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.

What Does a Machine Operator Do

There are certain skills that many 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 color vision, math skills and technical skills.

Learn more about what a Machine Operator does

How To Become a Machine Operator

If you're interested in becoming a machine operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 10.6% of machine operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 0.8% of machine operators have master's degrees. Even though some machine 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 Machine Operator

Machine Operator Career Paths

Average Salary for a Machine Operator

Machine Operators in America make an average salary of $32,874 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $40,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $26,000 per year.
Average Machine Operator Salary
$32,874 Yearly
$15.80 hourly
$26,000
10 %
$32,000
Median
$40,000
90 %

What Am I Worth?

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How To Become a Machine Operator
How To Become a Machine Operator Career Overview

States With The Most Machine Operator Jobs

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

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Machine Operator Jobs By State

Machine Operator Education

Machine Operator Majors

22.6 %

Machine Operator Degrees

High School Diploma

52.9 %

Associate

15.9 %

Diploma

14.3 %

Top Skills For a 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, 11.2% of machine operators listed basic math on their resume, but soft skills such as color vision and math skills are important as well.

Choose From 10+ Customizable Machine Operator Resume templates

Zippia allows you to choose from different easy-to-use Machine Operator templates, and provides you with expert advice. Using the templates, you can rest assured that the structure and format of your 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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Machine Operator Demographics

Machine Operator Gender Distribution

Male
Male
72%
Female
Female
28%

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

  • Among machine operators, 27.7% of them are women, while 72.3% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among machine operators is White, which makes up 65.0% of all machine operators.

  • The most common foreign language among machine operators is Spanish at 77.3%.

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Best States For a Machine Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as a machine operator. The best states for people in this position are Minnesota, Wisconsin, Washington, and Idaho. Machine operators make the most in Minnesota with an average salary of $36,966. Whereas in Wisconsin and Washington, they would average $35,869 and $35,676, respectively. While machine operators would only make an average of $35,212 in Idaho, 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. Wisconsin

Total Machine Operator Jobs:
1,010
Highest 10% Earn:
$44,000
Location Quotient:
2.26

2. Minnesota

Total Machine Operator Jobs:
801
Highest 10% Earn:
$45,000
Location Quotient:
1.49

3. Pennsylvania

Total Machine Operator Jobs:
1,122
Highest 10% Earn:
$43,000
Location Quotient:
1.19
Full List Of Best States For Machine Operators

How Do Machine Operator Rate Their Jobs?

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5.0

I love to work as a operatorAugust 2019

5.0

Zippia Official LogoI love to work as a operatorAugust 2019

What do you like the most about working as Machine Operator?

It challenging I love challenge to work as a operator it a very challenging job Show More

What do you NOT like?

Short time at work that to day U not working we will call you when we have busy I need a full time job not part time Show More

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Top Machine Operator Employers

Most Common Employers For Machine Operator

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
1PepsiCo$40,897$19.66555
2Pactiv$40,570$19.50592
3Eaton$39,559$19.02477
4Green Mountain Coffee Roasters$38,080$18.31425
5International Paper$37,826$18.19974
6Tenneco$37,763$18.16401
7Georgia-Pacific$36,599$17.60812
8WestRock$36,581$17.59440
9US Farathane$36,033$17.32467
10Aludyne$35,631$17.13382

Machine Operator Videos

Becoming a Machine 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 Long Does It Take To Be A Machine Operator?

It typically doesn't take very long after graduating high school to be a machine operator.

Most machine operators don't need a college education as a high school diploma will suffice. Instead, it's about ensuring you are certified in essential skills and equipped with specific knowledge to operate machinery such as the OSHA Safety Certificate, Forklift Safety, and Inspector, or EPA Amusement Operators Safety Certification.

How Much Do Machine Operators Make A Year?

Machine operators make $28,000 a year. A machine operator, on average, makes $28,000 a year, with salaries ranging anywhere between $23,000 and $34,000.

The barrier to entry for a machine operator is incredibly low, but sadly so is the pay rate. People with significant experience may find themselves earning more, though it is usually more beneficial to pursue advancement within the field.

Is A Machine Operator A Machinist?

Yes, machine operators are considered machinists. Google defines a machinist as "a person who operates a machine, especially a machine tool." By this broad term, they are interchangeable.

What Industry Is Machine Operator?

Machine operators are part of various industries depending on the job, such as manufacturing and production facilities, warehouses, or construction.

If they handle large machinery to transport objects, they most likely work in warehouses or construction. If they create specific parts for various products using specialized machines like a Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machine, they most likely work in manufacturing and production plants.

What Qualifications Do You Need To Be A Machine Operator?

To be a machine operator, you typically need the minimum qualification of a high school diploma or GED.

Although you can get a college education to increase your chances of landing higher-paying jobs in specific industries, some jobs may not require it and offer training instead.

What Skills Do You Need To Be A Machine Operator?

A machine operator should have at least good analytical, mechanical, and coordination skills.

Depending on the industry, you may need certification in specific technical skills to perform safely and efficiently. Overall, it's helpful to have the ability to handle large and heavy machinery with steady hands and the ability to understand schematics and detailed instructions.

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