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Machine Operator

Machine operators set-up, operate, and maintain machinery, usually in a manufacturing setting. They are responsible for ensuring the machine produces high quality products, runs smoothly and at capacity, and is properly maintained.

Education and training requirements depend on the type of machinery. Most machine operator positions require a high school degree. Machine operators typically have strong attention to detail, strong mathematical skills, and are excellent teamworkers.

Machine operators mainly work with heavy machinery. They assist with the installation of their equipment and help maintain it by performing periodic tests and repairs.

Machine Operator

What does a Machine Operator do?

Machine Operator

Machine operators install, maintain, and operate machinery. They must have a strong understanding of the machines they work with. In-depth training may be required in order to prepare a machine operator for their daily duties.

Machine operators may work with mechanical or computer-operated equipment. They must be technically-inclined and be able to properly utilize tools and machinery. Since problems with machinery may arise, machine operators must be able to analyze situations and find solutions.

Candidates for this position should be detail-oriented and willing to learn. Machine operators should be able to follow instructions, work with others, and help ensure that all safety regulations are followed.

This job opportunity involves a high degree of hands-on work, along with a detail-oriented mindset. Analytical thinking and problem solving is a must for this position, and generally these operators are expected to work well in a team environment, and have great written and verbal communication skills. Previous experience in the manufacturing field is a plus.

  • Machine Operation Knowledge

    Machine operators assist in the installation, maintenance, and repair of machinery. They operate tools in order to aid in the manufacturing process.

  • Problem Solving Skills

    Machine operators often identify issues with machinery or workflow and find effective solutions to maintain productivity and efficiency.

  • Detail Oriented

    These professionals must closely monitor a machine's operation and any small malfunctions to ensure it runs properly.

  • Organizational Skills

    Machine operators are required to keep records of any maintenance or repair issues, communicate with various stakeholders and ensure machine operations follow a designated schedule.

Maintenance Technician

Maintenance technicians are responsible for keeping the equipment and systems of a business or organization running smoothly. They commonly work with industrial machinery, heating/air conditioning systems, electrical systems, plumbing, etc. Maintenance technicians typically have a wide range of skills that they use to complete their job duties. These might include basic electrical or mechanical knowledge, computer programming skills, problem-solving abilities, etc.

Electronic Assembler

An electronic assembler works behind the scenes to bring together the pieces of equipment we use every day, such as computers, electronic devices, toys, and engines.  An electronic assembler, also known as a fabricator, mounts, connects, assembles, and secures parts and components of electronic equipment.



The estimated total pay for a machine operator is $49,794 per year.

0 - 1 Years

Machine operators with 0 - 1 years experience earn on average:

$58,219 per year
7 - 9 Years

Machine operators with 7 - 9 years experience earn on average:

$64,104 per year
4 - 6 Years

Machine operators with 4 - 6 years experience earn on average:

$63,067 per year
10+ Years

Machine operators with 10+ years experience earn on average:

$62,728 - $63,777 per year
1 - 3 Years

Machine operators with 1 - 3 years experience earn on average:

$60,071 per year

These are 2021 national salary averages and may fluctuate based on location.

What does the workplace for an Machine Operators look like?

Machine operators typically work indoors in manufacturing and production plants, warehouses, distribution plants, or workshops. Usually, machine operators work with mechanically-based equipment, but may sometimes work with computer-controlled machines. These environments can be dangerous due to the heavy machinery involved. Machine operators are often exposed to loud, noisy machines and heavy objects and generally wear protective clothing or other safety gear to minimize risks.

Some machine operators need training in order to operate certain machinery such as cranes and excavators. The hours you work as a machine operator can vary, but often include overtime, night shifts, and weekend shifts.

Typical Industries for Machine Operators:

  • Manufacturing
  • Fortune 500
  • Automotive
  • Retail
  • Technology

How to Become a Machine Operator?

Machine Operator

Having a high school diploma or GED is typically the minimum requirement for this role. Others may choose to pursue an associate’s degree in heavy machinery or operations to make themselves more competitive in the job market.

Many employers require these professionals to have a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) so they can help transport heavy machinery on a flatbed or trailer.

Typical Qualifications:

  • Aptitude for math, problem-solving, computers, and mechanics.
  • Attention to detail.
  • Ability to work and communicate well with others.
  • Proficiency with hand tools.
  • Willing to perform repetitive tasks for extended periods.

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