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Order Selector Career Guide

What is an order selector?

An order selector is crucial in a warehouse or distribution center environment. These individuals ensure that the correct quantities of specific items are picked from warehouse storage and prepared for shipment to various destinations. They play a fundamental part in a company’s logistics and supply chain, helping to fulfill customer orders accurately and efficiently.

Individuals in this role serve as the link between the warehouse and its customers, whether external clients or internal departments. By ensuring accurate and timely order fulfillment, they contribute significantly to customer satisfaction, efficient inventory management, and the smooth running of business operations. In many ways, selectors are the unseen force that keeps retail, manufacturing, and distribution businesses moving forward.

Duties and responsibilities

The duties of an order selector mainly revolve around picking, packing, and organizing goods in a warehouse or distribution center. They retrieve products from warehouse shelves based on a pick ticket or an electronic order sheet, which details the items and quantities needed. Accuracy is paramount in this role, as they must select the right products in the right amounts.

After picking the items, they typically pack them for shipment, checking that goods are secured to prevent damage during transport. In some roles, they might also be responsible for loading these packed orders onto trucks for delivery. Additionally, they often perform tasks related to inventory management, such as restocking shelves and conducting inventory checks.

Work environment

An order selector works within the fast-paced, dynamic environment of a warehouse or distribution center. The work involves a lot of physical activity, including lifting heavy items, operating equipment like pallet jacks or forklifts, and moving quickly around the warehouse to fulfill orders. Depending on the warehouse, they may work with a wide range of products, from food items to hardware supplies.

Safety is a crucial aspect of this work environment, given the potential hazards associated with heavy lifting and operating machinery. These individuals must adhere to safety protocols and wear appropriate protective gear. They often work as part of a team and must coordinate their efforts with other warehouse staff to ensure efficient operations.

Typical work hours

The work hours of an order selector can vary greatly depending on the operating hours of the warehouse or distribution center. Many warehouses operate around the clock, meaning they might work in shifts, including overnight or during weekends. Full-time, part-time, and overtime opportunities are common in this role, with the possibility of longer hours during peak seasons or periods of high demand. Given the continuous cycle of incoming and outgoing goods, it’s not unusual for them to start early in the morning or finish late in the evening.

How to become an order selector

This career guide section outlines the process of becoming an order selector. The primary steps involve obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent, progressing through the necessary training, and gaining related work experience where applicable.

Step 1: Obtain a high school diploma or equivalent

The first step is obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent. While some employers may not require this level of education, it’s commonly seen as a basic requirement and can increase your chances of getting hired. GED programs are often available for those who did not complete high school.

Step 2: Get a forklift certification

These individuals often work in warehouses, using forklifts to move large quantities of stock. A forklift certification can increase your employability in this role. You can obtain a forklift certification through a local community college, online course, or an employer offering training and certification.

Step 3: Gain relevant experience

Experience in a warehouse or distribution center is beneficial for aspiring selectors. This gives you practical experience with inventory management systems and shipping procedures. Potential employers look for candidates with previous work experience who can prove they’re capable and reliable.

Step 4: Develop physical stamina

This role is physically demanding, requiring stamina, strength, and the ability to be on your feet for extended periods. Regular physical exercise can help you prepare for the physicality of the role. You may also need to pass a medical exam or physical assessment as part of the job application process.

Step 5: Apply for jobs

Once you have met the necessary qualifications, start applying for order selector positions. Look for employment opportunities in warehouses, distribution centers, or any large retail establishments with a large inventory. Remember to tailor your resume and cover letter to highlight relevant skills, certifications, and experience.

How much do order selectors make?

Order selector salaries will vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. The speed and efficiency of order picking, as well as the complexity of the supply chain management systems they work with, can significantly impact their compensation.

Highest paying industries

  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers: $38,000
  • Apparel, Piece Goods, and Notions Merchant Wholesalers: $36,000
  • Grocery and Related Product Merchant Wholesalers: $35,000
  • General Line Grocery Merchant Wholesalers: $34,000
  • Other Miscellaneous Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers: $33,000

Highest paying states

  • Washington: $39,000
  • California: $37,000
  • Alaska: $36,000
  • Massachusetts: $35,000
  • Connecticut: $34,000

Browse order selector salary data by market

Types of order selectors

Below, we explore common career types and areas of specialization for order selectors. This section highlights the various roles and specialties that exist within this profession.

Dry goods selector

Those in this role typically select and pack dry goods such as canned foods or packaged goods. They navigate the warehouse environment, pulling items from shelves to fulfill orders. As dry goods often have longer shelf lives, accuracy and efficiency are key responsibilities in this role.

Fresh produce selector

In this specialization, individuals are tasked with the picking and packing of fresh fruits and vegetables. Given the perishable nature of fresh produce, special attention is given to the quality and freshness of the items selected for order fulfillment. An understanding of produce quality standards is beneficial.

Refrigerated goods selector

As the title hints, these order selectors work within refrigerated storage areas, picking and packing items that require cold storage, such as dairy products or cold cuts. They must be comfortable working in colder temperatures and knowledgeable about cold storage protocols to maintain product integrity.

Electronic order selector

This role uses electronic systems for order selection, relying on electronic order-picking tools or machinery. They’re often focused on high-volume order fulfillment and may also require experience with warehouse management systems or inventory control software.

Supervisor of order selectors

Going a notch higher, this role involves managing and supervising order selector teams. These individuals ensure that tasks are carried out efficiently and correctly, provide appropriate training, and oversee employee performance. They also play a role in coordinating with other departments, such as inventory and dispatch.

Top skills for order selectors

This career guide section outlines the skills and abilities that will help you find success as an order selector.

Attention to detail

In the world of order selection, being detail-oriented is imperative. Mistakes in product selection could lead to customer dissatisfaction, product returns, and even loss of key clients. Thus, the ability to consistently pick the correct items is a must-have skill.

Physical stamina and dexterity

Much of the job entails moving around the warehouse, lifting heavy items, and operating machinery. Physical endurance is required to perform these tasks effectively. Flexibility and good hand-eye coordination also contribute much to the efficiency and safety of the role.

Inventory management knowledge

A working knowledge of inventory management systems is a major asset. Understanding the nuances of stock organization and being able to navigate digital inventory platforms can greatly expedite the order selection process and minimize errors.

Multitasking ability

They often must juggle various tasks simultaneously, from operating machinery to accurately identifying products and updating stock records. This demands being able to prioritize and manage time effectively while maintaining high levels of accuracy.

Excellent communication skills

Clear and concise communication is essential as selectors often interact with warehouse management and transportation teams. Effectively articulating issues, progress, and concerns makes operations smoother and more efficient.

Order selector career path options

The career progression for an order selector is diverse, offering many avenues for growth and career advancement. The key element to progression rolls into enhancing skills acquired on the job, including order reading, inventory management, packing, and shipping.

Warehouse supervisor

After gaining proficient experience on the frontline, one can aspire to step into a supervisory role. As a warehouse supervisor, one will be responsible for overseeing the tasks of multiple selectors, ensuring operations run smoothly, and meeting deadlines.

Inventory specialist or control analyst

One can also leverage their experience and knowledge in inventory tracking to become an inventory specialist or control analyst. As an inventory specialist, you would be responsible for maintaining accurate records of products and managing stock levels. Alternatively, as a control analyst, you would be in charge of improving an organization’s efficiency by studying and improving operational processes.

Logistics planner or coordinator

Another potential career progression path is into a logistics planner or coordinator role. With a good grasp of inventory control and management, one can move into a role that requires planning and coordinating the logistics of the entire supply chain. This could include transportation logistics, inventory forecasting, supplier management, or customer service.

Cross-functional opportunities

Lastly, there’s potential for cross-functional opportunities within the company. For example, a detailed understanding of the order selection process and procedures may lead to opportunities in process improvement, training, audit roles, or even a move into other departments such as sales or customer relations.

Order selection has seen considerable advancements in recent years. This is largely due to technological advancements and an increased need for efficient inventory management. The increased implementation of technology in this field necessitates selectors who are tech-savvy. A trend toward robotic assistance for lifting heavy items is growing, making it an easier, more streamlined job than in the past. However, this doesn’t decrease the need for physical stamina, as plenty of lifting is still involved in most cases.

Additionally, the emergence of online shopping and e-commerce has grown the demand for employees in this area. As companies shift their business models to keep up with the digital age, there will likely be an increased demand for these professionals. However, the increased use of technology requires these individuals to continually adapt and learn new systems and processes.

Employment projections

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment for order selectors is projected to grow about as average through 2031. The continued need for these individuals is due to the expected increase in online shopping, which will require more workers to fulfill orders and send products to consumers and businesses.

Order selector career tips

Understand your equipment

Building a solid understanding of how to operate and maintain the necessary equipment safely and efficiently can guide you in effectively carrying out your responsibilities. Learn the features and limitations of the equipment to prevent workplace accidents and improve efficiency. On top of this, having technical knowledge of your tools can help anticipate and mitigate potential operational issues.

Prioritize safety practices

Prioritizing safety helps to protect you and your colleagues. Be diligent about wearing protective gear, adhering to all safety protocols, and completing tasks without rushing. Attend safety training and be up-to-date with industry safety standards.

Stay physically fit

Regular physical activity and healthy eating will help you maintain the physical capabilities necessary to perform your duties effectively. Consider incorporating exercises that enhance strength and flexibility into your routine.

Be detail oriented

Paying close attention to detail helps ensure accuracy in order sorting and reduces errors that cost time and resources to fix. Improving your focus can help you read order slips correctly, identify the right products, and track inventory levels accurately.

Advance your skills with certifications

Additional certifications can distinguish you as a professional in your field. Consider earning certifications such as Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) or Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) provided by the Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM). These, among other certifications, can enhance your knowledge and proficiency, making you more marketable and increasing your potential for career growth.

Build a professional network

Networking can lead to new job opportunities and professional development resources. Look for relevant industry organizations to join and participate in their events and forums.

  • Association for Supply Chain Management (ASCM)
  • Warehousing Education and Research Council (WERC)
  • International Warehouse Logistics Association (IWLA)

Participate in continuous learning

Keeping up with industry trends, advancements in warehouse technology, and improving your technical skills through continuous learning is imperative for growth in this role. Stay ahead by continuously learning throughout your career. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Enroll in warehouse management online courses
  • Attend seminars and workshops on supply chain management
  • Keep up with industry publications
  • Learn about the latest warehouse technology

Where the order selector jobs are

Top employers

  • United Natural Foods, Inc.
  • C&S Wholesale Grocers
  • Sysco
  • Performance Food Group
  • US Foods

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Pennsylvania

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • LinkedIn
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Monster


What physical capabilities are required for an order selector?

This role usually demands a good level of physical strength and stamina since it involves a great deal of lifting and moving inventory. Good hand-eye coordination is also essential for using equipment and selecting items. As aspects of the job may also require stooping, kneeling, and crouching, overall physical fitness is very important.

What skills are important for an order selector?

They must have strong organizational skills to manage and prioritize tasks efficiently. Attention to detail is also key to ensuring the correct items are selected and packaged. Basic math skills are important to accurately count inventory. Familiarity with inventory hardware and software can be beneficial.

Are there any certifications that can enhance my career as an order selector?

Although not always a requirement, certain certifications like a forklift operator license can make you more desirable to potential employers. Other related certifications, like safety training or inventory management, can also demonstrate your commitment to the profession and enhance career prospects.

What is the work environment typically like for order selectors?

Work environments for this profession usually consist of warehouses or storage facilities. The role could involve working in cold environments if the facility stores refrigerated items. The work can be physically demanding and requires using PPE (personal protective equipment) when necessary. Work hours may vary and can include nights, weekends, and holidays.

What are the key responsibilities for an order selector?

In addition to selecting and packaging items for orders, their responsibilities can include maintaining accurate records of items selected, properly using equipment such as forklifts, and frequently checking inventory for quality and accuracy. They may also be responsible for maintaining cleanliness and organization within the workplace.

What character traits are advantageous for an order selector?

Being dependable and punctual is valuable as productivity directly impacts the company’s ability to fulfill orders. Individuals with an eye for detail can better spot errors or issues with inventory. Persistence and a positive attitude can be beneficial, as the job can be physically demanding. Lastly, those who are safety-conscious would also do well in this role to avoid accidents or injuries.

What education or training is typically necessary for order selectors?

While a high school diploma or equivalent is often required, most of the training for this role occurs on the job. Basic maths and computer literacy could be beneficial for inventory management. Understanding safety protocols and operating machinery such as pallet jacks or forklifts would also be advantageous.

How much decision-making autonomy does an order selector typically have?

They will generally work under the guidance of a supervisor or manager. However, some level of autonomy is usually needed when it comes to problem-solving, making decisions related to order fulfillment, and addressing minor issues with equipment or the inventory system.

What kind of job progression can an order selector aim for?

As they gain experience and demonstrate diligence and reliability, they may progress to supervisory or managerial roles within the warehouse. Depending on their interests and additional qualifications, they could also move into related areas such as inventory management, purchasing, or logistics.