An assembly line employee works as part of a team. Each team has a specialty as they assemble parts, electrical components and other gadgets as products move along the production line. Many work in the automobile industry or in aerospace manufacturing. If you want an assembly line job, you must have physical strength and stamina, a mechanical aptitude and technical and math skills.
As an assembly line worker, you read and study blueprints and instructions that outline the procedures you will follow. You then assemble parts when product units arrive at your station, and you repeat this procedure most of the day. You may use many tools and machines on the assembly line, including socket wrenches, planes, drills and robotic insertion devices. Some parts along the assembly line also need trimming or cutting.
You perform quality control checks as an assembly line worker, ensuring that parts are fastened or connected properly. You also work closely with engineers and designers, occasionally tweaking procedures to increase output. And, you may help to train new workers on operations and company policies. Other responsibilities include keeping floors and equipment in your area clean.
You work in manufacturing plants at all hours as an assembly line employee. For example, you may work Monday to Friday during the days, and then switch to a mid-day or evening shift at times throughout the year. Work can get tedious; and you may be exhausted by day's end. You are also subject to grease and grime in a manufacturing environment. And, in some cases, you may even be exposed to hazardous chemicals and fumes or loud noises.
Education and Training
A high school degree is usually required for an assembly line job. You may then be required to go through company-sponsored training, learning how to operate certain stations in the plant. In some jobs, such as electrical assembly work on aerospace parts, you may need certification. If necessary, you can earn certification through the Association Connecting Electronics Industries, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Average Salary Ranges
Assembly line workers usually get paid by the hour. They earned average annual incomes of $29,740 as of May 2011, according to the BLS, or $14.30 per hour. You would earn over $46,400 annually if you are among the top 10 percent in earnings. As for industries, you would earn the most working in scientific research and development at $48,860 per year. And, your annual income would be $47,570 and $43,310 per year, respectively, if you worked for an automobile manufacturer or steel mill. The top-paying states were Michigan, Alabama and New Hampshire -- $35,460, $34,710 and $33,730 per year, respectively.
The BLS reported that jobs for team assemblers, another name for assembly line workers, were expected to increase only 5 percent between 2010 and 2020. This rate of growth is slower than the national average of 14 percent for all jobs. Companies are using robots and other machines that make it easier for some assembly line workers to do their jobs. Consequently, their production increases, allowing companies to hire fewer workers.
2016 Salary Information for Assemblers and Fabricators
Assemblers and fabricators earned a median annual salary of $31,150 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, assemblers and fabricators earned a 25th percentile salary of $24,650, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $39,970, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,819,300 people were employed in the U.S. as assemblers and fabricators.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Assemblers and Fabricators
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Team Assemblers
- Education-Portal: Assembly Line Worker: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
- CareerPlanner.com: Assembler, Production Line
- StateUniversity.com: Assembler and Fabricator Job Description, Career as an Assembler and Fabricator, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Assemblers and Fabricators
- Career Trend: Assemblers and Fabricators