Great Jobs KC

Machine Operator

What is it?

A machine operator, also known as a production operator, plays a crucial role in the manufacturing process by operating various types of machinery and equipment. They are responsible for setting up, operating, and maintaining these machines to ensure efficient production and high-quality output. Here’s a breakdown of the key responsibilities of a machine operator:

Machine Operation and Production:

  • Setting up and operating machinery: Machine operators follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) to set up their assigned machines, ensuring proper configuration and calibration. They then operate the machines, feeding materials, monitoring processes, and controlling the equipment to produce goods according to specifications.
  • Monitoring production and quality: They closely monitor the production process, watching for any deviations from quality standards or potential equipment malfunctions. This often involves checking gauges, inspecting output, and addressing any issues promptly.
  • Maintaining operational efficiency: Machine operators play a role in maintaining operational efficiency by performing routine maintenance tasks like cleaning, lubricating, and troubleshooting minor machine issues. In some cases, they may collaborate with maintenance technicians for more complex repairs.
  • Loading and unloading materials: Depending on the specific role, machine operators may be responsible for loading raw materials into the machines and unloading finished products. This may involve using material handling equipment like forklifts or hoists.
  • Keeping records and documentation: They may be required to maintain records of production output, machine performance, and any maintenance activities performed.
  • Following safety protocols: Maintaining a safe work environment is essential. Machine operators adhere to established safety protocols, wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), and report any safety hazards to supervisors.
  • Industry: The type of machinery used and the products being manufactured will differ across various industries, such as automotive, food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, or electronics. Each industry may have specific practices and regulations that machine operators need to follow.
  • Level of automation: The level of automation in a manufacturing facility can influence the operator’s role. In highly automated environments, they might focus on monitoring and overseeing automated processes, while in less automated settings, they might have more hands-on involvement in operating the machinery.
  • Complexity of equipment: The complexity of the machinery being operated can also vary. Some roles involve operating simple machines with basic controls, while others might require working with sophisticated equipment demanding more technical knowledge and skill.

* Salary Range

$38,600 - $61,800

(entry level – experienced)

* Regional Jobs Available


(3 year forecast)

Length of Training

3 weeks

Type of Training

In Person

Is it Right For You?

Here are some essential skills and qualities for success as a machine operator:

  • Ability to learn and follow instructions: Machine operators need to be able to learn new procedures quickly, understand technical manuals and instructions, and follow them precisely to operate machinery safely and effectively.
  • Mechanical aptitude and problem-solving skills: Understanding how machines work, identifying potential problems, and troubleshooting basic machine malfunctions are crucial aspects of the job.
  • Manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination: Operating machinery often requires good hand-eye coordination and dexterity to handle materials, control equipment, and perform precise tasks.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team: While some tasks require individual focus, collaboration with colleagues, supervisors, and maintenance personnel is essential for efficient production and resolving any challenges that may arise.
  • Attention to detail and quality consciousness: Ensuring accurate production and adherence to quality standards requires a keen eye for detail and a commitment to producing high-quality work.


Overall, a career as a machine operator offers a diverse range of opportunities for individuals who enjoy working with machinery, contributing to the production process, and working in a dynamic manufacturing environment. It requires a combination of technical skills, problem-solving abilities, and a commitment to safety and quality.

* Pay Range Data: Occupational Employment Wages Statistics (OEWS). 2023-Q3.
* Demand: Forecast data is based off national projections provided by the BoLS and adapted for regional growth patterns by Chmura.