Assembly Line Technician Career Info
Research the educational and skill requirements needed to become an assembly line technician, as well as the job description and employment and salary outlook. Read on to decide if this career is right for you.
Assembly line technicians usually work in factories, where they play a very important role in the development of manufactured goods. Technicians may assemble goods manually or with the help of mechanical equipment. They also conduct quality control tests, monitor equipment and follow strict safety procedures. Their jobs can be physically demanding, often requiring them to be on their feet all day. Assembly line technicians also may have to lift heavy objects or assemble tiny parts. Technicians must be technically savvy, since many assembly lines now require the use of computers, robots and motion control devices in order to assist workers in their tasks. Some technicians, depending on their experience, may manage the quality control of one component, a sector or the whole of a manufactured good.
Assembly line technicians typically need only a high school diploma to get started in the field, and on-the-job training often is provided. Some assembly line technicians earn a 2-year associate's degree in electro-mechanical equipment or a related subject to learn to assemble complex goods like computers or electronics. Courses in an electro-mechanical equipment program may include beginning and advanced electrical systems, diagnostics and circuits. Depending on the industry, formal education or vocational training may be required; aircraft and automotive workers must have completed approved programs through technical schools.
Assembly line technicians need differing physical skills, depending on what they assemble. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that most assembly line technicians had the following qualities:
- Math, mechanical and technical skills
- Excellent dexterity to manipulate small parts
- Strength to lift heavy parts
- Ability to spend entire days on their feet
- Ability to understand schematics and technical documents, generate ideas about product improvements and work with a variety of materials
- Proficient operation of assembly machines
Employment and Salary Outlook
Assembly line technicians were expected to experience a decline in job availability due to outsourcing and increased use of automation in manufacturing processes, according to the BLS. Employment opportunities were predicted to grow by about 5% from 2010-2020, slower than average for all occupations, as reported by the BLS. Some manufacturing industries, such as auto manufacturing, were forecast to decline faster than others. Those with advanced training or experience should have the best job prospects. The BLS also reported the median average salary for assemblers and fabricators who don't fall under a particular category as $25,920 per year in May 2012. Depending on the industry, a worker's median salary may range from $27,640 (team assemblers) to $45,950 (aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging and systems assemblers).
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