Machine Operator

Average Machine Operator Salary Nationwide


Overview and Basic Information


For production plants and large manufacturing companies, machine operators are the people who make business possible. Machine operator positions require either the physical operation of a machine or the ability to operate a machine via technology. In addition to assisting in the production process, machine operators are also integral in maintaining equipment and troubleshooting issues within the plant.

Example machine operator job description

Our company is seeking a physically-able, detailed and dedicated individual to fill the open role of machine operator at our fast-paced production plant. The machine operator is responsible for the installation, operation and maintenance of assigned equipment as well as the management of their work station. The ideal candidate for this position will be able to stand on their feet for extended periods of time, have a working knowledge of mechanical equipment and be able to react quickly when issues become present. If you are known for complying with directions and enjoy managing processes, our machine operator position is likely the job for you! 

Typical duties include:

  • Operate assigned machine according to instructions

  • Adjust machine settings according to assigned daily duties

  • Comply with specific safety regulations

  • Perform periodic checks and quality assurance

  • Maintain a detailed activity log of daily duties

  • Troubleshoot issues with machinery as needed

  • Communicate with other machine operators and team members to guarantee safety on the floor

  • Maintain a clean and organized production space

  • All other duties as assigned


  • Knowledge of basic machine mechanics and production procedures

  • Ability to use basic hand tools

  • Proven ability to comply with safety regulations

  • Ability to quickly make problem-solving decisions

  • Basic math and analytical skills

  • High school diploma or GED

Preferred qualifications:

  • Previous years of experience as a machine operator 

  • Previous experience with heavy machinery

  • Trade certification

Common questions about machine operator jobs

How much does a machine operator make?

Machine operators earn competitive average pay of $17 per hour and enjoy additional benefits such as health insurance, life insurance and paid time off.

What are the education requirements?

The typical entry-level machine operator holds a high school diploma or GED. Most machine operator positions provide on-the-job training.

Career paths for machine operators

Many machine operators enjoy a lifelong career in their trade. For individuals looking to advance, other potential career paths include safety manager and plant manager with the right training and experience.

The future of machine operators

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), available positions for machine operators are expected to grow 4% over the next ten years. This is less than the 5% average for all other occupations.

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