What does a Machine Operator do?

Machine operators set-up, operate, and maintain machinery, usually in a manufacturing setting. They are responsible for ensuring the machine produces high quality products, runs smoothly and at capacity, and is properly maintained.

Education and training requirements depend on the type of machinery. Most machine operator positions require a high school degree. Machine operators typically have strong attention to detail, strong mathematical skills, and are excellent teamworkers.

  • Set up machinery for operation
  • Start machinery and make adjustments to machinery when necessary to improve performance
  • Operate machinery and equipment according to instructions
  • Troubleshoot issues and perform maintenance
  • Perform quality control, follow reporting and recordkeeping procedures, and report problems to supervisor
  • Comply with all safety and health regulations
  • Clean machinery and maintain cleanliness in work area
  • High School Diploma or GED
  • Previous machine operating experience in a manufacturing facility, or similar relevant experience
  • Must be detail-oriented
  • Understanding of production and plant processes
  • Analytical and numerical skills: ability to perform mathematical calculations (add, subtract, multiply, divide) in different units of measurement
  • Ability to follow written and oral instructions
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Ability to lift heavy equipment, to bend, and to stand or walk for long periods of time
  • Willingness to work in shifts (late or early hours, weekends, and overtime if necessary)
EducationGED / High School Degree
Work/Life Balance
2.9 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
2.9 ★
Avg. Experience8+ years

Machine Operator Salaries

Average Base Pay

$29 /hour
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Median: $29
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

Machine Operator Career Path

Learn how to become a Machine Operator, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Machine Operator
Senior Machine Operator
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Machine Operator IV
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Machine Operator Insights

Read what Machine Operator professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
Super CampsSuper Camps
Raw Manager
27 Sep 2019

“Working day to day is really great and the team I worked with was superb.”

Flint Group (Luxembourg)Flint Group (Luxembourg)
Machine Operator
19 Jul 2021

“I’m not sure I can mention his name and plant manager was nice and didn’t see any issues with him”

Machine Operator
27 May 2021

“I want to work and earn a good living while adding value to help my employer grow”

HP HoodHP Hood
Machine Operator
24 Jun 2021

“They pay every Friday is the best part about the job and pay pretty good.”

Carbery Food Ingredients
Production Operator
16 Oct 2021

“Pay isn't as good as equivalent sites and overtime needs to be worked to make any decent money.”

VPX SportsVPX Sports
Machine Operator
15 Apr 2020

“So if you like not doing anything and getting paid for it then this is a good spot for you.”

Raven IndustriesRaven Industries
Machine Operator
7 Sep 2021

“pay is average but did adapt to surround businesses in same field and raised wages.”

High Steel StructuresHigh Steel Structures
Machine Operator
22 Feb 2021

“I was promised training and internal promotion and have received neither after years of working here.”

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Machine Operator Interviews

Related Careers

No skills overlap
No skills overlap
25% skills overlap
13% skills overlap

Machine Operator jobs

Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a machine operator

When working as a machine operator, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are CNC, Machine Operating, English Language, Attention To Detail and Critical Thinking.

The most similar professions to machine operator are:
  • Welder
  • Mechanic
  • Machinist
  • Millwright

The most common qualifications to become a machine operator is a minimum of a GED / High School Degree and an average of 0 - 1 of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.