A sewing machine operator is responsible for employing the use of a sewing machine in the production of textile products. The exact machines a sewing machine operator will use vary wildly between small, single-need machines to large industrial machines. Sewing machine operators are usually employed in the mass production of materials rather than individual customizations of clothing. Some sewing machine operators may also serve as head of production over individual units within a factory.
Sewing Machine Operator Education Requirements
A high school diploma is not required to become a sewing machine operator. The field requires physical dexterity and a close eye for detail. On-the-job training is generally provided. However, the ability to skillfully operate a sewing machine is beneficial and greatly increases the chances of finding work. Critical thinking skills are also helpful for determining alternative methods of production and increasing output.
Sewing Machine Operator Job Market
The job market for sewing machine operators is expected to drop by an extraordinary 26 percent by 2022. Even so, an estimated 770 jobs will still open each year because of upward movement and replacement. The job market is weakening because more of the tasks are outsourced to overseas facilities or are becoming fully automated through the use of machines and robots.
Sewing Machine Operator Salary
A sewing machine operator makes an average of $8 to $11 per hour, or around $16,600 to $22,800 per year. Operators in a supervisory position are able to make more, but the job itself is typically at or near minimum wage. Experience may sometimes result in salary raises, but it is not typical, as this position tends to be a stepping stone towards climbing to higher-paying roles.