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Career profile Mill Operator

Also known as Machine Operator, Mill Operator, Miller, Milling Operator

Mill Operator

Also known as Machine Operator, Mill Operator, Miller

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$28,270 - $64,150 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Position and secure workpieces on machines, using holding devices, measuring instruments, hand tools, and hoists.
  • Remove workpieces from machines, and check to ensure that they conform to specifications, using measuring instruments such as microscopes, gauges, calipers, and micrometers.
  • Verify alignment of workpieces on machines, using measuring instruments such as rules, gauges, or calipers.
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What does a Mill Operator do?

Mill Operators set up, operate, or tend milling or planing machines to mill, plane, shape, groove, or profile metal or plastic work pieces.

What kind of tasks does a Mill Operator perform regularly?

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

  • Position and secure workpieces on machines, using holding devices, measuring instruments, hand tools, and hoists.
  • Remove workpieces from machines, and check to ensure that they conform to specifications, using measuring instruments such as microscopes, gauges, calipers, and micrometers.
  • Verify alignment of workpieces on machines, using measuring instruments such as rules, gauges, or calipers.
  • Move cutters or material manually or by turning handwheels, or engage automatic feeding mechanisms to mill workpieces to specifications.
  • Observe milling or planing machine operation, and adjust controls to ensure conformance with specified tolerances.
  • Select cutting speeds, feed rates, and depths of cuts, applying knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Study blueprints, layouts, sketches, or work orders to assess workpiece specifications and to determine tooling instructions, tools and materials needed, and sequences of operations.
  • Compute dimensions, tolerances, and angles of workpieces or machines according to specifications and knowledge of metal properties and shop mathematics.
  • Move controls to set cutting specifications, to position cutting tools and workpieces in relation to each other, and to start machines.
  • Replace worn tools, using hand tools, and sharpen dull tools, using bench grinders.
  • Select and install cutting tools and other accessories according to specifications, using hand tools or power tools.
  • Turn valves or pull levers to start and regulate the flow of coolant or lubricant to work areas.
  • Record production output.
  • Mount attachments and tools, such as pantographs, engravers, or routers, to perform other operations, such as drilling or boring.

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

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships
Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Training and Teaching Others
Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is a Mill Operator salary?

The median salary for a Mill Operator is $43,150, and the average salary is $44,920. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Mill Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Mill Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Mill Operators earn less than $28,270 per year, 25% earn less than $34,340, 75% earn less than $52,520, and 90% earn less than $64,150.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Mill Operators is expected to change by -15.3%, and there should be roughly 1,200 open positions for Mill Operators every year.

Median annual salary
$43,150
Typical salary range
$28,270 - $64,150
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
-15.3%

What personality traits are common among Mill Operators?

Interests

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 Mill Operator are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Mill 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.

Values

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 Mill Operator tend to value Support, Working Conditions, and Independence.

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

Second, Mill Operators somewhat value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Lastly, Mill Operators somewhat 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 Mill Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as attention to detail, dependability, and cooperation.

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

Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Mill Operators need?

Working as a Mill Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Mill Operators need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Mill Operators

  • 19.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 52.0% completed high school or secondary school
  • 22.2% completed some college coursework
  • 3.6% earned a Associate's degree
  • 0.8% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.2% earned a Master's degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Mill Operators

Mill Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mechanical, or mathematics knowledge.

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

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
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 Mill Operators

Mill 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, Mill Operators need abilities such as manual dexterity, near vision, and arm-hand steadiness in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Mill Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
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.
Selective Attention
The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.

Critical Skills needed by Mill 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.

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

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Monitoring
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
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.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

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.