A production operator works in a factory or manufacturing setting, and will be responsible for operating machinery used in the production process. Production operator jobs can vary by industry, though just about all will involve working with various types of machinery and raw materials. These production operator jobs usually do not require any certain level of education, but employers are increasingly hiring candidates with at least a high school diploma. On the job training is required once the job candidate gets hired, and some certifications may need to be earned before the candidate can work in an industrial setting.
Assembly line operator positions are production operator jobs that require the operator to work in conjunction with several other operators to create a finished product. The operator may work at any position on the assembly line and work with any machines that cut, manipulate, or assemble raw materials. Production operator jobs at the end of an assembly line may deal more with finishing, inspecting, and packaging goods for transport. Inspection jobs may involve testing machines, visually inspecting a finished product, or performing various tests for durability, reliability, and accuracy.
Manipulation of raw materials often involves using cutting machines such as lathes and routers. Production operator jobs that focus on such cutting and manipulation often involve the use of computer numeric control (CNC) machines. Training will be necessary in order to operate CNC machines, as the operator will need to become familiar with the various computer programs required to operate the cutting machines. The operator will also likely need to be trained to read blueprints or schematics to ensure the materials are cut or manipulated properly. The tolerances of such pieces are usually quite precise, so the machine operator will need to be able to create a piece that stays within these tolerances by properly programming the machine. Computer-aided design (CAD) skills may also be required of such operators, though this is not always the case.
Some production operator jobs are done in a supervisory or managerial capacity. A supervisor is responsible for monitoring the progress of all processes and making adjustments accordingly. He or she may work in conjunction with a manager to improve productivity, manage employees, hire or terminate employees, and address any other issues regarding the production process. Such supervisors will also be responsible for monitoring the safety of all processes and employees throughout the production process.