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Material Moving Occupations Job Description, Career as a Material Moving Occupations, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training: High School Diploma

Salary: Median- $15.6 per hour

Employment Outlook: Fair

Material moving occupations include conveyor operators, industrial truck and tractor operators, and logistics-related occupations. These workers are employed in a wide variety of industries. They have an integral role in the delivery of materials or supplies to manufacturers or retail markets. Their work can be classified as that of either operators or laborers. Operators are involved in the handling and maneuvering of specific machinery. Laborers, on the other hand, help in manually transporting materials or cleaning equipment.

The job of conveyor operators includes loading materials onto conveyor systems and coordinating the flow of materials in such systems. They are responsible for sorting and transfer of processed materials. Supervising materials on a conveyor, stopping the machine to clear jams, and labeling materials with information tags are also a part of their job.

Vehicle operators, such as truck and tractor operators, are involved in the transportation of materials to and from warehouses or construction sites. They use forklifts and other hydraulic lifting equipment to load or unload goods. Driving tractors or trucks to transport materials is also a part of their work. Further, they are in charge of the maintenance of these vehicles and performing repairs as and when required.

The laborers involved in material moving occupations are delegated to a varied number of tasks. They move freight materials to and from storage or production areas of a factory. They are involved in manual packaging and inspection of materials. Those employed in refuse and recyclable material collection are responsible for collection of such items from homes and industrial areas. They sort items and transport them to designated recycling depots.

Education and Training Requirements

Many employers prefer high school diploma holders for such jobs. People involved in material moving occupations receive necessary training while on the job. The jobs involve certain levels of physical exertion and as such, it is mandatory to pass a physical exam before getting the job.

Workers who are required to handle toxic or hazardous materials are provided a compulsory training on safety procedures by the employers. Training programs on operation of specialized equipment, such as those offered by the International Union of Operating Engineers, are recommended for prospective candidates. A number of states require specialized workers such as crane operators to be licensed before being able to work professionally.

People in material moving occupation are also required to possess good reading comprehension, writing, and verbal communication skills. They should also have attributes such as depth perception, good coordination and quick reaction time.

Getting the Job

Job seekers can directly apply to organizations involved in material moving. Job vacancies are listed in employment journals and on Internet employment portals as well. A prospective candidate should also look up vacancy listings in the classified section of daily newspapers.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

The advancement opportunities in material moving occupations are limited. However, such workers may advance to trainee positions after gaining considerable experience in their work areas. Some workers may also advance to supervisory roles in the organization.

Certifications also lead to increase in responsibility and advancement for people employed in material moving occupations. The National Commission of Crane Operators offers programs that confer the title of Certified Professional to specific equipment operators.

According to projections, employment growth for material moving occupations will remain stable. Job openings are likely to rise due to existing workers leaving the workforce. However, increases in automated processes will limit the need for such professionals in the future.

Working Conditions

The work involved in material moving occupations tends to be physically exerting. Workers may be required to work at elevated heights and in varying weather conditions. Some workers may have to deal regularly with hazardous substances. Safety protocols should be strictly adhered to, in order to minimize the risk of injuries.

The normal work schedule of material movers involves 8 hour shifts, although longer shifts or double shifts are not uncommon. Some workers are required to work overnight shifts. Those involved with refuse collection and recycling are generally employed in early morning shifts. Some jobs may even be seasonal in nature.

Where to Go for More Information

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals
333 East Butterfield Road, Suite 140
Lombard, Illinois 60148

International Brotherhood of Teamsters
Office of the General President
25 Louisiana Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20001.

International Longshore and Warehouse Union
1188 Franklin Street, 4th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94109

Earnings and Benefits

In accordance with data published in May 2006, the median hourly salary for material moving occupations was $15.60. It is seen that workers employed as gas compressor and pumping station operators receive the highest median hourly wages. Wages vary according to the worker’s experience and duties. Certified operators tend to get paid more than uncertified professionals. Many material moving workers are affiliated with unions specific to their industry, such as the International Longshore and the Warehouse Union. Unions negotiate workers’ wages and employment benefits with employers.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesTransportation & Logistics