Assembly Line Worker: Job Description, Duties and Requirements
Assembly line workers fabricate, align and join parts to construct a variety of products, such as electronics, appliances, machinery and motor vehicles. They can specialize in assembly of one product or learn numerous duties as a team assembler. Many positions require a high school diploma; however, specialized occupations may require the completion of an associate's degree.
Job Description of an Assembly Line Worker
An assembly line worker fabricates parts and joins them together to construct products like aircrafts, automobiles, electronics and household appliances. Some assemblers specialize in a particular part, such as electric motors, or a type of product, such as office machinery. Team assemblers rotate duties along an assembly line. For example, in motor vehicle manufacturing, team assemblers may take turns molding metal parts, mounting tires or adding fluids. Engineers may consult with assemblers during the design stage to help improve production efficiency.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), overall employment for assemblers and fabricators is expected to grow five percent during the 2010-2020 decade, which is slower the average for all occupations. However, the job outlook varies largely based on the specific industry. For instance, the aircraft products and parts manufacturing industry is expected to experience strong growth due to increased demand in commercial planes. Salary varies significantly as well. To give some perspective, as of May 2012, aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers earn the most with a median annual income of $45,950, electromechanical equipment assemblers bring in $31,460, timing device assemblers earn $25,600 per year and team assemblers bring in $27,640 (www.bls.gov).
Duties of an Assembly Line Worker
Assembly line workers begin by reading technical schematics to become familiar with the construction process. They measure parts and use tools to shape and trim them down to appropriate size. They then connect parts together, typically by welding or using bolts and screws. They may use a variety of hand and power tools, such as hacksaws, drill presses and forklifts.
Tools and tasks vary by industry and specialty. Aircraft assemblers use rivet tools, guide jigs and welding equipment to align and join the fuselage, wings and tails of an aircraft body. An electromechanical assembler drills into structures to install devices like gyros and actuators into household appliances or vending machines. Due to the extensive use of automated technology on assembly lines, some assembly line professionals operate and monitor machines, such as welding robots used in automobile production or computer-controlled machines used to shape parts.
Requirements to Become an Assembly Line Worker
Many assembler jobs only require individuals to have a high school diploma or pass the GED test. Employers typically provide on-the-job training; however, employment in more technical fields, including electrical, aircraft and motor vehicle assembly, may require the completion of an associate's degree program in manufacturing technology, engineering technology, computer science or other specialized training.
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