What does an assembler do?
Assemblers assemble a variety of products such as machines, tools, computers, electronic devices, household appliances, and automobiles. They read detailed instructions and diagrams to properly put together simple and complex products. They determine how to connect the components and use many different tools to make adjustments for the parts to align properly and fit together. Once the components are aligned correctly, they assemble them by soldering, welding, or with screws and bolts. Assemblers also look for defective parts and mistakes in the assemble process to fix problems before more faulty products are produced. Some assemblers are also involved in product development.
Most assemblers are team assemblers where they are assigned to teams that assemble entire products or parts of products. They typically rotate through a variety of tasks to assemble the product. Some work on assembly lines where parts move past them on a conveyor belt and they complete their required tasks and send the part to the next assembler. Some assemblers specialize in assembling one type of product such as electrical or electronic equipment, engine and other machines, electromechanical equipment, aircraft structures, timing devices, and transportation equipment.
What kind of training does an assembler need?
Assemblers need at least a high school diploma or GED. Some employers prefer applicants with an associate degree or specialized training in assembly and manufacturing. Many aspiring assemblers observe experienced assemblers to gain practical experience. Most employers provide on the job training that includes classroom instruction and hands-on tasks. Some employers require applicants to take and pass a vision and color identification test.
What are the prospects for a career as an assembler?
Employment of assemblers is expected to decline slowly, decreasing 4% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The manufacturing industry becoming automated contributes to employment decline.
Job prospects are expected to be good especially for assemblers with extensive training. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace assemblers that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do assemblers make?
As of October 2009, assemblers with less than 1 year experience earn average hourly rates between $7.96 and $11.03. Those with 1 to 4 years experience earn average hourly rates between $9.65 and $14.00 (2).
A career as an assembler is a great choice for people with a strong interest in manufacturing. Assemblers must be able to work quickly and accurately and be able to follow simple and complex directions. Manual dexterity, patience, and ability to complete complicated and repetitive tasks is essential. Assemblers must also be able to effectively work as part of a team. Good communication and interpersonal skills are necessary because they often interact with other assemblers.