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The membership is divided into five categories:

Fellows, generally directors or former directors of major production engineering laboratories;
Associate Members, research workers with recognized credentials who have the potential to become active CIRP contributors and collaborators;
Honorary Fellows, former Fellows who have gained outstanding merit by their activity and devotion to CIRP;
Fellows (Emeritus), active Fellows about to retire nominated for life at their request;
Corporate Members, companies or industrial research institutions that support the aims of CIRP and maintain an interest in the organization's activities also giving scientific and technical contributions.

In addition, CIRP offers a program for young distinguished researchers:

Research Affiliates Program

A program to temporarily affiliate young researchers (RAs) who contribute to CIRP activities and have the potential to further contribute to CIRP, e.g. by becoming Associate Members in the future. In case RAs change to industry, they might wish to bring their company to CIRP as Corporate member.

Many of the world's leading companies and non-university based research institutions, as well as many other small and medium size enterprises are already affiliated to CIRP as Corporate members. At present their number is 170 from 30 countries.

Although their business interests might at first sight seem quite diverse, ranging from aircraft to tractors and from computers to machine tools, it is not difficult to work out why these organizations joined CIRP.

Associate Members are well known scientists, with high potential, elected typically for a period of three years with the possibility of renewal.

A number of Associate members eventually become Fellows. Some Associate members may also belong to fields related to Manufacturing.

Fellows are internationally recognized scientists elected to be CIRP members for life. Due to the limited number of CIRP Fellows, the election of a Fellow is a lengthy, rigorous process ensuring the highest possible academic standards.

The objective of the Research Affiliates program is to create, develop, and promote a sustainable CIRP-network of outstanding young researchers in the field of production engineering.

Research Affiliates are expected to participate in CIRP- networks designed to exchange and discuss current research results, create collaborative research projects, and facilitate communication within the CIRP community.