How Do I Become a Packaging Operator?

Jeremy Laukkonen
Jeremy Laukkonen
Cardboard packages.
Cardboard packages.

The prerequisites to begin a job in package operations are typically not too demanding, though each company is different in its hiring practices. In most cases, you will need to have the equivalent of a high school education and a few basic skills in order to become a packaging operator. Good eyesight and manual dexterity, along with strong oral comprehension and expression abilities, can be necessary for this position. Some previous experience with package handling can also be helpful in landing this type of job, and if you know how to use equipment such as pallet trucks, or are good with computers, you may stand out in the interview process.

Packaging operators may complete orders by securing boxes with tape.
Packaging operators may complete orders by securing boxes with tape.

Packaging operators perform a wide variety of duties, from operating and maintaining equipment, to assisting in the design of new packaging methods or facilities. Entry level employees typically perform basic tasks related to the package handling process, while more advanced positions often involve troubleshooting issues with equipment, and performing various maintenance operations. Senior packaging operators can also move into supervisory or management roles.

If you want to become a packaging operator, you will typically need to finish high school or complete an alternative program. Most employers require that new packaging operators have at least that much education, though there are always exceptions. If you have extensive experience that is relevant to the position, you may be able to bypass the minimum educational requirement. In other cases, it can be necessary to obtain additional education, such as biotechnology packaging operations where you may need to have an associate's degree.

In addition to educational requirements, many employers look for some level of prior work experience in a related field. If you have any previous warehouse or package handling experience, the skills you learned there may help you become a packaging operator. An after school or summer job while you are in high school can help prepare you to become a packaging operator, if it involves working with equipment such as pallet trucks. Other skills can also help you land a job as a packaging operator, especially if you are good with computers and other types of technology.

There are also a number of different skills you may want to develop in order to become a packaging operator. The ability to be an active listener can be important, since as an entry level packaging operator you will typically need to listen to complex instructions, and understand them so that you can carry them out. That makes it important to have good oral comprehension and expression as well. Manual dexterity and good overall physical fitness is also important; good eyesight is typically necessary as well.

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    • Cardboard packages.
      By: Scanrail
      Cardboard packages.
    • Packaging operators may complete orders by securing boxes with tape.
      By: FirstBlood
      Packaging operators may complete orders by securing boxes with tape.