Manufacturing Technician Job Description
The role of Manufacturing Technician is fairly broad. Manufacturing Technicians are found in any industry that revolves around manufacturing a physical product. This can be as complex as airplane parts, or as simple as mass-producing a children’s toy.
Regardless of industry, the general focus of a Manufacturing Technician is to produce products for consumer consumption. This involves a blend of technical and mechanical skills, as most tasks involve working with one’s hands. It is a blue-collar job that requires only a high school diploma or equivalent. Manufacturing Technicians can either add finishing touches to a machine-produced component, or they can assemble certain components completely by hand.
Common Manufacturing Technician Tasks
A broad job such as Manufacturing Technician naturally has a broad list of tasks. The following are some of the general tasks Manufacturing technicians perform.
Believe it or not, Manufacturing Technicians are responsible for some tasks that are clerical in nature. For example, part of their job is to keep maintenance logs for all of the machines they oversee, which requires proficiency in word processing and spreadsheet software. Manufacturing Technicians are also responsible for providing written productivity reports, and written incident reports should an accident occur.
These are all the tasks that relate to the production of a product. Often times this involves adding the “ human ” touch to machine-produced items, such as adding paint or other small details. Another big production task is quality control. Machines outperform humans when it comes to speed, but it still takes the human eye to spot imperfections.
Manufacturing Technicians are responsible for making sure the machines under their control are always running at optimal efficiency. This involves strictly following all maintenance procedures, including written documentation of any irregularities. Maintenance Technicians aren’t necessarily responsible for performing repairs, but it is helpful if they can troubleshoot and address basic issues.
Manufacturing Technicians rarely work alone. They often collaborate with other Machine Technicians during their maintenance and production tasks. They also communicate with the engineering team when a malfunction arises that is outside their area of expertise.
Although Manufacturing Technicians are considered blue collar workers, even blue collar jobs involve interacting with technology in today’s digital age. Manufacturing Technicians are responsible for understanding and monitoring the machines that produce the products.
Manufacturing Technician Skills
Manufacturing Technicians use a blend of mechanical and technical skills to perform their duties. There is the “blue-collar” aspect of the job, which involves skills like manual dexterity and the ability to operate basic power tools and factory machinery. Then there is the technical aspect of the job. Manufacturing Technicians have to be proficient in the software used to run computer-operated machinery. They also must be able to interpret diagnostic data as a part of enacting their routine maintenance plan.
Most of the skills Manufacturing Technicians use are learned through on-the-job training. It is possible to go to vocational school to give oneself a leg up, but most of the skills used by Manufacturing Technicians can only be learned by doing.
The following is a list of skills used most often by Manufacturing Technicians.
- Equipment Maintenance
- Proficiency with Power Tools
- Ability to Comprehend Blueprints
- Ability to Operate Computer Aided Design (CAD) Software
- Ability to Work in a Fast-Paced Environment
- Problem Sensitivity
- Analytical Skills
- Reasoning Skills
- Proficiency in Math and Measurement
- Respect for Safety Guidelines and Regulations
Working as a Manufacturing Technician
Manufacturing Technicians do not have your typical work environment. If you prefer the pin-drop silence and stationary aspect of office life, then a job as a Manufacturing Technician definitely isn’t for you. Manufacturing Technicians’ work conditions can vary depending on which machine they’re working on. There can be instances of working in unusual heat or unusual cold.
Manufacturing Technicians are almost always on their feet. Even when they’re stationary to operate a machine, they’re still standing and alert. Most of the day they on their feet moving from station to station. The factory floor is often loud, and some factories may even require Manufacturing Technicians wear earplugs. This can make communication difficult, so there is minimal socialization beyond the necessary work-related communication.
Manufacturing Technician Education and Certification
While higher education is not required to obtain employment as a Manufacturing Technician, some candidates have either Bachelor’s or Associate’s degrees in Engineering or a related field. These candidates are usually looking at the role of Manufacturing Technician as a stepping stone to reach higher positions within the manufacturing industry.
The more common educational route for Manufacturing Technicians is to earn a certificate from a vocational school. Vocational programs often have built-in apprenticeships that provide students with the skills they need to succeed in the job market. Apprenticeships typically last 1-2 years, and on-the-job training can be anywhere from 1 to 3 months.
An example of one such program is that of ManufacturingSkillsInstitute.org. This organization has a Manufacturing Technician training program, and they also offer professional certification. The training program contains courses in three main competency areas, which are Math and Measurement, Spatial Reasoning and Manufacturing Technology and Quality and Business Acumen. Courses are offered in online, hybrid and traditional formats. The certification exam tests students in these three competency areas. If they score 75 percent or higher in 2 of the 3 areas, they earn their Manufacturing Specialist certification. If they score 75 percent or above in all three sections, they earn their Manufacturing Technician Level 1 certification.
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