A Degree Isn’t a Prereq for a Good-Paying Job

If you don’t have a 4-year degree but still want a good-paying job, try manufacturing.

The sector is still strong across the country. According to a 2019 Georgetown University Study, manufacturing industries provide the best paying jobs in 35 states for workers who do not hold a bachelor’s degree.

The field is good for 4-year graduates, too. Workers with a bachelor’s degree or higher make more within manufacturing fields than they do in other industries.

Closeup of a manufacturing worker.  Manufacturing offers many people a good-paying job without a traditional degree.
thanks to trapezemike for this manufacturing image / Pixabay

While blue-collar workers are paid well in manufacturing, the proportion of blue-collar jobs is shrinking compared to higher-skilled positions. From 1991 to 2016, the percentage of good (starting at $35,000 with a median of $56,000) blue-collar jobs had declined from 27% to 16% of the manufacturing workforce.

Manufacturers are now experiencing a shortage of properly trained workers with skills in installation, production, and maintenance trades. But fast-tracking prepartion is possible. Workers prepare for jobs by completing apprenticeships, certificates, or 2-year programs.

Industries also need degreed workers who understand new advances in manufacturing. For example, manufacturing needs workers that understand AI, VR/AR usage, robotics adoption, the use of digital twins, and other high-tech processes.

Over one-fourth of the manufacturing workforce will retire over the next decade.  Unfortunately, this will only deepen existing challenges facing the industry.

What Kinds of Jobs are Available?

Many careers in manufacturing would qualify as a “good-paying job.” But some of the best that don’t require a 4-year degree include:

  • CNC programmer. Some manufacturers run their own “boot camps” to train potential workers
  • Electrician. This job typically requires state licensing.
  • Warehouse supervisor. Logistics experience and/or training is often valued more than a degree.
  • Welder. Experience or a 2-year degree suffices.
  • Maintenance Mechanic. Automation equipment is expensive. Anyone with mechanical aptitude who can increase its longevity is valued.

Industrial Automation Terms You Should Know

Industrial Automation panel with digital technology and LEDs
Industrial Automation covers a lot of ground.

Here’s a list of industrial automation terms you may need to be defined as you’re looking at our extensive catalog of parts. 



The commonly available electric power supplied, an AC generator and is distributed in single or three-phase forms. AC current changes its direction of flow (cycles).


A motor (see motor definition) operating on AC current that flows in either direction (AC current). There are two general types: induction, and Synchronous.


The amount of steel (iron) in the stator and rotor of a motor. Usually, the amount of active iron is increased or decreased by lengthening or shortening the rotor and stator (they are generally the same length).


The space between the rotating (rotor) and stationary (stator) member in an electric motor.


Used on motors with blowers to measure the difference in pressure across the filter so as to detect a clogged filter.


A device used in air hooded motors to detect the temperature of the exhausted air. When used in this manner an air temperature switch will detect blockage in the cooling air system or long-term motor overload.


The atmospheric altitude (height above sea level) at which the motor will be operating; NEMA standards call for an altitude not exceeding 3,300 ft. (1,000 meters). As the altitude increases above 3,300 ft. and the air density decreases, the air stability to cool the motor decreases – for higher altitudes, higher grades of insulation or a motor derating are required. DC motors require special brushes for high altitudes.


The temperature of the surrounding cooling medium, such as gas or liquid, which comes into contact with the heated parts of the motor. The cooling medium is usually the air surrounding the motor. The standard NEMA rating for ambient temperature is not to exceed 40ƒC.


An anti-friction bearing is a bearing utilizing rolling elements between the stationary and rotating assemblies.


The portion of the magnetic structure of a DC or universal motor which rotates


Rated full load armature circuit current.


The armature inductance in milli-henries (saturated).


The current that flows in the armature winding of a DC motor tends to produce magnetic flux in addition to that produced by the field current. This effect, which reduces the torque capacity, is called armature reaction and can affect the commutation and the magnitude of the motor’s generated voltage.


The armature resistance is measured in ohms at 25ƒ C. (cold)


The force or loads that are applied to the motor shaft in a direction parallel to the axis of the shaft. (Such as from a fan or pump)

Legacy Systems: When You’ve Lost Documentation

Stacks of manuals for obsolete industrial equipment.  Manuals for legacy systems are important.
When you’ve had equipment for years, it’s easy to misplace the manual.

Imagine: you need to make a complex repair on a legacy system, but no one in your facility has any experience with the job.

Sometimes, all you need is that one piece of information to make everything work the way it should. But what happens when you’ve lost the manual that goes with your legacy system and the OEM no longer supports that model? You know your equipment will work exactly as it should if only you can track down that one setting.

What are Legacy Systems?

Legacy systems are made up of older technology no longer supported by the original equipment manufacturer. They make up the backbone of thousands of companies around the globe.   Replacement of these systems can be very expensive and challenging. And because of the inherent robust nature of industrial equipment, it often seems wasteful to remove a system in good working order.

Industrial-Strength | adjective

marked by more than usual power, durability, or intensity.


How Can I Get Documentation?

If we carry parts for your legacy system, we may be able to help with documentation replacement with your orders. While our in-house experts are knowledgeable about all things related to automation, they like having the manuals at their disposal, too.  We’re happy to help your in-house experts have the same advantage. Just ask when you call to place your next order.

So we….well, we’ve developed hoarder instincts when it comes to legacy documentation: if it’s going to be useful at some point down the road, we’ll grab a copy and keep it safe. 

That’s not a bad instinct if you think about it. With manuals at our side, we check every reconditioned unit leaving our facility. That way, when those Directlogic PLC ,   Reliance drive, or Reliance Automax PLC components reach you, they’re in excellent working condition.

So if you need documentation, let us know when you place your next order. For now, I’m going to end this post with a link to the User’s Manual (GFK-1065F) which is for one of our more popular items, a GE Fanuc Series 90 Micro PLC. It has full chapters devoted to the subjects of installation, configuration, and diagnostics, along with additional links to an ABB PVI-3.0/3.6/4.2 inverter

AX Control specializes in legacy equipment. We carry industrial automation replacement parts from GE, Fuji, and Reliance, to name just a few. Let us know what we can help you with today.