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If you’re looking for a job that does not require a lot of training, you might consider becoming an entry-level assembler. Assemblers work in the manufacturing industry producing everything from airplanes to computers. They are often assigned to perform a single task on a production line. Assemblers work independently or in teams to produce final products such as vehicles, equipment, furniture, or other consumer and industrial products.
As an assembler, you’ll need manual dexterity and physical strength to work for long periods as you perform your tasks, move materials into place, and down the line. You’ll likely be assigned to a workstation where you’ll be on your feet for most of your shift. You’ll need to learn your tasks and perform them quickly and consistently without error to meet production goals.
To accomplish your tasks accurately, you may have a sample to copy. You might follow a set of instructions or drawings guiding you in the assembly of parts that fit with other components made further along in the production process. You’ll need an eye for detail and must be comfortable working with any kind of material such as metal, plastic, rubber, or wood.
Average salaries for assemblers vary significantly depending on a number of factors, including where you’re located, the company you work for, the scope of your responsibilities and more. With that in mind, average salaries for assemblers range from $24,000 to $28,000 annually. Electronic parts assemblers are usually better paid than entry-level assemblers and fabricators. Aircraft and automotive assemblers generally earn the highest wages.
As an assembler, you’ll use your hands, tools, or computers to install, adjust, insert, affix, or seal components to contribute your part to the overall manufacture of your company’s products. You’ll likely perform a single task repeatedly and get into a rhythm that works well for you and your team. At first, you may need to study a guide or set of drawings, which outline the assembly process. You’ll need to pay close attention and follow the process precisely every time. You’ll meet quality standards, targets, and goals and possibly identify or remove incorrectly assembled pieces.
You’ll work in an industrial setting where there could be noise, dust or dirt, and heat or cold. You’ll need to apply all safety protocols and possibly use personal protective equipment, such as eye protection, hearing protection, and safety shoes.
Successful assemblers become very fast at doing their jobs well. When you start as an assembler, you may find it difficult to reach your target or keep up with the speed of the production line. But in a short time you’ll find your speed and productivity increasing. Some assembler jobs allow you to switch tasks every few hours to provide some variety and learn all of the assembly jobs that are needed in the factory.
As an assembler, you will likely work 40 hours per week and report to a production supervisor. You could work early daytime hours, afternoon or night shifts, or a rotating shift. Manufacturing businesses sometimes schedule shifts on weekends to accommodate large production runs with tight schedules. You’ll be required to work 8- or 12-hour shifts with occasional opportunities for overtime.
The tasks assigned to you, as an assembler, will depend on your experience and your industry. Your job could include any of the following:
Assemblers can work wherever there is manufacturing in the U.S. Manufacturers of electronics, vehicles, machinery, equipment, and aircraft all need assemblers to produce their goods. When the manufacturing sector is on the upswing there is a corresponding increase in demand for assemblers.
Although manufacturing growth has experienced declines in recent years, a recovery is now anticipated. Currently, opportunities can be found in the mid-sized Ontario cities of Ancastor, Guelph, and Woodstock. With the recent federal government’s investment in the Quebec aerospace industry, Montréal and Québec City are expecting manufacturing job growth. Opportunities also exist in western cities such as Vancouver and Calgary.
As an assembler, you’ll need endurance and stamina to accomplish your tasks quickly and accurately throughout your shift. You’ll also need the following:
If you are thinking about becoming an entry-level assembler, you’ll need a high school graduation diploma. If you have a diploma or degree from a technical school in a specialized field like electronics, it could improve your chances of getting an advanced assembler job.
You can attain certification in some industries, such as aerospace or defense. For example, your experience as an assembler in the aerospace industry could provide you with accreditation that documents your knowledge and competency as an aircraft assembler.
High-tech equipment is increasingly changing the way manufacturing is accomplished in the U.S.. Robotics and digital tools are making it faster and easier for workers to install components correctly and quickly. Computers can now guide assemblers throughout the entire manufacturing process by showing them which part to install, how to perform the task, and guiding them to the next step.
In the aviation and aerospace industry, assemblers with specialized knowledge of robotics and automated processes can become systems integrators working with completed assemblies.
To advance your career in manufacturing, learn as much as possible about automated processes and new technologies that improve productivity. Try to learn all aspects of the production process and share your knowledge with other workers. With a good track record in production and a few years of experience, you could become a senior assembler or quality control inspector. After many years of experience, you could become a production supervisor or floor manager.