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Career profile Hot End Operator

Also known as Extruder, Extruder Operator, Extrusion Line Operator, Extrusion Operator, Granulator, Hot End Operator, Pelletizer Operator, Pot Tipper, Spindraw Operator, Stretch Operator

Hot End Operator

Also known as Extruder, Extruder Operator, Extrusion Line Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$26,770 - $57,420 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Monitoring
Knowledge Areas
  • Production and Processing
  • Mathematics
  • Education and Training
Core tasks
  • Press buttons to stop machines when processes are complete or when malfunctions are detected.
  • Set up, operate, or tend machines that cut or slice materials, such as glass, stone, cork, rubber, tobacco, food, paper, or insulating material.
  • Observe flow of finish across finish rollers, and turn valves to adjust flow to specifications.
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What does a Hot End Operator do?

Hot End Operators set up, operate, or tend machines that extrude and form continuous filaments from synthetic materials, such as liquid polymer, rayon, and fiberglass.

What kind of tasks does a Hot End Operator perform regularly?

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

  • Press buttons to stop machines when processes are complete or when malfunctions are detected.
  • Set up, operate, or tend machines that cut or slice materials, such as glass, stone, cork, rubber, tobacco, food, paper, or insulating material.
  • Notify other workers of defects, and direct them to adjust extruding and forming machines.
  • Observe machine operations, control boards, and gauges to detect malfunctions such as clogged bushings and defective binder applicators.
  • Load materials into extruding and forming machines, using hand tools, and adjust feed mechanisms to set feed rates.
  • Move controls to activate and adjust extruding and forming machines.
  • Record details of machine malfunctions.
  • Clean and maintain extruding and forming machines, using hand tools.

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

Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Controlling Machines and Processes
Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

What is a Hot End Operator salary?

The median salary for a Hot End Operator is $37,160, and the average salary is $39,170. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Hot End Operator salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Hot End Operators earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Hot End Operators earn less than $26,770 per year, 25% earn less than $30,910, 75% earn less than $46,230, and 90% earn less than $57,420.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Hot End Operators is expected to change by -4.3%, and there should be roughly 1,800 open positions for Hot End Operators every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$26,770 - $57,420
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Hot End 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 a Hot End Operator are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Hot End 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 a Hot End Operator tend to value Support, Relationships, and Independence.

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

Second, Hot End 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, Hot End 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 Hot End Operators must consistently demonstrate qualities such as self-control, attention to detail, and integrity.

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

Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Job requires being honest and ethical.
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.

What education and training do Hot End Operators need?

Working as a Hot End Operator usually requires a high school diploma.

Hot End 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 Hot End Operators

  • 24.2% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 35.3% completed high school or secondary school
  • 19.5% completed some college coursework
  • 8.5% earned a Associate's degree
  • 10.0% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 2.3% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.2% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Hot End Operators

Hot End Operators may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as production and processing, mathematics, or education and training knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Hot End 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.
Education and Training
Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

Important Abilities needed by Hot End Operators

Hot End 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, Hot End Operators need abilities such as problem sensitivity, control precision, and near vision in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Hot End Operators, ranked by their relative importance.

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.
Control Precision
The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

Critical Skills needed by Hot End 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.

Hot End Operators frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and monitoring to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Hot End 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.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.