Operators are skilled workers who are in charge of working on an industrial machine or a specific aspect of the manufacturing business. They are trained to operate machines, learning how to use them. They are also responsible for the maintenance and repair of the machine, and they should be able to troubleshoot problems and provide remedies to them. They must be knowledgeable about the different parts of the machine and how to mitigate any challenges that may arise. Operators should be alert, detail-oriented, and familiar with safety and health guidelines.

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Operator Responsibilities

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

  • Use automate systems and RF units to pull, put away and load customer product, in addition to managing inventory
  • Manage day-to-day transportation and logistics services for multinational account base.
  • Maintain update inventory, and manage product preservation while documenting all procedures.
  • Handle accident/incident forms and have been train in proper CPR and emergency first aide.
  • Operate heavy equipment (load, pan, and backhoe) effectively reducing injury, property damage or loss.
  • Direct the design and construction of facility upgrades that more effectively meet customer specifications.
  • Coordinate work schedules, complete various quarterly and yearly reports, and operate heavy equipment including backhoes and excavators
  • Work FRAC, drill outs, oil, and high pressure gas jobs.
  • Trouble shoot equipment and perform LOTO procedures per sops.
  • Place sheets on the laser bed for the machine to cut.
  • Operate a Vutek UV digital printer to print on various materials.
  • Clamp metal and plywood strips around dies or patterns to form molds.
  • Plant operator specializing in water treatment facilities, compressors, and chillers.
  • Collaborate with MSHA inspectors to ensure plant and operations are safe and compliant.
  • Load and unload trucks at wash bay with forks, stinger and bucket.

Operator Job Description

Perhaps the hardest question to answer when deciding on a career as an Operator is "should I become an Operator?" You might find this info to be helpful. When compared to other jobs, Operator careers are projected to have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 4% from 2018 through 2028. This is in accordance with the Bureau of Labor Statistics. What's more, is that the projected number of opportunities that are predicted to become available for a Operator by 2028 is 32,600.

Operators average about $17.06 an hour, which makes the Operator annual salary $35,479. Additionally, Operators are known to earn anywhere from $24,000 to $50,000 a year. This means that the top-earning Operators make $26,000 more than the lowest earning ones.

Once you've become an Operator, you may be curious about what other opportunities are out there. Careers aren't one size fits all. For that reason, we discovered some other jobs that you may find appealing. Some jobs you might find interesting include a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator, Equipment Operator/Labour, General Machine Operator, and Maintenance Operator.

Operator Jobs You Might Like

12 Operator Resume Examples

Operator Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 13% of Operators are proficient in Safety Procedures, Heavy Equipment, and CDL. They’re also known for soft skills such as Alertness, Communication skills, and Visual ability.

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

  • Safety Procedures, 13%

    Assisted patrons entering and exiting rides, monitored activities to ensure adherence to safety procedures, shut-down and emergency evacuation procedures.

  • Heavy Equipment, 8%

    Licensed irrigation technician:Installing and maintaining irrigation systems, maintaining greenbelts, expertise in operating various heavy equipment machinery.

  • CDL, 6%

    Drive class A CDL, lay liners in sanitary sewers, also took video's of sewer lines.

  • Emergency, 5%

    Provide initial medical stabilization and transportation of patients in response to 9-1-1 emergency requests.

  • Daily Operations, 5%

    Verified daily operation production readings, monitored computer readouts of production systems and adjusted system operation to optimize production output.

  • Quality Standards, 4%

    Performed in-process quality control inspections alerting management to deviations and made machine setting adjustments to bring production back into quality standards.

"Safety Procedures," "Heavy Equipment," and "CDL" aren't the only skills we found Operators list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of Operator responsibilities that we found, including:

  • The most important skills for an Operator to have in this position are Alertness. In this excerpt that we gathered from a Operator resume, you'll understand why: "Material moving machine operators must be aware of their surroundings while operating machinery." According to resumes we found, Alertness can be used by a Operator in order to "Hold daily safety meetings to ensure personnel alertness and Need to Know information. "
  • Another trait important for fulfilling Operator duties is Communication skills. According to a Operator resume, "Material moving machine operators signal and direct workers to load and unload material." Here's an example of how Operators are able to utilize Communication skills: "Monitored alarm activity from communications sites to ensure company compliance with FAA/FCC. "
  • Visual ability is also an important skill for Operators to have. This example of how Operators use this skill comes from a Operator resume, "Material moving machine operators must be able to see clearly where they are driving or what they are moving" Read this excerpt from a resume to understand how vital it is to their everyday roles and responsibilities, "Performed visual inspections of coils in accordance with product specifications and quality standards. "
  • An Operator responsibilities sometimes require "Mechanical skills." The responsibilities that rely on this skills are shown by this resume excerpt: "Material moving machine operators make minor adjustments to their machines and perform basic maintenance on them." This resume example shows how this skill is used by Operators: "Adjust, clean, lubricate the mechanical components of a laser ensuring quality standards are met. "
  • See the full list of Operator skills.

    After discovering the most helpful skills, we moved onto what kind of education might be helpful in becoming an Operator. We found that 22.4% of Operators have graduated with a bachelor's degree and 1.9% of people in this position have earned their master's degrees. While some Operators have a college degree, you may find it's also true that generally it's possible to be successful in this career with only a high school degree. In fact, our research shows that one out of every two Operators were not college graduates.

    Those Operators who do attend college, typically earn either a Business degree or a General Studies degree. Less commonly earned degrees for Operators include a Criminal Justice degree or a Computer Science degree.

    When you're ready to become an Operator, you might wonder which companies hire Operators. According to our research through Operator resumes, Operators are mostly hired by FedEx, Avis Budget Group, and Geodis Wilson USA. Now is a good time to apply as FedEx has 133 Operators job openings, and there are 92 at Avis Budget Group and 78 at Geodis Wilson USA.

    Since salary is important to some Operators, it's good to note that they are figured to earn the highest salaries at Microsoft, Real Alloy Holding, and Sinclair Broadcast Group. If you were to take a closer look at Microsoft, you'd find that the average Operator salary is $125,706. Then at Real Alloy Holding, Operators receive an average salary of $79,243, while the salary at Sinclair Broadcast Group is $79,243.

    View more details on Operator salaries across the United States.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious operators are:

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      What Machine Operator/Forklift Operators Do

      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.

      We looked at the average Operator annual salary and compared it with the average of a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator. Generally speaking, Machine Operator/Forklift Operators receive $3,338 lower pay than Operators per year.

      While their salaries may differ, one common ground between Operators and Machine Operator/Forklift Operators are a few of the skills required in each craft. In both careers, employees bring forth skills like Safety Procedures, Heavy Equipment, and Quality Standards.

      These skill sets are where the common ground ends though. An Operator responsibility is more likely to require skills like "CDL," "Emergency," "Daily Operations," and "Dozers." Whereas a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator requires skills like "Forklifts," "Drill Press," "RF," and "Troubleshoot." Just by understanding these different skills you can see how different these careers are.

      Machine Operator/Forklift Operators tend to reach similar levels of education than Operators. In fact, Machine Operator/Forklift Operators are 1.4% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% less likely to have a Doctoral Degree.

      What Are The Duties Of an Equipment Operator/Labour?

      Heavy equipment operators control and drive construction equipment. The operators operate heavy equipment, including backhoes, bulldozers, and lift. They are in charge of placing or moving materials and other equipment. Their job covers the inspection, cleanup, lubrication, and refilling of equipment. They should have experience in operating machines. Among the skills necessary for this job include attention to detail, physical strength, knowledge of production procedure, and analytical skills. They should be able to read schematics, manuals, and blueprints.

      Now we're going to look at the Equipment Operator/Labour profession. On average, Equipment Operators/Labour earn a $344 higher salary than Operators a year.

      A similarity between the two careers of Operators and Equipment Operators/Labour are a few of the skills associated with both roles. We used resumes from both professions to find that both use skills like "Heavy Equipment," "CDL," and "Preventive Maintenance. "

      In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, Operator responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "Safety Procedures," "Emergency," "Daily Operations," and "Quality Standards." Meanwhile, a Equipment Operator/Labour might be skilled in areas such as "Manual Labor," "Sewer Lines," "Water Truck," and "Excavators." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

      On the topic of education, Equipment Operators/Labour earn similar levels of education than Operators. In general, they're 1.2% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      How a General Machine Operator Compares

      Let's now take a look at the General Machine Operator profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than Operators with a $3,735 difference per year.

      Using Operators and General Machine Operators resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "Safety Procedures," "Heavy Equipment," and "Quality Standards," but the other skills required are very different.

      Some important key differences between the two careers are a few of the skills necessary to fulfill responsibilities. Some examples from Operator resumes include skills like "CDL," "Emergency," "Daily Operations," and "Preventive Maintenance," whereas a General Machine Operator might be skilled in "Manual Labor," "Troubleshoot," "Production Process," and "Tape Measure. "

      General Machine Operators are known to earn similar educational levels when compared to Operators. Additionally, they're 1.3% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

      Description Of a Maintenance Operator

      Maintenance operators are skilled technicians who use a variety of small equipment and tools to perform and assist in the maintenance activities of a business establishment. These operators are required to assist the equipment manager in preparing preventative maintenance procedures so that they can increase productivity and reduce downtime of equipment. They must enforce safety rules and regulations and ensure that staff members are following them to prevent accidents in the facility. Maintenance operators must also train maintenance employees in performing proper preventative maintenance.

      Now, we'll look at Maintenance Operators, who generally average a lower pay when compared to Operators annual salary. In fact, the difference is about $397 per year.

      According to resumes from both Operators and Maintenance Operators, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "Safety Procedures," "Heavy Equipment," and "CDL. "

      While some skills are shared by these professions, there are some differences to note. "Emergency," "Quality Standards," "Quality Checks," and "Dozers" are skills that have shown up on Operators resumes. Additionally, Maintenance Operator uses skills like Hand Tools, DOT, Equipment Operation, and Snow Removal on their resumes.

      Maintenance Operators reach similar levels of education when compared to Operators. The difference is that they're 0.5% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 0.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

      What an Operator Does FAQs

      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.

      A machine operator only needs a GED or high-school diploma, but some higher-level positions may require training from a technical school. If you are looking to make a career, you shouldn't stay as a machine operator for long.

      By gaining experience as a machine operator, you can open up management opportunities or even work as a machine technician.

      Learn more about this question

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