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Design Your Roadmap

Manufacturing Career Pathways: A Roadmap to Successful Careers in Manufacturing

Manufacturing career pathways give you a roadmap to follow as you plan your career. The pathways begin at the high school level and continue through apprenticeships, earning an associate's degree or later a bachelor's degree. This roadmap reflects reality and provides you multiple opportunities to enter the world of work and then return to continue your education at a later time, without having to repeat classes or lose credit for work completed.

The career pathways provide new opportunities to motivate and prepare you for rewarding lifetime careers in manufacturing




Sample Academic Manufacturing Career Path and Job Opportunities 



Create your personal career pathway

Following a traditional career path provides opportunity for advancement, however, there can be many paths and options and On-the-Job training which can move you along your own personal career ladder. To succeed you need to be willing to learn, invest time and effort in education and training, and demonstrate your value as a reliable employee.


Manufacturing can provide excellent career opportunities for women


Jane Ward Operations Manager Career Path  



Career Pathway from window-washer to VP of Manufacturing

Gary Schuessler VP of Manufacturing Career Path 


Real individual career pathways  

Specific Manufacturing Career Paths

Sample career paths for welding, machining and drafting show education options at specific schools as well as opportunities to return to work. The career path begins at the high school level, shows apprenticeship opportunities and options for additional education to achieve an associate's or bachelor's degree. The career paths highlight the optimum education pathway that takes advantage of special agreements/articulations between the educational institutions at the different levels.

To find out about the existing agreements (called articulations) at the schools you are interested in, check out their websites under Education and Training.

If the school has not listed it's articulation agreements on its website, be sure to inquire about special agreements when speaking with the admissions representatives.

Benefits of Manufacturing Career Pathways

  • Integrates academic education, technical training and employment
  • Provides a smooth transition from secondary to post-secondary levels without experiencing delays, duplication of courses, or loss of credits
  • Involves business and industry to assure that the curriculum is relevant with high performance standards
  • Enables students to meet the requirements of an increasingly technical and demanding workplace.

Financial Benefits of Manufacturing Career Pathways

Benefits for High School Students

  • You can jump start your careers by beginning your technical education in high school, at Career and Technology Centers, or Area Vocational and Technical Schools.
  • You can take advantage of dual enrollment programs by being enrolled in high school classes as well as college classes at the same time. In other words, you can earn college credit for work completed while in high school.
    • Those college credits are transferable.
    • The college credits earned while in high school cost significantly less than when taken at the college level.
    • You can shorten the amount of time spent at the college level, thereby reducing college costs
  • You can take advantage of special agreements (called "articulations") between secondary schools and community colleges, technical and trade schools, and 2 and 4 yr. colleges and universities to avoid duplication of courses or to get advanced placement credit, thereby shortening the course of study or enabling you to take more advanced courses.
  • By taking advantage of dual enrollment and special agreements/articulations between schools, you can significantly reduce the cost of your education to earn either a 2 yr. or 4 yr. Degree and or certification.

Career Path Benefits for adults who want to switch to manufacturing or employees who have interrupted their studies to go to work

  • Provides opportunities for skill training for adults
  • Provides easy entry back into the educational system
  • You may get credit for work experience, thereby reducing the number of credit hours you must pay for. It also reduces the number of additional courses you need to take, thereby saving money.
  • Often your employer will help pay your apprenticeship or tuition costs.

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