Is Industrial Machinery a Good Career Path?
Is industrial machinery a stable, dependable industry that you can build your future on? Are there good prospects for someone looking for a good career path here? These may be some of the questions in your mind right now as you begin reading this article. And to keep it simple: yes, industrial machinery is a good career path that you can rely on, as it is considered an essential industry, especially for manufacturing.
Industrial machinery is a sector of the machinery industry that is involved in the design, manufacturing, distribution, and maintenance of various machines and equipment used in different companies and industries.
Some companies focus on construction equipment, manufacturing equipment, mining, agriculture, and much more. Industrial machinery is important in introducing new technologies and improving efficiency in production. Within this sector, there are many job opportunities and career paths that one can take.
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Best Jobs in Industrial Machinery
Industrial machinery requires a high level of technical skills, especially since it involves the design and manufacture of heavy equipment that will be used for a long time. This industry needs various engineers, specialists, and other professionals to ensure the quality of products and client satisfaction.
You may have heard of ISO Certifications, which are provided to companies that prove that their products or systems meet specific global standards.
Most industrial machineries seek ISO certifications for quality management systems or environmental management systems to showcase their commitment and quality to their stakeholders. Thus, an ISO Certification requires many key professionals that ensure the overall quality of the entire company.
Mechanical engineers develop, design, and test the mechanical systems and components of machinery. They ensure the efficiency and feasibility of the design and work closely with research and development engineers and specialists to bring concepts to life.
In the United States, all engineering professionals are required to take up an undergraduate engineering degree, get experience of at least four years, and followed by passing competency exams before earning their license as a professional engineer.
Being a licensed engineer not only proves that one has the credentials for the job, but it also certifies one to prepare, sign and seal, and submit engineering plans and drawings both for public and private clients. Professional engineers or PEs must continuously prove their competency and skills with training and other educational requirements depending on their fields, as offered by the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying.
Field technicians are more hands-on with their work; as they are the ones that provide technical support to clients which ranges from installation, maintenance, and repair to the machinery. They are required to have an in-depth knowledge of their products or equipment and are able to communicate properly with clients to relay any issues about their machinery. They travel to customer sites and can also conduct training sessions for equipment operators.
While a lot of field technicians are also licensed engineers, it is also possible to become one even with a GED; apprenticeships and training are huge factors in being immersed in industrial machinery.
On the other hand, manufacturing engineers focus on optimizing processes within the machinery operations by implementing new technologies and ensuring quality control. They also identify cost-effective materials handling and ideal layout in the production plant. Just like any other engineering position, a bachelor’s degree, usually in industrial engineering, is required for this job. Licensing for engineers is a two-stage process. Once new graduates pass the Fundamentals in Engineering examinations, they are considered engineers in training (EIT) or engineer interns (EI). Once they achieve the work experience requirement of around four years, they can then take the Principles and Practice of Engineering exam.
QA stands for quality assurance, and QA specialists or inspectors mainly have one job: to check for the quality of each product and make sure they are up to the standards as set not just by applicable laws, but the company’s as well. They are the safeguards against potential issues that may arise from delivering faulty equipment to clients. They regularly conduct inspections at any part of the manufacturing process to identify any problem that can occur and seek solutions together with other engineers.
There are many certifications that QA specialists can get, depending on their field. QA professionals can pursue the CQE certification from the American Society for Quality, or from other learning institutes that specialize in quality assurance. QA certifications can include being a test engineer, software quality analyst, associate in software testing, and more.
Trainers and Customer Education
Similar to field technicians, trainers work on the field and directly with customers to ensure that their employees are familiar with the new machinery or equipment installed in their own plants. This value-added service includes full operation and basic troubleshooting training for operators and is typically included with every transaction and will decrease the possibility of mishandling the equipment which can also lead to workplace accidents.
Trainers are usually certified with the specific equipment they handle, collaborating with mechanical engineers and research and development teams to create manuals for clients to study. Equipment-specific certifications, such as for crane operation, forklift operation, and industrial robot programming, may be acquired in the process of training. Customer education is a critical part of the sales and retention of an industrial machinery business.
Why You Should Pursue a Path in Industrial Machinery
Despite setbacks brought upon by the pandemic in the last couple of years, the global economy has started to recuperate and thus the demand for industrial machinery continues to grow. New factors such as remote work due to imposed social distancing have also increased the need for new technologies and equipment that can be operated efficiently.
Opportunities and Compensation
With the growing demand for more efficient and sustainable machinery, as well as the continued urbanization of many places all over the globe, industrial machinery remains a stable career path for most. Compensation may vary depending on the role, specialization, and size of the company. The following are rough estimates for salary ranges within the industrial machinery industry:
Engineers can earn up to $100,000 a year, depending on their position, years of experience, and licenses or certifications. QA Specialists’ salary range from $50,000 up to $80,000 annually, once again depending on their certification.
On the other hand, field technicians or engineers can expect salaries from $40,000 to $70,000. Health, safety, and environmental specialists earn a little higher with a rough salary estimate of $50,000-$85,000 a year. Other factors that can affect salary are overall company performance (in terms of sales), economic standing, and industry rates.
The industry is expected to have continued positive growth in the upcoming years, with several factors to be looked out for, such as economic growth, urbanization, technological advancements, and more.
The growth of an economy signals an increase in demand for industrial machinery that can support the expansion of different industries, especially in manufacturing and construction. Infrastructure development is a huge factor in the health of the industrial machinery industry, as more and more construction companies seek more efficient but safe and sustainable ways of building their projects. Government initiatives and projects are also important for industrial machinery, as their building priorities can dictate the demand for equipment.
Technological advancements go hand-in-hand with the demand for sustainability and energy efficiency. Industrial machinery companies are also now taking into consideration the growing concerns and demands for environment-friendly machinery. With the global reach of some industrial machinery companies, factors such as trade policies and increased competition are also concerns for the industry.
Engineering a Good Career Path
While it is impossible to predict what is going to happen next in every step of your chosen career, learning about the roles, functions, and factors that can affect the industry can definitely help in easing worries about your future. In the industrial machinery business, there are many key roles that you can choose from. With the fast changes in technology, it is also not impossible that new roles or positions may be needed in the near future.
The industrial machinery business is a stable foundation to forge your career path on, provided that you put in the work to get the proper education, licensure, and certifications.
Sarah is an accomplished educator, researcher and author in the field of testing and assessment. She has worked with various educational institutions and organisations to develop innovative evaluation methods and enhance student learning. Sarah has published numerous articles and books on assessment and learning. Her passion for promoting equity and fairness in the education system fuels her commitment to sharing insights and best practices with educators and policymakers around the world.