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Working as an Operator

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.

There is more than meets the eye when it comes to being an operator. For example, did you know that they make an average of $16.41 an hour? That's $34,129 a year!

Between 2018 and 2028, the career is expected to grow 4% and produce 32,600 job opportunities across the U.S.

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 analytical skills, hand-eye-foot coordination and mechanical skills.

When it comes to the most important skills required to be an operator, we found that a lot of resumes listed 12.1% of operators included safety procedures, while 7.5% of resumes included heavy equipment, and 6.3% of resumes included daily operations. Hard skills like these are helpful to have when it comes to performing essential job responsibilities.

When it comes to searching for a job, many search for a key term or phrase. Instead, it might be more helpful to search by industry, as you might be missing jobs that you never thought about in industries that you didn't even think offered positions related to the operator job title. But what industry to start with? Most operators actually find jobs in the hospitality and manufacturing industries.

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 17.7% of operators have a bachelor's degree. In terms of higher education levels, we found that 2.1% 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.

Choosing the right major is always an important step when researching how to become an operator. When we researched the most common majors for an operator, we found that they most commonly earn high school diploma degrees or bachelor's degree degrees. Other degrees that we often see on operator resumes include associate degree degrees or diploma degrees.

You may find that experience in other jobs will help you become an operator. In fact, many operator jobs require experience in a role such as cashier. Meanwhile, many operators also have previous career experience in roles such as customer service representative or sales associate.

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Average Salary$34,129
Job Growth Rate4%

Operator Jobs

Operator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an Operator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

Learn How To Write an Operator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless Operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

Operator Career Paths

Top Careers Before Operator

Cashier
16.0%

Top Careers After Operator

Cashier
10.0%
Driver
7.8%

What is the right job for my career path?

Tell us your goals and we'll match you with the rights job to get there.

Average Salary for an Operator

Operators in America make an average salary of $34,129 per year or $16 per hour. The top 10 percent makes over $48,000 per year, while the bottom 10 percent under $24,000 per year.
Average Salary
$34,129

Best Paying Cities

Average Salary
Salary Range66k - 92k$78k$78,283
Salary Range56k - 97k$74k$74,046
Salary Range45k - 50k$48k$48,001
Salary Range42k - 50k$46k$45,913
Salary Range38k - 48k$43k$43,305
Salary Range37k - 49k$43k$43,252
$25k
$97k

Recently Added Salaries

Job TitleCompanyCompanyStart DateSalary
Operator
Operator
Aqua America, Inc.
Aqua America, Inc.
06/17/2020
06/17/2020
$60,21006/17/2020
$60,210
Meadwestvaco
Industrial Operator
Industrial Operator
Meadwestvaco
Meadwestvaco
06/17/2020
06/17/2020
$35,24906/17/2020
$35,249
Westrock Company
Industrial Operator
Industrial Operator
Westrock Company
Westrock Company
06/16/2020
06/16/2020
$35,24906/16/2020
$35,249
Downstream Operator
Downstream Operator
Randstad
Randstad
06/16/2020
06/16/2020
$25,04406/16/2020
$25,044
Operator
Operator
Randstad
Randstad
06/15/2020
06/15/2020
$27,13106/15/2020
$27,131
See More Recent Salaries

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Operator Demographics

Gender

male

67.3%

female

28.0%

unknown

4.8%

Ethnicity

White

60.2%

Hispanic or Latino

18.2%

Black or African American

15.8%

Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

66.5%

French

6.7%

German

2.6%
See More Demographics

Operator Education

Majors

Degrees

High School Diploma

45.8%

Bachelors

17.7%

Associate

16.2%

Entry Level Jobs For Becoming An Operator

Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary

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, 12.1% of operators listed safety procedures on their resume, but soft skills such as analytical skills and hand-eye-foot coordination are important as well.

  • Safety Procedures, 12.1%
  • Heavy Equipment, 7.5%
  • Daily Operations, 6.3%
  • CDL, 3.9%
  • Quality Standards, 3.5%
  • Other Skills, 66.7%
  • See All Operator Skills

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 Oregon, New Hampshire, Louisiana, and Alaska. Operators make the most in Oregon with an average salary of $52,268. Whereas in New Hampshire and Louisiana, they would average $52,175 and $52,175, respectively. While operators would only make an average of $51,372 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. Louisiana

Total Operator Jobs:
648
Highest 10% Earn:
$85,000
Location Quotient:
1.44
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

2. Arkansas

Total Operator Jobs:
453
Highest 10% Earn:
$60,000
Location Quotient:
1.45
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here

3. Wyoming

Total Operator Jobs:
238
Highest 10% Earn:
$55,000
Location Quotient:
3.05
Location Quotient is a measure used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to determine how concentrated a certain industry is in a single state compared to the nation as a whole. You can read more about how BLS calculates location quotients here
View Full List

Operator Resumes

Designing and figuring out what to include on your resume can be tough, not to mention time-consuming. That's why we put together a guide that is designed to help you craft the perfect resume for becoming an operator. If you're needing extra inspiration, take a look through our selection of templates that are specific to your job.

At Zippia, we went through countless operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

Learn How To Write an Operator Resume

At Zippia, we went through countless operator resumes and compiled some information about how best to optimize them. Here are some suggestions based on what we found, divided by the individual sections of the resume itself.

View Detailed Information

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Top Operator Employers

We've made finding a great employer to work for easy by doing the hard work for you. We looked into employers that employ operators and discovered their number of operator opportunities and average salary. Through our research, we concluded that Target was the best, especially with an average salary of $42,036. Forklifts follows up with an average salary of $36,030, and then comes AT&T with an average of $61,738. In addition, we know most people would rather work from home. So instead of having to change careers, we identified the best employers for remote work as an operator. The employers include Linde, Matheson Tri GAS, and Ervin Cable

1. Target
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$42,036
Operators Hired: 
388+
2. Forklifts
3.9
Avg. Salary: 
$36,030
Operators Hired: 
314+
3. AT&T
4.7
Avg. Salary: 
$61,738
Operators Hired: 
259+
4. North American Lighting
4.4
Avg. Salary: 
$58,382
Operators Hired: 
213+
5. Halliburton
4.8
Avg. Salary: 
$71,210
Operators Hired: 
203+
6. Georgia-Pacific
4.2
Avg. Salary: 
$46,056
Operators Hired: 
188+

Operator Videos

Recently Added Operator Jobs

Updated October 2, 2020