As an operator, it's your job to know how specific equipment or machines work. You should know how to install and repair certain machinery as well as knowing how to use tools to help with the manufacturing process.

Operators often spend their time checking in on equipment and making sure it's properly working. Every problem that is detected, you'll often call upon an operators to come and save the day. They're essentially the superhero in an office setting.

In most cases, operators work full-time, normal hours. But when a client needs help, you'll need to be available. which means that sometimes duty calls at night or on the weekends.

What Does an Operator Do

There are certain skills that many 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, visual ability and mechanical skills.

Learn more about what an Operator does

How To Become an Operator

If you're interested in becoming an operator, one of the first things to consider is how much education you need. We've determined that 22.4% of operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 1.9% of operators have master's degrees. Even though some 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 an Operator

Operator Career Paths

Average Salary for an Operator

Operators in America make an average salary of $37,928 per year or $18 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $53,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $27,000 per year.
Average Operator Salary
$37,928 Yearly
$18.23 hourly
10 %
90 %

What Am I Worth?

How To Become an Operator
How To Become an Operator Career Overview

States With The Most Operator Jobs

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

Average Salary: Job Openings:

Number Of Operator Jobs By State

Operator Education

Operator Majors

23.4 %

Operator Degrees

High School Diploma

40.5 %


22.4 %


19.6 %

Top Skills For an 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, 15.3% of operators listed safety procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as communication skills and visual ability are important as well.

  • Safety Procedures, 15.3%
  • CDL, 6.5%
  • Emergency Calls, 6.1%
  • Preventative Maintenance, 4.4%
  • Quality Checks, 4.2%
  • Other Skills, 63.5%

Choose From 10+ Customizable Operator Resume templates

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

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Operator Demographics

Operator Gender Distribution


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

  • Among operators, 27.0% of them are women, while 73.0% are men.

  • The most common race/ethnicity among operators is White, which makes up 63.1% of all operators.

  • The most common foreign language among operators is Spanish at 66.6%.

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Best States For an Operator

Some places are better than others when it comes to starting a career as an operator. The best states for people in this position are North Dakota, New Jersey, Washington, and Alaska. Operators make the most in North Dakota with an average salary of $49,742. Whereas in New Jersey and Washington, they would average $49,399 and $47,937, respectively. While operators would only make an average of $47,106 in Alaska, 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. Wyoming

Total Operator Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

2. Oregon

Total Operator Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:

3. Minnesota

Total Operator Jobs:
Highest 10% Earn:
Location Quotient:
Full List Of Best States For Operators

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Top Operator Employers

Most Common Employers For Operator

RankCompanyAverage SalaryHourly RateJob Openings
3Island Operating$40,470$19.4698
4North American Lighting$40,299$19.37213
6International Paper$40,197$19.33132
10Kinder Morgan$37,197$17.8892

Operator Videos

Becoming an Operator FAQs

How Long Does It Take To Become An Operator?

It takes 3 years of professional experience to become an operator. That is the time it takes to learn specific operator skills, but does not account for time spent in formal education.

Do Heavy Equipment Operators Make Good Money?

Yes, heavy equipment operators make good money. A heavy equipment operator on average makes $65,500 a year, which is roughly $10,000 higher than the national wage average. A heavy equipment operator can make anywhere between $54,000 and $75,000, with outliers on either side.

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 An Interaction Designer The Same As A Ux Designer?

No, an interaction designer is not necessarily the same as a UX designer. Although they are often used interchangeably, they generally focus on the overall user experience design process.

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