Lesson Introduction

Overview of the Manufacturing Career Cluster

Manufacturing Career Cluster logo
The Manufacturing Career Cluster encompasses careers related to planning, managing, and performing the processing of materials into intermediate or final products. It also includes careers in professional and technical support activities such as production planning and control, maintenance, and process engineering.

Career Pathways

The Manufacturing Career Cluster is divided into six diverse career pathways:

  • Production
  • Manufacturing Production Process Development
  • Maintenance, Installation, and Repair
  • Quality Assurance
  • Logistics and Inventory Control
  • Health, Safety, and Environmental Assurance

Teacher Resources


To help students learn more about careers in manufacturing, download and distribute the Manufacturing College and Career Planning Guide (to come). The guide makes an excellent critical reading assignment for students taking the Practicum in Manufacturing course.

WBL Experiences

The Practicum in Manufacturing course is designed to give students supervised practical application of previously studied knowledge and skills. Training stations can occur in a variety of locations appropriate to the nature and level of the student's experience.

Knowing each student's individual program of study is critical to creating a meaningful WBL experience particularly for manufacturing students. Be sure incorporate TEKS from the student's program of study that are consistent with the student's career goal.

For example, the practicum for a student seeking to become a machine operator might include relevant TEKS for Precision Metal Manufacturing, Welding, and/or Engineering Design and Problem-Solving courses.

If you haven't already done so, take a moment to bookmark the TEKS for Manufacturing.

Course Prerequisites

The Practicum in Manufacturing is recommended for students in grade 12 who are participating in a coherent sequence of career and technical education courses.

There are no required prerequisites for the practicum, but the following courses are recommended prerequisites:

Legal and Safety Considerations

While there are a few communities in Texas with thriving manufacturing operations that welcome students interested in pursuing careers in manufacturing, the number of WBL experiences is limited by the number of manufacturing plants in most small and mid-size Texas communities.

Also, the number of appropriate training stations are limited due to safety and age restrictions. Hazardous activities like those listed in Child Labor Bulletin 101 (WH-1295), which you bookmarked in Section 5, are common in manufacturing.

You should always discuss legal and safety considerations with the training sponsor and include appropriate training activities in the student's training plan.

Pre-Employment Requirements

In addition to age limitations, other requirements and restrictions students might encounter are:

  • OSHA 10-hour General Industry Training;
  • cell phone use prohibitions;
  • camera use prohibitions; and
  • disclosure of proprietary information.

Curriculum Resources

To promote educational excellence in career and technical education, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) launched the Texas CTE Resource Center.






Take a moment to bookmark the Texas CTE Resource Center website. Later, be sure to explore curriculum guidelines and instructional resources for the AFNR Career Cluster.


Career and technical student organizations (CTSOs) provide students with additional opportunities to acquire and demonstrate skills and abilities related to their chosen career field. Become familiar with those that are closely related to manufacturing so you can help students select the organization that best supports their career goals.




Take a few moments to bookmark the CTSO websites below to explore later. 

SkillsUSA Texas
Texas Technology Student Association (TSA)
Business Professionals of America (BPA)
Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA)

Professional Associations

Get involved in at least one career and technical education (CTE) professional association. They are excellent sources of cluster-specific teaching tools, ideas, networking, and mentors.

There are several professional association related to manufacturing careers, including those listed below. You may also want to check with your colleagues for advice.




Take a few moments to bookmark the CTE professional association websites below to explore later.

Texas Industrial Vocational Association (TIVA)
Texas Technology and Engineering Educators (TTEE)
Texas Business and Technology Educators Association (TBTEA)


Lesson Conclusion