Sometimes known as a warehouse associate or package handler, a material handler is part of the supply chain that moves items through a warehouse. The work can be demanding, but also rewarding. Here is what you should know about becoming a material handler.
Material handlers wear many different hats, often changing workstations throughout the day. Depending on the specifics of your position, you might rotate through such duties as:
- Receiving and processing shipments, including unloading trucks and logging goods
- Filling orders, including pulling items from shelves
- Conducting inventory assessments and updating databases
- Loading trucks for shipping
- Inspecting and maintaining equipment
- Operating machinery such as forklifts, manual jacks, or dollies
Because the job duties tend to change every few hours, a material handler can be an excellent job choice for energetic people who don’t enjoy doing the same thing over and over again. Of course, you should be in reasonably good physical shape, as much of the work involves heavy lifting and carrying.
The national average pay rate for material handlers is $15.65 per hour, according to Indeed. But you might make less or more than that, depending on your location, your employer, and the specifics of your job. Certifications and experience can also help you earn more.
Education and Training
Most material handler positions primarily involve on-the-job (OTJ) training. You’ll generally need a high school diploma or GED to get started. You might qualify for a slightly better position or more pay if you have additional skills or education, such as math and database skills, or if you have relevant certifications.
Remember that soft skills, such as communication and attention to detail, are important in a warehouse environment. If you don’t have experience as a material handler or in a similar position, tailor your resume to focus on your soft skills, as well as your adaptability and eagerness to learn. Most employers want to teach you company-specific methods and procedures anyway, so a lack of direct experience isn’t necessarily a bad thing.