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How to Become an Assembler

If you’re looking for a hands-on job with the production line of a company, an assembler may be the perfect career choice for you. An assembler uses their sharp skills to put together various parts of a product. This position requires excellent mechanical skills and hand-eye coordination.

Assemblers are responsible for reading schematics and blueprints to assemble products correctly based on physical and digital designs. In order to be a successful assembler, employees need to learn how to operate design machinery and follow strict safety guidelines. This career opportunity allows assemblers to get directly involved in their work while still operating in a professional environment. Workers in this position will need to have a deep understanding of manufacturing to guarantee products are built up to standard.

Sample job description

[Your Company Name] is looking for hardworking, honest, and dedicated individuals who want to be part of the best team in the industry. The ideal candidate would be able to work independently when given a job assignment, be responsible and dependable, able to work well with schedulers, be flexible with changes that may occur during the workday, able to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times, and have excellent communication skills.

As an assembler technician, you will be trained to assemble products and provide services of superior quality to our customers. This is a labor-intensive, sometimes repetitive job.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Read and understand complex diagrams, schematics, and blueprints 
  • Work with team members to ensure production roles are clear
  • Assemble parts and products based on physical and digital designs
  • Operate and maintain design machinery and modify machinery settings when necessary to adhere to design specifications
  • Operate power tools and other heavy machinery
  • Follow strict safety guidelines
  • Regularly communicate with engineers and design staff to ensure designs are being implemented correctly 
  • Troubleshoot issues with designs or production
  • Use tools to make or repair parts and products
  • Work with a team to assemble products on the production floor
  • Maintain a clean workspace
  • Read parts list and make sure all are present
  • Undergo routine preventive maintenance
  • Maintain inventory and place orders for more supplies as needed
  • Complete quality control forms

Education and experience

  • High school diploma or GED
  • Employers in certain industries generally require extra training for more advanced assembly work, usually through technical schools
  • 1+ years of assembly experience preferred

Required skills and qualifications

  • Attention to detail
  • Excellent hand-eye coordination
  • Significant mechanical skills
  • Ability to lift at least 50 lbs.
  • Able to perform repetitive tasks for extended periods 
  • Ability to differentiate between colors to identify colored electrical wires
  • Skilled using an array of manual and power tools
  • Ability to read and interpret drawings and designs
  • Good communication skills
  • Physical fitness and strength to lift and operate heavy electrical machinery
  • Excellent hand-eye coordination
  • Basic computer skills

Preferred qualifications

  • Experience using drafting tools and machinery
  • Willingness to learn new production tools and methods
  • Ability to work flexible shifts

Typical work environment

Assemblers generally work in factories and manufacturing plants. Modern plants and factories are usually clean, well ventilated, and safe. You might be required to stand or sit for long periods. The work is almost always indoors, although some work outdoors. Assemblers often wear protective gear like safety goggles, masks, and earplugs.

Depending on the job, you might be exposed to harmful chemicals, slippery grease, and loud machinery as an assembler. The job can also expose assemblers to other hazards, such as large metal parts, cutting tools, and electrical wiring. These individuals must always be safety-conscious.

Typical hours

Typical hours for this position are from 9 AM to 5 PM. Assemblers typically work a normal 40-hour week, although shift working weekends and overtime are not uncommon. Workers at factories with multiple shifts might have schedules that change often.

Available certifications

As assemblers work in a variety of industries, many institutions offer certifications, including:

  • SAE Fabricator (SFF) – The SFF is offered by ETA International and is for individuals who manufacture, install, support, integrate, and test fiber optics systems. The SFF demonstrates competency, ability, and knowledge as an aerospace fiber optics fabricator. Candidates must pass the technical examinations and meet the requirements, which include 2+ years of education or training after high school to earn certification. 
  • CertTEC Aviation Mechanical Assembly certification – The CertTEC Aviation Mechanical Assembly certification focuses on several topics, including: Introduction to Aviation, Blueprint Reading, Precision Instruments, Power Island & Hand Tools, Fasteners & Fastener Installation Inspection, Drilling & Riveting, Sealing Application & Sealing Safety, and Electrical Bonding & Grounding. The comprehensive assessment is accredited by the International Certification Accreditation Council (ICAC). The exam has three parts consisting of an 80 question computer-based written exam, an oral evaluation, and a practical evaluation designed to test your technical knowledge and skills.
  • IPC-A-610 Acceptability of Electronics Assemblies – For those who work in the electronic assembly field, the IPC-A-610 certification is an excellent way to advance your career. Offered by IPC – Association Connecting Electronics Industries, this certification demonstrates your advanced skill in hardware installation, soldering, surface mounting for chip components, component mounting for DIPS, socket pins, and card edge connectors, jumper wire assembly, and more.

Career path

Most employers require a high school diploma or GED for assembler positions, although an advanced degree is preferred and even required in some industries. Assemblers normally learn from several months of on-the-job training, which might include third-party technical institutions. They can work in a variety of industries. Gaining an accredited certification in a specific field not only demonstrates competence and professionalism, but can be a quicker path to career advancement as well. Assemblers work in a variety of industries, including automobiles, optics, computer and electronic devices, aircrafts, and household appliances.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 51-2051

2020 Employment1,883,700
Projected Employment in 20291,679,400
Projected 2019-2029 Percentage Shift 11% decline
Projected 2019-2029 Numeric Shift204,300 decrease

Assembly roles are becoming increasingly digitized, and innovation continues to drive change in manufacturing plants and factories. More and more, assembly jobs will require high technical skills and a willingness to partner with robotic coworkers. The emergence of electric cars will change how assemblers in automotive plants work, from infrastructure to raw materials to assembly. Growing, high-tech fields such as aerospace, defense, and electro-medical devices will offer the best job opportunities for assemblers in the manufacturing sector.