Line Operator Job Description
Line operators work on assembly lines and other types of factory lines to help with the creation of products of all kinds, sort mail, and perform other factory floor tasks. Manufacturing businesses, shipping companies, and factories hire line operators to work full-time hours during various shifts, including nights and weekends. Line operators work in a team environment with many colleagues and report to the floor supervisor or shift manager. Because line operators work completely on the property, travel is not required for this job.
Line Operator Duties and Responsibilities
Specific job duties are different for line operators depending on their place on the line and the products being manufactured. These core responsibilities, however, are the same everywhere:
Add Raw Materials
Line operators add raw materials to the line to continue production.
Set Up and Prepare Machinery
Line operators set up machinery and prepare equipment to get the line running after a stop.
Line operators monitor all nearby equipment while they’re working and stop the line immediately if there is a snag or another problem that could compromise product quality or worker safety.
Perform Quality Control
Line operators inspect items on the line and pull products and materials that do not meet quality standards.
Communicate with Team
Line operators maintain an open line of communication with other line workers and supervisors to alert them to potential hazards and assembling issues.
Clean Work Area
Line operators keep their immediate work area clean and organized throughout every work shift.
Follow Safety Standards
Line operators adhere to safety standards at all times. This includes wearing protective gear, such as work boots and safety glasses.
Line Operator Skills and Qualifications
Line operators work quickly and methodically to assemble products on an assembly line, sort packages or letters, and perform other factory floor tasks. Employers seek out candidates with the following skills:
- Mechanical skills – line operators use mechanical skills to perform specific line tasks involving sorting or assembling
- Communication skills – good verbal communication skills are essential for line operators, who speak frequently with other workers and supervisors during work shifts
- Attention to detail – attention to detail is a must-have for line operators, who must spot potential problems on the line and perform precise job functions
- Physical fitness – line operators stand for long periods at a time and may stoop, bend, or stretch to perform job functions, which requires physical fitness
- Computer skills – because many assembly lines run on automated systems and use digital technology, basic computer skills are a must-have for line operators
- Observation skills – line operators must be aware of their environment and themselves at all times, because failing to stay alert on an assembly line can compromise safety
Line Operator Education and Training
Line operators must have a high school diploma or GED. Some employers also require line operators to have existing forklift certification, or they may provide employees with forklift certification training within the first few weeks of employment. No additional training or education is required for line operators, who are hired on an entry-level basis.
Line operators undergo paid job training to learn how to perform their daily duties. A supervisor or senior employer will closely monitor new line operators during the training period, the length of which differs for every employer.
Line Operator Salary and Outlook
Assemblers and fabricators, who perform many of the same job duties as line operators, earn a median hourly income of $15.31, or $31,850 annually, according to job data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). PayScale data shows that line operators earn $12.71 hourly. The BLS projects jobs in this field will decline 14 percent through 2026.
Health, dental, life, and disability insurance benefits are provided to full-time line operators by a majority of employers. Retirement packages are typically included with standard benefits. Job perks, such as monetary bonuses for meeting safety goals, are provided by some employers.
Look for jobs, manufacturing news, research materials, career tips, and other content for line operators using these books and websites:
National Association of Manufacturers – stay updated on all the manufacturing industry news, facts, and research with the NAM website
Assembly Line Tender RED-HOT Career Guide – written for line operators in assembly environments, this book has more than 2,000 interview questions and the answers professionals should give to impress an employer and land a job
Association for Manufacturing Excellence – look for job opportunities, find manufacturing news updates, and browse training programs for line operators and other manufacturing workers at the AME website
Assembly Processes: Finishing, Packaging, and Automation – this handbook covers the basics of the assembly process and contains information on both manual and automated assembly job duties and career strategies
Alliance for American Manufacturing – this website is full of manufacturing research tools and career information for professionals in every branch of the manufacturing industry
Assembly Line Complete Self-Assessment Guide – a self-assessment guide for line operators and other assembly line professionals, this book focuses on the basic skills line operators need to succeed