How To Become a Machine Operator

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Deciding on a career can be tough. There are countless options to consider, each of which comes with its own list of pros and cons. But once you become interested in a career path, it’s important that you consider all of these factors before choosing whether it’s right for you.

If you’re interested in becoming a machine operator, then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered the most relevant information for you. All that you need to do is keep reading to learn what a machine operator is, how to become one, and why you might want to do that.

What is a machine operator, exactly?

You’ve probably already gathered that machine operators operate machines. But what does that really mean? What are the specific tasks that they do on a day-to-day basis?

The answer to these questions is that it varies. There are many different tasks that a machine operator may do depending on the industry that they work in. Ultimately, employees in this role can do everything from setting machinery up to operating it, to performing maintenance on it.

Other tasks that a machine operator can do include loading materials into machines, monitoring them while they’re operating, and performing quality checks.

Why would I want to become one?

There are several reasons why you might be interested in becoming a machine operator. The first is that the position is a very versatile one. 

There are machine operators who work in factories, manufacturing plants, construction settings, and mine sites, among other locations. The job responsibilities and earning potential for a machine operator can vary based on where they decide to work.

This gives you some flexibility in determining what you’d like for your career to look like. Not all career paths offer this.

Additionally, machine operators who work with CAM/CAD machines have a great potential for growth in the future. These machines have revolutionized the manufacturing industry and need to be operated by skilled technicians. Developing a skill set with them now could set you up with a long and fruitful career as a machine operator.

Machine operators also have several different opportunities for advancement to pursue. For example, they can become specialists and earn more money to work on more complicated machines. They can also move into training, supervisory, and managerial positions.

What skills do I need to become a machine operator?

Machine operators need to have strong mathematical and analytical skills. They need to be able to read blueprints and they need to be in good physical health. Other skills that a machine operator can benefit from having include:

How to become a machine operator (step-by-step guide)

It can be difficult to fully understand what it takes to begin a new career. That’s why we’re demystifying the machine operator career path with the step-by-step guide below. Keep reading to learn everything that you need to know about what it takes to become a machine operator.

Step 1: Earn your high school diploma

If you don’t already have a high school diploma, you need to begin by earning one. Most employers will make having a high school diploma a requirement in their job descriptions for machine operators.

But don’t worry if you dropped out or never finished. Completing your GED will also satisfy this requirement. So get started on that sooner rather than later if you’d like to become a machine operator. 

Step 2: Work on your mechanical skills

Machine operators need to have excellent mechanical skills. You’ll develop these through on-the-job training and through any certification programs you may decide to pursue. But it’s never too early to start working on them.

Begin by making sure that you’re familiar with how to use common hand tools. Before you begin applying for machine operator jobs, you should be able to use pliers, hammers, screwdrivers, and wrenches well enough to complete basic tasks.

Step 3: Gain employment experience

You need to have some previous experience on your resume before applying for machine operator positions. Doing so is an important part of demonstrating your competence to employers.

More specifically, you should look for a job that will give you some experience with working in a fast-paced setting. Better yet, find work that develops your attention to detail and ability to work in a team setting. Doing so will make you a much more attractive candidate for machine operator employment in the future.

Step 4: Complete an apprenticeship

Your apprenticeship is where you’ll learn the most about what it takes to become a machine operator. This is a process that typically involves working alongside a more experienced machine operator.

Your mentor will demonstrate what the job is like and begin training you on the skills that are needed to do it. Your apprenticeship may also include formal classes and other types of training that will get you ready for life as a full-time machine operator.

The length of your apprenticeship will vary, but don’t expect it to take just a few months. It takes time to learn everything that you’ll need to know while working as a machine operator. That’s why most apprenticeships for the job take place over a period of three to four years.

Step 5: Pursue certifications

You don’t necessarily need to have a certification in order to become a machine operator. But getting one in an area that you’d like to specialize in can make it much easier to find a good job.

There are several different certifications that are worth considering. For example, you may want to look into the Manufacturing Skill Standards Council Certified Production Technician. 

Earning this will demonstrate your mastery of front-line manufacturing production techniques. The skills that you develop while doing so will serve you well as a machine operator.

You may also want to pursue a CAD/CAM Certificate of Specialization from a local trade school or college. CAM machines are going to play a larger and larger role in the industrial process as time goes on. Machine operators who know how to use them are going to be in much higher demand than their counterparts who don’t in the future.

Step 6: Create your resume

Once you’ve completed your education, your apprenticeship, and pursued any certificates that you’d like, you’re ready to begin ramping up for the application process. You’ll start by creating your resume.

When building out your resume for a machine operator position, it’s important to highlight a few things. First, make sure that you show the previous employment experience that you have which is relevant to this position. While describing this, make sure to highlight your problem-solving, communication, and mechanical skills.

You’ll also want to showcase the education that you’ve received, which has prepared you for your work as a machine operator. Make sure to provide in-depth information to cover the most important things that you’ve learned from your apprenticeship and your certification classes.

Step 7: Begin applying for positions

If you’ve made it this far, congratulations! You’re finally ready to begin applying for machine operator positions. But how do you determine which positions you’d like to apply for?

To do so, you’ll want to spend some time thinking about what your ideal career as a machine operator would look like. Do you want to work in factories? On construction sites? At mining outposts?

Similarly, consider where you hope to go as you advance in your career. If you’d like to move into management, then try to look for a position that will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your leadership skills.

Or, maybe you prefer to move into education down the line. If so, look for a job that will give you the skills that you need to work as an educator in the future.

These are just a few of the factors that you should consider while deciding where to apply. Others include location, salary, and potential for growth in the future.

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