Home / Career Guides / Picker Packer

Picker Packer Career Guide

What is a picker packer?

A picker packer plays a key role in the logistics and shipping sector. These professionals manage inventory storage, organize goods, and ensure they are safely packed and ready for distribution. They are integral to a company’s supply chain, supporting the process of order fulfillment by preparing customer orders for dispatch. Their work enables businesses to deliver products to consumers, retail outlets, or other businesses promptly, accurately, and efficiently.

Picker packers often work in warehouses, distribution centers, or storage facilities. They actively contribute to a company’s customer service by maintaining the accuracy of orders and preventing damage to goods during packaging and transit. They also contribute to the efficiency of warehouse operations by fulfilling multiple orders at once and maintaining an organized working environment.

Duties and responsibilities

A picker packer is responsible for a range of tasks in the warehouse or distribution center. Their primary duty is picking items from inventory as per the details provided in the order form. They ensure the goods picked match the product code or description on the order. Attention to detail is paramount to avoid mistakes or discrepancies that can cause delays in delivery or customer dissatisfaction.

After picking the appropriate items, they are responsible for packing the orders in an efficient and secure manner. This typically involves using appropriate packaging materials to prevent damage in transit. They also ensure items are properly labeled, including details like shipping address and any necessary handling instructions. Sometimes, these workers may also be responsible for processing returns, restocking items, or assisting with inventory management tasks.

Work environment

Picker packers predominantly work in warehouse environments. This can often be fast-paced and physically demanding due to the need to process a high number of orders each day. The environment can be large and complex, with various storage solutions, including high racks and shelving units. It involves dealing with products of varying sizes, shapes, and weights. Therefore, safety and efficiency in navigating around the warehouse are essential.

While packing, they often use equipment like tape dispensers, box cutters, and occasionally forklifts. The warehouse can get noisy due to the operation of machinery and the high volume of activities. Proper protective equipment, such as safety shoes, gloves, or high-visibility clothing, may be required depending on the working conditions. They usually work in a team setting, collaborating with other warehouse staff to complete tasks.

Typical work hours

Most picker packers work full-time hours, although part-time opportunities can also be available depending on the business’s operational needs. Warehouse facilities often operate around the clock, so shifts can occur anytime, including early mornings, afternoons, or overnight. Weekend work and overtime may also be required, especially during busy periods such as the holiday season when the volume of orders is typically higher.

Flexibility is often needed as shift patterns can change, and staff may need to be available to work extra hours at short notice. In some cases, they might be employed temporarily to cover peaks in the business cycle, like during sales or holidays, or if there is an increased demand due to actions such as product launches or promotional campaigns.

How to become a picker packer

This career guide section outlines the process of becoming a picker packer. We will highlight key steps ranging from understanding the nature of the job to acquiring appropriate skills and navigating the application process.

Step 1: Understand the job requirements

Playing a key role in warehouse operations, these professionals assemble orders, pack goods for shipping, and perform inventory checks. It’s vital to comprehend these duties to execute the job efficiently. No formal education is required for this role; however, a high school diploma may be preferred by some employers.

Step 2: Obtain necessary skills

This role demands good physical stamina, attention to detail, basic mathematical abilities, and strong organizational skills. You should be able to lift heavy packages and operate warehouse equipment like forklifts. Practice these skills if you’re serious about pursuing this career.

Step 3: Gain relevant experience

Although not mandatory, previous warehouse or logistics experience can be helpful. Possible work placements include retail stocking, inventory management, or a general warehouse assistant’s role. These experiences equip you with practical knowledge of inventory procedures and safety protocols.

Step 4: Attend warehouse equipment training

Many warehouse operations use machinery like forklifts, pallet jacks, and conveyor belts. If you can get trained on properly using these machines, you’ll be more attractive to potential employers. Obtain a forklift operator certification if possible.

Step 5: Prepare a tailored resume and cover letter

Your resume should highlight your relevant skills, experiences, and any relevant certifications, like forklift operation. Mention your physical ability to lift heavy packages, sharp attention to detail, and organizational skills. A cover letter can help express your motivations and interest in the warehouse industry.

Step 6: Ace the job interview

During your interview, showcase your skills and experiences relevant to the job. Be prepared to answer questions about handling goods, dealing with pressure, and maintaining organization and safety. Your ability to communicate effectively and handle job-related scenarios can impress potential employers.

How much do picker packers make?

Picker packer salaries vary by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. Factors impacting their compensation include the physical demand of the job, the complexity of tasks, and working hours – with the potential for overtime pay in busy periods.

Highest paying industries

  • Wholesale Markets – $35,980
  • Furniture Wholesalers – $34,210
  • Non-Durable Goods Merchant Wholesalers – $33,760
  • Electronics and Appliance Stores – $32,860
  • General Freight Trucking – $31,960

Highest paying states

  • Alaska – $37,690
  • Washington – $35,850
  • Massachusetts – $35,600
  • Connecticut – $35,270
  • California – $34,960

Browse picker packer salary data by market

Types of picker packers

Below, we explore common career types and areas of specialization for picker packers. This section summarizes distinct facets of the profession, demonstrating its varied nature and multiple specialties.

General picker packer

In warehousing and distribution, many start their careers as general picker packers. These professionals are primarily involved with product packaging and picking items based on order specifications. As an indivisible part of the supply chain, they ensure proper product management, from storage organization to order fulfillment.

Food industry picker packer

Another common specialization falls within the food industry. In such environments, picker packers may work with perishable items, necessitating quick packing and adherence to safety standards to maintain freshness. These professionals follow important regulations, principles, and procedures specific to the food industry.

Electronic goods picker packer

Handling electronic goods as a picker packer requires precision and attention to detail. These specialists work with consumer electronics, appliances, and other technical devices. Diligent handling, appropriate packing methods, and order accuracy are very important to prevent damage and maintain product functionality.

Pharmaceutical picker packer

Specializing in the pharmaceutical industry, these picker packers work with sensitive items like medicine and other healthcare products. The need for accuracy and proficiency in handling these products is paramount. Extra care is given to these items’ expiration dates, storage conditions, and potential cross-contamination. Professionals in this field must uphold the high standards of this industry while performing their duties.

Freight picker packer

Moving to larger scales, picker packers can specialize in handling and preparing freight orders. Dealing with pallets of goods rather than individual items, they ensure that purchases make it from warehouses to their final destinations safely and efficiently. This role requires strength and knowledge of various packing strategies.

Top skills for picker packers

This section highlights the skills and traits that will lead to career success as a picker packer. Gain insights into which attributes will contribute toward your effectiveness in this role.

Attention to detail

Maintaining an eye for detail is imperative to prevent errors during the picking and packing process. This means checking items against an inventory list to ensure the correct items are picked, verifying quantities, and accurately packaging them.

Physical stamina and strength

This job role often involves lifting heavy merchandise, standing for extended periods, and manual handling tasks. As such, it requires good physical condition, strength, and endurance. Strong stamina will ensure you can efficiently work through your shift carrying, picking, and packing items.

Manual dexterity

Those pursuing this profession must have good hand-eye coordination. Being able to quickly and accurately grab, move, or package items using your hands and fingers can greatly improve your productivity in this role. This also helps to reduce the risk of damaging sensitive items during packing.

Reliability and dependability

Reliability is highly prized in this field. Employers look for individuals who consistently turn up on time, work full shifts, and can be relied on to complete their duties responsibly. Dependability also means maintaining a steady work pace to meet quotas and deadlines without compromising quality control.

Basic math skills

Professionals in this role need to possess fundamental mathematical skills. This is used for tasks such as counting items, weighing packages, and measuring goods. A basic understanding of measurements and quantities will help ensure accuracy in picking and packing tasks.

Picker packer career path

This position is generally seen as an entry-level role within the supply chain industry, a vast field with many opportunities for growth and advancement. As a picker packer, you have numerous options to progress your career depending on your interest and skill set.

One common path for advancement is to move into a supervisory role, such as team leader or shift supervisor. This step-up would put you in charge of managing a team of picker packers, ensuring smooth operations, and helping resolve any issues. Around this level, you can also learn about aspects of warehouse management, such as stock control, stock rotation, and quality control. Gathering these skills can set you on track for larger managerial roles in the future.

Another possibility is progressing toward specialized roles like inventory or stock management. Your experience handling goods and understanding warehouse operations can make you a great candidate for these positions. These jobs involve maintaining accurate inventory levels, determining order quantities, or managing supplier relationships. Proficiency in these areas can lead you toward procurement or supply chain management roles.

The need for these professionals’ quick, efficient, and accurate processing of items has surged in response to the rise in online shopping. In essence, this heightened demand has underscored the importance of this profession in the modern era and has set a new standard of the role’s value within various industries.

Digitalization has started to creep its way into various aspects of the profession. With a growing number of companies turning to automated solutions and technologically advanced systems to boost their efficiency, workers in this profession need to rapidly adapt to the ever-evolving environment. Understanding how to operate increasingly complex machinery and systems has become an important aspect of this profession, which indicates a trend toward skill development and ongoing training.

Employment projections for picker packers

Going by the latest data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the demand for skilled picker packers is expected to experience growth of about 6 percent over the next decade. Although it may be moderate compared to other professions, labor experts predict a steady rise in job openings in the warehousing and transportation sectors due to the upswing in e-commerce and online shopping.

Picker packer career tips

Understand the nature of your work

In a warehouse or distribution center, you have to select and pack goods from various locations for shipment. You must ensure customers receive their purchases intact and on time.

Embrace technology

In the modern warehouse, technology plays a significant role. You will likely use handheld scanners, warehouse management systems (WMS), and conveyance systems, among other technologies. Learning these tools can make you more efficient and increase your growth potential.

Speed and accuracy are key

The more orders you can handle accurately, the more valuable you’ll be. Speed and accuracy can reduce cost and increase customer satisfaction, so work on these areas.

Implement ergonomic practices

The work involves intensive physical activities like lifting and moving boxes. Propose and implement ergonomic practices that can improve comfort and safety, reducing the risk of injury and aiding in long-term career sustainability.

Develop logistics and operational knowledge

Although your primary responsibility might be picking and packing, understanding the bigger picture of logistics and operations will set you apart. This can open up opportunities for growth and advancement within the company.

Build a professional network

Networking can provide opportunities for learning and job advancement. Consider joining the following professional associations:

  • Warehouse Education and Research Council (WERC)
  • American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS)
  • Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP)

Continuous learning

As work processes and technologies evolve, so must your skills:

  • Learn about the latest warehouse management systems
  • Take courses on inventory management
  • Consider certification courses like APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional or WERC Warehousing and Distribution Certification

Where the picker packer jobs are

Top employers

  • Amazon
  • FedEx
  • Walmart
  • UPS
  • Costco

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Ohio
  • New York

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • ZipRecruiter
  • Monster
  • LinkedIn


What qualifications are needed to be a picker packer?

No specific qualifications are universally required, as most of the training is done on the job. However, employers typically prefer candidates with a high school diploma or equivalent. Good physical fitness and the ability to stand for long periods can also be beneficial.

What skills are beneficial for picker packers?

Orderliness, attention to detail, and good organizational skills are valuable for this profession. Physical endurance is also essential, as the job involves a lot of standing, bending, and lifting. Basic math skills for inventory count and good communication skills for team collaboration can also be beneficial.

What is a typical day like for a picker packer?

Their days involve reviewing orders, locating items in the warehouse, and packing them securely for shipment. They also maintain inventory, ensuring items are properly stocked, and the warehouse is well-organized. They may also label packages and help load deliveries onto delivery trucks.

Is there a physical requirement for a picker packer role?

Yes, their work can be physically demanding. The role often requires standing for extended periods, bending, lifting heavy packages, and moving quickly throughout a warehouse. Excellent hand-eye coordination is also important for properly handling items.

Could I progress in my career as a picker packer?

Yes, it’s quite possible. With experience and demonstrated competence, they can move up to supervisory or management roles in the warehousing industry. In some cases, additional education or training might be needed for higher-level positions.

What are the working hours usually like for picker packers?

Working hours can vary based on the employer. Some work standard business hours, while others offer or require evening, night, or weekend shifts. During busy periods or holiday seasons, overtime may be required to manage increased orders.

Would I need specific clothing or gear for a picker packer role?

Specific clothing requirements vary by employer, but many require staff to wear safety shoes, gloves, and sometimes hard hats. Comfortable, loose clothing that doesn’t restrict movement is typically recommended. Additional safety gear might be required depending on the specific tasks and environment.

What are some challenges associated with being a picker packer?

They typically face challenges such as standing for extended periods, lifting heavy items, and ensuring accuracy in fast-paced environments. The repetitive nature of the job can sometimes be physically and mentally exhausting. Maintaining a high level of accuracy during busy periods or when handling complex orders can also be demanding.

How can I improve my skills as a picker packer?

Experience is key to improving in this role. Regularly handling various items and orders can hone your skills over time. Training opportunities provided by the employer can also be beneficial. Additionally, you can seek opportunities to learn from experienced colleagues or seek courses on warehouse operations and best practices to broaden your knowledge.