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Over the last decade, the number of people earning engineering degrees has gradually risen, which is expected to continue. One subdiscipline of engineering, in particular, is becoming increasingly appealing to students: manufacturing engineering.

What Is Manufacturing Engineering and How Does It Work?

Manufacturing engineering is a branch of engineering that focuses on enhancing an item’s production, whether by product design improvements or developing more efficient manufacturing processes. Manufacturing engineers may be responsible for solving production problems, conducting cost-benefit analyses, or designing and manufacturing products and systems using computer-aided design software. Plant engineers and process engineers are two terms used by professionals in this area.

Though mechanical engineering continues to be the most prominent engineering branch in the United States (due to the large number of schools that offer this degree), bachelor’s degrees in manufacturing engineering and related fields have been steadily increasing in recent years, rising from 3,503 diplomas in 2007 to 5,649 diplomas in 2016.

Why Do Students Choose Manufacturing Engineering as a Major?

Over the last decade, the number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded in manufacturing engineering has risen by more than 150 percent, indicating that many students are interested in pursuing a manufacturing engineering career. Here are some of the reasons why students believe it is a good idea to return to manufacturing engineering:

Graduates can work in a wide range of fields.

While the term “manufacturing” may conjure up images of older, more conventional production facilities in the minds of some, a manufacturing engineering degree may lead to work in a wide range of companies and industries. Manufacturing engineers may help with almost any product made, and graduates can work on anything from life-saving medical devices to consumer electronics and even spacecraft components.

Students maintain a laser-like emphasis on the task at hand.

Many students in a private college in Singapore are attracted to engineering in the first place because they enjoy creating products and machines, and they want to do so professionally after graduation. Manufacturing engineers are laser-focused on producing the best, most effective product possible, which appeals to many students. They’ll be able to point to a real, measurable object that they helped to develop at the end of the day.

It provides the potential to increase the global standard of living.

Manufacturing engineers work on products and processes that have the potential to affect thousands, if not millions, of people, especially if they work on consumer-oriented devices. Not only that, but manufacturing contributes about 10% of the US economy each year and plays a similar role in economies around the world, making it a significant factor in maintaining a stable economy both at home and abroad.

“Manufacturing…forms the basis of wealth development in Georgia, the United States, and globally,” according to a description of Georgia Tech’s manufacturing research labs. The solution to improving the standard of living of all peoples on the planet is to strengthen manufacturing processes.”

It places graduates on a firm career path.

A career in manufacturing engineering will increase students’ living standards and the global standard of living by preparing them for a successful career. Although the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not distinguish manufacturing engineers from other engineers, the employment of engineers as a whole is projected to grow by 8% by 2026, which is 1% higher than the national average. Not only that, but engineers earn a median annual salary of $92,220 (more than double the national average for all occupations), with some industries — such as computer and electrical device manufacturing — paying even more.

Engineers have a promising future, and manufacturing engineers often work on products that affect and change the lives of people all over the world. Whether it’s a bachelor’s or a master’s, a degree in manufacturing engineering would put students on the road to a good career in one of the economy’s most significant industries.