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Career profile Extruder Operator

Also known as Equipment Technician, Extruder Operator, Extrusion Operator, Extrusion Press Operator, Machine Operator, Metal Inspector, Setup Operator, Wire Mill Operator, Wire Mill Rover

Extruder Operator

Also known as Equipment Technician, Extruder Operator, Extrusion Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Enterprising
Pay Range
$26,660 - $54,750 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Critical Thinking
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mathematics
  • Administration and Management
Core tasks
  • Measure and examine extruded products to locate defects and to check for conformance to specifications, adjusting controls as necessary to alter products.
  • Determine setup procedures and select machine dies and parts, according to specifications.
  • Start machines and set controls to regulate vacuum, air pressure, sizing rings, and temperature, and to synchronize speed of extrusion.
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What does an Extruder Operator do?

Extruder Operators set up, operate, or tend machines to extrude or draw thermoplastic or metal materials into tubes, rods, hoses, wire, bars, or structural shapes.

What kind of tasks does an Extruder Operator perform regularly?

Extruder Operators are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Measure and examine extruded products to locate defects and to check for conformance to specifications, adjusting controls as necessary to alter products.
  • Determine setup procedures and select machine dies and parts, according to specifications.
  • Start machines and set controls to regulate vacuum, air pressure, sizing rings, and temperature, and to synchronize speed of extrusion.
  • Reel extruded products into rolls of specified lengths and weights.
  • Install dies, machine screws, and sizing rings on machines that extrude thermoplastic or metal materials.
  • Change dies on extruding machines, according to production line changes.
  • Clean work areas.
  • Troubleshoot, maintain, and make minor repairs to equipment.

The above responsibilities are specific to Extruder Operators. More generally, Extruder Operators are involved in several broader types of activities:

Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Making Decisions and Solving Problems
Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is an Extruder Operator salary?

The median salary for an Extruder Operator is $37,530, and the average salary is $38,990. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Extruder Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Extruder Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Extruder Operators earn less than $26,660 per year, 25% earn less than $30,850, 75% earn less than $46,330, and 90% earn less than $54,750.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Extruder Operators is expected to change by -7.5%, and there should be roughly 6,000 open positions for Extruder Operators every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$26,660 - $54,750
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Extruder Operators?


Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as an Extruder Operator are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Extruder Operators typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.


People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as an Extruder Operator tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

Most importantly, Extruder Operators strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Extruder Operators moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Extruder Operators somewhat value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Extruder Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and self-control.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Extruder Operators, ranked by importance:

Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.

What education and training do Extruder Operators need?

Working as an Extruder Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Extruder Operators need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Extruder Operators

  • 12.9% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 50.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 23.8% completed some college coursework
  • 7.4% earned a Associate's degree
  • 3.9% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 1.7% earned a Master's degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Extruder Operators

Extruder Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mathematics, or administration and management knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Extruder Operators might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

Important Abilities needed by Extruder Operators

Extruder Operators must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Extruder Operators need abilities such as control precision, manual dexterity, and multilimb coordination in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Extruder Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Multilimb Coordination
The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Reaction Time
The ability to quickly respond (with the hand, finger, or foot) to a signal (sound, light, picture) when it appears.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.

Critical Skills needed by Extruder Operators

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Extruder Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and critical thinking to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Extruder Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Quality Control Analysis
Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

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