How to Become a

Line Operator

The complete career guide to be a Line Operator: salary, job growth, employers, best schools, and education you may need to get started.

Why We Love It

  • $35,100
    Potential Avg. Salary
  • -0.3%
    Job Growth Rate
  • Fast Paced Career
    Career Attribute
  • Skill-Based Work
    Career Attribute

A line operator’s role involves performing and maintaining the daily activities that are related to a production line, such as housekeeping quality checks, safety regulations, repairs of malfunctioning units and maximizing efficiency.


Recommended Schools

What is a Line Operator?

Line operators have to execute the following responsibilities among others:

  • Observe line operation to detect part defects or mechanical problems, and perform repairs or call machine repair technicians when needed
  • Communicate any defects or unsafe conditions, acts and injuries to Production Supervisor and support the Preventative Maintenance program
  • Maintain the ability to operate multiple production lines and processes smoothly in keeping with work instructions
  • Attend training programs and workshops to develop superior job skills
  • Exceed standard production efficiency across production lines, while practicing proper PPE compliance

Day in the life

In order for products to make it to the market, processes and procedures must be followed repeatedly to properly assemble, pack, and ship items in a seamless manner. It is the primary job of a line operator to ensure an assembly path that is key towards moving a good in the direction of the consumer market.

The line or production operator has to follow work instructions and inspection standards correctly for all operational processes. This job role might involve having occasionally meet with co-workers, supervisors and senior managers to ensure that the results of their activities are in keeping with corporate standards and the expectations of consumers. Thus, being a team player is essential as this role in particular, requires close collaboration with different team members.

It is essential that all line operators have a good understanding of industry standards and regulations in order to safely and efficiently operate the machinery. A production operator may also be asked to keep records of the business output and make comparisons with a production schedule.

Work schedule and typical hours

A line operator might have to keep a flexible schedule and work over 40 hours per week and/or weekends when required. To meet business needs, the ability to work in varying shifts is also necessary from time to time, due to equipment changeovers.

Growth of the job

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, employment of machinists (machine operators) was expected to increase by 10% between 2014 and 2024. In addition, spending on infrastructure is projected to rise, resulting in many new jobs becoming available over the next ten years.

Those with extensive experience will be in a better position to grab more lucrative job opportunities than others. As with many other types of construction worker jobs, it is good to note that the employment of construction equipment operators is sensitive to economic fluctuations.

Typical employers

While a production operator can work for a wide variety of companies, the job itself usually involves some aspect of the manufacturing process. Whether working in a construction or packaging environment, a production operator maintains the machinery necessary to ensure that all final products are in keeping with high-quality standards.

While performing the duties of this role, one may be exposed to moving mechanical parts; vapours or airborne particles; chemicals, vibration, and loud noises based on the type of business environment.

Recommended Schools

How To Become a Line Operator

To join this job sector, candidates should have a minimum of a high school diploma or GED to operate equipment used in the manufacturing, packaging, and other steps involved in making products. Completing high school courses in shop, algebra, trigonometry and computers is an advantage.

Most line operators are trained on the job by more experienced workers or supervisors, but some community colleges and trade schools offer certificate programs. A college degree such as an associate’s degree in manufacturing technology might increase your chances of a reputable line operator position in the industry.

While a certification or license is not a must, it can increase your job prospects as a proof of competency to potential employers. They prove that the designated party possesses a particular range of skills in one or more areas. Courses also equip you with a working knowledge of a wide range of machinery and tools for measurement such as micrometers and calipers.

The ideal candidate must have some level of manufacturing experience, be self-motivated, demonstrate strong analytical skills, outstanding attendance record, and enjoy a fast-paced work environment. Workers with prior experience in operating multiple types of equipment efficiently will be able to have the best job opportunities, and veterans are viewed positively during initial recruitment.

Line Operator Salary Data

We’ve provided you the following to learn more about this career. The salary and growth data on this page comes from recently published Bureau of Labor Statistics data while the recommendations and editorial content are based on our research.

National Anual Salary

Low Range




High Range


National Hourly Wage

Low Range




High Range


How do Line Operator salaries stack up to other jobs across the country? Based on the latest jobs data nationwide, Line Operator's can make an average annual salary of $35,100, or $17 per hour. This makes it an Above Average Salary. On the lower end, they can make $26,410 or $13 per hour, perhaps when just starting out or based on the state you live in.

Salary Rankings And Facts

  • #619 Nationally for All Careers

Highest Education Among Line Operators

  • 0%   Doctorate
  • 0%   Masters
  • 3.1%   Bachelors
  • 5.9%   Associates
  • 21.4%   College
  • 51.8%   High School
  • 17.8%   Less than High School

Job Growth Projections and Forecast

2014 Total Jobs


2024 Est. Jobs


Job Growth Rate


Est. New Jobs


How does Line Operator job growth stack up to other jobs across the country? By 2024, there will be a change of -100 jobs for a total of 39,600 people employed in the career nationwide. This is a -0.3% change in growth over the next ten years, giving the career a growth rate nationwide of Below Average.

Growth Rankings And Facts

  • #618 Nationally for All Careers

What Companies Employ The Most Line Operators

Industry Current Jobs New Jobs Needed % Increase
Farm product raw material merchant wholesalers 5,300 500 1%
Warehousing and storage 2,400 -200 0%
Miscellaneous durable goods merchant wholesalers 1,800 100 0%

Want To Be a Line Operator? Get Started!

Generate your free SmartPlan™ to identify colleges you like, and potential ways to save on a degree or certification program toward your career with courses, offers, and much more!

Enroll Now and Get Started

or Learn More →