List of Production Careers

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Career name
Average Salary
Recommended degree level

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$35850
Between Post-Secondary Certificate and Associate's Degree


They operate or tend bonding machines that use adhesives to join items for further processing or to form a completed product. Processes include joining veneer sheets into plywood; gluing paper; or joining rubber and rubberized fabric parts, plastic, simulated leather, or other materials.
$55530
Less than a High School Diploma


They assemble, fit, fasten, and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles, such as tails, wings, fuselage, bulkheads, stabilizers, landing gear, rigging and control equipment, or heating and ventilating systems.
$28660
High School Diploma (or GED)


They mix and bake ingredients to produce breads, rolls, cookies, cakes, pies, pastries, or other baked goods.
$58300
High School Diploma (or GED)


They calculate, measure, load, mix, and process refined feedstock with additives in fermentation or reaction process vessels and monitor production process. Perform, and keep records of, plant maintenance, repairs, and safety inspections.
$58300
High School Diploma (or GED)


They control and monitor biomass plant activities and perform maintenance as needed.
$33210
High School Diploma (or GED)


They cut, trim, or prepare consumer-sized portions of meat for use or sale in retail establishments.
$36580
Post-Secondary Certificate


They cut, shape, and assemble wooden articles or set up and operate a variety of woodworking machines, such as power saws, jointers, and mortisers to surface, cut, or shape lumber or to fabricate parts for wood products.
$51070
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend equipment to control chemical changes or reactions in the processing of industrial or consumer products. Equipment used includes devulcanizers, steam-jacketed kettles, and reactor vessels.
$61570
High School Diploma (or GED)


They control or operate entire chemical processes or system of machines.
$33090
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend machines to wash or clean products, such as barrels or kegs, glass items, tin plate, food, pulp, coal, plastic, or rubber, to remove impurities.
$36510
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines to coat or paint any of a wide variety of products, including glassware, cloth, ceramics, metal, plastic, paper, or wood, with lacquer, silver, copper, rubber, varnish, glaze, enamel, oil, or rust-proofing materials.
$36610
High School Diploma (or GED)


They wind wire coils used in electrical components, such as resistors and transformers, and in electrical equipment and instruments, such as field cores, bobbins, armature cores, electrical motors, generators, and control equipment.
$56300
Less than a High School Diploma


They develop programs to control machining or processing of metal or plastic parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.
$41960
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform one or more machine functions on metal or plastic work pieces.
$34520
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend equipment, such as cooling and freezing units, refrigerators, batch freezers, and freezing tunnels, to cool or freeze products, food, blood plasma, and chemicals.
$38060
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines to crush, grind, or polish materials, such as coal, glass, grain, stone, food, or rubber.
$35700
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines that cut or slice materials, such as glass, stone, cork, rubber, tobacco, food, paper, or insulating material.
$36180
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines to saw, cut, shear, slit, punch, crimp, notch, bend, or straighten metal or plastic material.
$43180
Post-Secondary Certificate


They construct and repair full or partial dentures or dental appliances.
$41490
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend drilling machines to drill, bore, ream, mill, or countersink metal or plastic work pieces.
$35910
High School Diploma (or GED)


They assemble or modify electrical or electronic equipment, such as computers, test equipment telemetering systems, electric motors, and batteries.
$35910
High School Diploma (or GED)


They assemble or modify electromechanical equipment or devices, such as servomechanisms, gyros, dynamometers, magnetic drums, tape drives, brakes, control linkage, actuators, and appliances.
$45330
High School Diploma (or GED)


They construct, assemble, or rebuild machines, such as engines, turbines, and similar equipment used in such industries as construction, extraction, textiles, and paper manufacturing.
$34550
High School Diploma (or GED)


They engrave or etch metal, wood, rubber, or other materials. Includes such workers as etcher-circuit processors, pantograph engravers, and silk screen etchers.
$36620
Less than a High School Diploma


They set up, operate, or tend machines to extrude or draw thermoplastic or metal materials into tubes, rods, hoses, wire, bars, or structural shapes.
$35500
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines that extrude and form continuous filaments from synthetic materials, such as liquid polymer, rayon, and fiberglass.
$36800
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines, such as glass forming machines, plodder machines, and tuber machines, to shape and form products, such as glassware, food, rubber, soap, brick, tile, clay, wax, tobacco, or cosmetics.
$49180
High School Diploma (or GED)


They draw and construct sets of precision master fabric patterns or layouts. May also mark and cut fabrics and apparel.
$36170
High School Diploma (or GED)


They laminate layers of fiberglass on molds to form boat decks and hulls, bodies for golf carts, automobiles, or other products.
$32730
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend food or tobacco roasting, baking, or drying equipment, including hearth ovens, kiln driers, roasters, char kilns, and vacuum drying equipment.
$32090
Between Post-Secondary Certificate and Associate's Degree


They set up and operate equipment that mixes or blends ingredients used in the manufacturing of food products. Includes candy makers and cheese makers.
$31690
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend cooking equipment, such as steam cooking vats, deep fry cookers, pressure cookers, kettles, and boilers, to prepare food products.
$40770
Less than a High School Diploma


They set up, operate, or tend forging machines to taper, shape, or form metal or plastic parts.
$36820
High School Diploma (or GED)


They make or form wax or sand cores or molds used in the production of metal castings in foundries.
$40610
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend heating equipment other than basic metal, plastic, or food processing equipment. Includes activities, such as annealing glass, drying lumber, curing rubber, removing moisture from materials, or boiling soap.
$33850
High School Diploma (or GED)


They shape, finish, and refinish damaged, worn, or used furniture or new high-grade furniture to specified color or finish.
$71470
High School Diploma (or GED)


They distribute or process gas for utility companies and others by controlling compressors to maintain specified pressures on main pipelines.
$43570
Post-Secondary Certificate


They fabricate, finish, or evaluate the quality of gems and diamonds used in jewelry or industrial tools.
$35190
High School Diploma (or GED)


They shape molten glass according to patterns.
$36690
Post-Secondary Certificate


They set up, operate, or tend grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic work pieces.
$31600
Less than a High School Diploma


They use hand tools or hand-held power tools to cut and trim a variety of manufactured items, such as carpet, fabric, stone, glass, or rubber.
$31900
High School Diploma (or GED)


They grind, sand, or polish, using hand tools or hand-held power tools, a variety of metal, wood, stone, clay, plastic, or glass objects. Includes chippers, buffers, and finishers.
$29510
High School Diploma (or GED)


They sew, join, reinforce, or finish, usually with needle and thread, a variety of manufactured items. Includes weavers and stitchers.
$39050
Post-Secondary Certificate


They set up, operate, or tend heating equipment, such as heat-treating furnaces, flame-hardening machines, induction machines, soaking pits, or vacuum equipment to temper, harden, anneal, or heat-treat metal or plastic objects.
$29380
High School Diploma (or GED)


They help production workers by performing duties requiring less skill. Duties include supplying or holding materials or tools, and cleaning work area and equipment.
$58300
High School Diploma (or GED)


They monitor and control activities associated with hydropower generation. Operate plant equipment, such as turbines, pumps, valves, gates, fans, electric control boards, and battery banks. Monitor equipment operation and performance and make necessary adjustments to ensure optimal performance. Perform equipment maintenance and repair as necessary.
$42010
High School Diploma (or GED)


They inspect, test, sort, sample, or weigh nonagricultural raw materials or processed, machined, fabricated, or assembled parts or products for defects, wear, and deviations from specifications. May use precision measuring instruments and complex test equipment.
$43570
Post-Secondary Certificate


They fabricate and repair jewelry articles. Make models or molds to create jewelry items.
$41090
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend lathe and turning machines to turn, bore, thread, form, or face metal or plastic materials, such as wire, rod, or bar stock.
$24480
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend washing or dry-cleaning machines to wash or dry-clean industrial or household articles, such as cloth garments, suede, leather, furs, blankets, draperies, linens, rugs, and carpets. Includes spotters and dyers of these articles.
$47380
Associate's Degree (or other 2-year degree)


They lay out reference points and dimensions on metal or plastic stock or workpieces, such as sheets, plates, tubes, structural shapes, castings, or machine parts, for further processing. Includes shipfitters.
$45250
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. Includes precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments. May also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, mathematics, metal properties, layout, and machining procedures.
$35190
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate production machines such as pug mill, jigger machine, or potter's wheel to process clay in manufacture of ceramic, pottery and stoneware products.
$35190
High School Diploma (or GED)


They cut or carve stone according to diagrams and patterns.
$27790
High School Diploma (or GED)


They use hand or hand tools to perform routine cutting and trimming of meat, poultry, and seafood.
$42180
Post-Secondary Certificate


They construct, fit, maintain, or repair medical supportive devices, such as braces, orthotics and prosthetic devices, joints, arch supports, and other surgical and medical appliances.
$39670
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate hand-controlled mechanisms to pour and regulate the flow of molten metal into molds to produce castings or ingots.
$41810
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend furnaces, such as gas, oil, coal, electric-arc or electric induction, open-hearth, or oxygen furnaces, to melt and refine metal before casting or to produce specified types of steel.
$58300
High School Diploma (or GED)


They monitor, operate, and maintain landfill gas collection system components and environmental monitoring and control systems.
$44490
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend milling or planing machines to mill, plane, shape, groove, or profile metal or plastic work pieces.
$39360
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines to mix or blend materials, such as chemicals, tobacco, liquids, color pigments, or explosive ingredients.
$56920
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up and operate machines, such as lathes, milling and engraving machines, and jig borers to make working models of metal or plastic objects. Includes template makers.
$35190
High School Diploma (or GED)


They perform a variety of duties such as mixing materials, assembling mold parts, filling molds, and stacking molds to mold and cast a wide range of products.
$33950
Post-Secondary Certificate


They set up, operate, or tend metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal or thermoplastic parts or products.
$37510
Less than a High School Diploma


They set up, operate, or tend more than one type of cutting or forming machine tool or robot.
$95310
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or control nuclear reactors. Move control rods, start and stop equipment, monitor and adjust controls, and record data in logs. Implement emergency procedures when needed. May respond to abnormalities, determine cause, and recommend corrective action.
$34490
High School Diploma (or GED)


They cut, grind, and polish eyeglasses, contact lenses, or other precision optical elements. Assemble and mount lenses into frames or process other optical elements. Includes precision lens polishers or grinders, centerer-edgers, and lens mounters.
$32740
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend machines to prepare industrial or consumer products for storage or shipment. Includes cannery workers who pack food products.
$33960
High School Diploma (or GED)


They paint, coat, or decorate articles such as furniture, glass, plateware, pottery, jewelry, toys, books, or leather.
$40320
Less than a High School Diploma


They set up, operate, or tend paper goods machines that perform a variety of functions, such as converting, sawing, corrugating, banding, wrapping, boxing, stitching, forming, or sealing paper or paperboard sheets into products.
$47130
High School Diploma (or GED)


They lay out, machine, fit, and assemble castings and parts to metal or plastic foundry patterns, core boxes, or match plates.
$70630
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or control petroleum refining or processing units. May specialize in controlling manifold and pumping systems, gauging or testing oil in storage tanks, or regulating the flow of oil into pipelines.
$34910
High School Diploma (or GED)


They perform work involved in developing and processing photographic images from film or digital media. May perform precision tasks such as editing photographic negatives and prints.
$34830
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend plating or coating machines to coat metal or plastic products with chromium, zinc, copper, cadmium, nickel, or other metal to protect or decorate surfaces. Includes electrolytic processes.
$85340
High School Diploma (or GED)


They coordinate, regulate, or distribute electricity or steam.
$78030
High School Diploma (or GED)


They control, operate, or maintain machinery to generate electric power. Includes auxiliary equipment operators.
$43570
High School Diploma (or GED)


They cast, anneal, solder, hammer, or shape gold, silver, pewter or other metals to form jewelry or other metal items such as goblets or candlesticks.
$42240
Post-Secondary Certificate


They format and proof text and images submitted by designers and clients into finished pages that can be printed. Includes digital and photo typesetting. May produce printing plates.
$24060
High School Diploma (or GED)


They press or shape articles by hand or machine.
$34850
High School Diploma (or GED)


They bind books and other publications or finish printed products by hand or machine. May set up binding and finishing machines.
$38470
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up and operate digital, letterpress, lithographic, flexographic, gravure, or other printing machines. Includes short-run offset printing presses.
$34490
High School Diploma (or GED)


They prepare and sort materials or products for recycling. Identify and remove hazardous substances. Dismantle components of products such as appliances.
$40790
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines to roll steel or plastic forming bends, beads, knurls, rolls, or plate or to flatten, temper, or reduce gauge of material.
$39810
High School Diploma (or GED)


They perform any or all of the following functions in the manufacture of electronic semiconductors: load semiconductor material into furnace; saw formed ingots into segments; load individual segment into crystal growing chamber and monitor controls; locate crystal axis in ingot using x-ray equipment and saw ingots into wafers; and clean, polish, and load wafers into series of special purpose furnaces, chemical baths, and equipment used to form circuitry and change conductive properties.
$44140
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend continuous flow or vat-type equipment; filter presses; shaker screens; centrifuges; condenser tubes; precipitating, fermenting, or evaporating tanks; scrubbing towers; or batch stills. These machines extract, sort, or separate liquids, gases, or solids from other materials to recover a refined product. Includes dairy processing equipment operators.
$26990
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend sewing machines to join, reinforce, decorate, or perform related sewing operations in the manufacture of garment or nongarment products.
$29800
High School Diploma (or GED)


They construct, decorate, or repair leather and leather-like products, such as luggage, shoes, and saddles.
$30110
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend a variety of machines to join, decorate, reinforce, or finish shoes and shoe parts.
$28450
High School Diploma (or GED)


They work in slaughtering, meat packing, or wholesale establishments performing precision functions involving the preparation of meat. Work may include specialized slaughtering tasks, cutting standard or premium cuts of meat for marketing, making sausage, or wrapping meats.
$44360
High School Diploma (or GED)


They braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.
$63690
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or maintain stationary engines, boilers, or other mechanical equipment to provide utilities for buildings or industrial processes. Operate equipment, such as steam engines, generators, motors, turbines, and steam boilers.
$41640
High School Diploma (or GED)


They fabricate, position, align, and fit parts of structural metal products.
$64340
High School Diploma (or GED)


They directly supervise and coordinate the activities of production and operating workers, such as inspectors, precision workers, machine setters and operators, assemblers, fabricators, and plant and system operators.
$34330
High School Diploma (or GED)


They design, make, alter, repair, or fit garments.
$34270
Less than a High School Diploma


They work as part of a team having responsibility for assembling an entire product or component of a product. Team assemblers can perform all tasks conducted by the team in the assembly process and rotate through all or most of them rather than being assigned to a specific task on a permanent basis. May participate in making management decisions affecting the work. Includes team leaders who work as part of the team.
$29930
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend machines to bleach, shrink, wash, dye, or finish textiles or synthetic or glass fibers.
$29440
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines that cut textiles.
$30470
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines that knit, loop, weave, or draw in textiles.
$29660
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend machines that wind or twist textiles; or draw out and combine sliver, such as wool, hemp, or synthetic fibers. Includes slubber machine and drawing frame operators.
$37460
High School Diploma (or GED)


They perform precision assembling, adjusting, or calibrating, within narrow tolerances, of timing devices such as digital clocks or timing devices with electrical or electronic components.
$45530
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate machines to build tires.
$53650
Less than a High School Diploma


They analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, jigs, fixtures, gauges, and machinists' hand tools.
$40890
High School Diploma (or GED)


They perform precision smoothing, sharpening, polishing, or grinding of metal objects.
$46460
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or tend painting machines to paint surfaces of transportation equipment, such as automobiles, buses, trucks, trains, boats, and airplanes. Includes painters in auto body repair facilities.
$35920
High School Diploma (or GED)


They make, repair, or replace upholstery for household furniture or transportation vehicles.
$49490
High School Diploma (or GED)


They operate or control an entire process or system of machines, often through the use of control boards, to transfer or treat water or wastewater.
$44360
High School Diploma (or GED)


They use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.
$39160
Less than a High School Diploma


They set up, operate, or tend welding, soldering, or brazing machines or robots that weld, braze, solder, or heat treat metal products, components, or assemblies. Includes workers who operate laser cutters or laser-beam machines.
$52590
High School Diploma (or GED)


They construct full-size and scale wooden precision models of products. Includes wood jig builders and loft workers.
$59650
High School Diploma (or GED)


They plan, lay out, and construct wooden unit or sectional patterns used in forming sand molds for castings.
$31200
Post-Secondary Certificate


They set up, operate, or tend wood sawing machines. May operate CNC equipment. Includes lead sawyers.
$31110
High School Diploma (or GED)


They set up, operate, or tend woodworking machines, such as drill presses, lathes, shapers, routers, sanders, planers, and wood nailing machines. May operate CNC equipment.

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