Machine operators work in factories and production plants, using machines and tools to make many different kinds of products. Most machine operators are trained in the basic use of a variety of machines, though some specialize in a particular operation. The job can require long hours of repetitive motion, such as pushing a button or pulling a lever, which is why employers will often rotate operators between machines to prevent fatigue. Though most employers require only a high school diploma, machine operators who possess vocational experience have the opportunity to work their way up to a machinist position. The average salary for a machine operator is $31,350 per year.
To help managers hire the most qualified machine operators, Criteria Corp has developed the Criteria Basic Skills Test (CBST), a pre-employment test geared toward entry-to-mid-level positions. Applicants are tasked with answering 40 items in 20 minutes, covering basic verbal and math competency, as well as attention to detail. As Criteria Corp's most heavily-used test, the CBST is perfect for assessing an applicant's preparedness for work and predicting their "trainability" on the job, by testing traits that are highly correlated with job success.
Besides evaluating basic literacy and numeracy, many employers hiring machine operators want to ensure that their new hires will have specific aptitude for working with machinery and equipment. Criteria Corp customers use the Wiesen Test of Mechanical Aptitude (WTMA) for this purpose. The WTMA is widely used by production and manufacturing companies, and employers prefer it because it minimizes the gender and cultural biases that have plagued older mechanical aptitude tests.
Employers wanting to screen production personnel for behavioral risk factors also will sometimes utilize personality-based pre-employment tests as well. The Workplace Productivity Profile (WPP) is a behavioral risk assessment that measures dependability, conscientiousness, and rule adherence, and helps companies reduce their risks related to counterproductive work behaviors such as absenteeism, time-wasting, theft and fraud. It can often be helpful in reducing employee turnover.
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Rank in HireSelect:
29 out of 1,100
Median wage in U.S.:
Expected growth rate 2012-2022:
Number employed (2014): 66,530
Education level of Machine Operators: