1. Home
  2. Insights

The Best Entry-Level Manufacturing Jobs

What is an Entry-Level Job?

An entry-level job is just what the name says — it’s a basic job to enter a company. It usually requires minimal education, experience or qualifications, and it can be for a fairly short term. 

Entry-level jobs in manufacturing are available as full and part-time positions and are often staffed by new or inexperienced workers. They may also be staffed by people trying to move into a new field and build experience or gain exposure. Despite the name, entry-level positions can still pay fairly well according to Fortune. The experience and knowledge you might gain from this type of work can pay dividends later in your career. 

We spoke with Practice Lead Mackenzie Frazier who has over eight years of recruiting experience to learn more about entry-level jobs in manufacturing.

Do Manufacturing Entry-Level Jobs Require Experience? 

This will depend on the skill set, but in general, most entry-level manufacturing jobs don’t require college education or years of experience. If you’ll be working as a general production worker, you may receive some onboarding and orientation training, then you’ll have the tools you need to work independently. If you’re training to be a machinist or a job that requires more skill, you may need to start off in a related, but more novice role until you’re equipped to staff that position. 

What Are Some of the Best Entry-Level Jobs in Manufacturing?

1. Assembler

Assemblers are skilled at assembling small or large electronic devices, cabinetry, aircraft, automotive parts and medical devices. 

2. Machine Operator

Machine operators are skilled at installing, operating and maintaining the machinery used in distribution and logistics. Other responsibilities may include equipment installation, maintenance and quality control.

3. Welder 

Welders are skilled at hand-welding, flame-cutting and brazing for joining metal components and repairing seams of fabricated metal products. Because of their work joining all types of materials, welders leave their mark on nearly every industry. This may not be a job you can get without some experience, but Frazier states that many employers are willing to train entry-level workers to become welders.

4. Trades Apprentice 

Before becoming a practicing tradesperson, such as a carpenter, mason, or plumber, you’ll be an apprentice. It’s essentially paid training, where you follow and work with a qualified tradesperson to learn on the job. It’s fairly temporary, and before too long you’ll have the skills you need to become a fully skilled tradesperson. 

“Machine operator and welding jobs require more experience than your true entry-level manufacturing jobs. Usually in these jobs, companies are looking for candidates to have some sort of previous experience utilizing basic blueprints, exposure to working with hand/power tools, etc. vs coming in with zero experience like in a production or material handler job. In addition, some manufacturing clients require candidates to be previously certified or have some hands-on exposure to doing the job seeing as how they’re working on/around machinery and not just moving product down an assembly line or loading/unloading trucks in a warehouse,” says Frazier.

What Entry-Level Jobs Pay the Most? 

Remember that entry-level jobs don’t command the same level of salary that mid-level and more senior positions do. Pay is also impacted by the job’s location, shift and availability of overtime. Mackenzie offers some insight into which jobs pay most in her market. 

“Specifically — in my market —we’re seeing machine operators pay the most for what most of our local clients consider “entry level.” I think this is due to a lack of skilled machinist in the market right now plus machinist being a “dying breed” in general, so companies are more open to taking a machine operator and training them to become a machinist. Since Machinists make top dollar in their roles, a machine operator hired to train and grow into a machinist typically will earn the benefit of that higher wage range. Likewise, I think welders is another entry-level job that pays higher than other jobs. Specific to manufacturing, companies have upscaled and trained welders more so than before, so they advance in pay quicker once they gain the right experience more so than say a production associate who usually starts and stays at a set entry-level rate for quite some time,” says Frazier.

What Entry-Level Job Should I Get? 

That’s the beauty of it — these are entry-level positions. You’re usually not bound to a lot of responsibility or education, unless you’re training to gain specific skills like welding or machine operation. Mackenzie suggests that now is a great time to look into roles you can build a career around. 

“A lot of manufacturing companies we’re working with right now are more open to hiring entry-level candidates and training them on their specific jobs/skillsets. Because of this, I think it’s a great idea for entry-level candidates to take those more “green” jobs so they can take advantage of the hands-on, one-on-one training they will receive once they get their foot in the door. It allows them a greater opportunity at learning a specific trade and growing into becoming a skilled tradesman earning higher compensation. We’ve also seen candidates earn more advanced roles and even promotions from starting in an entry-level job once they prove themselves with a company, which is an added plus to them deciding to take an opportunity in manufacturing,” says Frazier.

If you’re unsure where to start, visit our job board to start your research.