A lead operator is a mechanic who operates industrial machinery. They install, repair, and adjust industrial machines, perform routine maintenance on production equipment, and monitor operations, troubleshooting whenever necessary. They run quality tests and inspect products to make sure they reach the desired quality and adhere to standards.

Lead operators know their fair share about engineering and technology, and understand how to apply their knowledge in practical situations. They are familiar with raw materials and production processes and have insight on how to maximize productivity. They have a solid background in mathematics, as well, and have a strong affinity toward analytical thinking.

The average hourly salary of a lead operator in the U.S. is $18.26, and working hours are your usual 40 hours a week, often in rotating shifts.

What Does a Lead Operator Do

There are certain skills that many lead 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 mechanical skills.

Learn more about what a Lead Operator does

How To Become a Lead Operator

If you're interested in becoming a lead operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 45.0% of lead operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 7.1% of lead operators have master's degrees. Even though most lead operators have a college degree, it's possible to become one with only a high school degree or GED.

Learn More About How To Become a Lead Operator

Lead Operator Career Paths

Average Salary for a Lead Operator

Lead Operators in America make an average salary of $88,429 per year or $43 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $142,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $54,000 per year.
Average Lead Operator Salary
$88,429 Yearly
$42.51 hourly
$54,000
10 %
$88,000
Median
$142,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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How To Become a Lead Operator
How To Become a Lead Operator Career Overview

States With The Most Lead Operator Jobs

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

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Lead Operator Jobs By State

RankStateNumber of JobsAverage Salary
1Pennsylvania2,310$85,305
2California1,912$110,135
3Michigan1,492$83,196
4Massachusetts1,441$107,203
5Tennessee1,139$73,683
6Maryland1,064$76,291
7New Jersey1,050$114,085
8Texas1,041$87,782
9Ohio963$66,987
10Missouri948$73,490
11Illinois864$69,980
12North Carolina768$75,394
13Wisconsin747$78,680
14Georgia747$75,245
15Florida746$75,644
16Kentucky697$72,834
17Indiana651$67,639
18New York639$96,893
19Utah639$64,268
20Minnesota592$74,461
21Virginia529$76,683
22Louisiana454$84,040
23Kansas450$68,856
24New Hampshire414$108,013
25Arkansas410$75,241
26Nevada386$100,259
27Arizona383$92,088
28Oklahoma374$80,997
29Nebraska340$63,875
30Rhode Island333$96,261
31Washington331$87,366
32Iowa322$71,177
33Connecticut312$107,691
34Colorado292$75,054
35South Carolina286$82,227
36Alabama261$73,118
37Idaho247$90,108
38Alaska218$110,005
39New Mexico210$76,730
40Oregon201$72,338
41Hawaii186$80,844
42Montana162$86,313
43Mississippi156$87,776
44South Dakota146$74,632
45Wyoming111$101,227
46Maine86$92,318
47Delaware67$83,602
48Vermont65$78,734
49North Dakota54$81,012
50West Virginia51$76,094

Lead Operator Education

Lead Operator Majors

32.0 %

Lead Operator Degrees

Bachelors

45.0 %

High School Diploma

21.3 %

Associate

18.1 %

Top Colleges for Lead Operators

1. Stanford University

Stanford, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$51,354
Enrollment
7,083

2. University of Pennsylvania

Philadelphia, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$55,584
Enrollment
10,764

3. Northwestern University

Evanston, IL • Private

In-State Tuition
$54,568
Enrollment
8,451

4. Maine Maritime Academy

Castine, ME • Private

In-State Tuition
$13,478
Enrollment
979

5. University of Southern California

Los Angeles, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$56,225
Enrollment
19,548

6. California State University - Bakersfield

Bakersfield, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,309
Enrollment
9,142

7. SUNY at Binghamton

Vestal, NY • Private

In-State Tuition
$9,808
Enrollment
13,990

8. Villanova University

Villanova, PA • Private

In-State Tuition
$53,308
Enrollment
6,819

9. San Diego State University

San Diego, CA • Private

In-State Tuition
$7,488
Enrollment
30,018

10. Bentley University

Waltham, MA • Private

In-State Tuition
$49,880
Enrollment
4,177

Top Skills For a Lead 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, 17.9% of lead operators listed customer service on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and coordination are important as well.

  • Customer Service, 17.9%
  • HR, 10.2%
  • Process Improvement, 6.2%
  • Project Management, 6.1%
  • Continuous Improvement, 5.6%
  • Other Skills, 54.0%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Lead Operator Resume templates

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

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Lead Operator Resume

Lead Operator Demographics

Lead Operator Gender Distribution

Male
Male
74%
Female
Female
27%

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

  • Among lead operators, 26.5% of them are women, while 73.5% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among lead operators is White, which makes up 63.6% of all lead operators.

  • The most common foreign language among lead operators is Spanish at 58.6%.

Work Experience Programs For Lead Operators

Virtual work experience programs replicate work at top companies and help you gain the skills to be successful when applying and working there. In only a few hours, learn the relevant tools necessary to complete a typical work day at that company. Virtual work experience programs are 100% free, open-access, and self-paced. No experience or application is required!

Corporate Analyst Development Program (CADP) Program

Company: JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Cost: Free

Duration: 4.25-5.75 hours

Introduction to Accenture Program

Company: Accenture UK

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Wealth Management Program

Company: Goodbody

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Career Catalyst: Audit Program

Company: KPMG U.S.

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Workplace Preparation Program

Company: ANZ

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Digital Assurance Program

Company: PwC Switzerland

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Process Design Program

Company: Accenture North America

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Professional Skills Development Program

Company: Two Sigma

Cost: Free

Duration: 5-6 hours

Leading a classroom Program

Company: Teach for Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 2 hours

Job Ready: Workplace skills Program

Company: ANZ Australia

Cost: Free

Duration: 2-3 hours

Online Courses For Lead Operator That You May Like

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Inventory Management: Safety Stock Calculation and Control
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Inventory Management A-Z: Supply Chain & Business Operations
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Operations Management: Inventory Management
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Operations Management Training Program (Course 4 of 8)...

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Best States For a Lead Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a lead operator. The best states for people in this position are New Jersey, California, Alaska, and New Hampshire. Lead operators make the most in New Jersey with an average salary of $114,085. Whereas in California and Alaska, they would average $110,135 and $110,005, respectively. While lead operators would only make an average of $108,013 in New Hampshire, 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. Alaska

Total Lead Operator Jobs:
218
Highest 10% Earn:
$171,000
Location Quotient:
2.62

2. New Hampshire

Total Lead Operator Jobs:
414
Highest 10% Earn:
$169,000
Location Quotient:
2.38

3. Wyoming

Total Lead Operator Jobs:
111
Highest 10% Earn:
$181,000
Location Quotient:
1.86
Full List Of Best States For Lead Operators

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Top Lead Operator Employers

Most Common Employers For Lead Operator

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1Google$159,066$76.47103
2General Electric$110,391$53.07118
3Accenture$110,029$52.9087
4Halliburton$108,480$52.1567
5Parexel International$102,072$49.0755
6Pfizer$99,024$47.6152
7Zurich$97,613$46.9346
8Bank of America$94,902$45.63591
9IBM$91,401$43.9466
10Sephora$83,916$40.3484

Becoming a Lead Operator FAQs

Do Machine Operators Make Good Money?

No, machine operators generally don't make good money right away. The average yearly salary is $28,000.

With more experience, at a mid-level position, you can make an average salary of $29,500. At a senior level, you can make an average of $38,100. Furthermore, the top-paying companies have to do with manufacturing, automotive, and retail, offering $40,000+ yearly salary.

How Much Do Lead Operators Make?

Lead operators make between $44,000 and $56,000 per year. Both where an operator is employed in the country and their experience factor into their exact annual earnings.

Lead operators are important to a company's production and quality control. These individuals are needed where manufacturing takes place. There are areas of the country where lead operator salaries differ.

What Is A Machine Operator?

A machine operator oversees one or several machines used for production. The individuals have several responsibilities depending on the specific machinery they are charged with operating.

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