The 15 High-Paying Jobs in Manufacturing That Are Hiring Now

These manufacturing jobs offer top-tier salaries and limitless potential.

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Updated May 28, 2024
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Manufacturing can be a lucrative field, depending on your job or specialty. In fact, several positions pay around $100,000 a year.

But which manufacturing jobs pay the best? Check out a few of these options so you can stop living paycheck to paycheck and save more money for your future.

Laser engineer

Gorodenkoff/Adobe middle aged engineer

A laser engineer usually has a background in electrical engineering and works with lasers as part of the manufacturing process. 

You’ll need to maximize the output for lasers, oversee the laser systems used, or research how to best use lasers that can fit the needs of your company or organization.

Laser engineers can earn an average annual income of $104,844.

Plant operations director

Montri/Adobe two professional engineers

As a plant operations director, you’re responsible for a particular plant's daily operation and production. 

You might have to oversee production and safety requirements, check in with company executives and supply chain employees, and adjust operations to achieve your organization’s goals.

According to Glassdoor, a plant operations director can make a base average annual salary of $102,610.

CAD designer

Gorodenkoff/Adobe engineer working with cad software

CAD designers use computer programs to help design products that could someday be manufactured. 

A CAD designer needs to be knowledgeable in computer software that can create 3D models of items so they can be physically created in a manufacturing environment.

Expect an average salary of $62,667 per year if you take on a job as a CAD designer.

Electrical engineer

puhimec/Adobe electrical technician working

An electrical engineer is responsible for creating and developing electrical components in the manufacturing process. 

You could work on small or large projects depending on your field of work, creating electrical systems, troubleshooting issues, or testing new solutions for electrical issues.

An electrical engineer can make an average salary of $87,227 each year.

Manufacturing director

Thanapoom/Adobe robotic supervisor

As a manufacturing director, you’re responsible for a production facility, including hiring new personnel, scheduling production, and ensuring your staff meets operational standards. 

You also need to properly communicate issues related to the manufacturing process within your facility to keep it running optimally.

As a manufacturing director, expect to earn an average annual salary of $132,527.


Confidence/Adobe young afircan carpenter smiling

Carpenters are an essential part of the building process for constructing and repairing residential and commercial buildings. 

You may be responsible for constructing frameworks for buildings or creating smaller projects such as cabinets, furniture, or other pieces for indoor spaces.

According to Glassdoor, a carpenter can earn $57,591 in average annual salary.

Safety engineer

chokniti/Adobe professional technician engineer

Manufacturers need to ensure that employees are safe during the manufacturing process, which is why they have safety engineers. 

As a safety engineer, you’re responsible for ensuring workers are handling hazardous waste properly, operating with the correct safety equipment, or complying with occupational safety standards.

A safety engineer could make $75,978 in average annual salary.

IT manager

Seventyfour/Adobe  young female programmer

Information technology managers are responsible for planning and coordinating the computer systems used to keep the manufacturing process running properly. 

You might be responsible for maintaining computer networks or developing network plans to ensure processes work together.

An information technology manager can earn an average income of $120,015 per year.

Mechanical engineer

Yaroslav Astakhov/Adobe  female engineer in protective hat

Mechanical engineers design and develop devices that are used mechanically, such as an engine or machine. Depending on your interests, you can specialize in different fields, such as automotive, healthcare, telecommunications, or other areas.

Mechanical engineers make $80,018 in average annual income, according to Glassdoor.

Cost estimator

auremar/Adobe electrical supervisor showing the details

A cost estimator is responsible for examining the costs of manufacturing a product. You may consider expenses such as raw materials, workforce costs, or how much you need to spend to complete a particular product.

A cost estimator can make an average annual salary of $74,183.

Human resources specialist

mavoimages/Adobe Smiling manager shaking hands

A human resources specialist can help manufacturers as part of the hiring process for employees. HR specialists may be in charge of onboarding new employees or tracking payroll and benefits for existing employees.

A human resources specialist makes $53,776 in annual income on average.

Manufacturing maintenance engineer

1st footage/Adobe professional worker of modern factory

Machines need to run efficiently to keep the manufacturing process going, so companies need manufacturing maintenance engineers. 

A maintenance engineer may be responsible for maintaining and repairing machines to keep the manufacturing process running smoothly.

According to Glassdoor, a manufacturing maintenance engineer makes an average annual salary of $75,287.

Forklift operator

StratfordProductions/ADOBE forklift driver sitting in vehicle in warehouse smiling

A forklift operator uses a forklift to move items from place to place that are needed during the manufacturing process. It’s a good idea to review qualifications for forklift positions as you may need training and certification to get a job operating a forklift.

Forklift operators can earn an average salary of $44,844 with at least a high school degree, making it one of the better-paid manufacturing jobs that don’t require a college degree.

Truck driver

Kzenon/Adobe man giving thumbs up sign while driving truck.

Truck drivers are an essential part of manufacturing as they transport products from a facility to customers. Some drivers may also be responsible for transporting parts from one facility to another during assembly.

According to Glassdoor, truck drivers can earn $63,758 in average annual income.

Metal fabricator

tum2282/Adobe working in welding

Metal fabricators work with metal materials by creating, slicing, bending, or assembling metal materials. You may be responsible for particular pieces designed and developed as one step of the manufacturing process for a product.

Metal fabricators can earn an average of $53,349 each year.

Bottom line

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A good-paying job in manufacturing can help you save more money for retirement and perhaps even retire early.

And remember to keep your skills up to date by getting additional training or certification to help you stand out in the field.

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Author Details

Jenny Cohen

Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and