The primary function of a handle machine operator is to operate production machines. He/She performs preventive maintenance on the machines regularly and ensures optimal performance to prevent delays in orders or project deliverables. Besides that, he/she assists with the installation of machines. Handle machine operators analyze schematics and blueprints, and inspect components for inconsistencies. They replace defective parts and upgrade systems as needed for higher operational efficiency. Furthermore, they keep records of operations for reference. Additionally, they manage maintenance standards to prevent downtimes and also perform periodic tests and repairs.

Employers seek candidates with a high school diploma or its equivalent. You must have years of relevant work experience. You must possess maths, mechanical, attention to detail, problem-solving, and communication skills. Also, you must be familiar with relevant safety rules and regulations. Handle machine operators earn an average salary of $25,959 per year or $12.48 per hour. It varies between $21,000 and $30,000.

What Does a Handle Machine Operator Do

There are certain skills that many handle machine operators have in order to accomplish their responsibilities. By taking a look through resumes, we were able to narrow down the most common skills for a person in this position. We discovered that a lot of resumes listed communication skills, coordination and visual ability.

Learn more about what a Handle Machine Operator does

How To Become a Handle Machine Operator

If you're interested in becoming a handle machine operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 7.9% of handle machine operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.5% of handle machine operators have master's degrees. Even though some handle machine operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

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Handle Machine Operator Career Paths

Average Salary for a Handle Machine Operator

Handle Machine Operators in America make an average salary of $29,598 per year or $14 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $36,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $23,000 per year.
Average Handle Machine Operator Salary
$29,598 Yearly
$14.23 hourly

What Am I Worth?


Roles and Types of Handle Machine Operator

The role of a handle machine operator includes a wide range of responsibilities. These responsibilities can vary based on an individual's specific job, company, or industry.Here are some general handle machine operator responsibilities:

  • Lifting, palletizing and moving printed material supplying or feeding lines to keep production going operating
  • Loads, unloads and moves materials, tooling
  • Loads and secures cloth onto continuous industrial quilting machine

There are several types of handle machine operator, including:

Machine Operator


Someone has to operate the machine - why not you? Machine operators are able to transfer a variety of objects through the use of machinery. So if driving a forklift around sounds like your idea of fun, then maybe this is the job for you.

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.

As a machine operator, you have lots of industries you could go into, from warehousing and storage to food manufacturing and construction. The list goes on and on. Depending on the industry, your work can take you outside or you may get to work inside.

  • Average Salary: $32,874
  • Degree: High School Diploma

Forklift Operator


As a forklift operator, the majority of your time will be spent riding around on a forklift. You'll use it to move objects around so, unfortunately, there will be no time for any funny business. In fact, you'll probably need to follow some safety rules to ensure no one gets hurt.

There really aren't any formal education requirements, but you will probably need to be trained on how to operate the machine. Since products and materials are shipped at all times, you may need to stay late or even work an overnight shift from time to time.

And you better believe you'll get some overtime hours from being a forklift operator, which will be a nice little surprise when it's payday. Plus, did we mention you get to drive a forklift around. Sure, you have to be careful moving objects and trying to avoid running over your co-workers but, hey, at least you get to drive a forklift.

  • Average Salary: $34,213
  • Degree: High School Diploma

Production Operator


Have you ever wondered what is the official job role for those people in charge of work, like assembling parts in a factory? Well, I certainly have. I never used to think too much and assumed those people magically appeared as part of the factory. But they are actually called production operators and you can apply for this role, too, with little experience. This role is fun and exposes you to the way different things connect together, but it requires physical stamina and high concentration levels.

Daily, a production operator is involved in activities such as undertaking product assembly, performing product packaging, maintaining the production line machinery, and achieving production line targets. Besides that, they also need to clean the production floor and comply with health and safety guidelines.

Employers require production operators to have a minimum of a high school diploma and have the stamina to stand on their feet during work operations. This role earns, on average, $14 per hour and suits individuals passionate about understanding assembly lines.

  • Average Salary: $35,185
  • Degree: High School Diploma

States With The Most Handle Machine Operator Jobs

Mouse over a state to see the number of active handle machine operator jobs in each state. The darker areas on the map show where handle machine operators earn the highest salaries across all 50 states.

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Handle Machine Operator Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
10North Carolina1,085$24,981
13New Jersey984$28,373
17New York736$26,283
23South Carolina450$25,372
31New Hampshire269$28,036
35Rhode Island167$29,741
44South Dakota86$25,413
45West Virginia78$25,650
47North Dakota55$29,864
48New Mexico52$23,138

Handle Machine Operator Education

Handle Machine Operator Majors

24.2 %

Handle Machine Operator Degrees

High School Diploma

56.9 %


16.2 %


12.7 %

Top Skills For a Handle Machine Operator

The skills section on your resume can be almost as important as the experience section, so you want it to be an accurate portrayal of what you can do. Luckily, we've found all of the skills you'll need so even if you don't have these skills yet, you know what you need to work on. Out of all the resumes we looked through, 13.1% of handle machine operators listed forklifts on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and coordination are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Handle Machine Operator Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Handle Machine Operator templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your Handle Machine Operator resume is top notch. Choose a template with the colors, fonts & text sizes that are appropriate for your industry.

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Handle Machine Operator diversity

Handle Machine Operator Gender Distribution


After extensive research and analysis, Zippia's data science team found that:

  • Among handle machine operators, 20.4% of them are women, while 79.6% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among handle machine operators is White, which makes up 60.4% of all handle machine operators.

  • The most common foreign language among handle machine operators is Spanish at 75.9%.

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Best States For a Handle Machine Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a handle machine operator. The best states for people in this position are Pennsylvania, Connecticut, California, and Kentucky. Handle machine operators make the most in Pennsylvania with an average salary of $32,101. Whereas in Connecticut and California, they would average $31,838 and $31,615, respectively. While handle machine operators would only make an average of $31,133 in Kentucky, you would still make more there than in the rest of the country. We determined these as the best states based on job availability and pay. By finding the median salary, cost of living, and using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Location Quotient, we narrowed down our list of states to these four.

1. Pennsylvania

Total Handle Machine Operator Jobs: 1,482
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Kentucky

Total Handle Machine Operator Jobs: 450
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Indiana

Total Handle Machine Operator Jobs: 1,028
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Handle Machine Operators

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Top Handle Machine Operator Employers

Most Common Employers For Handle Machine Operator

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Alro Steel$39,068$18.7837
2The Kraft Group$37,414$17.9916
6International Paper$33,330$16.0227
7Graphic Packaging International$31,753$15.2719
8Berry Global$31,688$15.2328

Handle Machine Operator Videos