Extruding Machine Technician: Job Outlook and Requirements

Extruding machine technicians oversee the factory and industrial equipment used to produce rods and other tubular parts and shapes. Read on for more information about training requirements, employment outlook and wages, as well as alternative career options, for extruding machine technicians.

Career Definition for an Extruding Machine Technician

Extruding machine technicians are responsible for prepping and operating the shape-forming machinery used in the production of metal and plastic bars, hoses, rods or other tubular shapes. Their day-to-day duties include preparing extruding machines, sorting materials and operating the equipment. Technicians also evaluate output and assess product quality, as well as make sure that the process is in compliance with occupational regulations. Extruding machine technicians generally work in a factory or industrial environment.

Education High school diploma or equivalent required, vocational and technical training programs also available
Job Skills Manual dexterity, basic math, communications, physical stamina
Median Salary (2017)* $33,470 for extruding machine setters and operators
Job Growth (2016-2026)* -10% for extruding machine setters and operators

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Required Education

Although educational requirements can vary according to the workplace, hiring requirements for extruding machine technicians typically include a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) equivalent. While on-the-job training is usually provided, completion of a 1-year or 2-year training program at a vocational or technical college can help candidates stand out in the field. Core coursework will most likely cover topics in machining, tooling, material science and metallurgy. Prior experience as a machinist or machine operator can also help technicians prepare for a job in extruding technology.

Skills Required

Extruding machine technicians should be manually dexterous and have basic math and communications skills. Mechanical and technical abilities are a given; physical stamina is essential when executing repetitive motions while standing for long periods of time.

Employment and Earnings Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment opportunities for extruding and forming machine setters and operators nationwide will decrease by 10% between 2016 and 2026. The median annual salary for workers employed in this field in May 2017 was $33,470.

Alternate Career Options

Here are a few other options for those interested in machine operation and assembly careers:

Assemblers and Fabricators

Assemblers and fabricators use manual and machine techniques to make parts and products for computers, electronic devices, engines and toys, among other items. Most technicians enter the field with a high school diploma and receive on-the-job training; aircraft, electrical and vehicular work may require an associate degree, apprenticeship or more advanced preparation. The BLS reports that employment prospects for assemblers and fabricators will shrink by 14% nationwide from 2016-2026. In May 2017, workers employed in these positions were paid a median salary of $31,850.

Machinists and Tool and Die Makers

Machinists and tool and die makers prepare and operate automated and computerized machines used in the production of instruments, metal parts and tools. A high school diploma is required before technicians can pursue on-the-job training and formal instruction through apprenticeships, community colleges or technical schools, and it may take several years to become fully qualified in the trade. Nationwide, employment prospects are projected to increase by 1% from 2016-2026, according to the BLS. As of May 2017, machinists and tool and die makers earned a median salary of $44,110.


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