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Become A Control Operator

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Working As A Control Operator

  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Getting Information
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material
  • Repetitive

  • Stressful

  • $101,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Control Operator Do

Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate machines that cut, shape, and form metal and plastic materials or pieces.

Duties

Metal and plastic machine workers typically do the following:

  • Set up machines according to blueprints
  • Monitor machines for unusual sound or vibration
  • Insert material into machines, manually or with a hoist
  • Operate metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines
  • Adjust machine settings for temperature, cycle times, and speed and feed rates
  • Remove finished products and smooth rough edges and imperfections
  • Test and compare finished workpieces to specifications
  • Remove and replace dull cutting tools
  • Document production numbers in a computer database

Consumer products are made with many metal and plastic parts. These parts are produced by machines that are operated by metal and plastic machine workers. In general, these workers are separated into two groups: those who set up machines for operation and those who operate machines during production, however, many workers perform both tasks.

Although many workers both set up and operate machines, some specialize in one of the following job types:

Machine setters, or setup workers, prepare the machines before production, perform test runs, and, if necessary, adjust and make minor repairs to the machinery before and during operation.

If, for example, the cutting tool inside a machine becomes dull after extended use, it is common for a setter to remove the tool, use a grinder or file to sharpen it, and reinstall it into the machine. New tools are produced by tool and die makers.

After installing the tools into a machine, setup workers often produce the initial batch of goods, inspect the products, and turn the machine over to an operator.

Machine operators and tenders monitor the machinery during operation.

After a setter prepares a machine for production, an operator observes the machine and the products it makes. Operators may have to load the machine with materials for production or adjust the machine’s speeds during production. They must periodically inspect the parts a machine produces. If they detect a minor problem, operators may fix it themselves. If the repair is more serious, they may have an industrial machinery mechanic fix it.

Setters, operators, and tenders are usually identified by the type of machine they work with. Job duties generally vary with the size of the manufacturer and the type of machine being operated. Although some workers specialize in one or two types of machinery, many are trained to set up or operate a variety of machines. Machine operators are often able to control multiple machines at the same time because of increased automation.

In addition, new production techniques, such as team-oriented “lean” manufacturing, require machine operators to rotate between different machines. Rotating assignments results in more varied work but also requires workers to have a wide range of skills.

Computer-controlled machine tool operators operate computer-controlled machines or robots to perform functions on metal or plastic workpieces.

Computer numerically controlled machine tool programmers develop computer programs to control the machining or processing of metal or plastic parts by automatic machine tools, equipment, or systems.

Extruding and drawing machine setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate machines to extrude (pull out) thermoplastic or metal materials in the form of tubes, rods, hoses, wire, bars, or structural shapes.

Forging machine setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate machines that shape or form metal or plastic parts.

Rolling machine setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate machines to roll steel or plastic or to flatten, temper, or reduce the thickness of materials.

Cutting, punching, and press machine setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate machines to saw, cut, shear, notch, bend, or straighten metal or plastic materials.

Drilling and boring machine tool setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate drilling machines to drill, bore, mill, or countersink metal or plastic workpieces.

Grinding, lapping, polishing, and buffing machine tool setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate grinding and related tools that remove excess material from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff or polish metal or plastic workpieces.

Lathe and turning machine tool setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate lathe and turning machines to turn, bore, thread, or form metal or plastic materials, such as wire or rod.

Milling and planing machine setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate milling or planing machines to shape, groove, or profile metal or plastic workpieces.

Metal-refining furnace operators and tenders operate or tend furnaces, such as gas, oil, coal, electric-arc or electric induction, open-hearth, and oxygen furnaces. These furnaces may be used to melt and refine metal before casting or to produce specified types of steel.

Pourers and casters operate hand-controlled mechanisms to pour and regulate the flow of molten metal into molds to produce castings or ingots.

Model makers set up and operate machines, such as milling and engraving machines to make working models of metal or plastic objects.

Patternmakers lay out, machine, fit, and assemble castings and parts to metal or plastic foundry patterns and core molds.

Foundry mold and coremakers make or form wax or sand cores or molds used in the production of metal castings in foundries.

Molding, coremaking, and casting machine setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal or thermoplastic parts or products.

Multiple machine tool setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate more than one type of cutting or forming machine tool or robot.

Welding, soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders (including workers who operate laser cutters or laser-beam machines) set up or operate welding, soldering, or brazing machines or robots that weld, braze, solder, or heat treat metal products, components, or assemblies.

Heat treating equipment setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate heating equipment, such as heat treating furnaces, flame-hardening machines, induction machines, soaking pits, or vacuum equipment, to temper, harden, anneal, or heat-treat metal or plastic objects.

Plating and coating machine setters, operators, and tenders set up or operate plating or coating machines to coat metal or plastic products with zinc, copper, nickel, or some other metal to protect or decorate surfaces (includes electrolytic processes).

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How To Become A Control Operator

A few months of on-the-job training is enough for most workers to learn basic machine operations, but 1 year or more is required to become proficient. Computer-controlled machine workers may need more training.

Education

Employers prefer metal and plastic machine workers who have a high school diploma. Prospective workers can improve their employment opportunities by completing high school courses in computer programming and vocational technology, and by gaining a working knowledge of the properties of metals and plastics. Having a sturdy math background, including taking courses in algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and basic statistics, is also useful.

Some community colleges and other schools offer courses and certificate programs in operating metal and plastics machines.

Training

Machine operator trainees usually begin by watching and helping experienced workers on the job. Under supervision, they may start by supplying materials, starting and stopping the machines, or by removing finished products. Then they advance to more difficult tasks that operators perform, such as adjusting feed speeds, changing cutting tools, and inspecting a finished product for defects. Eventually, some develop the skills and experience to set up machines and help newer operators.

The complexity of the equipment usually determines the time required to become an operator. Some operators and tenders learn basic machine operations and functions in a few months, but other workers, such as computer-controlled machine tool operators, may need a year or more to become proficient.

Some employers prefer to hire workers who either have completed or are enrolled in a training program.

As the manufacturing process continues to utilize more computerized machinery, knowledge of computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), and computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines can be helpful.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Certification can show competence and professionalism and can be helpful for advancement. The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) offers certification in numerous metalworking specializations.

Advancement

Advancement usually includes higher pay and more responsibilities. With experience and expertise, workers can become trainees for more advanced positions. It is common for machine operators to move into setup or machinery maintenance positions. Setup workers may become industrial machinery mechanics and maintenance workers, or machinists or tool and die makers.

Experienced workers with good communication and analytical skills may move into supervisory positions.

Important Qualities

Computer skills. Metal and plastic machine workers must often be able to use programmable devices, computers, and robots on the factory floor.

Dexterity. Metal and plastic machine workers who work in metal and plastic machined goods manufacturing use precise hand movements to make the necessary shapes, cuts, and edges that designs require.

Mechanical skills. Metal and plastic machine workers set up and operate machinery. They must be comfortable working with machines and have a good understanding of how the machines and all their parts work.

Physical stamina. Metal and plastic machine workers must be able to stand for long periods and perform repetitive work.

Physical strength. Metal and plastic machine workers must be strong enough to guide and load heavy and bulky parts and materials into machines.

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Control Operator Career Paths

Control Operator
Finance Analyst Senior Finance Analyst
Finance Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Senior Accountant
Accounting Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Finance Analyst Senior Accountant Accounting Manager
Assistant Controller
6 Yearsyrs
Staff Accountant Accountant Controller
Corporate Controller
12 Yearsyrs
Staff Accountant Senior Accountant Controller
Finance Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Staff Accountant Accountant Senior Finance Analyst
Manager Finance Planning And Analysis
8 Yearsyrs
Consultant General Manager Operations Director
Operations Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant Manager Vice President
Executive Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Consultant Controller Chief Finance Officer
Chief Finance And Operating Officer
14 Yearsyrs
Accountant Accounting Manager
Accounting Director
11 Yearsyrs
Cost Accountant Accounting Manager
Plant Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Cost Accountant Senior Finance Analyst Finance Director
Senior Director Of Finance
14 Yearsyrs
Cost Accountant Assistant Controller
Controller, Vice President
11 Yearsyrs
Technician Analyst Finance Manager
Division Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Public Accountant Senior Auditor Assistant Controller
Finance Controller
9 Yearsyrs
Certified Public Accountant Charge Bookkeeper Assistant Controller
Regional Controller
10 Yearsyrs
Certified Public Accountant Senior Auditor Finance Director
Director Of Accounting & Finance
11 Yearsyrs
Finance Consultant Senior Auditor Division Controller
Group Controller
11 Yearsyrs
Technician Operation Supervisor Senior Operations Manager
Head Operator
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a Control Operator?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Controller 5.3 years
Plant Controller 4.8 years
Control Accountant 4.2 years
Control Supervisor 4.1 years
Control Operator 4.0 years
Group Controller 3.9 years
Finance Controller 3.8 years
Finance Manager 3.7 years
Head Operator 3.6 years
Unit Controller 3.6 years
Top Careers Before Control Operator
Controller 17.3%
Accountant 3.4%
Manager 3.4%
Cashier 3.3%
Supervisor 2.8%
Top Careers After Control Operator
Controller 20.9%
Consultant 4.6%
Supervisor 3.8%
Manager 3.1%
Owner 2.9%
Operator 2.3%

Do you work as a Control Operator?

Average Yearly Salary
$101,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$66,000
Min 10%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$101,000
Median 50%
$154,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Walgreens
Highest Paying City
Fremont, CA
Highest Paying State
Hawaii
Avg Experience Level
4.1 years
How much does a Control Operator make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Control Operator in the United States is $101,419 per year or $49 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $66,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $154,000.

How Would You Rate The Salary Of a Control Operator?

Have you worked as a Control Operator? Help other job seekers by rating your experience as a Control Operator.

Top Skills for A Control Operator

  1. Financial Statements
  2. Safety Procedures
  3. Ensure Compliance
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Directed financial management functions including development of annual consolidated financial statement, monthly/quarterly financial statements, financial forecasts and budgets.
  • Led cross-functional team of ten military personnel managing emergency staff through equipment safety procedures.
  • Formalized and re-engineered company procedures to ensure compliance with complex governmental proposal submissions, awarded contract requirements, and accounting requirements.
  • Partnered with external auditors to coordinate financial audits and handled all preparation for internal audits.
  • Cleaned up several general ledger accounts that were incorrectly stated after a business combination.

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Average Salary:

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Top 10 Best States for Control Operators

  1. Vermont
  2. North Dakota
  3. West Virginia
  4. Louisiana
  5. Wisconsin
  6. South Carolina
  7. Washington
  8. New Hampshire
  9. Massachusetts
  10. Wyoming
  • (14 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (19 jobs)
  • (47 jobs)
  • (90 jobs)
  • (71 jobs)
  • (68 jobs)
  • (39 jobs)
  • (111 jobs)
  • (5 jobs)

Control Operator Resume Examples And Tips

The average resume reviewer spends between 5 to 7 seconds looking at a single resume, which leaves the average job applier with roughly six seconds to make a killer first impression. Thanks to this, a single typo or error on your resume can disqualify you right out of the gate. At Zippia, we went through over 5,385 Control Operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Create A Top Notch Control Operator Resume

View Resume Examples

Control Operator Demographics

Gender

Male

68.4%

Female

21.9%

Unknown

9.7%
Ethnicity

White

61.1%

Hispanic or Latino

16.2%

Black or African American

11.7%

Asian

7.3%

Unknown

3.6%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

60.5%

French

7.8%

Italian

3.9%

Mandarin

3.1%

Portuguese

3.1%

Chinese

3.1%

German

3.1%

Korean

2.3%

Filipino

1.6%

Cantonese

1.6%

Greek

1.6%

Dakota

1.6%

Arabic

1.6%

Swedish

0.8%

Turkish

0.8%

Romanian

0.8%

Hindi

0.8%

Somali

0.8%

Hebrew

0.8%

Bosnian

0.8%
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Control Operator Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

25.1%

Community College of the Air Force

7.3%

Southern New Hampshire University

4.7%

Pennsylvania State University

4.5%

American University

4.5%

Wayne State University

4.0%

University of Maryland - University College

4.0%

San Diego State University

4.0%

Central Texas College

4.0%

DePaul University

3.8%

University of Houston

3.8%

Strayer University

3.8%

Ohio State University

3.5%

New York University

3.5%

Golden Gate University-San Francisco

3.3%

Pace University - New York

3.3%

Ashford University

3.3%

Fairleigh Dickinson University

3.3%

Arizona State University

3.3%

Liberty University

3.3%
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Majors

Business

31.5%

Accounting

25.5%

Finance

9.8%

Criminal Justice

4.9%

Management

4.6%

Electrical Engineering

2.5%

General Studies

2.3%

Computer Science

2.2%

Computer Information Systems

2.0%

Communication

1.9%

Information Technology

1.9%

Psychology

1.8%

Education

1.3%

Industrial Technology

1.2%

Marketing

1.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.1%

Automotive Technology

1.1%

Health Care Administration

1.1%

Mechanical Engineering

1.1%

Liberal Arts

1.0%
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Degrees

Bachelors

38.7%

Masters

22.6%

Other

22.4%

Associate

10.5%

Certificate

4.1%

Diploma

0.8%

Doctorate

0.6%

License

0.3%
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