The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Set up, operate, or tend machines that extrude and form continuous filaments from synthetic materials, such as liquid polymer, rayon, and fiberglass.
Sample of reported job titles:
Extruder, Extruder Operator, Extrusion Line Operator, Extrusion Operator, Granulator, Hot End Operator, Pelletizer Operator, Pot Tipper, Spindraw Operator, Stretch Operator
Set up, operate, or tend machines that extrude and form filaments from synthetic materials such as rayon, fiberglass, or liquid polymers.
Press buttons to stop machines when processes are complete or when malfunctions are detected.
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.
Observe flow of finish across finish rollers, and turn valves to adjust flow to specifications.
Remove polymer deposits from spinnerettes and equipment, using silicone spray, brass chisels, and bronze-wool pads.
Press metering-pump buttons and turn valves to stop flow of polymers.
Record operational data on tags, and attach tags to machines.
Start metering pumps and observe operation of machines and equipment to ensure continuous flow of filaments extruded through spinnerettes and to detect processing defects.
Remove excess, entangled, or completed filaments from machines, using hand tools.
Wipe finish rollers with cloths and wash finish trays with water when necessary.
Lower pans inside cabinets to catch molten filaments until flow of polymer through packs has stopped.
Open cabinet doors to cut multifilament threadlines away from guides, using scissors.
Turn rheostats to obtain specified temperatures in electric furnaces where glass is melted.
Turn petcocks to adjust the flow of binding fluid to sleeves.
Pull extruded fiberglass filaments over sleeves where binding solution is applied, and into grooves of graphite shoes that bind filaments into single strands of sliver.
Pass sliver strands through openings in floors to workers on floors below who wind slivers onto tubes.
Industrial control software — Camstar Manufacturing Execution System MES; Statistical process control SPC software
Hot Technologies are requirements frequently included in employer job postings.
Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Controlling Machines and Processes — Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
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.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment — Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
Detailed Work Activities
Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of production materials or products.
Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
Signal others to coordinate work activities.
Monitor equipment operation to ensure proper functioning.
Clean production equipment.
Load materials into production equipment.
Record operational or production data.
Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information.
Operate pumping systems or equipment.
Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
Maintain production or processing equipment.
Position containers to receive materials or workpieces.
Cut industrial materials in preparation for fabrication or processing.
Adjust equipment controls to regulate flow of water, cleaning solutions, or other liquids.
Adjust temperature controls of ovens or other heating equipment.
Move products, materials, or equipment between work areas.
Remove products or workpieces from production equipment.
Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 100% responded “Every day.”
Face-to-Face Discussions — 95% responded “Every day.”
Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 75% responded “Every day.”
Exposed to Contaminants — 72% responded “Every day.”
Work With Work Group or Team — 73% responded “Extremely important.”
Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 70% responded “Every day.”
Contact With Others — 56% responded “Constant contact with others.”
Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 54% responded “Every day.”
Frequency of Decision Making — 65% responded “Every day.”
Duration of Typical Work Week — 58% responded “More than 40 hours.”
Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 74% responded “Very important.”
Telephone — 64% responded “Every day.”
Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 47% responded “Very important results.”
Spend Time Using Your Hands to Handle, Control, or Feel Objects, Tools, or Controls — 51% responded “Continually or almost continually.”
Time Pressure — 36% responded “Every day.”
Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — 44% responded “Moderate responsibility.”
Consequence of Error — 37% responded “Very serious.”
Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 34% responded “Very high responsibility.”
Freedom to Make Decisions
Coordinate or Lead Others — 22% responded “Important.”
Electronic Mail — 43% responded “Every day.”
Pace Determined by Speed of Equipment — 49% responded “Very important.”
Structured versus Unstructured Work
Spend Time Standing — 67% responded “About half the time.”
Exposed to Hazardous Equipment — 35% responded “Never.”
Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 52% responded “Important.”
Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 37% responded “Never.”
Physical Proximity — 49% responded “Moderately close (at arm’s length).”
Degree of Automation — 47% responded “Moderately automated.”
Level of Competition — 15% responded “Extremely competitive.”
Frequency of Conflict Situations — 46% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Letters and Memos — 45% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
Exposed to Minor Burns, Cuts, Bites, or Stings — 34% responded “Never.”
Spend Time Making Repetitive Motions — 39% responded “Less than half the time.”
- Job Zone Two: Some Preparation Needed
- These occupations usually require a high school diploma.
- Related Experience
- Some previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is usually needed. For example, a teller would benefit from experience working directly with the public.
- Job Training
- Employees in these occupations need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
- Job Zone Examples
- These occupations often involve using your knowledge and skills to help others. Examples include orderlies, counter and rental clerks, customer service representatives, security guards, upholsterers, tellers, and dental laboratory technicians.
- SVP Range
- 3 months to 1 year of preparation (4.0 to < 6.0)
Training & Credentials
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 — 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.
Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Quality Control Analysis — Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
Production and Processing — Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:
High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info
Less than high school diploma required
Post-secondary certificate required
Control Precision — The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
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.
Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
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.
Finger Dexterity — The ability to make precisely coordinated movements of the fingers of one or both hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble very small objects.
Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
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.
Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
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.
Auditory Attention — The ability to focus on a single source of sound in the presence of other distracting sounds.
Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
Time Sharing — The ability to shift back and forth between two or more activities or sources of information (such as speech, sounds, touch, or other sources).
Trunk Strength — The ability to use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without “giving out” or fatiguing.
Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Realistic — 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.
Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
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. Corresponding needs are Co-workers, Moral Values and Social Service.
Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
Wages & Employment Trends
- Median wages (2021)
- $18.05 hourly, $37,550 annual
- State wages
- Local wages
- Employment (2020)
- 16,200 employees
- Projected growth (2020-2030)
Decline (-1% or lower)
- Projected job openings (2020-2030)
- State trends
- Top industries (2020)
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data
external site and 2020-2030 employment projections
“Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
Job Openings on the Web
- State job openings
- Local job openings