The U.S. economy depends on the dutiful labor and efficiency of trucking and warehouse employees. An extensive supply chain network coordinates the movement of goods from producer to consumer. The warehouse sector is considered a part of this complex system and employs more than three million Americans. Positions in this field mostly require a high school diploma, strong communication skills and manual dexterity.
The warehouse industry presents a range of entry-level and management opportunities for people who are good with their hands and don’t mind doing the heavy lifting. If you’re up for the challenge, one of these five jobs might just be yours for the taking:
Average Salary - $24,000
This position is responsible for a variety of shipping and receiving duties to include: loading and unloading freight or merchandise, moving products to designated areas, inspecting shipments for damages or defects and maintaining stock shelves in the warehouse. The role entails a great deal of physicality. Warehouse associates sort, stack, store, assemble and unpack freight. Some products must be housed at a specific temperature to prevent spoiling or other impairments. Warehouse associates monitor and prepare such merchandise for proper storage. They sometimes use equipment to move large orders, which requires certification, most commonly a commercial driver’s license (CDL). Your pay scale may be determined by the skills you bring to the table. Previous experience along with a high school diploma and basic math skills can increase your earning potential.
Average Salary – $48,000
For those who have solid leadership skills and understand the inner workings of the warehouse industry, a management position may be the next logical step in your career. The warehouse manager oversees, plans and directs every aspect of the warehouse. He or she makes sure all employees are practicing proper lifting and moving technique and adhering to warehouse procedures. The job is an ideal fit for someone with warehouse operations experience, strong interpersonal skills and knowledge of safety standards enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Preventing on the job injuries is very important in this capacity. Random inspections designed to improve workplace safety can reveal violations and employers may be cited or fined as a result. Warehouse managers also supervise staff, administer overall inventory management and ensure customer requirements are met.
Warehouse Inventory Clerk or Shipping/Receiving Clerk
Average Salary – $24,100
Hands down, inventory workers are expected to be accurate in their stock counts and as such, you must possess strong organizational and math skills to successfully perform in this role. Warehouse inventory clerks track orders, prepare and maintain records and investigate discrepancies. Their efforts help ensure shipping and receiving activities run smoothly. The position typically consists of administrative tasks, but occasionally may pull orders as well as load and unload trucks. The job description varies from company to company. Employers who hire inventory clerks usually provide on-the-job training as long as candidates meet their basic requirements. More warehouses are incorporating technology, like tablets, to make these jobs more efficient.
Average Salary – $30,800
These workers are the prime movers of machinery. Your main duty in this capacity is to be a smooth operator by skillfully moving goods from one place to another. Forklift operators have to be certified or licensed. Additional training is sometimes necessary for license renewal. As with any warehouse job, safety is a top priority. Forklift operators use powerful equipment on a regular basis to transfer and stack merchandise. Handling packages and shipments with a high level of care is extremely important. Individuals who take on these responsibilities should be well-versed in warehouse safety. Material moving machine operators must be able to inspect and handle different types of equipment, such as the stand-up forklift and the sit-down forklift. They also assist with packing and unpacking trucks. Forklift operators traditionally work in warehouse settings.
Average Salary – $22,560
Literally the most hands-on of the group, material handlers move objects without machines. In this case, only the strong survive. Material handlers can expect to lift and load products onto pallets for most of their eight-hour day. They manually move, pack and haul materials in warehouses and storage facilities. While hand trucks provide an alternate method for transporting materials, handlers regularly use their bare hands to move loads. Employers in the warehouse industry usually let workers take frequent breaks to reduce the possibility of injury or fatigue. For an entry-level material handler position, most employers look for candidates with at least a high school education. Understanding weight and measurement is helpful in terms of checking accuracy and filling out paperwork for product shipments. The occupation is slated to grow 14 percent over the next seven years.
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Prefer the open road? Check out truck driving jobs here.