An online bachelor’s in advanced manufacturing can help you gain skills and technical knowledge in this in-demand career track. Explore the salary expectations, typical coursework, and career opportunities for advanced manufacturing degree holders. Use this Campus Explorer guide to find answers to common questions about programs in manufacturing, so you can get started in this exciting field.
What Is an Online Bachelor’s in Advanced Manufacturing?
A degree in advanced manufacturing focuses on the engineering and manufacturing topics that help design and operate the future of manufacturing technology. In this field, you’ll study the supply chain, product development, material selection, quality control, and other features of the industry to help power the future of manufacturing.
As a student in one of these bachelor’s degree programs, the exact courses you’ll study vary depending on your school of choice. Here are some common topics you can expect as part of your degree program:
- Product design
- System design
- Manufacturing processes
- Quality control and assurance
- Engineering management
There are many positions that use these skills in the workplace. Whether you’re operating equipment in a hands-on role or using your knowledge to design new systems, a career in manufacturing can be a rewarding choice. A bachelor’s degree can also help you move forward in your career if you’re already working in a related industry and need additional education, skills, certifications and licenses.
An online program can be a competitive and convenient way to work toward your bachelor’s degree. Online courses can be offered in accelerated tracks, part-time schedules, or self-paced learning environments. In an accelerated track, you can complete your program in as little as 36 months, letting you get to work sooner while also cutting down on the amount of money you spend on your education. A part-time schedule allows you to continue to work as you study, while a self-paced course allows you to earn your degree at your own pace and may allow you to attend courses at times that suit you best.
Courses in Advanced Manufacturing
Advanced manufacturing covers a range of disciplines to prepare students for careers in various industries. Expect to take courses in mathematics, business, computer science, and management.
Specific courses include robotics, manufacturing processes, system and product design, quality assurance, and engineering management. An online bachelor’s in advanced manufacturing gives you some flexibility.
Most bachelor’s programs cover general studies and courses in other fields, like the arts or health studies. Online bachelor’s degrees may cover the following courses in manufacturing or weave in others:
- Introduction to Manufacturing, which covers basic information about manufacturing and how it is used.
- Drafting with AutoCAD. AutoCAD, which is a product from Autodesk, is a commonly used program in manufacturing. Mastering it may be essential as you look for work in the field in the future.
- Introduction to Lean Manufacturing. Lean manufacturing maximizes productivity while minimizing waste. In this type of program, you’ll learn what it takes to create a lean manufacturing process.
- Quality Control Systems. There are all kinds of quality control systems used in manufacturing. You will learn about the standards you will need to adhere to in your industry, such as AS9100D in aerospace or ISO 13485 in medical device manufacturing.
Consider your career path as you compare courses in a degree program. If you’re passionate about engineering management, look for time management, ethics, and finance courses to prepare to be a manager or business owner. Courses in design, production, and programming help prepare you to apply for a job as a computer hardware engineer.
As an online student, you have the opportunity to study at your choice of schools. Look for highly rated programs that fit your career goals, whether they’re across the nation or in your local area.
Licensures and Certifications in Manufacturing
There are dozens of popular manufacturing and production certifications that you may want to get to make yourself more valuable in your field. It’s helpful to think about what you want to do in your daily life to decide which certifications to get first and to determine if you’ll need any licensing. For example, if you plan to work in a warehouse environment, having a forklift certification and license may be a good idea. If you plan to work outside, it’s not a bad idea to get a flagger certification or crane operator certification.
Some of the most popular certificates and licenses include:
- Forklift certification and licensure
- Certified welder (CW)
- Certified Six Sigma Yellow Belt
- American Welding Society (AWS)
- Flagger certification
- Tanker endorsement
- Pallet jack certification
- Supervisor training certification
- CNC programming certificate
- Crane operator certification
When you are licensed in multiple areas or have certificates that other job applicants do not, you make yourself a highly valuable candidate. You may also be able to ask for a greater starting pay or for a raise if you’re already working in the field.
How Much Does a Bachelor’s in Advanced Manufacturing Cost?
The total cost of a degree in advanced manufacturing varies considerably based on where you go and what exact courses you take. Some key factors include cost per credit, additional fees, and available scholarships. Expect to pay between $38,500 and $60,600 for an online bachelor’s degree, according to U.S. News. Some offer even more affordable rates for online in-state tuition, so you may be able to earn your degree for less than $21,000.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
Financial aid and scholarships can be helpful as you decide where to attend school. There are four main kinds of financial aid.
- Grants, which are given by the government and do not need to be repaid
- Work-study aid, which is given in exchange for work
- Loans, which you must repay during or after completing a program
- Scholarships, which come from a school or external sources and do not need to be repaid
Before you decide where you want to attend school, it is wise to look at the financial aid that you have open to you. You can apply for federal aid through the FAFSA program, for example, which may help you qualify for grants or loans. You can also reach out to the school you’re interested in attending to ask about possible scholarships or grants it may have for students like yourself.
What Can I Do with an Online Degree in Manufacturing?
If you love the idea of helping solve problems, particularly those that affect manufacturing and production, then you may want to get a manufacturing degree online.
When you have an online degree in manufacturing, you will have several types of job opportunities including working as a production, mapping or engineering technician. You may also choose to work as a technologist or industrial engineering technician.
The great thing about the field is that there are jobs available. In 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 64,200 jobs open for industrial engineering technicians and technologists. The median pay was $28.95 per hour, bringing the annual earnings to approximately $60,220.
Average Salary for a Bachelor’s in Advanced Manufacturing
With an online bachelor’s in advanced manufacturing, you can improve your application for a competitive career in the industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, industrial engineers earned a median annual pay of around $89,000 in 2020. Materials engineers earned around $95,600 median annual pay in 2020.
Most engineering positions in the manufacturing industry require a bachelor’s degree. Another career you may be qualified for with an advanced manufacturing degree is a computer hardware engineer, with a median pay in 2020 of $119,600.
On-the-job training and work experience aren’t typically required for these positions, but some companies may only seek experienced engineers. The specific courses you take in your online degree program can affect the strength of your application. Consider focusing on a particular aspect of manufacturing or learning a broad range of applicable skills for flexible career options.
Engineers work in varied environments to complete their essential tasks. From federal government offices to transportation equipment manufacturing facilities, there are many environments where a BA in advanced manufacturing can help you perform essential duties.
What Is the Job Outlook for Bachelor’s in Advanced Manufacturing Holders?
Some related industries are expected to grow significantly, while others are expected to grow at a much slower level. The number of industrial engineers, for example, is expected to grow by 10% between 2019 and 2029, according to BLS. Materials engineers are only expected to grow by 2%.
The BLS expects industrial engineering technicians and technologist jobs to continue to increase at a rate of 3%, which is slower than average. That means that only around 2,100 new jobs will be available between 2021 and 2031 if the BLS has made an accurate prediction.
In this field, some students go on to design consumer products. Others install and maintain the robotics and other equipment used to power the industry. Still other graduates use their knowledge to manage facilities and guide teams of engineers. Here are some of the most common careers for students of advanced manufacturing:
- Industrial engineer
- Manufacturing design engineer
- Materials engineer
Is an Online Manufacturing Degree Right for Me?
You may want to consider an online degree in manufacturing if you have an interest in problem-solving, math, drafting, science and engineering. Those who do well in manufacturing usually have a few important qualities, which may include:
- Excellent analytical skills, so they can assess changes as they occur and adapt to them. For example, industrial engineers need to be able to report on the systems they’re working with and fully understand why and how they work.
- Great math skills, because math and statistics are often used to analyze data in the field
- Observational skills, so they can monitor the processes in the workplace and suggest improvements if and when necessary
- A detailed nature. Those who are highly detailed in their everyday life may do well in manufacturing because it requires you to keep precise measurements and observations from day to day.
- Great communication skills. Those in industrial engineering, in particular, need to be able to listen well to what others are saying, as well as instructions, to be able to implement changes. Additionally, good communication helps people better articulate issues and solutions to their employers, supervisors or colleagues.
- Good critical-thinking skills. Thinking outside the box is sometimes a must for those in manufacturing since they may have to figure out a way to solve a problem with machinery or how they can improve performance.
Online manufacturing degrees are fantastic for those who cannot make time to go to a school for their education. It gives you the freedom to study from the comfort of home.
Some programs require you to attend classes at the same time as physically present students, while others allow you to attend if and when you’re able. That flexibility is great for anyone who needs to work a normal job or who has other obligations to work around.
FAQS on Bachelor’s in Advanced Manufacturing
What Jobs Require a Bachelor’s in Advanced Manufacturing?
A bachelor’s degree is required for many engineering and management roles in manufacturing, like industrial engineers or manufacturing design engineers.
Does a Bachelor’s in Advanced Manufacturing Offer Good Job Prospects?
Apply for high-growth, competitive-salary positions in the manufacturing industry that require a bachelor’s degree. Completing a highly rated program can strengthen your application for a stable, rewarding career.
What Are the Different Fields of Advanced Manufacturing?
Advanced manufacturing covers medical device design, computer hardware engineering, supply chain management, electrical engineering, and materials engineering, along with other fields.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Bachelor’s in Advanced Manufacturing Degree?
A typical online bachelor’s program in advanced manufacturing takes 36-48 months. If you already have an associate’s degree or college credits, then you may be able to complete a program in less time.
What Does a Bachelor’s in Advanced Manufacturing Curriculum Typically Include?
Most programs combine courses in business management, programming, mathematics, and engineering. You can often personalize your curriculum with electives and concentrations as you prepare for your desired career.