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How to Become a Production Worker

Are you interested in operating machinery or throwing raw materials into the machinery? If so, this may be the job for you. For this position, no college degree is required, only a high school diploma. However, companies prefer someone with previous experience with working in a warehouse, as well as having either leadership or management skills/experience. 

This job requires heavy lifting, so you must be able to physically carry up to 75 pounds. Those hiring for this position will want someone who can be a great asset to their positive work environment and someone who can manage their time in a timely manner. Your typical work duties will include keeping your workspace sanitized and clean, following CDC health guidelines, manufacturing products to be shipped, and testing the quality assurance of products.

Sample job description

[Your company name] is looking to hire precision-driven production workers. Our employees strive to keep our assembly lines productive and efficient while also strictly following health and safety guidelines to keep themselves and others safe. If you enjoy a fast-paced environment and are able to follow production guidelines and specifications, you could be a wonderful asset to our team. Our goal is to maintain a clean and safe work environment while also successfully meeting production targets. An ideal candidate will enjoy working as part of a team, possess good communication skills, and have excellent physical dexterity.

Typical duties and responsibilities

  • Maintain a clean workspace while following health and safety guidelines 
  • Safely and efficiently operate manufacturing machinery
  • Manufacture and prepare products for shipping 
  • Properly store material and product inventory 
  • Properly maintain warehouse manufacturing equipment
  • Perform quality assurance testing

Education and experience

  • High school diploma
  • Previous warehouse experience a plus
  • Industry-specific skills a plus
  • Leadership or management experience is a plus

Required skills and qualifications

  • Production efficiency
  • Physically able to lift up to 75 pounds
  • Works well with others
  • Capable of following directions
  • High attention to detail and organization of the workspace
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills 
  • Able to manage time efficiently
  • Technically and mechanically able

Preferred qualifications

  • Previous experience in a related field
  • Industry-specific skills
  • Experience in leadership or management
  • Familiarity with production equipment and machinery
  • Ability to work efficiently with minimal supervision
  • Self-driven and good work ethic
  • Ability to closely monitor production for product defects

Typical work environment

Production workers typically work in a factory or warehouse setting. It is usually a fast-paced environment that requires exact precision, strict adhesion to safety protocol, and also a close eye to watch for defects in products. The facility has to be clean and organized in order to assure employee safety and production efficiency. As a production worker, you have to be productive in a loud environment.

Typical hours

Production workers typically work shift hours, but the shifts can be any time. Usual shifts are morning, evening, and overnight. Some production workers may even be required to work weekends and holidays. The demand for products doesn’t slow down just because it is a holiday or weekend, and in fact, this can often increase production.

Available certifications

Production workers can acquire several different certifications to help them succeed in their field and also demonstrate their professional commitment. 

  • Certified Manufacturing Engineering Certification (CMEC). Candidates for the CMEC must have at least eight years of experience in a manufacturer setting. The exam is four hours long and tests general and manufacturing-specific knowledge. 
  • Certified Production Technician (CPT). The CPT covers the core competencies of manufacturing production on the front line. There are five individual assessments over the following subjects: safety, quality practices and measurement, manufacturing processes and production, maintenance awareness, and green production. Candidates must earn the first four certificates to receive the full CPT 4.0 certification. 
  • Certified Automation Professional (CAP). CAP gives production workers the chance to prove they have extensive knowledge of automation and controls. The CAP exam covers an extensive amount of materials, such as the ISA standards, the IEEE standards, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and standards, the National Electrical Code (NEC), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standards, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Codes and Federal Regulations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards, the US Food and Drug Administration Regulations, and the American Petroleum Institute (API) standards.

Career path

The first step to becoming a production worker is to finish high school and receive your diploma. If possible, consider pursuing an associate degree in a relevant field. It would also help to acquire a few different certifications, like the ones mentioned above. Once your resume is updated, you can start to apply for production worker jobs.

US, Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job outlook

SOC Code: 17-3026

2020 Employment64,100
Projected Employment in 203066,900
Projected 2020-2030 Percentage Shift 4% increase
Projected 2020-2030 Numeric Shift2,800 increase

As long as there is supply and demand, there will be a need for production workers. Unfortunately, more and more companies are moving their production overseas. But in spite of that, the expected number of production workers is still expected to increase tremendously over the next 10 years. Like most other fields in the workforce, the expectations that employers have for potential employees will rise. This is why gaining as many applicable certifications as possible will greatly enhance your chances of being hired as a production worker over the other applicants. With an ever-changing workforce due to the advances of new technologies and other advances, it is key to continue to further your education in your field or desired field.