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Career profile Conveyor Operator

Also known as Chipper Operator, Debarker Operator, Flumer, Line Operator, Machine Operator, Package Line Operator, Packaging Line Operator, Packing Line Operator, Process Operator, Strapper Operator

Conveyor Operator

Also known as Chipper Operator, Debarker Operator, Flumer

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$25,810 - $52,040 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Mechanical
  • Public Safety and Security
  • Production and Processing
Core tasks
  • Observe packages moving along conveyors to identify packages, detect defective packaging, and perform quality control.
  • Collect samples of materials or products, checking them to ensure conformance to specifications or sending them to laboratories for analysis.
  • Inform supervisors of equipment malfunctions that need to be addressed.
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What does a Conveyor Operator do?

Conveyor Operators control or tend conveyors or conveyor systems that move materials or products to and from stockpiles, processing stations, departments, or vehicles.

In addition, Conveyor Operators may control speed and routing of materials or products.

What kind of tasks does a Conveyor Operator perform regularly?

Conveyor Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Inform supervisors of equipment malfunctions that need to be addressed.
  • Observe conveyor operations and monitor lights, dials, and gauges to maintain specified operating levels and to detect equipment malfunctions.
  • Record production data such as weights, types, quantities, and storage locations of materials, as well as equipment performance problems and downtime.
  • Load, unload, or adjust materials or products on conveyors by hand, by using lifts, hoists, and scoops, or by opening gates, chutes, or hoppers.
  • Stop equipment or machinery and clear jams, using poles, bars, and hand tools, or remove damaged materials from conveyors.
  • Distribute materials, supplies, and equipment to work stations, using lifts and trucks.

The above responsibilities are specific to Conveyor Operators. More generally, Conveyor Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

What is a Conveyor Operator salary?

The median salary for a Conveyor Operator is $35,770, and the average salary is $37,540. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Conveyor Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Conveyor Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Conveyor Operators earn less than $25,810 per year, 25% earn less than $29,640, 75% earn less than $43,230, and 90% earn less than $52,040.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Conveyor Operators is expected to change by 6.2%, and there should be roughly 3,500 open positions for Conveyor Operators every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$25,810 - $52,040
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Conveyor Operators?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Conveyor Operator are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Conveyor Operators typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Conveyor Operator tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Conveyor Operators very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Conveyor Operators moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Conveyor Operators moderately value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Conveyor Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, self-control, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Conveyor Operators, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Concern for Others
Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.

What education and training do Conveyor Operators need?

Working as a Conveyor Operator may require a high school diploma or GED certificate.

Conveyor Operators need anywhere from a few days to a few months of training. Usually, an experienced worker could show you how to do the job.

Educational degrees among Conveyor Operators

  • 16.4% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 57.7% completed high school or secondary school
  • 20.1% completed some college coursework
  • 2.9% earned a Associate's degree
  • 2.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.7% earned a Master's degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Conveyor Operators

Conveyor Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as mechanical, public safety and security, or production and processing knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Conveyor Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

Important Abilities needed by Conveyor Operators

Conveyor Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Conveyor Operators need abilities such as oral comprehension, control precision, and problem sensitivity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Conveyor Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

Critical Skills needed by Conveyor Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Conveyor Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Conveyor Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.