Machine operators are responsible for managing the machines assigned to them. They set up, install, operate, maintain, troubleshoot, and ensure quality output. Machine operators must know the inner workings of the machine such that they can easily address any problems that may arise. They must ensure that all components of the machine are working well. They perform maintenance routine checks to ensure that the machine is working at the most efficient capacity, is well-stocked with needed materials, and producing the best output. Machine operators are also responsible for ensuring the cleanliness and sanitation of the machine.

Machine Operator Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real machine operator resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Operate forklifts and other heavy machinery safely.
  • Follow company and safety procedures using industrial chemicals and PPE to efficiently clean and sanitize all equipment.
  • Operate forklift and bobcat as needed.
  • Operate machinery including forklift, bobcat and various power tools.
  • Operate and maintain SMT machine as well as printer and oven.
  • Assemble Honda and Mercedes dashboards on fast pace assembly line by hand and machines.
  • Run robots, plc screens, computers, hmi pendants, printers and other machinery.
  • Perform all SPC checks, record and modify equipment to ensure correct product operational ranges are maintain.
  • Operate, maintain, repair computerize stacking system on PVC foam extrusion production line in a fast pace environment.
  • Maintain complete GMP require documentations.
Machine Operator Traits
Color vision
Color vision involves being able to determine between different colors.
Math skills include being able to perform basic addition and subtraction, as well as solving for the unknown and visualizing data that will be helpful in the workplace.
Technical skills refer to specific ability or knowledge that is needed to carry out every day responsibilities, such as physical or digital tasks.

Machine Operator Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a machine operator does, you may be wondering, "should I become a machine operator?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, machine operators have a growth rate described as "decline" at -11% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of machine operator opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is -203,300.

A machine operator annual salary averages $28,400, which breaks down to $13.65 an hour. However, machine operators can earn anywhere from upwards of $23,000 to $34,000 a year. This means that the top-earning machine operators make $11,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a machine operator, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming an assembly operator, machine operator/forklift operator, production operator, and manufacturing operator.

Machine Operator Jobs You Might Like

Machine Operator Resume Examples

Machine Operator Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 18% of Machine Operators are proficient in Inspect Parts, CNC, and Safety Procedures. They’re also known for soft skills such as Color vision, Math skills, and Technical skills.

We break down the percentage of Machine Operators that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Inspect Parts, 18%

    Operate stamping and bending machinery and inspect parts for conformity to specifications.

  • CNC, 7%

    Operated various CNC machine Milled drill machined parts to specification

  • Safety Procedures, 7%

    Completed fast paced instructions to operate bagging machines, forklifts and packaging mechanics while observing safety procedures.

  • Quality Standards, 7%

    Drill press operator * Boring machine operator * Milling machine operator * Responsible for maintaining production and quality standards

  • Machine Parts, 6%

    Cleaned and sanitized machine parts and machine reassemble and verification of proper operation.

  • Safety Rules, 6%

    Utilize safety practices and procedures following established safety rules and regulations and maintains a safe and clean environment.

"inspect parts," "cnc," and "safety procedures" aren't the only skills we found machine operators list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of machine operator responsibilities that we found, including:

  • The most important skills for a machine operator to have in this position are color vision. In this excerpt that we gathered from a machine operator resume, you'll understand why: "assemblers and fabricators who make electrical and electronic products must distinguish different colors, because the wires they often work with are color coded." According to resumes we found, color vision can be used by a machine operator in order to "check yarn products to ensure conformance to specifications such as weight, color and count products and materials. "
  • While it may not be the most important skill, we found that many machine operator duties rely on math skills. This example from a machine operator explains why: "assemblers and fabricators must know basic math and be able to use computers, because the manufacturing process continues to advance technologically." This resume example is just one of many ways machine operators are able to utilize math skills: "recorded statistics on iso documentation, and coordinated with machine technicians and electrical technicians to keep machines operating at maximum efficiency. "
  • Machine operators are also known for technical skills, which can be critical when it comes to performing their duties. An example of why this skill is important is shown by this snippet that we found in a machine operator resume: "assemblers and fabricators must understand technical manuals, blueprints, and schematics for a wide range of products and machines in order to manufacture the final product properly." We also found this resume example that details how this skill is put to the test: "execute technical inspections in the production process. "
  • A machine operator responsibilities sometimes require "dexterity." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "assemblers and fabricators should have a steady hand and good hand–eye coordination, as they must grasp, manipulate, or assemble parts and components that are often very small." This resume example shows how this skill is used by machine operators: "examine materials, ingredients, or products visually or with hands, in order to ensure conformance to establish standards. "
  • Yet another important skill that a machine operator must demonstrate is "physical strength." Assemblers and fabricators must be strong enough to lift heavy components or pieces of machinery This is clearly demonstrated in this example from a machine operator who stated: "inspect materials visually and physically to ensure conformance. "
  • While "mechanical skills" is listed last on this skills list, don't underestimate its importance to machine operator responsibilities. The skill is described by this resume snippet, "modern production systems require assemblers and fabricators to use programmable motion-control devices, computers, and robots on the factory floor." Here is an example of how this skill is used, "maintain fill weights * maintain temperature of juice going into bottles * clean machines * some mechanical maintenance"
  • See the full list of machine operator skills.

    Those machine operators who do attend college, typically earn either a business degree or a general studies degree. Less commonly earned degrees for machine operators include a criminal justice degree or a computer science degree.

    Once you've obtained the level of education you're comfortable with, you might start applying to companies to become a machine operator. We've found that most machine operator resumes include experience from Aerotek, Kelly Services, and AT&T.; Of recent, Aerotek had 184 positions open for machine operators. Meanwhile, there are 129 job openings at Kelly Services and 98 at AT&T.;

    Since salary is important to some machine operators, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Uline, Key Tronic, and Alene Candles. If you were to take a closer look at Uline, you'd find that the average machine operator salary is $38,798. Then at Key Tronic, machine operators receive an average salary of $38,579, while the salary at Alene Candles is $35,923.

    View more details on machine operator salaries across the United States.

    If you earned a degree from the top 100 educational institutions in the United States, you might want to take a look at ManpowerGroup, Kelly Services, and Adecco. These three companies have hired a significant number of machine operators from these institutions.

    In general, machine operators fulfill roles in the manufacturing and automotive industries. While employment numbers are high in those industries, the machine operator annual salary is the highest in the automotive industry with $32,752 as the average salary. Meanwhile, the manufacturing and retail industries pay $32,379 and $31,470 respectively. This means that machine operators who are employed in the automotive industry make 10.3% more than machine operators who work in the technology Industry.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious machine operators are:

      What Assembly Operators Do

      In a manufacturing setting, an assembly operator is in charge of assembling materials using hands or tools. Their responsibilities include following assembly guidelines, packing items in containers and boxes, operating tools and equipment, and developing strategies to optimize operations. They may also perform regular maintenance checks on machines and equipment to maintain a safe and efficient work environment. Furthermore, it is essential to observe an active communication line with co-workers, coordinating for a structured and smooth workflow.

      We looked at the average machine operator annual salary and compared it with the average of an assembly operator. Generally speaking, assembly operators receive $1,657 lower pay than machine operators per year.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between machine operators and assembly operators are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like inspect parts, cnc, and safety procedures.

      As far as similarities go, this is where it ends because a machine operator responsibility requires skills such as "tape measure," "high quality," "heavy machinery," and "ppe." Whereas a assembly operator is skilled in "hand tools," "assembly instructions," "troubleshoot," and "continuous improvement." So if you're looking for what truly separates the two careers, you've found it.

      Assembly operators receive the highest salaries in the technology industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $26,211. But machine operators are paid more in the automotive industry with an average salary of $32,752.

      The education levels that assembly operators earn is a bit different than that of machine operators. In particular, assembly operators are 1.2% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a machine operator. Additionally, they're 0.2% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator?

      A machine operator/forklift operator is responsible for operating industrial trucks to move merchandise around the warehouse facilities and other assigned areas. Machine operators/forklift operators also assist with inventory tasks by scanning orders and ensuring the correct merchandise for shipment. They manage the stability of the vehicles, ensuring its efficiency and optimization during operations, performing engine repairs for any inconsistencies to avoid delays on deliveries. A machine operator/forklift operator should strictly follow the safety protocols of the business, as well as have knowledge of the mechanical industry.

      Now we're going to look at the machine operator/forklift operator profession. On average, machine operator/forklift operators earn a $223 lower salary than machine operators a year.

      Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Machine operators and machine operator/forklift operators both include similar skills like "cnc," "safety procedures," and "quality standards" on their resumes.

      But both careers also use different skills, according to real machine operator resumes. While machine operator responsibilities can utilize skills like "inspect parts," "high quality," "product quality," and "production equipment," some machine operator/forklift operators use skills like "forklifts," "straight truck," "preventive maintenance," and "rf."

      On average, machine operator/forklift operators earn a lower salary than machine operators. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, machine operator/forklift operators earn the most pay in the retail industry with an average salary of $30,701. Whereas, machine operators have higher paychecks in the automotive industry where they earn an average of $32,752.

      On the topic of education, machine operator/forklift operators earn similar levels of education than machine operators. In general, they're 0.4% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.2% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a Production Operator Compares

      A production operator is responsible for handling and monitoring manufacturing machines in a factory or similar establishment, ensuring that everything is running smoothly and according to schedule. Aside from assisting with the processing and packaging of goods, a production operator must also conduct necessary inspections to the machine or equipment that they are using to make sure that it is in good condition and is safe to use. Should there be any issues or concerns regarding safety, it is essential to notify a supervisor right away.

      The third profession we take a look at is production operator. On an average scale, these workers bring in higher salaries than machine operators. In fact, they make a $2,272 higher salary per year.

      While looking through the resumes of several machine operators and production operators we discovered that both professions have similar skills. These similarities include skills such as "cnc," "safety procedures," and "quality standards," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

      As mentioned, these two careers differ between other skills that are required for performing the work exceedingly well. For example, gathering from machine operators resumes, they are more likely to have skills like "inspect parts," "tape measure," "high quality," and "product quality." But a production operator might have skills like "hand tools," "customer service," "data entry," and "preventive maintenance."

      Production operators make a very good living in the finance industry with an average annual salary of $36,867. Whereas machine operators are paid the highest salary in the automotive industry with the average being $32,752.

      When it comes to education, production operators tend to earn similar education levels than machine operators. In fact, they're 2.3% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.0% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Manufacturing Operator

      A manufacturing operator is primarily responsible for overseeing and controlling the performance of machines and equipment, ensuring efficiency and smooth workflow. Their responsibilities revolve around monitoring production operations, conducting regular maintenance checks to ensure the accuracy and quality of machinery, performing corrective measures and adjustments as needed, and assessing the quality of finished products, all while adhering to deadlines and goals. Furthermore, it is vital to comply with the company's safety policies and regulations to maintain a safe and healthy work environment for everyone.

      The fourth career we look at typically earns higher pay than machine operators. On average, manufacturing operators earn a difference of $284 higher per year.

      According to resumes from both machine operators and manufacturing operators, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "cnc," "safety procedures," and "quality standards. "

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "inspect parts," "tape measure," "high quality," and "product quality" are skills that have shown up on machine operators resumes. Additionally, manufacturing operator uses skills like hand tools, quality products, fda, and dexterity on their resumes.

      Manufacturing operators earn a higher salary in the manufacturing industry with an average of $35,293. Whereas, machine operators earn the highest salary in the automotive industry.

      Manufacturing operators reach higher levels of education when compared to machine operators. The difference is that they're 6.7% more likely to earn a Master's Degree more, and 1.0% more likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.