Education, Skills and Responsibilities of Machine Operators
What Is a Machine Operator?
As a machine operator (or machinist), you’ll work with heavy machines in manufacturing and assembly. It’s probable that you will become specialized in operating one type of machine. The type of work you might perform ranges considerably, and includes working with:
Milling machines, Mold inspection machines, Drilling machines, Rolling machines, Construction machines, Packing machines
What Are Your Responsibilities in Machine Operator Jobs?
Your specific machine operator job responsibilities will depend upon the type of machine you use, your experience, and your seniority. However, common responsibilities of machine operators include:
- Inspection of finished products as they come off the machine
- Inspection of the machine
- Set up of the machine to ensure the products align with blueprints
- Minor machine maintenanc
- Liaising with technicians for larger repairs
- Health and safety
- Working with your team members to ensure production line efficiency and product quality
Where Do Machine Operators Work?
As a machine operator, you are likely to be employed in factories and manufacturing workshops. These environments are fast-paced, and your job is critical to maintaining productivity. You’ll be expected to ensure that your machine is producing as many products as possible. This means you’ll need to work calmly under pressure.
The work can be repetitive, and you may find yourself sitting or standing for long periods. You may need to lift heavy objects. Consequently, strength and stamina are key to your ability to do an effective job as a machine operator.
The environment may also be loud, and you will probably need to wear protective equipment such as ear defender and goggles, gloves and steel-toe boots. You will also need to complete health and safety training regularly to demonstrate that you understand the health and safety rules.
What Qualifications Do You Need as a Machine Operator?
To land a machine operator job, you will need a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. You will receive on-the-job training to ensure that you know how to operate the specific machine you are working with, and that you understand how your role fits in with the rest of the production line. Often, machine operators undertake a three- or four-year apprenticeship that includes several hundred hours of classroom training in addition to on-the-job training.
As you progress in your career as a machine operator, you are likely to undertake continuous professional development. The Manufacturing Institute maintains a Skills Certification System which has been designed by and for industry and is endorsed by the National Association of Manufacturers. The Skills Certification System includes the core skills needed in all manufacturing sectors:
- Personal effectiveness (do you show up on time and do a good job?)
- Workplace competencies (do you work well in a team and have problem solving skills?)
- Communication (can you communicate effectively both verbally and in writing, and follow instructions?)
There are several certifications that you can gain, each adding to your value as an employee. These certifications include:
Certified Production Technician
Demonstrating that you have mastered front-line production manufacturing,
Manufacturing Technician Level 1
Showing competence in computer aided design (CAD) skills, computer aided programming, and machine maintenance
confirming your advanced skills in manufacturing technology
How Do You Find Machine Operator Jobs?
machine operator jobs are plentiful, and you may find employers advertising in local newspapers, on the internet, or through recruitment agencies. The types of employers that hire for machine operating jobs include:
- Food and beverage companies
- Consumer goods manufacturers
- Automotive industry
- Electronic goods assemblers
- Printing and packaging businesses
As a specialist staffing agency, Coast personnel work with some of the best employers of machine operators in the United States. Whether this is your first machine operating job or you are a seasoned professional looking for a new opening, contact Coast Personnel today.