What It Takes to Become a Machine Operator

Are you thinking about working as a machine operator? Would you like to know more about what this job involves? Here is a brief overview to help you decide if this career is right for you.

What Does a Machine Operator Do?

Machine operators set up, operate, maintain and repair a variety of computer-controlled and mechanical machines. Workers usually begin as machine operators or machinists and may advance to become tool and die makers.

Where Do Machine Operators Work?

Machine operators primarily work in manufacturing. Placements may range from food production plants to machine shops to aluminum foundries.

What Is a Typical Schedule for a Machine Operator?

Some machine operators work full time during regular business hours. Others, especially those in factories running 24 hours a day, work second or third shift as well as weekends. Overtime is common.

What Training And/Or Education Do Machine Operators Need?

Although some employers don’t require formal education, most prefer a high school diploma or GED. Some community colleges and technical schools offer two-year programs, but many machine operators learn their trade on the job. Machine operators can also take exams to earn industry-recognized certifications.

What Skills and Abilities Do Machine Operators Require?

To become a successful machine operator, individuals should have the following:

  • Strong math skills
  • Mechanical skills
  • Technical and computer skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Attentiveness to detail
  • A willingness to learn
  • A willingness to work on a team
  • Physical stamina to stand for long hours and perform repetitive movements

And, they should work to develop the following:

  • Ability to read and understand blueprints
  • Familiarity with operating equipment such as milling machines, lathes, and grinders
  • Familiarity with computer-aided design and manufacturing software (CAD/CAM)
  • Ability to set up and operate CNC machines

How Much Money Do Machine Operators Make?

Starting pay for an inexperienced machine operator may range from $8 to $12 per hour. However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for tool and die makers was $52,480 (or $25.23 per hour) in 2017.

Are You Looking for a Job as a Machine Operator?

Halpin Staffing places light and heavy industrial workers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and northeastern Illinois. We can help you find a good-paying job and a career you love. Browse our available machine operator openings today!

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