Operator Job Description


Operators are control or manipulate machinery in a wide variety of fields. Operators are skilled technicians who work who may work with light or heavy machinery, using their in-depth knowledge to produce goods, make repairs or join systems together.

Some operator jobs include machine operators/machinists who fabricate pieces and manufacture parts, construction equipment operators who drive and control heavy machines like backhoes or steam shovels on construction sites, and camera operators who work with cameras and editing equipment to create content for television and movies.


Your pay will depend on your experience and your field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, camera operators made a median income of $21.87 per hour, or $45,490 a year in 2010. Construction equipment operators made $18.97 per hour, or $39,460 a year and machinists made $19.19 an hour, or $39,910 a year.


Again, for many of these jobs, on-the-job skills are important. For machine operators, you will need a high school diploma and understanding of math as well as an apprenticeship, vocational training or technical degree. Some places will train you on the job. To be fully trained, you will need 4-5 years of combined instruction and on-the-job training.

For construction equipment operators, many start as small equipment operators on site and get training under the supervision of a skilled operator, or will get a technical degree in a trade school.

Camera operators typically have a bachelor's degree in film. broadcasting or a related field. In addition, they must have a working knowledge of cameras, digital equipment and computer technology. Many of this training is gained on set as a production assistant. This training leads to becoming a camera assistant, and with more training, a camera operator.


  • Attention to Detail: Accuracy counts in operator jobs. You must be able to concentrate and be precise in your work.
  • Hand-eye Coordination: Precision is key in all of these jobs. Having a steady hand is an absolute must for operator jobs.
  • Technical/Mechanical Skills: You will be operating highly technical machinery and possibly computerized equipment. Having strong technical and mechanical skills will be necessary.

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