Do you work well with machinery and enjoy being part of a busy team in a fast-paced environment? If so, a job as a Material Handler may be a good fit for you.
Material Handlers move products in warehouse and manufacturing facilities, either manually or with equipment like forklifts or trucks. They’re typically responsible for moving inventory and other materials to fill orders before shipment. Material Handlers must have strength and stamina, as they’re often on their feet for long periods loading and unloading heavy items.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Load and unload incoming and outgoing materials and products
- Move materials to and from loading docks, delivery trucks, storage, and manufacturing areas
- Identify and label materials, and record their locations on warehouse shelves to maintain inventory
- Prepare products for shipment by identifying their location, then pulling, packing, and loading them
- Operate trucks, forklifts, cranes, and other equipment to move freight
- Perform and report cycle counts
- Comply with all warehouse safety rules and guidelines
Education and Background
This position requires a high school diploma or equivalent. Material Handlers need to be certified, preferably with on-the-job experience. If possible, candidates should have experience working in a warehouse setting or in logistics, and be able to operate material handling equipment.
Skills and Proficiencies
- Ability to work well with a team
- Knowledge of logistical supply chain methods and procedures
- Proficiency in inventory control
- Ability to read and understand delivery orders, and work with minimal guidance
- Ability to operate computers and relevant warehouse management computer software
- Follow safe work practices and procedures
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Material Handler with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $26,000
- Tampa, Florida: $29,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $25,000
- Miami, Florida: $30,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $28,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $29,000
- Houston, Texas: $27,000
- Los Angeles, California: $34,000
- New York City, New York: $36,000
- Seattle, Washington: $29,000
- Overall: $30,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $35,000
- Tampa, Florida: $31,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $34,000
- Miami, Florida: $35,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $31,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $35,000
- Houston, Texas: $33,000
- Los Angeles, California: $39,000
- New York City, New York: $40,000
- Seattle, Washington: $33,000
- Overall: $34,000
Similar Job Titles
The career path for a Material Handler starts by obtaining a high school diploma or equivalent, as well as earning forklift operator certification. Often, new Material Handlers might begin with an entry-level position but can receive promotions over time with experience.
With automation affecting almost every industry in some way, it’s reasonable to expect that it also will impact Material Handler functions to a degree. Many Material Handler tasks can only be done by a person, however.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for Material Moving Machine Operators (which includes Material Handlers), is projected to experience four percent job growth through 2028, about as fast as average for all occupations.
The typical work hours for a Material Handler can be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday in a warehouse, construction, or industrial setting. With materials often shipping around the clock, overtime hours aren’t uncommon, depending upon the employer.
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