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What is a Machine Operator and What Do They Do?

Are you looking for a job that has solid benefits, usually doesn’t require a degree and offers career advancement? If the answer is yes, then you should explore machine operator jobs. We’ll tell you everything you need to know about the career path, job responsibilities, and also how to become a machine operator.

What is a machine operator?

Machine operators are skilled at installing, operating and maintaining the machinery used in manufacturing and production.  They also may be responsible for equipment installation, maintenance, and quality control.

What do machine operators do?

Machine operator job duties are generally related to managing inventory, creating new SOPs (standard operating procedures) and sanitation. As professionals progress in their career and become more skilled, machine operator responsibilities may increase, and they may be asked to train others on the equipment they are experienced with.


What are the requirements of a machine operator?

While many machine operator jobs are considered entry-level positions there are several skills that can help workers succeed in this role.

  • Prior manufacturing experience may be seen as a plus. Having a familiarity of the work environment can help workers make the transition into the role. 
  • Troubleshooting and understanding why a machine is malfunctioning makes problem solving an important skill for machine operators.
  • Attention to detail is another skill many machine operators have. Often, they’ll have to interpret blueprints or follow very specific instructions as part of the production process. This skill is also useful when being trained on new equipment. Machine operators generally work in very busy environments and being able to listen and learn new skills quickly is valuable.

What machinery is most common? 

Machine operators work with a range of equipment. They operate CNC (computer numerical control) machines, shapers and more. 

Every device or machine you learn how to operate can help you advance your career or find work that’s better suited to your skills.

How to become a machine operator

Many machine operator jobs are entry or intermediate level. However, many employers prefer workers who have experience working with relevant machinery or have at least worked in manufacturing. 

Rarely is secondary education required to become a machine operator. A high school diploma and a willingness to learn can provide entry into a less skilled role where workers can advance towards a machine operator position. 

If you currently work in manufacturing or production and interested in learning more about how to become a machine operator, ask your supervisor about potential job openings or training opportunities.

Certifications and apprenticeships are available but aren’t usually necessary for many machine operator roles.

Interested in the job? Search for nearby machine operator jobs today.