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Career Profile: Packaging and Filling Machine Operators and Tenders

Operate or tend machines to prepare industrial or consumer products for storage or shipment. Includes cannery workers who pack food products.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 371,800 people employed as packaging and filling machine operators and tenders in the United States. The median annual salary is $32,600. Entry level employees earn approximately $23,670 per year and senior employees earn approximately $51,080 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Attach identification labels to finished packaged items, or cut stencils and stencil information on containers, such as lot numbers or shipping destinations.
  • Sort, grade, weigh, and inspect products, verifying and adjusting product weight or measurement to meet specifications.
  • Stop or reset machines when malfunctions occur, clear machine jams, and report malfunctions to a supervisor.
  • Observe machine operations to ensure quality and conformity of filled or packaged products to standards.
  • Remove finished packaged items from machine and separate rejected items.
  • Monitor the production line, watching for problems such as pile-ups, jams, or glue that isn't sticking properly.
  • Secure finished packaged items by hand tying, sewing, gluing, stapling, or attaching fastener.
  • Clean and remove damaged or otherwise inferior materials to prepare raw products for processing.
  • Inspect and remove defective products and packaging material.
  • Start machine by engaging controls.
  • Tend or operate machine that packages product.
  • Clean, oil, and make minor adjustments or repairs to machinery and equipment, such as opening valves or setting guides.
  • Regulate machine flow, speed, or temperature.
  • Adjust machine components and machine tension and pressure according to size or processing angle of product.
  • Supply materials to spindles, conveyors, hoppers, or other feeding devices and unload packaged product.
  • Stack finished packaged items, or wrap protective material around each item, and pack the items in cartons or containers.
  • Package the product in the form in which it will be sent out, for example, filling bags with flour from a chute or spout.
  • Stock and sort product for packaging or filling machine operation, and replenish packaging supplies, such as wrapping paper, plastic sheet, boxes, cartons, glue, ink, or labels.
  • Count and record finished and rejected packaged items.
  • Clean packaging containers, line and pad crates, or assemble cartons to prepare for product packing.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
371,800
Annual Openings:
43,100
Increase in Openings by 2030:
5%
Annual Salary Range:
$23,670 - $51,080
Education Requirements:
High school diploma