and naturally occurring materials.
  • Mechanical Engineer. Perform engineering duties in planning and designing tools, engines, and other mechanically functioning equipment. Oversee installation, operation, and repair of such equipment as centralized heat, gas, and steam systems.
  • Petroleum Engineer. Devise methods to improve oil and gas well production and determine the need for new or modified tool designs. Oversee drilling and offer technical advice to achieve economical and satisfactory progress.
  • Product Safety Engineer. Develop and conduct tests to evaluate product safety levels and recommend measures to reduce or eliminate hazards.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Manufacturing Engineer Training

University of Illinois at Chicago - Chicago, IL

University of Illinois at Chicago, 601 S Morgan, Chicago, IL 60607. University of Illinois at Chicago is a large university located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 25,709 students and an admission rate of 60%. University of Illinois at Chicago has bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree programs in Industrial Engineering which graduated thirteen, seven, and one students respectively in 2008.

Illinois Institute of Technology - Chicago, IL

Illinois Institute of Technology, 3300 S Federal St, Chicago, IL 60616. Illinois Institute of Technology is a medium sized school located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 7,404 students and an admission rate of 57%. Illinois Institute of Technology has a master's degree program in Manufacturing Engineering which graduated two students in 2008.

Northwestern University - Evanston, IL

Northwestern University, 633 Clark St, Evanston, IL 60208. Northwestern University is a large university located in Evanston, Illinois. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 20,128 students and an admission rate of 27%. Northwestern University has 2 areas of study related to Manufacturing Engineer. They are:

  • Industrial Engineering, bachelor's degree, master's degree, and doctor's degree.
  • Manufacturing Engineering, bachelor's degree and master's degree.


Certified Forensic Claims Consultant : AACE International's Certified Forensic Claims Consultant (CFCC) certification program is designed to establish credentials to recognize your professional expertise.

For more information, see the AACE International (Association for the Advancement of Cost Engineering through total cost management) website.

Geometric Dimensioning & Tolerancing Professional - Technologist: ASME GDTP Certification provides the means to recognize proficiency in the understanding and application of the geometric dimensioning and tolerancing (GD&T) principles expressed in the ASME Y14.

For more information, see the American Society of Mechanical Engineers International website.

Certified Energy Manager: Since its inception in 1981, the Certified Energy Manager (CEM®) credential has become widely accepted and used as a measure of professional accomplishment within the energy management field.

For more information, see the Association of Energy Engineers website.

Certified Energy Auditor: The Certified Energy Auditor (CEA) certification identifies professionals as having the required knowledge and experience needed to succeed in the growing field of energy auditing.

For more information, see the Association of Energy Engineers website.

Protective Coatings Specialist: This certification is geared toward individuals who are experienced, knowledgeable and capable of performing work at an advanced level in both the theory and practice of corrosion prevention and control, and who are capable of performing work at an advanced level in the protective coatings field.

For more information, see the NACE International website.


Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.