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Career profile Vehicle Loader

Also known as Load Out Person, Loader, Loader Operator, Loading Operator, Oil Movements Operator, PVC Loader (Polyvinyl Chloride Loader), Rail Car Loader, Tank Car Loader, Tankerman, Truck Loader

Vehicle Loader

Also known as Load Out Person, Loader, Loader Operator

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Conventional
  • Investigative
Pay Range
$31,110 - $79,220 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
  • Reading Comprehension
Knowledge Areas
  • Transportation
  • Production and Processing
  • Public Safety and Security
Core tasks
  • Seal outlet valves on tank cars, barges, and trucks.
  • Verify tank car, barge, or truck load numbers to ensure car placement accuracy based on written or verbal instructions.
  • Connect ground cables to carry off static electricity when unloading tanker cars.
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What does a Vehicle Loader do?

Vehicle Loaders load and unload chemicals and bulk solids, such as coal, sand, and grain, into or from tank cars, trucks, or ships, using material moving equipment.

In addition, Vehicle Loaders

  • may perform a variety of other tasks relating to shipment of products,
  • may gauge or sample shipping tanks and test them for leaks.

What kind of tasks does a Vehicle Loader perform regularly?

Vehicle Loaders are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Seal outlet valves on tank cars, barges, and trucks.
  • Verify tank car, barge, or truck load numbers to ensure car placement accuracy based on written or verbal instructions.
  • Start pumps and adjust valves or cables to regulate the flow of products to vessels, using knowledge of loading procedures.
  • Observe positions of cars passing loading spouts, and swing spouts into the correct positions at the appropriate times.
  • Check conditions and weights of vessels to ensure cleanliness and compliance with loading procedures.
  • Monitor product movement to and from storage tanks, coordinating activities with other workers to ensure constant product flow.
  • Operate ship loading and unloading equipment, conveyors, hoists, and other specialized material handling equipment such as railroad tank car unloading equipment.
  • Record operating data such as products and quantities pumped, gauge readings, and operating times, manually or using computers.
  • Operate industrial trucks, tractors, loaders, and other equipment to transport materials to and from transportation vehicles and loading docks, and to store and retrieve materials in warehouses.

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

Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings
Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Processing Information
Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Vehicle Loader salary?

The median salary for a Vehicle Loader is $45,610, and the average salary is $50,670. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Vehicle Loader salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Vehicle Loaders earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Vehicle Loaders earn less than $31,110 per year, 25% earn less than $36,280, 75% earn less than $64,940, and 90% earn less than $79,220.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Vehicle Loaders is expected to change by 4.6%, and there should be roughly 1,600 open positions for Vehicle Loaders every year.

Median annual salary
Typical salary range
$31,110 - $79,220
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)

What personality traits are common among Vehicle Loaders?


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 Vehicle Loader are usually higher in their Realistic and Conventional interests.

Vehicle Loaders 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.

Also, Vehicle Loaders typically have strong Conventional interests. Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.


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 Vehicle Loader tend to value Support, Independence, and Relationships.

Most importantly, Vehicle Loaders very strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Vehicle Loaders strongly value Independence. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions.

Lastly, Vehicle Loaders 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.

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 Vehicle Loaders must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and cooperation.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Vehicle Loaders, 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 being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Job requires being honest and ethical.

What education and training do Vehicle Loaders need?

Working as a Vehicle Loader usually requires a high school diploma.

Vehicle Loaders 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 Vehicle Loaders

  • 19.8% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 48.2% completed high school or secondary school
  • 19.1% completed some college coursework
  • 6.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 5.7% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.8% earned a Master's degree
  • 0.1% earned a doctorate or professional degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Vehicle Loaders

Vehicle Loaders may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as transportation, production and processing, or public safety and security knowledge.

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

Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
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.

Important Abilities needed by Vehicle Loaders

Vehicle Loaders 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, Vehicle Loaders need abilities such as control precision, multilimb coordination, and manual dexterity in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Vehicle Loaders, 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.
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.
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.
Rate Control
The ability to time your movements or the movement of a piece of equipment in anticipation of changes in the speed and/or direction of a moving object or scene.
Far Vision
The ability to see details at a distance.

Critical Skills needed by Vehicle Loaders

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.

Vehicle Loaders frequently use skills like operations monitoring, operation and control, and reading comprehension to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Vehicle Loaders, 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.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Time Management
Managing one's own time and the time of others.
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.

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.