|Degree Level||High school diploma or equivalent; associate's degree for some positions|
|Degree Field(s)||Manufacturing technology, engineering technology, computer science, or other specialized training|
|Experience||On-the-job training often available|
|Key Skills||Manual dexterity; ability to use various machines and hand tools; attention to detail; patience to do repetitive tasks|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||1% decline|
|Median Annual Salary (2014)||$29,280 (for assemblers and fabricators)|
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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.
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.
Required Education & Training
Many assembler jobs require only a high school diploma or GED. 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.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS for short), overall employment for assemblers and fabricators was expected to decline by 1% during the 2014-2024 decade. The median annual salary for assemblers and fabricators in May 2014 was $29,280 based on BLS figures, but pay in this field varies significantly by specialty.
For example, as of May 2014, aircraft structure, surfaces, rigging, and systems assemblers earned a median annual income of $48,340 while team assemblers brought in just $28,370.