Assemblers have the task of putting parts together to complete a product. They work in a manufacturing plant on an assembly line. Assemblers might have one assigned task that they perform all day, or they might have a number of tasks that they perform on any given day. An assembly line worker uses tools, specialized machines and his hands to perform the job.
Assemblers often need a high school diploma or GED to get a manufacturing job. Depending on the assembly task, the employee often receives on-the-job training from his employer. If the assembler is going to be putting intricate electronic pieces together, he might also receive technical instructions from his employer. Assemblers looking for work in the electronics, electrical, aircraft and motor vehicle industries might need technical training through a vocational school prior to employment. Assemblers who can read blueprints or schematics often have an advantage during the hiring process.
The assembler must be able to read directions for his work orders and follow oral instructions from his supervisor. On any given day, he might screw, bolt, weld, solder, cement, glue or crimp individual parts onto a manufactured item on the assembly line. Alternatively, he might have the responsibility of mounting assembled components onto a larger chassis using a variety of tools. The assembler might complete the wiring for a manufactured item or he might add hardware to the finished product. Some assemblers have the job of preparing and painting the finished product. Others set up the assembly line equipment and ensure it is operating properly. During the manufacturing process, the assembler monitors quality control in accordance with company policies.
Assembly line workers usually need good manual dexterity to perform their jobs. They need the physical strength to perform the job, as they might need to lift heavy objects. Assemblers often perform their jobs while standing. The workers need to be able to pay close attention as they do the same repetitive action for hours on end. Modern factories use computerized equipment and the workers need the technical skills to operate the computers, as well as to complete the manufactured product. In some industries, such as electrical manufacturing and electronics, the workers need good color vision to assemble the wiring properly using color-coded wires.
Job Outlook and Pay
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics anticipates that the rate of growth for assembler jobs will grow by only 5 percent between 2010 and 2020, which is slower than the average for all other occupations. Some assembly jobs will have greater demand, such as those in the aircraft industry as the demand for new commercial airplanes is expected to increase. In other jobs, increased automation will decrease the demand for assemblers. The average annual wage for all assemblers was $28,360 in 2010. However, some assemblers averaged much higher pay. Electronic and other technical assemblers, for instance, earned between $29,100 and $44,820 that same year.
2016 Salary Information for Assemblers and Fabricators
Assemblers and fabricators earned a median annual salary of $31,150 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, assemblers and fabricators earned a 25th percentile salary of $24,650, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $39,970, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 1,819,300 people were employed in the U.S. as assemblers and fabricators.