California Occupational Guides

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Detailed Guide for

   Team Assemblers in San Diego County

May also be called: Assembly Line Workers; Assembly Operators; Assembly Technicians; Production Line Workers

What Would I Do?

From airplanes to iPods to solar panels, Team Assemblers* play an important role in the manufacturing process. They assemble both finished products and the pieces that go into them. Automated manufacturing processes now use robots, computers, and various sensing technologies. The more highly skilled Team Assemblers must be able to work with these new technologies and use them to produce goods.

The tasks of a Team Assembler vary from easy to very complicated requiring a range of skills and knowledge. Skilled Assemblers read detailed assembly blueprints before putting together complex parts or machines. After determining how the parts should connect, they use hand or power tools to trim, cut, and make other adjustments to fit components together and align them properly. Then the Assembler connects the pieces by bolting, welding, or soldering parts together.

Manufacturing techniques are moving away from the traditional assembly line toward “lean, just-in-time” manufacturing methods that use teams of workers to produce entire products or parts. Team Assemblers may still work on an assembly line, but they rotate through different tasks, rather than focusing on one specific task. Team assembly efforts provide companies with the flexibility to move employees to cover for absent workers. Employees may also be shifted from one product line to another to meet product demand.

Tools and Technology

Changes in technology have transformed the manufacturing and assembly process. Some of the tools used in this occupation include dial indicators, surface gauges, high-volume spray guns, power saws, rivet tools, and shears. Automated manufacturing systems include computer aided design (CAD) software, data entry software, and programmable motion control devices.

Green Economy
Team Assemblers will play an important role in the emerging Green Economy. They will assist with the production of energy efficient products and may also contribute through the recycling of manufacturing byproducts such as, metal, and wood scraps. However, it should not lead to significant changes in the work or worker requirements.

Important Tasks and Related Skills

*This product was partially funded by a grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment & Training Administration. The information contained in this product was created by a grantee organization and does not necessarily reflect the official position of the U.S. Department of Labor. All references to non-governmental companies or organizations, their services, products, or resources are offered for informational purposes and should not be construed as an endorsement by the Department of Labor. This product is copyrighted by the institution that created it and is intended for individual organizational, non-commercial use only.

Each task below is matched to a sample skill required to carry out the task.

View the skill definitions
TaskSkill Used in this Task
Rotate through all the tasks required in a particular production process.Quality Control Analysis
Determine work assignments and procedures.Critical Thinking
Operate heavy equipment such as forklifts.Control Precision
Provide assistance in the production of wiring assemblies.Manual Dexterity
Source: U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Information Network (O*NET)

Working Conditions

Most Assemblers work in air-conditioned buildings. Other working conditions will differ by industry, employer, and product. Some products such as disk drives and semiconductors must be assembled in spotless, dust-free "cleanrooms". In contrast, other products are assembled where loud noise, fumes, vibrations, and dust abound. Some Assemblers stand most of the time, while other Assemblers work seated at benches. Kneeling, crouching, stooping, and crawling may be necessary in some Assembler jobs. Protective or safety equipment, such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection aids, or hard hats may be required on the job. Cleanroom work requires Assemblers to wear sterile gowns, masks and gloves.

Most Assemblers work a 40-hour week. However, some manufacturing plants operate around the clock, so Assemblers may be required to work evenings, or weekends as well as overtime when needed. As workers gain seniority, they have more choice about shift assignments.

Many Assemblers are members of labor unions such as the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers; and the United Steelworkers of America.

Will This Job Fit Me?

The job of Team Assembler will appeal to those who enjoy work activities involving practical, hands-on problems and solutions. This occupation interests those who are attentive to detail and thorough in completing work tasks. Many of these occupations do not involve a lot of paperwork.

What Wages and Benefits Can I Expect?

Earnings vary by industry, geographic region, skill, educational level, value of the finished product, and complexity of the machinery operated.

Wages

The median wage in 2016 for Team Assemblers in California is $27,315 annually, or $13.14 hourly. The median wage for Team Assemblers in San Diego County is $27,274 annually, or $13.12 hourly. The median is the point at which half of the workers earn more and half earn less.

Change to Hourly Wages
Annual Wages for 2016Low
(25th percentile)
Median
(50th percentile)
High
(75th percentile)
California$22,058$27,315$35,583
San Diego County$21,732$27,274$35,992
Source: EDD/LMID Occupational Employment Statistics Survey, 2016 Wages do not reflect self-employment.
View Wages for All Areas

Benefits

Benefit packages vary widely from company to company. Team Assemblers generally receive health insurance, a pension plan, vacation, sick leave, and holidays. The type of benefit package is determined by company policy or union contract.

What Do Local Employers Say About Benefits?  Of the 18 employers in San Diego County, all provide medical insurance, and almost all provide vacation benefits to Team Assemblers who work full-time.

Percent of Employers Who Provide
Specific Benefits by Time Base
Benefit TypeFull-TimePart-Time
Medical Insurance100%0%
Vacation89%0%
Dental Insurance78%0%
Life Insurance61%0%
Sick Leave56%0%
Vision Insurance56%0%
Retirement Plan33%0%
Disability Insurance28%0%
Paid Time Off Bank11%0%
No benefits0%0%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

Of the 18 employers surveyed who responded in San Diego County, who provides medical benefits, almost all reported that they pay half or more of the cost of medical insurance for full-time, and none reported that they pay half or more of the cost of medical insurance for part-time Team Assemblers.

Percent of Employers Who Paid Medical
Insurance by Portion Paid by Time Base
Portion Paid by Employer:Full-TimePart-Time
All11%0%
Half or more72%0%
Less than Half17%0%
None0%0%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

What is the Job Outlook?

Employment of Team Assemblers may be negatively affected by the shift of assembly work to countries with lower labor costs. Also, companies often contract with temporary help firms for Assemblers rather than hire directly.

Increasing automation will further reduce the need for Assemblers, as manufacturers will be able to produce more products with fewer workers. Automation will replace workers in operations with a large volume of repetitive work. However, automation will have less effect on the assembly of parts that are irregular in size or in hard to reach locations.

Assemblers will increasingly use a new type of automation, cobots, which are robot-like devices that collaborate with a human operator to move and position parts.

Green Economy

With the increased focus on environmentally friendly products, it is expected that there may be increased opportunities for Team Assemblers. However like many occupations, employment is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy.

Projections of Employment

In California, the number of Team Assemblers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Team Assemblers are expected to increase by 3.9 percent, or 3,100 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

In San Diego County, the number of Team Assemblers is expected to grow slower than average growth rate for all occupations. Jobs for Team Assemblers are expected to increase by 1.0 percent, or 80 jobs between 2012 and 2022.

Estimated Employment and Projected Growth
Team Assemblers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-Projected Year)
Estimated
Employment
Projected
Employment
Numeric
Change
Percent
Change
Additional Openings
Due to Net
Replacements
California
(2012-2022)
78,70081,8003,1003.912,500
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
7,8807,960801.01,250
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Projected Growth for All Areas

Annual Job Openings

In California, an average of 310 new job openings per year is expected for Team Assemblers, plus an additional 1,250 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 1,550 job openings.

In San Diego County, an average of 7 new job openings per year is expected for Team Assemblers, plus an additional 125 job openings due to net replacement needs, resulting in a total of 132 job openings.

Estimated Average Annual Job Openings
Team Assemblers
Geographic Area
(Estimated Year-
Projected Year)
Jobs From GrowthJobs Due to
Net Replacements
Total Annual
Job Openings
California
(2012-2022)
3101,2501,550
San Diego County
(2012-2022)
7125132
Source: EDD/LMID Projections of Employment by Occupation
View Data for All Areas

How Do I Qualify?

Education, Training, and Other Requirements

The education level and qualifications needed to enter this occupation vary depending on the industry, employer, and complexity of the assembly process. Most employers prefer to hire applicants with a high school diploma or equivalent. However, the most highly skilled assembly jobs may require specialized training or an associate degree. Assembly workers must be able to carefully follow instructions, which may require basic reading skills and the ability to understand diagrams and pictures. Manual dexterity and the ability to carry out complex, repetitive tasks quickly and methodically are important. In addition, good eye­sight is necessary for assemblers and fabricators who work with small parts.

Early Career Planning

High school preparation courses in English, mathematics, science, computer technology, mechanical drawing, blueprint reading, and metal shop are helpful for students interested in assembler occupations.

Work-Study Programs

Training programs for Assemblers are available through Regional Occupational Programs (ROP). Program titles include Advanced Manufacturing Technology, Electronics Technology, Manufacturing Technology, Modern Manufacturing Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM), and Robotics and Electronics.  To find an ROP program near you, go to the California Association of Regional Occupational Centers and Programs Web site.

Where Can I Find Training?

There are two ways to search for training information:

  • Search by Field of Study to find what programs are available and what schools offer those programs. You may use keywords such as: Assembly, Fabrication, Instrumentation, or Manufacturing.
  • Search by Training Provider to find schools by name, type of school, or location.

Contact the schools you are interested in to learn about the classes available, tuition and fees, and any prerequisite course work.

Where Would I Work?

The largest industries employing Team Assemblers are as follows:

Industry TitlePercent of Total Employment for Occupation in California
Employment Services 16.6%
Medical Equipment and Supplies Mfg 7.5%
Electronic Instrument Manufacturing 5.4%
Other Miscellaneous Manufacturing 4.6%
Electrical Equipment and Appliances 4.2%
Source: EDD/LMID Staffing Patterns

What Employers Say...

The Employment Development Department surveyed 18 employers in San Diego County which employ 461 Team Assemblers. Here's what they had to say:

About Full-Time/Part-Time: All of these firms employ full-time and none employ part-time Team Assemblers.

About Work Experience:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, most require new hires to have prior work experience as Team Assemblers. In the table below, percentages may not add to 100% since employers may select more than one time period.

How Much Work Experience
Do Employers Require?
More than 5 years 0%
25 to 60 months 7%
13 to 24 months 21%
1 to 12 months 71%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

About Recruitment:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, many indicate it is easy to find applicants with experience who meet their minimum hiring requirements, while almost all indicate it is easy to find applicants without previous experience who meet their minimum hiring requirements to fill vacancies for Team Assemblers.

About Hiring:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, most expect the number of Team Assemblers they employ to remain stable during the coming year.

Hiring Expectations
Expect Employment to Increase 17%
Expect Employment to Remain Stable 78%
Expect Employment to Decline 6%
Source: EDD/LMID Local Occupational Information Survey.

About Vacancies:  Of the 18 employers surveyed in San Diego County, 50 percent hired Team Assemblers during the past year. Of the hiring firms, 67 percent filled existing vacancies, 44 percent filled newly created positions, and 56 percent filled temporary assignments.

Finding a Job

Direct application to employers remains one of the most effective job search methods. Jobs may also be found through registration with temporary employment agencies and through classified advertisements in newspapers, trade publications, and Internet job listings. Online job opening systems include JobCentral at www.jobcentral.com and CalJOBSSM at www.caljobs.ca.gov.

To find your nearest One-Stop Career Center, go to Service Locator. View the helpful job search tips for more resources. (requires Adobe Reader).

Yellow Page Headings

You can focus your local job search by checking employers listed online or in your local telephone directory. Below are some suggested headings where you might find employers of Team Assemblers.

  • Aluminum Wholesale and Manufacturers
  • Assembly and Fabricating Service
  • Employment Contractors-Temporary Help
  • Machine Shops
  • Manufacturing Engineers
  • Plastics-Fabricating, Finishing, and Decorating

Find Possible Employers

To locate a list of employers in your area, go to "Find Employers" on the Labor Market Information Web site:

  • Select one of the top industries that employ the occupation. This will give you a list of employers in that industry in your area.
  • Click on "View Filter Selections" to limit your list to specific cities or employer size.
  • Click on an employer for the street address, telephone number, size of business, Web site, etc.
  • Contact the employer for possible employment.

Where Could This Job Lead?

Experienced Assemblers can advance to quality control, repair, or supervisory positions as they become more skilled. They may also become members of research and development teams, working with engineers and other project managers to design, develop, and build prototypes, and test new product models. Assemblers who develop their math, science, and computer skills will be prepared for automated production line equipment advances.

Related Occupations

Below is a list of occupations related to Team Assemblers with links to more information.

OccupationOccupational
Guide
Industry
Report
Occupational
Profile
Electrical and Electronic Equipment AssemblersProfile
Electromechanical Equipment AssemblersProfile
Engine and Other Machine AssemblersProfile
MillwrightsProfile
Welding, Soldering, and Brazing Machine Setters, Operators, and TendersProfile

Other Sources

  • International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers
         www.goiam.org
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
         www.ibew.org
  • National Association of Manufacturers
         www.nam.org
  • National Center for Manufacturing Sciences
         www.ncms.org
  • International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW)
         www.uaw.org
  • United Steelworkers
         www.usw.org

These links are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement by EDD.

For the Career Professional

The following codes are provided to assist counselors, job placement workers, or other career professionals.

SystemCode
SOC - Standard Occupational Classification51-2092
O*NET - Occupational Information Network
   Team Assemblers51-2092.00
   Interest Codes (RIASEC)RCE