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What Kind of Manufacturing Job Suits You Best?

All of today’s manufacturing careers require creativity, problem-solving, leadership, diligence, communication and attention to detail. How much you need of each of those skills, however, depends on the exact position you hold. For example, a Safety Technician needs to be meticulous about inspections, while an Application Engineer really needs to leverage creativity and problem-solving abilities. When a person is paired with a job that leverages the right skills and challenges, true career satisfaction results, which benefits both the employer and employee. 

To help students and visitors of The Manufacturing Innovation, Technology & Job Center best understand the manufacturing roles available throughout Northeast Ohio and the skills, qualifications and pay connected with each, we’ve created five categories of the different industry jobs: Maker, Designer, Fixer, Checker and Leader.  

While each category includes a variety of positions, the positions within a category leverage similar strengths and skills. Here is a breakdown of each category. Stay tuned for a link to our online quiz to see where your skills are most aligned.  


Maker Jobs are perfect for anyone who enjoys being hands-on with their work. These jobs are usually performed on the factory floor, where Makers operate machinery and handle equipment.   

Interests and Skills 

  • Like to build
  • Enjoy the creation process
  • Are also great problem-solvers

Examples of Maker Jobs, Required Qualifications and Salary Potential 

  • Production Technicians do not require an advanced degrees. A great entry point to a manufacturing career, these technicians typically assist machine operators or starting machines for production processing. They make between $16 and $25 per hour.  
  • Welders are Makers who use high heat to join metal together. Welders require a welding certification so they can safely perform their tasks. They can make between $22 and $30 an hour.
  • Industrial Engineers earn four-year degrees in college and also fall under the Maker category. These jobholders design products, estimate production costs and ensure product-quality guidelines. They earn between $40 and $60 per hour and have opportunities to try their creative and innovative skills.  

Designer jobs are perfect for detail-oriented problem-solvers.  Designers focus on how to make production more efficient so operations can flow smoothly.   

Interests and Skills 

  • Have a passion for innovation
  • Are usually free thinkers.   

Examples of Designer Jobs, Required Qualifications and Salary Potential 

  • Engineering Technologists work closely with engineers by helping develop tools, designs, machinery and computer technology for the best manufacturing processes. With the ability to earn between $30 and $48 an hour, this job requires a degree that can be completed in one to two years.  
  • Tool and Die Makers are designers responsible for replacing and repairing tools and fixtures on the manufacturing floor. Tool and Die Makers are required to receive several certifications to safely operate machinery, which boosts their pay to between $25 and $38 an hour.   
  • Mechanical Engineers, who require a four-year degree, and are responsible for designing new equipment and developing all aspects of production. Mechanical Engineers can earn between $40 and $60 an hour, and this is a great career for anyone who is interested in improving production efficiency.  

Great for individuals who are precise, detail-oriented and good communicators, Checkers are responsible for quality assurance of all operations to make sure that the facilities are running at the highest level of efficiency and safety. Checkers also ensure that all products are being made correctly and safely.  

Interests and Skills 

  • Interested in the fine details
  • Detailed
  • Organized
  • Great communicators (as they use this skill to inform others how to improve processes)    

Examples of Checker Jobs, Required Qualifications and Salary Potential 

  • Safety Technicians test for possible risks for workers, maintain records on safety issues and supply protective equipment for workers.  They can earn between $20 and $34 an hour.
  • Electrical Inspectors ensure the safety of electrical wiring and equipment on the plant floor by observing all electrical components and making repairs. Electrical Inspectors must complete several certifications, taking their pay to between $25 and $45 an hour.   
  • Design Engineers, another job that requires a four-year degree, are checkers responsible for developing manufacturing systems and conducting research to troubleshoot issues. Design Engineers can earn between $40 and $70 an hour. 

Fixers jobs are perfect for people who enjoy doing just that: fixing! They keep operations running smoothly by taking care of equipment and optimizing production and automation.   

Interests and Skills 

  • Great problem solvers
  • Enjoy developing creative solutions for difficult problems
  • Not afraid to make mistakes, because they use their learnings to diagnose and fix problems

Examples of Fixer Jobs, Required Qualifications and Salary Potential 

  • Mechatronics Technicians fix robots and work alongside engineers on their projects. Mechatronics Technicians only require on-the-job training and make between $18 and $32 an hour. This is a fantastic position for anyone interested in developing their mechanical engineering skills.  
  • Electrical Drafters are tasked with preparing wiring diagrams, assembly diagrams and any other layout drawings required to fix electrical equipment. They complete a certification course or a community college degree to qualify for this role and can earn between $30 and $45 an hour.  
  • Application Engineers, who are required to complete a four-year degree, work as a bridge between customers and engineering teams. They also design, develop, test and implement complicated software, earning between $45 and $65 an hour. Application engineering is perfect for any Fixer who enjoys working with people to find the best possible solutions.   

Leader jobs ensure businesses makes money by supporting employees, developing new ideas and building relationships.   

Interests and Skills 

  • Love working with people
  • Great communicators
  • Enjoy making meaningful connections with their community

Examples of Leader Jobs, Required Qualifications and Salary Potential 

  • Shift Supervisor, a Leader job that requires no advanced degree, is responsible for mentoring and helping new workers who are in a position they once were in. This position’s salary ranges between $60 and $100 an hour, and the career is perfect for those passionate about technology and helping others. 
  • Marketing Associates, who typically have a two-year degree, gather information to determine potential sales. They may also handle social media presence, competitor pricing analysis and other marketing tasks. Marketing Associates can earn between $28 and $50 per hour. 
Sales Managers usually have a four-year degree, and they plan, coordinate and distribute products as well as set goals, train sales associates and manage customer relationships. Sales managers can earn between $60 and $80 an hour.

Whether you enjoy getting your hands dirty and building complex machinery, or you have a passion for helping others succeed, manufacturing can offer the perfect job opportunity for you. 

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