Production WorkerJob Description, Salary, Career Path, and Trends

A production worker operates machinery or equipment on an assembly line of a factory or manufacturing plant to help assemble products and monitor equipment for defects in the product. While some may be responsible for all stages of production, others may only be responsible for certain, important areas of production. 

Production workers work closely with colleagues to check product quality and meet deadlines. They can also be responsible for preparing products for shipping. These employees are expected to keep their work area clean to ensure a more efficient work environment and coincide with strict health and safety guidelines. To work on the production line, consistent speed and accuracy while not compromising quality, are vital.

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

Average salary and compensation

The average salary for a Production Worker is $29,900 in the United States. Position salary will vary based on experience, education, company size, industry, and market.

LocationSalary LowSalary High
Phoenix, Arizona$29,750 $40,250 
Los Angeles, California$33,550$45,400
Denver, Colorado$27,950 $37,800
Washington, DC$34,050 $46,100 
Miami, Florida$27,850 $37,650
Orlando, Florida$25,650 $34,750 
Tampa, Florida$25,900 $35,050 
Atlanta, Georgia$27,200$36,800 
Chicago, Illinois$31,250 $42,300 
Boston, Massachusetts$33,800 $45,750 
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota$26,950 $36,450 
New York City, New York$35,600 $48,150
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania$28,950 $39,200
Dallas, Texas$28,200$38,150 
Houston, Texas$27,950$37,800
Seattle, Washington$32,550 $44,000 
National Average$25,400$34,400 

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.

Sample interview questions

  • Have you worked on a production line before? What was being manufactured?
  • What do you think is the most important part of the production process?
  • What time management strategies do you use when facing a deadline?
  • How do you feel your experience in this industry has best prepared you for our open position?
  • Have you ever made a mistake on the job? How did you fix it?
  • In your experience as a production worker, did you have to meet challenging physical demands? How?
  • Imagine that you repeatedly found a coworker not being productive during their shift hours. How would you handle that?
  • What experience do you have working with heavy or professional machinery?
  • What would you do if there were consistent defects in the products your team was manufacturing?
  • What safety training and/or certifications do you have?
  • Are you familiar with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software?
  • What steps would you take if it was discovered that defective products had already been prepared for shipping?
  • Do you have experience operating industrial machinery?
  • What would you do if your production quota was raised to an unattainable amount?
  • What steps do you take to avoid exhaustion and fatigue on the production floor?

Production Worker Jobs in Ashburn

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